Tallon Lafountaine is living it up right now, capitalizing on each and every opportunity life slings his way. Tallon has spent a great deal of time preparing for 2015 and is ready to run it in for the win. A regular shredder in the mountains as well, Lafountaine works his magic regularly at local Big Bear on boards and bikes alike. Focusing on getting as much gate time as possible right now, Tallon will soon be gearing up for a few of the remaining Arenacross events to secure his spot on the Supercross roster next season. Also an avid test rider, TL get's a first hand opportunity to try each manufacturer's bike and virtually any product to go along with it...so to say he knows how he likes his set up would be an understatement. With all of the pieces falling into place, Tallon's puzzle is beginning to look a lot like pure art.
Unfortunately the words motocross and injury are unavoidably synonymous. With the inherent risk we each face every time we get on the bike, it is not if it will happen, but when. Pain and injuries are something that Tyler Enticknap has grown familiar too, recently going under the knife for an ACL repair. Although currently on the mend, Enticknap is as determined as ever. Realizing what he has accomplished as well as the constantly growing list of things he wants to, the potential for greatness is as present in Tyler as anyone. With a third of his recovery time behind him, he's watching the hour glass fill and chomping at the bit to be able to saddle back up and continue his endeavors as a professional motocross and Supercross racer.
Jon Ames has been stomping the competition like dirt start gates for years and as 2015 heats up he has no plans of letting up now. Freshly recruited by both Monster Energy and Seven, Jon-Jon's ability to shred it in the dirt matched with his off track social skills has apparently turned the right heads. A long time Yamaha ripper, the Thousand Oaks backed number 17 rider is war ready due in part to his long days in the dirt with Bud Man Buddy Antunez. We caught up with Jon as he was busy handling moto business for today's Playground talk!
MP: Good luck, sounds like a pretty rad day! You've got to be pumped to be with a solid crew like the people at Monster?
Jon Ames: I am proud to say that I will be riding for Monster Army this up coming season. Every body over there has shown me a lot of love and I just can't wait for Daytona.
MP: What've you been up to lately? Take me through your off season.
Jon Ames: I didn't really have much of an off season. I love to mountain bike so I probably peddled three or four days a week. I'm just having some fun getting into shape.
MP: I know you've been crazy busy preparing for the upcoming race season. Where have you been training and who with to get yourself into shape for the year?
Jon Ames: I have been training with Buddy Antunez in California. We go from track to track working and working all day long.
MP: Let's talk about your relationship with Scott. You've been ripping it for them the past seasons and it seems like a great working relationship.
Jon Ames: Absolutely! I have a great relationship with the guys at Scott. We have been working together since 2012 and hope to keep working with them for as long as I can.
MP: What are your plans for 2015? This is a big year for you and you're a contender in a ton of classes.
Jon Ames: My plans for 2015 are simple. I want to win as much as I can and stay healthy along the way.
MP: Can you describe Jon Ames in one sentence?
Jon Ames: I can't just say one sentence. I don't want to be known for just one sentence. I could write a book about who I am and where I have come from!
MP: Let's talk Yamaha...they push you forward and support you one hundred percent. You've been racking up wins aboard Blue bikes for quite some time now. Tell me more about your relationship with Yamaha.
Jon Ames: I have a great relationship with Thousand Oaks Yamaha and they give me the support that I need to keep racing. If I didn't have them I don't know where I would be at!
MP: Who are all of the awesome people helping you make it all happen this year Jon?
Jon Ames: The amazing people helping me this year are JGR, Thousand Oaks Yamaha, Factory Effex, Seven, N-Fab, Renthal, FMF, Scott, Pirelli, 6D, Renthal, Atlas Brace, and Monster Army.
The stables over at Rock River Cycle Trader Yamaha are packed full! Riders of all ages and sizes are battling it out for the team and near the forefront is A class contender Cody McCulloch. In an effort to make his way back to one of the many premier training facilities and onto the podium, Cody has been working double ensuring his skills are on point and the bills are paid. In a world and corporate industry that seems to revolve around stress and finances, McCulloch is making the best of each and every day with no worries in sight...as long as he can ride his dirtbike, he'll be alright. When combined with his love of motocross, Cody's hard working, never give up attitude is going to be hard to stop in 2015.
MP: Cody what's up, Motoplayground on the line! how's everything going out your way?
Cody McCulloch: Its going good, I've been riding good and stress free. Really enjoying life, just doing my thing riding and training.
MP: I see on Instagram you're freshly back on the bike. Tell me more about the injury and where you're at now.
Cody McCulloch: Yeah I'm back after my injury last year where I ended up breaking my collarbone, cracking my pelvis, and a bruising my lung. I can't even remember the crash but everyone says it was gnarly haha. But I feel great to be back on the bike. There's nothing better for me then riding, it's the first thing I think about when I wake up.
Missouri's Benny Bloss put himself on the map sometime ago, however most recently his inspiring performances at Loretta Lynn's as well as his big podium at the Monster Energy Cup let it be known to the industry he means business. With plans to do even better this year, Benny is shooting for the stars...in a literal sense as well. Picking up a camera during his injured down time, Benny has been honing his skills with the lens and looks to explore more opportunities there as well. Bloss has got quite a big plate with a lot on it as 2015 kicks into gear and he wouldn't have it any other way. Look for Benny and his Blu Cru backed Yamaha's to be fighting for the top spot at a race near you.
The Florida phenom Jalek Swoll has been flossing at the practice tracks lately on all white everything and is looking faster than ever on his Husqvarna's. No stranger to the top spot, Jalek is aiming for gold once again as the gates have dropped on the 2015 race season. In a year that is looking to be one of the deepest talent pools amateur moto has experienced in a hot minute, Jalek is entering fan favorite once again ready to put the Dunlop rubber to his competitors. Seeing as how he's been spending time with Chuck Bell and the Bell brothers, Jalek should be right on par with his usual blazing fast self. We got the Mini man of the year on the line as he was traveling and finishing up some math homework for the scoop on the when, where, and how on Jalek Swoll!
Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki rider, Carson Mumford believes having as much gate time as possible is crucial with today’s competition. Carson has been racing every weekend that he can in California, Mumford usually rides at tracks like Glen Helen, Milestone or Perris to get him prepared for the 2015 season. However, The #122 ride of Mumford just recently suffered a lacerated spleen a couple weeks ago, putting him out of the racing scene for about two months. Carson says his plans are to recover and come back faster than ever. Carson attends a charter school where he only has to go to school for three days a week, giving him more time to focus on riding when he gets back to it.
Words / Photos: Mills
Michigan’s own, Jacob Grzebinski, has been putting in the hours and has the mindset to do work this season. Having the one and only MotoX Compound’s Matt Walker on his side, the Rock River Yamaha/Monster Army rider, has all the preparation and training to get many wins this motocross season. With loving family and a great racing team behind him, Grizz is feeling invincible.
It's so dope when we're all battling and swapping positions. When we come up to a big jump, we check up for it to let each other throw down. There's like 3 of us in the air at once just getting nasty, then as soon as we land we get back to battling! But back to Walker, I'm going tell you how it is. The guy is crazy, but I LOVE IT. Even when the track has gone to shit he still finds a way to challenge us and make the best out of it. I remember a time when the track was dry as a bone and he went out there and watered the piss out of it. We’re all sitting there like what the hell. He's gets out of the water truck smiling and says “let’s do it boys!” We line up on the gate with no sight lap, and he says “this is what first motos are like at the nationals, here we go!" The gate drops and it’s on. I love this place. There is no place in the world I would rather train at. Sorry everybody, but Walker is the man!
Words: Redferrin / Photos: Biro
Shane McElrath's path to becoming motocross elite has certainly been an interesting one. Entering as a relatively unknown amateur in 2012, McElrath put in the long hours and reaped the benefits at the big dance. Earning a win in the B class on a national level is a task on any day, much less against the likes of Cooper Webb and company in Hurricane Mills. In one of the fastest classes in quite some time, Shane claimed his steak in the division leaving Loretta Lynn's with a newfound confidence, a moto win, as well as a life changing offer of support direct from the Troy Lee Designs offices. Over the next seasons, the positive results continued to pour in as the sweat poured out. Fast forward to February 2015: Supercross has left the west coast after several weeks of top notch racing have just came to a close and Shane is fresh off of his best Supercross finish yet, second overall in San Diego. Fifth place in the points standings, Shane hits the break more determined than ever. With his eyes focused crisply on putting himself into the top three, Shane's got more motivation flowing in his veins than ever before.
Shane McElrath: It was definitely a huge relief, especially coming into the break because it would have been a much longer and less enjoyable break had I not left everything on the track. I am really happy with a second because it is a good starting place but I feel like I should have won that. I kind of got too excited once I got into second and made a few mistakes and decided to just settle in to finish out the night on the box.
From Walnut Hill, Illinois is the #131 bike of Jayce Pennington. No longer kicking up dust on his Yamaha…you may have to look twice when you see a flash of orange with a number 131 fly by you. Jayce just recently made the switch to KTM and plans to drive it straight to the top step of the podium. With a little downtime due to a broken wrist, Jayce says it won’t stop him from training off the track.