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Garage Finds | Mike LaRocco Factory Connection Honda Swag


INSTAGRAM | @_fivemoto

Presented by Backyard Design

Since all of my earthly possessions are slowly coming out of boxes after a cross-country move, I told swap I’d handle the next few installments of Garage Finds. I amassed a load of random motocross mementos during my eight years in California, most of which were kept in a storage unit until a few weeks ago, so there’s a lot to go through. Here are a few things that I grabbed from the top of the pile. – Anton

The Mike LaRocco that first comes to my mind is when he was on Factory Connection Honda CR250R in O’Neal Racing gear with Gaerne boots and Scott goggles. The Indiana racer was already well into his hall of fame career when I became a devout follower of the sport, and it was the bright red Honda with a big number 5 on the Cycra Stadium number plate that really caught my attention. In the early 2000s, the two-time champion was viewed more like a top-10 contender than he was a title threat, but his determination to be on the track and fighter-level fitness helped him achieve 250 Main Event wins into his 30s, an age that was well past the sport’s then-average. 

I must have gone to the Factory Connection Honda pit area a half-dozen times during my first visit to the Pit Party at a Supercross race. Not quite the size of the factory Honda set up and far less chaotic, the FC Honda truck still had a CR250R that I had looked at photos of for hours and team sponsor Journey’s and Doc Martens had small items that anyone could take. Since pins on the hat were very “in vogue” in the Midwest during that era and my motorcycle also had a number five on it, I swiped a handful to put on my various Honda caps, plus a koozie to wrap around my SoBe sport top bottles between motos.

Sometime later at a different STL SX, I waited in line to meet LaRocco and get an autographed poster. As you can see from the faded print, the poster stayed on my wall for years, even after Mike’s switch from a two-stroke to a four-stroke and from O’Neal to No Fear.

As a kid that grew up reading every interview, I always liked how Donn could get a stone-faced guy like LaRocco to crack and the photoshoots they did for the magazine showed there was a sense of humor under the “ready to kick your ass” attitude, something that few other than swap seemed able to portray at the time. When Mike was the manager for GEICO Honda and I worked through my early years at TWMX, I saw him put in just as much testing time on the team’s CRF250R as some of the riders, a role he used to convey an experienced rider’s feedback to the technicians for future development.

Earlier this week swap aired an interview with Iron Mike that discussed the long arc of his long career, his move into management, and what’s up to now. For more, press play on the video below and leave up a comment for stuff you’d like us to hunt for.

Backyard Design Graphic Kit 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 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.

Another week, another sick kit by the guys at Backyard Design. We know many of you want your bikes to look like the factory machines that fill the pit area, but with your own personal touch or sponsors. Why rep the companies that don’t support you? That’s where the Design Configurator at backyarddesignusa.com comes in, as the easy to use program allows you to take the base designs offered by the company and put your own spin on the scheme. This setup looks sweet with its use of three shades of green and is ready for some small refinements that’ll make it a representation of you. Head to backyarddesignusa.com and get creative with the templates offered for nearly every OEM.

Michael Antonovich

Michael Antonovich has a wealth of experience with over 10 years of moto-journalism under his belt. A lifelong racing enthusiast and rider, Anton is the Editor of Swapmoto Live and lives to be at the race track.

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