MEETING TEAM MOTO XXX

It has been 20 years since I sat down with Erik Sandin, Jordan Burns and Kurt Haller for a story on the Team Moto XXX’s owners that appeared in Motocross Journal’s December 1997 issue.  I don’t remember all the interviews I’ve done over the years, but I remember that one. Why? Erik, Jordan and Kurt were total originals; outsiders who approached professional motocross from a fresh and irreverent direction. They raised the money for the team from video sales and had a great attitude towards racing and their riders.

“I spoke to a top factory rider who said if he does not make the podium, he gets the cold shoulder when he gets back to the truck,” said Erik during the interview. “That’s wrong. We are trying our best to run the team, and if our riders go out there and try their best, I don’t care if they get 19th or 5th or whatever. How can I give them a hard time if they are trying? I don’t think a negative attitude toward a rider if he gets a bad position is going to make anything better.”

I thought about that interview recently because I picked up a book on Erik’s band. NOFX, The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories is a brutally honest account of the band’s history using intertwined stories from the band members. The book uses a photo I took of the team owners during our meeting so I guess Erik still remembers that interview too. Be forewarned, the book is raw and may offend (some stories will definitely make you nauseous), but the band members’ honesty is refreshing and even inspirational in this age of media controlled by public relation experts, focus groups and squeamish publishers.

Motocross and Supercross has gone the direction of NASCAR in the 20 years since the “Misfits, Rebels or Punks?” story appeared in Motocross Journal. The change brings more money to properly compensate the riders and their teams. Nothing wrong with that. Still, walking through the pits feels so homogenized these days, like driving along any main drag in America and seeing the same Staples, Home Depot and Target stores that you saw in the last town. Wouldn’t it be great for a team of misfits, rebels and punks to storm the tradition-bound world of motocross again and shake it out of its slumber?

My photo shoot of the guys (from left, Jordan, Erik and Kurt) was kinda boring until Erik told me to wait a second. He ran into another room and came back with a bunch of motocross trophies that he and Jordan had won (and a Moto XXX license plate). Everybody loosened up and I clicked the shot used in the article and later the NOFX book. Jordan still calls from time to time to talk moto and mountain bikes.

 

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