Motorcycle Stunt Riders Gear up for 2010 XDL Championship Series

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Bill Dixon in the Rain at Indianapolis
Bill Dixon in the Rain at Indianapolis
This particular story comes with a warning - for-crying-out-loud don't even think of attempting any of these stunts at home. It's tough enough keeping a motorcycle rubber-side-down at all times without adding any additional shenanigans. These guys are highly trained professionals with mad skills. Having said that - man if this isn't one of the most entertaining things you'll ever witness. XDL riders appear to be operating within laws of physics unbeknownst to the rest of us.
Brian Bubash performs motorcycle burnout
Brian Bubash performs motorcycle burnout

The XDL Championship Series is the only national stunt riding championship anywhere and it's now in its fifth season. We asked the series founder, Randy Grube, what the XDL stood for?

"This is supposed to be classified. Or at least we've been acting that way, so people have actually stopped asking. In 2008 and 2009 that was the big question. As with so many things, the name XDL ended up getting used by accident. We did an event in 2005 that combined drifting with stunt bikes called the Xtreme Drifting League (XDL). The stunt riders we invited were so impressed with that event that they started talking about it on the forums," explains Grube.
Aprilia All Star Challenge 2008
Aprilia All Star Challenge 2008

Six months later, when it was time to start the series Grube wanted to call the series the United States Stunt Riding Championship (USSRC). He discovered though that there was already so much equity in the name XDL that he decided to stick with it.

"At that time it made little sense to me, but I went with my gut. Now I'm glad we did and best of all, drifting has become somewhat of a staple at the top level of the sport, so the name is kind of fitting after all."
Bill Dixon performs the Sickest Trick
Bill Dixon performs the Sickest Trick

This October Grube is previewing his new TV show called 'Inside XDL' on VERSUS. It's a half-hour show that runs for six weeks and ends the week before Thanksgiving. The show is about the growth of the series and the fight for the National Championship. Inside XDL is a reality drama that focuses heavily on the athletes and their perspective on things. It's specifically designed so that anyone into action sports will enjoy it.

And yes, XDL is definitely gearing to be a part of the X Games. "We've been talking to them since 2009 and hope to do something with them soon," adds Grube.

"Having K&N back is great" says Grube. "K&N is a global top-tier brand. So for us to have them on board is quite significant. As with many things in life, the K&N relationship developed a bit through coincidence. I had unsuccessfully tried to pitch K&N in the early years, but as XDL started growing, and we started getting a reputation for doing good work and moving the sport forward, we started getting on the radar screen of some of the more traditional companies. I started working with both Nick O'Kane and Johnny Jump, and we clicked right away. I forgot who of the two it was that sent me the first e-mail, but having K&N approach us made it a lot easier because they already knew of XDL and liked it."

We also had to asked how brutal the learning curve is for most of the stunts and if one particular bike is favored over another?

As with everything, there has been a lot of progress in the sport," says Grube. "Back in the day bikes didn't have crash cages so every missed trick meant days or weeks in the shop. It took a long time to perfect new tricks. Today everyone uses cages, custom controls, specialized sub-frames and seat cut outs. Some guys even have bikes that are built from the ground up for stunt competitions."

"The average pro-bike can take a lot of abuse now," adds Grube. "But, just like in any sport, to be at the top requires hours and hours of daily practice and dedication. The bike itself is more like a skateboard now; it gets tossed around a lot but just keeps going."

"As for what kind of bike we use, for the last few years the bike of choice has been the Kawasaki 636, but a lot of bikes are being ridden by the pros, including Aprilia, BMW, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and even the odd Harley."

The next competition takes place April 9 and 10, at Havasu 95 Speedway, in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. For more info visit

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