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JLaw Rossi Ride Day T-Shirt | Garage Finds


Presented by Backyard Design

In October 2009, my big brother Ross was paralyzed from the waist down in a crash at what was then known as Starwest MX Park in Perris, California. I can remember the day clearly. Ross and I had been riding together quite a bit at the time, and on that particular morning, he texted me and asked if I wanted to meet him at Starwest. I was on my way that morning, however, to the airport to fly to Las Vegas for a quick meeting at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Our inaugural TransWorld Motocross Awards Show was set to go down a few weeks later at The Joint inside the casino, and I was flying there to do a venue check. Just as I arrived and shook hands with the Hard Rock Casino’s events coordinator, my cell phone rang. It was Ross. I immediately knew that something was wrong, as it wasn’t like Ross to call once he knew I wasn’t coming. When I answered, a woman asked if this was Donn. She explained that she was a paramedic and that Ross had crashed. “Can he feel his legs?” were the first words out of my mouth. 

Within minutes, I had approved the venue, called my travel agent and arranged an earlier flight home, and was in a taxi headed to the airport. To say that I was devastated when I finally made into the hospital to see Ross would be an understatement. Ross had taught me virtually everything I knew about motocross, and he was always my favorite person to go riding with. 

Unlike some riders who get hurt on dirtbikes, Ross had insurance, but the costs associated with his hospitalization, physical therapy, and adaptive equipment were mind-boggling. Once Ross was released from the hospital, I began to arrange a fundraiser to help offset some of those expenses.

And the support from the motocross industry was unbelievable.  

Donations of products and memorabilia to be auctioned off flowed through the door and my entire photo studio at Bill’s Pipes was jam-packed with boxes. Friends volunteered to help with the event, freestyle riders volunteered to put on a jump show, racers came to sig autographs and donate riding gear…there were many times over the course of the planning that I broke down in tears, overwhelmed by the support and love everyone had for my brother. 

The ride day itself was massive. Perris Raceway was bursting at the seams, and the track looked like the 91 freeway at rush hour. Around a thousand people turned out to support, and I will never forget Ross’s face as he pulled into the venue. “I don’t even know this many people!” he said, with an astonished look on his face. 

One of the most surprising things that were contributed to the ride day was a giant box of event t-shirts, with the flyer design printed on the back. If you look closely at the design, you’ll see that Jason Lawrence had added his JLaw logo. That’s right: the Bad Boy of Motocross himself, Jason Lawrence, had shirts printed up and delivered…his surprise contribution to the Rossi Ride Day. Of course, they sold out in short order, and I remembered to buy one before they were all gone. I’ve worn it hundreds of times over the past decade and continue to do so, even though the shirt is faded and the graphics are beginning to crack.

Jason Lawrence is remembered for a lot of things – both good and bad – but this is what I remember him most for: his compassion and caring for my brother, who he told me was, “the sickest suspension guy in the game.”

Thanks, Jason. I hope you’re doing great, wherever you are.

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Backyard Design Graphic Kit of the Week

Custom Graphic Kits Starting At $179.99

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. As you can see, the world-famous Scrub Daddy has jumped on the BYD freight train now, too! 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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