Thankfully the drumming riders go through the SBC Park track without a hitch, and finish third as a team in the celebrity-rider pack. However, far more important is the fact that “Smelly” Sandin takes the first place drummer trophy. Okay, so there’s no first place drummer trophy, but at least he’s got bragging rights over Burns and Koff on this day.
Gnarly! Following the celebrity Crossover Challenge, the drummers join me in the press box (behind where home plate would be for San Francisco Giants games), and after wiping the sweat from their faces, and locking the huge folding Plexiglas windows into the ceiling for that open-air ambiance, proceed to scream like kids as they watch world-famous riders like Ricky Carmichael do what they do best.
“Whoa!” Burns howls as a rider makes a particularly daring move to bolt into the lead, “Did you see that? That was so gnarly – that was sick!” To my left, Sandin speaks of Carmichael like most of you speak of Travis Barker or Mike Portnoy. “Watch how low he goes on that jump,” he didactically points out. “He levels his bike in the air so it doesn’t go as high.” A trailing rider follows over the same jump in a more traditional fashion, getting much more air under him, and more importantly losing valuable seconds in the process. In this particular qualifying race, Carmichael suffers a less-than-perfect start, and early on trails towards the middle of the pack. Then, in pure Michael Jordan fashion, flips some ineffable switch and proceeds to decimate the rest of the field, passing competitors left and right with surgical precision, with Burns, Sandin, and Koff shaking their heads in admiration. Carmichael would eventually win the Supercross championship for the 250cc class in the final race of the evening.
After filing out of SBC Park with the other 40,000 spectators, Burns and I find ourselves back at the Moto XXX truck, talking drums, talking motorcycles. With ears still ringing from the races, I find myself feeling the same adrenaline rush that I felt after encountering Burns at a particularly ripping Strung Out gig at The Edge in Palo Alto a couple years prior [Live Action Report, November/December 2003]. Turns out, he gets the same adrenaline rush from both activities as well.
“Motocross has always been my passion,” he concludes. “If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be sitting right here. We wouldn’t have the Moto XXX team. I wouldn’t be riding in the Crossover race every year they’ve had it. There’s definitely a huge drive to be riding dirt bikes. It’s the same with drums. It’s performing and creating music, it’s very special, and Strung Out is fortunate to be able to do it and have so many people that enjoy it. I don’t know, both things create an amazing vibe. I think I’m lucky to be involved with both.”
Name: Jordan Burns (#178)
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Band: Strung Out
Motocross Influences: Ricky Carmichael, Kyle Lewis
The Ride: Honda CR125
Years Riding: 16
Name: Erik Sandin (#111)
Birthplace: Glendale, CA
Motocross Influences: Damon Bradshaw
The Ride: Honda CR250
Years Riding: 16
Name: Rory Koff (#701)
Birthplace: Birmingham, PA
Band: No Use For A Name
Motocross Influences: Mike LaRocco, Travis Pastrana, Carey Hart
The Ride: Yamaha 426
Years Riding: 16