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Garage Finds | Jail Art


Presented by Backyard Design

During my tenure at the helm of TransWorld Motocross, I got lots of interesting mail from readers. And for some reason, a large quantity of that mail was from incarcerated subscribers. My guess is that writing letters was a good way to pass the time while sitting in a cel… One of my favorites started with the sentence, “I was incarcerated for selling the club drug ecstasy, and man do I miss my dirt bike.” Others offered suggestions, like, “when I get out, you should do a story on helping me rebuild the carburetor on my CR500R since I know it will be gummed up.” Many of them, however, complained that the jail guards would steal their pinup posters before delivering the mail to them. Haha!

This week’s Garage Find is from the best letter I ever received from jail. Well, not the letter, but the artwork that was included in it,. I don’t remember much about the specifics of the letter, other than the guy loved moto, and was passing the time in jail by developing his artistic abilities. “What I have drawn for you is a Nordic Viking with TransWorld breastplate,” is the line I remember best. The pencil drawing is quite good – much better than I could ever do – but I always wondered what a Nordic Viking had to do with motocross and why would he have a TWMX logo on his armor? Haha! The creepiest thing was that the artist had cut a picture of my face out of the magazine and taped it to the side of the drawing! Of course, I pinned it to my bulletin board at TransWorld and it stayed there for over 10 years. When I brought my office possessions home, I taped this bad boy to the door and get a kick out of it every time I re-enter the kitchen!

The best part about this story is that a few years after receiving the letter, I was on the line at a race at Perris Raceway. The starter gave the signal for us to fire up our engines, but as he went down the line pointing at each of us, he spotted me and signaled for us all to kill out engines. Then he walked up to me and said, “Are you swap? I sent you a drawing…” Before he could even finish his sentence, I blurted out, “NORDIC VIKING WITH TRANSWORLD BREASTPLATE!” He was surprised to hear that I remembered it and that I had it on my office wall. I don’t remember his name and haven’t seen him again since, but if he’s reading this, I want him to know that I still have it!

Backyard Designs Rider of the Week

Backyard Design was founded in 2010 by two privateer Supercross racers: Jared Hicks from Alabama and Philipp Klakow from Germany. What started 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.

Ryan Villopoto may be retired from professional racing, but he still spends a good amount of time on everything from his Yamaha YZ450F, to his WR450R, all the way down to his TT-R110 pit bike. Furthermore, the legend still has a sponsor list a mile long, as his influence is invaluable. When it came time to graphic his fleet of bikes, RV chose Backyard Design for the design, quality, and support. 

If RV2 chooses Backyard Design, so should you! We do…



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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