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March Rider of the Month Cash Dominguez

03/11/2013 by Jimmy Shoe

Cash Dominguez is a name you’ll want to remember. At just nine years old, this up-and-coming rider is hitting the racing scene with confidence and giving his competitors a run for their money.

“I ride because I like going fast and I love all the big jumps,” said Cash. “Every time I race, I’m thinking about winning. I want to be the best.”

Cash’s father, Anthony Dominguez, watched his young son ride his first demi-quad with guarded optimism. A racer in the 1980s, Anthony secretly hoped his children would follow in his footsteps. He didn’t have to wait long for his dream to materialize; at just five years old, Cash was given the opportunity to test coils for KTM and loved it. When he crashed for the first time and broke his femur, Anthony worried about his son’s injury and told Cash it was okay if he didn’t want to ride anymore. When Cash recovered, he wanted to ride more than ever, much to his father’s pleasant surprise. At age six, he started his racing career and now races stock and national KTM 65s on team Muscle Milk led by Craig Davis in Southern California.

“We’re on one incredible journey,” said Anthony with tears in his eyes. “I’m blown away by all of Cash’s opportunities to succeed, and we are grateful for every one of them. As a parent, there’s nothing better than watching your child achieve his dream.”

Racing is in the family, passed down through several generations. Cash’s grandpa was into riding Harleys; Anthony used to ride and test for Suzuki; Great Uncle Nick Brajevich raced pro for years; and Cash’s cousin, Nicky Pounds, is still racing pro today. Collectively, they’ve been a guiding force of experience and wisdom, continually building upon Cash’s natural talent and passion. Likewise, Cash has already passed down the motocross bug — and his first KTM 50 — to his five-year-old brother, Zach, who says he wants to be “just like Cash” someday. They all know late Uncle Nick is looking down with a smile as the boys carry on the legacy.

Currently, the family is taking a couple of months to relax, weight train and rebuild the bikes. Cash is in taekwondo and practices walking on his hands to improve his balance. He’s looking forward to hitting it hard soon, with eyes fixed on winning a gold cup. On top of being a talented rider, Cash is serious about schoolwork and being kind. Cash recently won the Baldy Mesa Respect Award from his elementary principal. His desire to care about those around him makes Cash a true athlete, win or lose.

“It’s about showing respect even if no one is watching,” said Cash of his award. Cash proved this sportsmanship attitude after one particular race when a rider crashed into him twice. Pushing his bike back to the pit, he said, “It’s okay. Sometimes that happens when you race.” Anthony regularly teaches his son about the risk in racing, taking the right precautions and not doing foolish things for the sake of winning.

“It’s scary to see your kid crash, but that’s why we make sure they have the proper gear and are trained and disciplined to ride responsibly,” says Anthony. “It’s nerve-wracking at times, but if they’re doing what they love and are good at it, then we have to let them follow their dream.”

When Cash qualified as a support rider for Pivot Works, Cylinder Works, Hot Cams, Hot Rods and Vertex Pistons, Anthony said it was like a dream come true. They would also like to thank the other sponsors that make it possible for Cash to keep racing toward his goal of becoming pro: FMF, Kalgard, Martin and Slater, Flu Design, Vortex and the Estate of Nick Brajevich.


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January Rider of the Month - Mitch Sheets

01/22/2013 by Jimmy Shoe

Thirty-one-year old Mitch Sheets has been racing since 2005, with increasingly impressive results. Mitch grabbed first in the 2012 Iowa Enduro Riders Association Open A Enduro Series, his best finish to date. A native Iowan, Mitch started riding at age 17 in the small town of Laurens in the northwest part of the state. “My first bike was an ’81 Honda XR250,” he says. “Not the greatest bike in the world, but I was hooked.”

Not long after he discovered his love of riding, Mitch moved to Panora, Ia., and upgraded to an ’05 Yamaha WR250F, the first bike he ever raced. He began testing the racing waters when he met others who rode and they encouraged him to give it a try. A fan of Enduro and hare scrambles, he started out in the C class, with good success.

Mitch didn’t get heavily into racing until 2009, when he entered A class events. “It took a little to get rolling, but last season was definitely my best,” Mitch says. His success was especially impressive since he was coming off a knee injury suffered at the Winterset, Ia., OMA Nationals in 2011. “I crashed and tore my ACL, but I had one of the best doctors in the state do the surgery, and now I’m fully recovered.”

Moving ahead, Mitch hopes to keep his leader position in Enduro while improving his performance in hare scrambles. “I love the adrenaline and the competition of racing,” he says. “I haven’t tried motocross because there’s just something about riding in the woods. I’m drawn to it.”

He often rides with groups, who share tips and advice to help each other improve. He does as much of his own mechanical work on his current 2009 KTM XCF 450 as possible, teaching himself or asking others questions along the way. “I got a Race Tech’s Motorcycle Suspension Bible for Christmas,” he says laughing. “There’s A LOT I can learn in that!”

Chances are good that Mitch will pass along that hard-earned knowledge to another rider, one who might have Mitch looking over his shoulder in the next few years. “My son, Gavin, is eight and he loves riding,” says Mitch. “He’s on a Honda CRF 50 right now, but is ready for a bigger bike. He’s really fast— not quite ready to race yet, but it won’t be long.”

Though she doesn’t ride, Mitch’s 11-year-old daughter, Autumn, also comes out to watch her dad race. A fan of the outdoors all around, when Mitch isn’t racing he likes to wake surf and snow ski. For the foreseeable future, Mitch plans to keep racing near home. “I’m an Iowa boy,” he says. “This is where I’ll be.”

Mitch would like to thank his sponsors for their support, including Pivot Works, Hot Cams, Hot Rods, Vertext Pistons, Cylinder Works, FMF, Twin Air, Factory Backing, AXO, Fasst Company, EVS, Sunstar, Engine ICE, SYP Optics, Seal Savers, Inc., Scar Racing, Duro Tire, ODI Grips, Slick Products, Acerbis, Leatt Brace, Coulters Panorama Marine and Flack Farms.


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Rider Spotlight - Tony and Noah Adams

11/08/2012 by Jimmy Shoe

It’s been said that racing gets in your blood, and if that’s the case, all evidence suggests that Tony Adams passed the gene to his youngest son, Noah. At just 12, Noah’s making a name for himself around tracks in the southern U.S., finishing first in points in the Fly Racing Southern Classic Championship Series this fall and first in the FMF Sponsors Cup over the summer. Tony’s grabbing honors, too, finishing second in points in the 50-plus class in the FMF and third in the Southern Classic.

While some fathers and sons are content with weekends hanging out on the couch in front of the TV, this duo from Monroe, Ga., is much more likely to be found on a track testing their skills and pushing their limits.

Tony, a farm kid with plenty of acres for riding with his buddies, started cutting trails through the woods at just age 10. One year later he began racing, though his young career was short lived when family finances became tight. In 1985, Tony dove back into the sport when he was stationed at a Florida naval base and discovered a motorcycle shop and track in town. “I thought, ‘Hey, I can afford to do this again,’” he says. “So, I spent the next two years racing every Sunday that the bike or my body wasn’t broken.”

Tony took another break from riding when he got married and starting having children. But, soon enough, he started playing around with another bike and with a group of neighbors, built a track behind their neighborhood subdivision. At the time, Noah was eight and riding a four-wheeler that was a gift from his grandmother. When his confidence grew, Noah hopped on a friend’s PW80 and took it for a quick spin. When he jumped off he announced, “Riding four-wheelers is fun, but riding dirt bikes is way more fun!” That’s when Noah got his first bike — a Honda CRF50 — and the father and son team started exploring races near their home.

Noah’s now riding an 85, and Tony’s got a 450R. The pair loves the time they spend with friends at the track almost as much as the racing. “There’s kind of a special camaraderie that all the families build as we watch each other’s kids grow up,” says Tony. “Noah’s at the age where he doesn’t necessarily like taking advice from his dad, but we’ve got friends who will offer him some training tips, and he listens to them pretty well.”

Noah, who’s favorite racer is Ryan Villopoto, says for him, racing is all about the fun. “I just like to go out and have fun with my friends. I’m working on my corners and trying to get better at those, but I’m just hoping to do the best I can.”

Thanks and Sponsors
Tony and Noah want to thank wife and mom, Kimberly, for all her help at the races, and, as Tony says, “putting up with our habit.” They also want to thank Pivot Works, Cylinder Works, Hot Rods, Hot Cams and Vertex Pistons for their support.

Others that deserve recognition include:
•Krispy Kreme Doughnuts of Athens and Commerce, Ga.
•Armada Security
•Capitol Cycle of Macon, Ga.
•Slick Offroad Wash
•Twin Air
•Factory Backing
•Tag Metals
•Leatt Brace
•Works Connection
•100 Percent
•Engine Ice

Photos accompanying this piece are courtesy of Brian Fields at FT Photography and Kimberly Adams.


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October Rider of the Month - Shawn Hess

10/12/2012 by Jimmy Shoe

Shawn Hess has had racing in his blood since he was a two-year-old riding PW50s during race intermissions. Since then, Shawn has raced Enduro, Cross Country and some MX. Even after 16 years of racing, the passion has not dimmed. Shawn, now 28, has raced in most of the 50 states and parts of Canada in the GNCC, OMA and the TORN series, and he isn’t about to slow down.

For inspiration, Shawn has looked up to some of the best in the industry such as Jeremy McGrath and Bill Ballance. As he was flying through the ranks of amateur racing, he would ask himself, “Am I good enough to get there?” He didn’t have to wait long to find out the answer. After winning six state championships in a row, Shawn jumped into the pro class during the GNCC in Gilmer, Texas, in 2004.

“It was a big confidence booster to know my ability,” said Shawn. “I grew up admiring the pros and I knew that getting a chance to race against them would be quite an accomplishment.”

After going pro in 2004, Shawn didn’t stop challenging himself in other areas. He started taking classes at Texas Christian University and pushed hard to succeed in classes during the week and on the track on the weekends. While driving from Texas in 2007, he finished in the Top 15 in the GNCC XC1 ATV Pro Class and won the ATVCCS Pro State Championship in both pro and utility classes. During the same year, Shawn was the runner up for the GNCC Sportsmanship Award, voted in by other riders, and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human relations and a minor in business.

Shawn is now putting that degree to work as the owner of a performance race shop. In his shop, Shawn and his team design and develop new products for the powersports industry. Shawn’s standpoint as a racer and a shop owner have given him the ability to be influential with input and advice to companies, including Pivot Works, Cylinder Works, Vertex Pistons, Hot Rods and Hot Cams. Shawn enjoys working on projects with the companies and relies on them every time he rides.

“I run everything they make,” said Shawn. “They build quality performance parts that you don’t have to question; you know they are going to get you to the finish line.”

Shawn still races in then ATV pro class, and he recently returned from Montreal in hopes to add to his podium finishes in his next challenge — UTVs. Shawn is the current UTV points leader in the TORN series. With two races left in the season, things are looking good for Shawn’s newest adventure.

Along with Hot Cams, Hot Rods, Pivot Works, Cylinder Works, Vertex Pistons, Shawn would like to thank his fiancé, Meghan, and his parents. He’d also like to thank Hess Motorsports, Elka, Houser, Hiper, Maxxis, Fasst, Powermadd, Maier, Quadtech, RPM, Blingstar, FMF, UNI, CV4, Tire Balls, Streamline, Hinson, Maxima, ProFilter, Decal Works, Answer and Tsubaki Chains.

“Without my family and sponsors, none of this would be possible,” said Rider of the Month Shawn Hess.

Photo Credit: Harlen Foley


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