The world has been a little crazy of late, to say the least, I actually started writing this well over a month ago, the article was originally going to be called ROCKIN IT STOCK. It was going to be a quick update on how things were going with our 2020 Suzuki RM-Z 250.
We never actually planned to have the RM-Z250 as a long term project bike.
Suzuki originally sent us down the bike from Victoria to South Australia for a quick review and really to have a play around with the Suzuki MX Tuner, and after having the bike on display at the South Australian round of the 2019 Australian Supercross and then spending the following month chasing the rest of the SX Championship around the country, we finally got to spend a little time riding as the summer heat kicked in.
We spent some time playing around with power tuner and getting to know the 2020 Suzuki RM-Z 250 in stock form; you can click through the features segment on the site to have a read through on how things went in our two review articles.
The bike was all set to head back to Kessner Motorcycles then back to Suzuki Australia headquarters. Still, enjoying the bike and being bikeless at the time, I made a quick phone call to Suzuki and asked if we could hold on to the bike a little longer, the bike was great in stock form. Still, I really wanted to spend some more time getting to know it and was sure that with a bit of a re-valve of the front fork we would have a bike that would be great to go racing with in 2020.
January rolled around, and though I only had a little seat time we headed to the Shipwreck Coast event across the border, the race re-enforced my thoughts that all this bike needed was some attention on the front fork, so we headed back to South Australia and spent a little time with Grant Beale from Bike Tune playing with the ride and sag heights and doing what we could do with the clickers on the front end.
With the summer heat, it was hard to find a lot of ride time, at the same time news started to hit the headlines, some form of a virus that spread from a bat to humans out of china was gathering some momentum, there was some talk of some sort of social lockdown, but we did not know too much early.
I headed back over the border to the opening round of the Victorian junior state motocross championship for my son Jayden to race, there were a few warnings and recommendations about social distancing, but the borders were open so across we went for what turned out to be a great weekend of racing and eye-opening experience at our first junior Vic event.
The following weekend I was able to head back to my home track at Gilman in SA, to the Motocross riders association venue, we had played around a little more with the front fork, backing off the compression as much as possible, even at my weight the bike still felt harsh in the initial part of the stroke.
With the suspension now having a few hours on it it was starting to free up a little more, the motor was still super responsive, the bike overall was great in corners and coming out of turns, but still, a little flighty coming into corners with decent braking bumps, but overall things were feeling pretty well on point, and I was enjoying riding.
The COVID situation continued to grow, and we started reading about the devastating effect it was beginning to have in other parts of the world, things were looking very serious, and everything looked like it was about to go into lockdown in Australia.
The following weekend it became obvious things were about to change big time, tracks were still open on that Sunday, but we headed to the track knowing that it would likely be our last ride for some time, we did not know precisely what was about to come but knew something was brewing.
It was one of the strangest rides I have ever had. I felt great on the bike, with some decent ride time over the past month the confidence was up, but at the same time there was an anger inside me, being told I would have to put not just moto, but all sport on hold for both myself and my two children did not sit well.
I was feeling great on the bike, one of those days were everything just flows, you can hit every line you want to, and I did not want that day of riding to end, I was one of the first to arrive at the track and left when the track was closed, it was one of those days of riding that normally leaves you feeling on top of the world, but this one left me in a strange place, wanting more but knowing that was not going to happen, everything came to a STOP!
As we all know, things very much went into lockdown, while I was able to work my full-time day job, everything else in life had changed, the kids were at home 24/7, my daughter was no longer dancing, I was lining up at coles at 8 am in the hope of buying a roll of dunny paper! Yes, toilet paper had become the worlds hottest but rarest commodity.
Jaydens Yamaha YZ65 was put in the shed. With all moto racing stopping worldwide and with no real sign that any racing would take place in 2020 we made the decision to sell his KTM 50SX which only had 14 hours on it, yep Jaydens last year in the 50 class which he was looking forward to was over before it really got going.
Our RM-Z 250 got a good clean and tucked away in the shed; all sport had stopped, even the mighty AFL and NRL were shut down. However at the same time for some reason, I could walk into a crowded Bunnings store and buy everything I needed to fix up my front yard that had been neglected for the past 15 years while I spent my weekends at a moto track somewhere in Australia.
With no real moto going on, I finally got stuck into playing MX Simulator and trying to figure that game out! After two months I no longer completely suck at a game that has a steep learning curve but are still have a long way to go to catch the likes of Dylan Long and Tyran Tomic who are just as fast in the virtual world as they are in real life.
Our RM-Z 250 was not entirely forgotten, I spoke to Ringmaster Images who went to work on designing a fresh graphics kit that will be seen soon, we have taken some inspiration from the MotoGP world and are going to try and adapt it to moto!
After two months of no MX, we have finally seen a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, Fresh dates for the MX Store MX Nationals were released, the Monster Energy Supercross Championship is ready to get back into action and tracks around Australia have finally started to open. Here in South Australia the Off-Road Championship has new dates, and hopefully, soon we will see the SAMX championship dates released... Things are about to get busy.
Our world has certainly changed, and there is no doubt that this whole Covid-19 situation is a long way from over and continues to devastate communities across the globe and is a situation that still has our full attention.
Still, it was great to finally pack the gear bag with a fresh set of Fly Racing racewear that has been sitting waiting patiently to be worn, and wheeling the RM-Z250 and the YZ65 into the trailer on the weekend just gone and head to the local track.
Yes, we are back; we are one ride deep. I actually thought I was not missing moto that much; I could not have been more wrong....
Sunday was simply amazing, but we will get into that and our first experience back on track post lockdown in the coming weeks. We have a few exciting things on the cards, and we could not be more pumped about being back no just on track, but back hanging with our mates trackside, talking smack and getting a little riding in.