Filmed & edited by Tom Journet | Still photography by Eric Shirk



In the late ’60s, researcher Nancy Ann Tappe began seeing certain gifted youth with an indigo-colored aura following her Synesthesia diagnosis. She believed that these “Indigo Children” were a bridge to the future, wise beyond their years, born with remarkable creativity and unexplainable gifts that would change the world as we know it. I’m sure if Nancy were to meet thirteen-year-old Jett Reynolds she would see his indigo aura from a mile away, the motorcycle as his muse.








"The desert is our troubled state. It is the dwelling place of our demons. This is a land of illusions and thin air, the vision is so cleared at times that the truth itself is deceptive."

—John C. Van Dyke, The Desert, 1901


Directed, filmed & edited by Sebastien Zanella

Tabernas Desert, Spain

Supported by





Video by BRMC | Words by Maggie Gulasey



Twice in my short life I have found myself immersed in the potent butterflies of love, doused with nervousness, excitement, and a fleck of fear—but not for another person. Rather, it’s been for the extraordinary and profoundly authentic passions in life that have illuminated my simple existence.


My first love affair came to fruition when I encountered live music at a young age. Some astute individuals sang, “When you fall in love, you know you are done.” Though lacking the talent for mastering an instrument, I eagerly devoured the music, and I indeed knew I was done; music was forever going to be a part of my lifeblood, even if that meant supporting the melodic experts from the business or the avid-fan side of things.

The second time my heart was kidnapped occurred the moment I first rode a motorcycle. Nothing can match how those two wheels make me feel. I truly came alive with the world at my side, experiencing life in a unique and more gratifying way aboard my beautiful vintage two-stroke.
Both music and my motorcycle enable a mental departure from the tedious rigors that often swallow daily life, allowing me to recall and enjoy the simple magic this world grants. Once in a blue moon my two lovers delightfully harmonize, creating a motorcycle and rock ‘n’ roll utopia. I have found this elusive nirvana in the band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club...





Photos by Ray Gordon | Words by Maggie Gulasey



Featuring Thor Drake, Drake McElroy, Ben Giese & Maggie Gulasey

Soundtrack: "Ramblin' Blues" by Woody Guthrie

Special thanks to Ray Gordon & Food Chain Films

Supported by


Amongst the hardships of the “Dirty Thirties” and the suffering inflicted by the black blizzards of the Dust Bowl emerged one of the most influential and controversial American folk musicians to date: Woody Guthrie. In 1941, this “Dust Bowl Troubadour” headed out to Portland, Oregon, hired by the Bonneville Power Administration, who’d been seeking a talented musician with a knack for painting awe-inspiring lyrical imagery. They intended to use Guthrie’s Pacific Northwest–inspired songs to accompany their documentary, which promoted the benefits of constructing dams as a means of producing cheap electricity along the massive swirling fury of the Columbia River. Though the documentary never came to fruition, Guthrie was surely excited by the loveliness he witnessed during his Oregon stay, for he wrote 26 songs in one month, 17 of which were compiled and released decades later as the Columbia River Collection. In Guthrie’s own words from his Columbia River songbook:



Moved by Guthrie’s expedition along the Columbia, See See Motorcycles’ Thor Drake, free-spirited two-wheel icon Drake McElroy, and the META crew decided to embark on our own journey to chase Oregon’s boundless natural allure. With Thor and Drake as our guides and steel ponies for our wheels, we saddled up and set about on an adventure that would be an unexpected assortment of weather, history lessons, and unimagined beauty...





Words and photos by

Aaron Brimhall, Joel Hyppönen, Samuel Taipale & Dallin Jolley



Supported by


On the winter solstice, Norway’s capital of Oslo receives a scant five hours and thirty minutes of daylight. The days immediately preceding and following really aren’t much better. During these miserable winter months, it’s not the snow or cold that breaks you down. (Roads can be plowed, layers can be worn.) It’s the darkness, that cruelest reality of life this close to the Arctic Circle.


So after a gorgeous and — above all else — well-lit summer spent taking in Norway’s natural splendors and Oslo’s bustling cityscape, or simply appreciating the sudden absence of Seasonal Affective Disorder, fall can be a daunting prospect. For many, October’s arrival marks the beginning of the end. Shadows lengthen as that familiar and unwelcome chill returns to the air, and that’s enough for much of the populace to pack it in, pour a stiff drink, and slog into the dreary abyss of the year’s dimmest quarter.

Fortunately for all of us, there is another way to face the impending gloom. Friends Joel Hyppönen, Samuel Taipale, Aaron Brimhall, and Dallin Jolley were kind enough to demonstrate, and took some incredible photos along the way.

Rather than bemoan the dwindling daylight, these dudes took it upon themselves to squeeze out every last drop of it, in the form of a 700+ mile, minimalist moto-trip to the northern reaches of fjord country. Armed with just what their bikes could carry, they set out from Oslo with a loose itinerary and high hopes. They returned eight days later having explored some of the country’s most unreal offerings: its highest peaks, its bluest lakes, and some of its steepest makeshift skateboard ramps.


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The holiday season is filled with delicious food, drinks, seasonal smells, lots of parties, gifts and good times. But it's the love, gratitude and spirit of giving that makes this time of year so special. The team at META wishes you a wonderful, safe and warm holiday season.


Directed by Daniel Fickle

Starring Maggie Gulasey & Harry Thompson

Produced by Ben Mckinney & Ben Giese

Still Photography by Kody Kohlman

Music by Tony Anderson


Created by






After quietly admiring the work of Deus Temple in Bali, Indonesia, we ventured out to explore their homeland on the other side of the globe. Two weeks, two islands, two volcanos, some custom dirtbikes, surfboards and a RED camera. The trip of a lifetime.


Directed by Dustin Humphrey

Filmed and edited by Andrew Gough

Featuring Forrest Minchenton, Zye Norris, Ben Giese & Ferdika Ferry

Soundtrack: "If There's A Light On" by City Calm Down


Presented by






Photos by Scott Toepfer | Words by Brett Smith



With a garage full of motorcycles, helmets, sketches, drawings, Post-It notes, and projects in various stages, it’s clear that Drake McElroy is one of those enviably hip people,


the type who invents new words or redefines language use. By the time his interests spread and you, dear wannabe reader, have finally caught on, he’s already moved on. McElroy (that’s MACKEL-roy) is an artist, a builder, a rider, a trendsetter, and an agitator who will do things with the intent of inciting confusion and making people ask questions to which they’ll receive a response that solves nothing.

Yet for all Drake McElroy is known to be, he’s indefinable. Go ahead and give him a label. He’s fine with that. Buzzwords, he calls them. “People love labels,” he says. “They don’t like shit they don’t understand.” It’s that confusion that gives him the urge to unbolt the front fender from his dirtbike, run flat-track tires in a freestyle motocross show, and ride in a denim jacket with no shirt underneath: he knows you’re going to ask him why he does that. And when a satisfactory answer never comes, you’ll stop asking questions and accept the scene for what it is.

McElroy represents the unorthodox side of motorcycling, which led him to found the Smoking Seagulls, described (with a straight face) as a time-traveling bike cult, “a bridge between likeminded people who don’t fit perfectly into the mainstream motorcycle market.” That’s an ironic thing to say, since motorcycling in North America is far from being mainstream. Yet there’s a curious side to McElroy. He’s unexpectedly cerebral, which is why he jumped at the chance to create and host a guerilla-style travel show called “Drake’s Passage” in 2011. With only a cameraman, a producer, and a “fixer” (local guide), McElroy used the location of each Red Bull X-Fighters series stop to explore the non-touristy sides of Mexico City, Cairo, Moscow, and other major cities. It was an out-of-character experience for McElroy, who is shy and quiet, but the chance to explore global underbellies was too good. The result was a cross between “No Reservations” and “An Idiot Abroad.” At one point, McElroy—who is only 5 feet 8 inches tall and 135 pounds—found himself in a Mexican fighting ring getting slapped and body-slammed by luchadores (wrestlers) twice his size. The show had very little moto presence (although he did ride a German Horex motorcycle in Madrid), which made its placement on action-sports-oriented Fuel TV odd. It was a fun and quirky show with daring, exploratory qualities, but it lasted only one season and now lives online.

“He’s got a sixth sense where he knows what’s cool,” says Dave Mavro, who was the show’s videographer. “I would never think this dude would be so worldly. He’s refined.”






Photos by Aaron Brimhall | Words by Maggie Gulasey



Today the forest is enveloped with an unusually thick blanket of fog, swallowing the towering mountaintops and illuminating the multitude of greens splattering the woods.


So gently the rain falls that when it comes to rest upon a blade of grass, it barely bows. There is, however, enough moisture that it turns the rocks lining the trail into a glistening, slippery surface and constructs miniature ponds at every dimpled point along the terrain. These mountains are undeniably majestic, teeming with brilliant plant and animal life. To hike to this elevated splendor on foot, particularly with today’s weather, would be unreasonable and entail an entire day or more. To travel via auto would guide you only a short distance, as you would quickly encounter trails too narrow and especially intricate and unyielding for any four wheels.

If you wish to access the botanical bounty near tree line, then a degree of creativity must be applied. Brady Becker and Shae Whitney of DRAM Apothecary have achieved exactly that, utilizing a tool that grants them unique passage to forage untapped regions of the abundant Colorado mountains: a motorcycle...





Photos by Aaron Brimhall | Words by Travis Newbold



As I pick up the tipped-over $150,000 motorcycle from the loose gravel, I am completely spent, gasping for air from my burning lungs and soaked in sweat from the prior 10 minutes and 14 seconds, having just crossed the finish line of the last real road race in North America.

This is the end of the story I am about to tell you. Actually, the end happened immediately after picking up the bike and unstrapping my helmet, when I told a newspaper reporter what I thought about the Pikes Peak International Race Committee. It was enough to ban me from further racing up America’s Mountain—ban me from the race up a mountain I grew up with and had spent the last eight years dedicated to, climbing its 156 corners faster than anyone in front of me...





Words by Shelby Rossi



Some people never feel the urge to leave their house. They’re content staying in the city they were born in, the couch they sit on, and the 360 degrees that immediately surround them. Then there’s the rest of us—the people who can’t sit still, who want to witness new places, to discover foreign cultures, and who always have a map handy.

Researchers have traced this inherent urge to explore back to one gene, DRD4-7R, a derivative of the gene DRD4, which is associated with dopamine levels in the brain. This gene has been named the “adventure gene” because of its correlation to increased levels of curiosity and restlessness. Studies have found that 7R makes people more likely to take risks; to explore new places, ideas, relationships; and generally to embrace movement, change, and, most importantly, adventure.

Augusta and Adeline Van Buren, sisters, must have carried this gene.


In 1916, the Van Buren sisters were the first women to each ride her own motorcycle across the continental United States. They rode 5,500 dangerous miles from Brooklyn, New York, to San Francisco, each on Indian Power Plus motorcycles. In hopes of encouraging others to embrace change and new ideas during World War I, their mission was to convince the military that women were fit to serve as dispatch riders, a job seen as suited only for men.

Augusta was the elder sister, born in March 1884; Adeline was born in July 1889. The sisters inherited the “adventure gene” from their father, Frank, who raised their family in New York City along with their brother, Albert. Despite losing their mother at a young age, Frank offered an energetic and athletic upbringing characterized by swimming, skating, canoeing, wrestling, and sprinting. It’s no surprise the Van Buren sisters naturally took up motorcycling during their early adult years. It was this free-spirited childhood that would shape two of the most inspiring women that motorcyclists have known to this day.

 When the sisters decided to make their motorcycle journey across the States, women were suffering from extreme limitations placed upon them by Victorian society. They didn’t have the right to vote, nor were they considered equals to men. Men of the early 20th century believed women were too occupied with domestic duties to consider political debate, and that women weren’t smart or strong enough to handle the responsibilities of voting. Another notorious argument declared that women should be denied a say at the polls due to their lack of participation in military efforts and because they weren’t risking their lives for their country.

Not only were Augusta and Adeline members of the suffrage movement—organizations of women across the nation fighting for women’s right to vote—but they were also involved in the National Preparedness Movement, a campaign started by former president Theodore Roosevelt that began prior to the United States’ entry into World War I. The movement was started to convince the U.S. of the need for American involvement in worldly affairs and that the country must prepare itself for war.

The sisters’ ride had a dual purpose. The National Preparedness Movement was an effort to get the United States ready for the inevitable. Augusta and Adeline believed women could directly help the cause by becoming dispatch riders—which had transitioned a year earlier from men on horseback to men on motorcycles—freeing up men to give combat support. This would eliminate one of the arguments for denying women the right to vote: that women were historically non-participants in war efforts. They would have to prove this point by showing that a woman could handle the difficulties of motorcycling over long distances and tough conditions. Being a dispatch rider was a dangerous job. Performing basic maintenance was unavoidable, navigating difficult trails was a given, and, most importantly, staying clear of opposing forces was a matter of life or death. Most would see such obstacles as defeat, but Augusta and Adeline saw them as opportunities to define their mission. Thus, their plan was conceived...





Words by Ethan Roberts with Aran Eversoman


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“Among creatures born into chaos, a majority will imagine an order, a minority will question the order, and the rest will be pronounced insane,”


author Robert Brault once wrote. I came into this world as the nephew of Gregg Godfrey, the man who brought Nitro Circus to life with Travis Pastrana and who has spent his entire life mastering the art of reckless fun. Safe to say, I was born into chaos, and by definition I was destined to be pronounced insane. By the time I could walk, I was also thrown onto (and off of) bicycles, motorcycles, scooters—anything dangerous with wheels. As I grew up, I gravitated toward downhill mountain biking, but motorcycling was in my blood.

For most of my life, I’ve dreamt of a way to connect the two worlds. It would become my mission—an obsession to find space where none exists, to create an experience that melds the feeling of motorcycling with the deep natural connection of mountain biking.

Determined to combine these factions, we conceptualized a rack-mounted MTB on the back of a motorcycle. The convenience of instant overland shuttle capabilities gave way to the realization that we could get deeper into the forests than ever possible in the search for the sacred, untouched backcountry lines that existed in our minds. Our first obstacle was to find the right motorcycle—the perfect mix between dirt and street with go-anywhere capability. While vetting virtually every model in current production, we discovered our timing was serendipitous: Husqvarna had just released the all-new 701 Enduro, and at first glance, we knew we had finally found the ultimate machine for the job.

We scoured the web for bike-rack designs, off-road mounts, and anything we might be able to modify or pull inspiration from to make our own moto mount. After hours of combing for ideas, it became clear that the only real way to find out if it would actually work or not was to just go for it and make something. We were flying blind on this one.

My first call was to Uncle John. (I know—really getting lucky here in the uncle department.) John is an engineer, specializing in automated conveyor systems, but he has watched us ride from the beginning and understood our idea perfectly. What would likely take me two full weeks to create, he helped us design and build in two days: a fully functional aluminum frame with space to strap all our camping gear and bags. Prototype in hand, Husky 701s in the garage, this concept turned into a mind-blowing reality...





Words by Brett Smith



The origin of the tired phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” is convoluted—and actually pre-dates photography—but it might be the first thing that comes to mind when seeing what is, arguably, the most famous motorcycle photo ever taken.


You know the one: In black and white, a faceless white male is stretched out prone on a dark, exotic-looking motorcycle with minimalist form-fitting bathing trunks as his only article of clothing. The absence of visible spokes in the wheels suggests he’s traveling at speed, and a straight black line under the tires with stark white surroundings gives away the location as the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah. The distant Silver Island Mountains look as if they’re drawn in charcoal under the hazy, off-white sky. 

He’s not naked, but he’s also, relatively, wearing nothing. The brain bucket makes his ride legal and the size-12 plimsolls on his feet only make his sojourn from the mounting studs, where foot pegs used to be, to extended beyond the fender, just slightly more comfortable than if he’d been barefoot. The canvas coverings might also prevent the tops of his feet from being shredded by the tiny but jagged pieces of salt kicked up by the tire of the motorcycle. The sliver of white space between the gas tank and his face draws attention to the fact that he can’t actually see where he’s going and that the only indicator keeping him from drifting off course is the black line he must keep directly below. His rib cage points to the unique rear-suspension system and his gut follows the curvature of the rear fender. Not visible is the block of wood attached to the fender and squeezed between his bare thighs. His lower legs are extended beyond the end of the fender and his knees hover above the rear wheel, which is receiving a request from the transmission, via the 998cc twin engine, to spin faster. Faster! The goal: 150 miles per hour. For perspective, the wind speed of a Category 5 hurricane is 157 mph, a force that has touched the United States only three times since 1851. On the fuel tank, the Mobilgas Pegasus logo flies in the rider’s direction and the H.R.D. insignia indicates that the motorcycle is a Vincent, an innovative English marque.

What we can’t see is the reason, the motive that drove a 47-year-old Midwestern-bred man—a former racer, dealer, Army Air Forces major, gas-station manager—to shed his protective gear in hopes of extending a motorcycle land-speed record that he, technically, had already earned earlier that same morning. “This is more than a motorcycle picture. It’s a picture of a man’s life,” said Jerry Hatfield, author of the 2007 book Flat Out! The Rollie Free Story, in his prologue. So it’s fallacious to consider that a photo—this photo—could be worth only a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand words. This photo is an existence, a being, and a representation of one man’s life ambition. You would never know Roland R. Free just by looking at this photo, yet, simultaneously, without this photo you would never know Roland “Rollie” Free...





Photos by Evan Klanfer | Words by Mark Blackwell



On a hot, dry, and sunny Southern California day, I first encountered Torsten Hallman at Saddleback Park. It was July 4, 1968, and after reading about European motocross and the top riders for months, I was finally there to see Hallman and my first motocross race in person. I am guessing that for the vast majority of the crowd that day, it was their first encounter with him too.


Motorcycling was exploding at that time in America, especially in Southern California, and a new form of motorcycle culture was taking hold. After years of stereotypes—including big, heavy motorcycles ridden by “outlaws” played by the likes of Marlon Brando—etched in our heads, Honda was introducing the notion that “The Nicest People” rode small, lightweight, easy-to-ride, safe motorcycles, and The Beach Boys (who also went to Hawthorne High School, albeit a few years before me) were singing about riding their “Little Hondas”: “First gear, it’s alright, second gear…”

For baby boomers, our imaginations were electrified; at the same time, the softened, more positive image of motorcycling made discussions with our parents about riding and even getting a motorcycle less out of bounds. Heck, after I bought my first used Honda 50 “step-through” with my paper-route earnings, my dad bought one too—and even bought one for my mom a few months later. The Japanese motorcycle (and car—think Datsun) manufacturers were invading the U.S. from the west and the Europeans were coming from the east. Both “assaults” seemed exotic and energizing. What a time to be an American teenager!

Back at Saddleback, the event I attended was called the Firecracker Grand Prix. It was on a Wednesday, between two international races Hallman participated in in Europe on the preceding and following weekends. Strange day for a race, midweek, but with the holiday and incredible weather, the turnout was excellent. As I arrived at Saddleback, I saw an oddly dressed man collecting the gate and parking fees by hand and stuffing it all into a money pouch attached to his belt. I later understood that this man was Edison Dye, the owner of Med International and the Western U.S. distributor for Husqvarna Motorcycles. A visionary, he was the promoter of the event together with Hallman, who had personally laid out the course and hammered the steel stakes into the ground that the snow fence lining the track was attached to. I later understood that these two men were responsible for bringing the sport of motocross to America.

On that day, I had just turned 15, and to actually see Torsten Hallman was spellbinding for me. He was like a man from Mars to a kid like me from SoCal, and I am sure I was not alone in the crowd. I watched his every move. The Swedish motorcycle he rode seemed magical to me. I had ridden my bicycle to the nearest Husqvarna dealer a few days prior and peered through the window at a Husqvarna Cross 250. The price tag on the bike was a little over $1,000; it might as well have been a million. “I’ll never have a thousand dollars,” I remember thinking.

As long as I live, I will never forget what I saw that day. With the sun baking on the back of my neck, the riders crested what would become the famous starting hill of Saddleback Park and disappeared into the backside of the track. What seemed like an eternity was probably only about a minute. Hallman came back into view, alone on his Husqvarna, and it looked like he was floating in slow motion. Many seconds later, the next group of riders appeared, led by one of the top Americans at the time, Preston Petty. Petty was riding his heart out and on the ragged edge of disaster; he looked like he would crash at any moment. While Petty looked like he was going very fast, Hallman was long gone, continuing his poetry in motion, floating over the hills of Saddleback effortlessly.

The idea that a motorcycle could be ridden so fast, but so smoothly and almost effortlessly, had a profound impact on me.


At that moment, in the dust that blew over us as the riders raced past, I decided I wanted to become a top motocross rider. Torsten Hallman would become my example.
During the fall of the next few years, Edison Dye brought Hallman back to the U.S., along with other top European riders whom Hallman personally contracted, to race a series of exhibitions, which would become the Inter-AM Series. I attended every event that I could get to and tried to emulate those riders when I got back home. I read every magazine I could get my hands on. Joel Robert, Roger DeCoster, they seemed mystical to me, but Hallman seemed extra special. He had an elegance and poise of professionalism in how he dressed, rode, and presented himself, in everything he did. This, too, I later realized, would become an inspirational model of behavior for me...





Photos by Ben Giese | Words by Andrew Campo

Supported by


Somewhere between the first light of day and a much-needed cup of coffee, I routinely find myself dreaming about getting on an airplane and going to a land I have yet to chance upon.


Infinite wanderlust keeps my mind aching for roads that dreams are made of, the unique isolation found in two-wheeled voyages, and the promise of a life well lived.
We’ve all been there, longing to see the world beyond our reach, perhaps even ready to set off for the remote and distant corners of the globe. While exploring options for our next adventure, the possibilities seemed limitless, our well abundant with ideas and our minds set on lands outside of U.S. borders.

But as the cold and dreary winter city miles of Denver slowly passed us by and the looming mountains we call our backyard showed signs of color, warmth, and life, the desire to travel abroad shifted toward the beckoning roads that wait outside our window.

Our sights were now set on aimlessly exploring Colorado’s multitude of geographic offerings, including the snowcapped Rocky Mountain range, winding river canyons, and boundless open plains. Climbing aboard a collection of beautiful Triumphs, we shifted into gear in search of a solitude that elevates the soul and gives rise to thoughts of the infinite and the ideal.

We set out to discover and to let our minds move freely in the presence of boundless expanse; we ended up with a drift of memories that belong to time spent in the land we call home. One thousand miles were racked up over three days, and as my bike came to a rest back home, I found it hard not to smile, knowing that there will always be a thousand more backyard miles waiting for our return.





Photos by Aaron Brimhall | Wordy by Tony Blazier



The road to motocross stardom is a perilous one.


It’s a journey that requires its participants to take chances that literally risk their lives every time they go out on the track. Unlike the stick-and-ball sports, there is no college scholarship to shoot for and no hope of a degree to fall back on. In motocross, it’s all or nothing, and when you choose that path, there is seldom any plan B.
Unfortunately, even for those select few who “make it,” there are still pitfalls to be avoided. Injuries, family squabbles, poor business decisions, and just plain youth can all turn a kid who looks like a surefire can’t-miss into a “What was his name again?” trivia question. At an age when most kids are hoping to make varsity on their high school football team, our athletes are being thrown to the wolves in front of 60,000 spectators. By the time a typical football or basketball star is graduating college and hoping to be drafted, 98 percent of our young athletes have already flamed out and are wondering how they’re going to make it in the world with no education, few prospects, and no skills besides twisting their right wrist. In motocross, the most difficult question is often not “How do I go faster?” but “What’s next?”
For former mini prodigy and Grand Prix motocross star Mike Healey, that “What’s next?” journey has been a complex and troubled one. Once one of the most promising young talents in motocross, Healey’s career saw him rise to the pinnacle of the sport, only to fall victim to drug addiction and despair. Bad decisions, run-ins with the law, and eventual incarceration turned out to be the footnotes to one of the most interesting motocross careers of the early ’90s. Now, over a decade after the racing part of his journey has ended, Healey is piecing his life back together and writing an Act II...





Photos by Aaron Brimhall | Words by Brett Smith



If you don’t already have a nickname, Ernesto Fonseca will give you one. In some cases, two are required.


Nicknames are more than handles; in his eyes, they’re an identity, a badge of honor doled out only to those who are a part of his crew. When Fonseca came to Florida from Costa Rica in 1992 to race in the Mini Winter Olympics, he remembers, he saw a blazing-fast redhead whose Fox boots were so tight at the calves that they were held together by duct tape. The rider’s butt patch said “Chubbs.” In later years the two became friends, and even though Ricky Carmichael became a lean and chiseled champion 10 years after their first meeting, to Fonseca he was still just Chubbs.

Nobody is spared a jocular moniker. Alex Ewing is Cheddar Bobby, often shortened to just Cheddar or Bobby. Next Level Management’s Tony Gardea became Spermie and Panzon (Spanish for potbelly); Andrew Short: Whitey; Nathan Ramsey: Jimmy Neutron; Erik Kehoe: Peter North; Lars Lindstrom: Sars. Travis Pastrana was Pastrami and Cheese, a name he didn’t even know he was given. Although the nicknames have nothing to do with the level of respect Fonseca has for you, mountain bike legend Brian Lopes may have the most desired: Chingon (a Mexican colloquialism for badass).

Entertaining has always been part of his personality. Fonseca is the type of instantly lovable person who makes one feel they’ve been best friends forever, even if they’ve only recently met. It’s for that reason people like Debbie and Robert Pastrana took him in for extended winter visits over 20 years ago to ride and race with their son, Travis; why Yamaha chose him to go to Japan to develop their new YZ250F and be one of the first to compete on it; why American Honda honored his two-year contract that ran through 2007 even though he suffered a career-ending injury in March 2006...





Photos by Aaron Brimhall | Words by Brett Smith



Carey Hart has a fear of being broke. Yes, one of the most recognizable motorcyclists in the world—who transcended freestyle motocross more than a decade ago, who still collects a paycheck for riding, who owns a chain of high-end tattoo shops, runs a clothing line, and co-owns a team that wins Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross races—is scared of going belly up.


It’s an esoteric thing for him to say, yet it’s the first comment given when asked where his energy comes from, why his brain spews an unlimited supply of ideas. The fear of an empty bank account is partially what motivates him to finish a 10,000-meter SkiErg workout by 5:30 a.m. and answer emails and messages before the sun rises. There are businesses and deals to keep an eye on—a lot of them. Hart isn’t delicate with his words; he’s pointed, honest, and quick-witted. Sitting on a metal workbench in his 4,000-square-foot garage filled with motorcycles, bicycles, tools, half-built hotrods, guns, skateboards, and a lofted fitness center (yes, a fitness center), Hart needs no prodding. He’s happy to explain how a tattooed scumbag from Las Vegas became way more successful in business than he ever did as a rider and how he’s now winning races in a sport that, two decades ago, didn’t want anything to do with him.

Hart’s actions, however, betray his fears; judging from his history, he seems unafraid to fail, and there’s one action that helped launch Hart’s name well beyond the motorcycle microcosm and proved that he would take big risks in life: the first backflip attempt, at the 2000 Gravity Games in Providence, Rhode Island. He didn’t know if he could do it, no other riders were making the effort to try, and many thought Hart was nuts for even thinking about it. While Hart estimates he spun 600 practice flips on a bicycle under the guidance of friend, roommate, and BMX professional TJ Lavin, nobody was able to truly teach him the physics of inverting a 220-pound Honda CR250 and bringing it back to the rubber. Beyond that, nobody at that point knew the geometry of a proper takeoff ramp. It was all one giant experiment. Hart’s father, Tom, took a loader and carved into the face of one of the freestyle landings, cutting a 12- to 13-foot wall that Hart remembers looking to be 2 degrees away from completely vertical. With a shovel, Hart spent two hours digging and shaping and throwing his hands in the air in animated visualization of what he was soon to attempt.

When Hart dropped in on what was supposed to be a 75-second-long freestyle run, the standing-room-only crowd already knew what was going on. In an unintentional marketing maneuver, he didn’t try to keep his backflip plan a secret.



he says today. But he certainly had the attention of 100 percent of the audience. Hart didn’t come to Providence to win a medal. He hit no other jumps, did no other tricks; it was backflip or bust. After two passes to feel out the makeshift takeoff, he clicked into second gear, repeatedly blipped the throttle on approach, then grabbed a handful through the transition. He shot 30 to 35 feet in the air from the flat bottom, spun slightly more than a complete rotation, brought both tires back to dirt, and crashed; technically, he failed, yet he simultaneously succeeded. Even today he admits everything he did on the jump was wrong, from the ramp angle to the amount of speed he carried into the approach, but he was the first person to prove it was possible. While he didn’t actually land a backflip, he landed himself and the sport into unprecedented media territories; everyone was talking about Carey Hart...