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Robert Haslam and the AFMXA Second Annual FMX Nationals at Pala Raceway

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Freestyle Motocross rider Robert Haslam
Freestyle Motocross rider Robert Haslam
Saturday December 4, 2010 the AFMXA (American freestyle motocross association) held their second annual FMX Nationals at Pala Raceway. Both Pala and the AFMXA have been working for some time now to make the freestyle side of motocross both safer and more assessable to the everyday rider.
Robert Haslam and his 2007 Yamaha YZ250
Robert Haslam and his 2007 Yamaha YZ250
The Pala's facility includes multiple ramps, a foam pit and ample safety and medical staff. This is why in collaboration with the AFMXA they have been able to set up such an event. This is really the only event of its kind and it attracted riders and spectators from all over the US and even from overseas.

Freestyle Motocross involves jumping over 30 feet in the air with a competition motocross bike while hanging off the bike in different ways to impress. In the last 10 years the sport has grown to include flipping and flip combination with the bike. Since freestyle motocross is not a race judges are required to score riders based on style difficulty of tricks and overall flow. The riders went in set of twos and had 8 jumps per run allowing them to show case their best tricks before being judged.
Robert Haslam at FMX Nationals at Pala raceway
Robert Haslam at FMX Nationals at Pala raceway


After last years success, the AFMXA was able to expand its event to contain several different brackets of riders. It was formatted more like a motocross race with different qualifiers and main events for riders of different skill levels. There was Novice, intermediate and expert/professional. The separation of skill level made the event safer, more fair and enjoyable to watch. The Novice riders were able to jump a ramp with a gap distance of 55ft as opposed to the other classes that were jumping the standard 75 ft gap. Overall the event was very well organized and went off without any hitches. There was only one bad crash of the day when a rider did not complete the rotation of a flip and went face first into the dirt. Because time had been taken to produce a safe landing ramp and medical staff were on site in a matter of seconds this rider actually ended up walking off the track.

While we were there we were able to catch up with one of K&N's sponsored riders Robert Haslam who rode in the expert/pro class. Robert, like many other riders, has been riding from a very young age, four years old to be exact. He got into doing FMX seriously about two years ago. Since then he has teamed up with the Metal Mulisha's Justin Homan and has being doing FMX demonstrations all over the North West. Robert rides a 2007 Yamaha YZ250 and uses a K&N air filter YA-2506XD. Robert has used the K&N filter since he started riding FMX and enjoys its different look and the stronger top-end it gives the bike for launching off ramps.

Robert is different than most riders because instead of relying on the flip to impress crowds and judges he has taking “right-side up” tricks to a whole new level. One trick Robert mentioned he liked is called the "highlighter." With this trick a rider sticks his legs through the bars and lays down while his head pivots back towards the bars making him look like he is doing a reverse handstand in the air. Robert does this trick with relative ease and then manages to throw in a little extra flair by tweaking his legs in a hyper-extension like manner. Even though everyone in Robert's class was not only flipping but doing flip combinations he was still able to beat some of them. These results although not ideal were promising for Robert in the sense that the flip is the only thing holding him back from top results in the pro-class. While Robert plans on flipping in the future he also has his mind set on doing some other mind blowing right-side up tricks. All and all he is very optimistic about his future this year and future competitions by the AFMXA.

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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.