Most Memorable Moment award. I earned this prestigious award on the FMF Baja Mar industry ride in 2001. The story goes like this…

It’s day 1 on an FMF-sponsored industry ride through Baja. I’m on my KTM 200 riding mostly with my friend Luca. Just before lunch we stop on a large bluff where a group of guys had stopped to tell stories and bench race a bit. Turns out this is no ordinary group of guys. This is a group of former and current national and world motocross and off-road champions and some serious industry heavy-hitters. I mean the real deal. So we stop to chat.

After a few minutes I ask Donnie Emler how that new-fangled YZ 250 4-stroke runs. He offers to let me ride it. I thank him, throw a leg over it, and proceed across the bluff, off the ledge at the end, through the big pile of rocks on the other side, and down the trail. I ride it for a few minutes and then return, handing the bike back to Donnie. No worries.

It’s been a little while now and I’m anxious to ride. So I encourage the group to move along. They concur. So I fire the two-hundo to life and, in a complete moment of ‘let me show these hot-shots what I can do’ induced enthusiasm, I grab a huge handful of throttle. I speed away across the bluff front wheel in the air, over the ledge, and in to the rocks – the same bluff, ledge, and rocks I has ridden 5 minutes earlier.

Only this time I hit that ledge and those rocks at a much higher speed and completely out of control. I immediately slammed in to those rocks, cartwheeled over the bars, and yard saled ten feet down the trail. Right in front of all those former and current national and world champions and industry heavy-hitters.

I would like to say that my pride suffered the worst damage, but I cannot. It was, however, very damaged. I got a bit banged up, but nothing broken. But my exhaust pipe was completely crushed, pulled out of the cylinder. Luckily it was an FMF ride. I limped the bike to the lunch stop where a couple of FMF techs threw a new pipe on my bike while I enjoyed some delicious lunch. Less than an hour later I crashed again and put a fist-sized dent in the fat part of the brand new pipe. Great.

Later that weekend I was presented, in all its glory, this fabulous award. I got to keep the story, too.