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Akira Narita’s Championship Celebration Jersey | Garage Finds


Presented by Backyard Design

Next weekend the 2020 All Japan National Championship kicks off in Sugo, Japan, and Akira Narita will begin his quest to win a 13th premier-class championship aboard his Honda Dream Racing N.R.T. CRF450R. Last year, Narita was well on his way to securing his 13th title in spite of suffering a broken collarbone early in the season, but a torn ACL suffered at the Motocross of Nations held him back enough for his Honda HRC teammate Kei Yamamoto to sneak by in the final standings. To be real, even at the age of 40, Narita has a very real shot at winning the 2020 title even though he will no longer be on a factory machine….he is that talented in comparison to the other Japanese racers.

I’ve been lucky enough to call Narita a good friend for nearly a decade now. From riding mountain bikes together when he’s in SoCal training, to helping him make sponsor contacts in America, to shadowing him around Japan while I am there to watch him race; it’s always been a blast hanging out. 

In 2016, I attended the All-Japan National Championship Series finale as a personal guest of Akira. “You must come to see me win,” he told me. “And also Cole Seely will be there.” And with that, he sent me plane tickets to Tokyo and I was off. Together, Narita and I had a great time showing Seely the sights and flavors of Japan and, as we expected, Seely won the finale and Narita wrapped up his 11th National Championship in the premier IA1 division. It was a grand time.

A few weeks after returning home to SoCal, I got an airmail package at my doorstep. Inside was this super-cool championship jersey that Alpinestars made Akira to send them to his sponsors. I was blown away that he thought to send me one, and it’s something that I will keep forever! Custom Alpinestars gear is always next-level…the designs are all sublimated, and this particular jersey has metallic gold highlights.

COVID-19 has delayed and abbreviated the 2020 All-Japan National Championship, but with more wins and titles than anyone in Japanese MX history, a healthy Narita – even at 40 – is the favorite to take this year’s title. Go get it, Akira-san!

Backyard Design Graphic Kit of the Week

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Backyard Design was founded in 2010 by two privateer Supercross racers: Jared Hicks from Alabama and Philipp Klakow from Germany. What started off as a project to fund their Supercross racing efforts has now grown into a worldwide graphics manufacturer, with dual headquarters in the United States and Germany. Backyard Design is known for being one of the first custom graphics makers to have a completely interactive website, where customers can design their own kits with a few clicks on a computer mouse.

We’ve relied exclusively on Backyard Design for all of our number and graphic needs over a year now and we are consistently blown away by their ability to design exactly what we had imagined, and deliver it to us in lightning-fast fashion. When we took delivery of our new 2021 Kawasaki KX450, we mentioned that we loved the kit we ran in 2020, but wished for a tad more green, like the kits AC and ET ran at last year’s Monster Energy Cup. Three days later, this kit showed up on our office doorstep, and we are stoked! What do you think?  If you’re in the market for a new graphic kit, you’d be a fool not to check out BackyardDesignUSA.com 

Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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1 Comment

  1. Chris Martinez August 24, 2020

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