Jimmy Flipping Lewis
DAKAR RALLY | BAJA 1000 | DIRT RIDER EDITOR | TEQUELA CONNOISSEUR a real man’s man. Jimmy needs Little introduction, as he is widely known through out the Off-Road community as a living legend.
I grew up reading his articles in Dirt Rider Magazine and following his successes as an Off-Road racer. Jimmy is a work horse. The hours and hours spent beating away at his craft earned him some pretty incredible stats: 4 x ISDE Gold Medalist, Dubai Rally Overall Winner, etc. Mastering road books and piloting a 100 HP twin cylinder motorcycle through the sand dunes of Morocco are just a couple of the things that make him worthy of the title "Legendary".
Through the window of a Boeing aircraft I gazed at the pastures and row crop fields of the Midwest as they faded to the rough and tough landscape of the WEST, relishing in the thought of the adventure that lies ahead.
Twenty-Six years, 19 motorcycles, 13 states, and 6 broken bones have contributed to my passion for Off-Road adventure. Never would I have thought in a million years that I would be the guy chasing a Dakar Rally Podium finisher through the desert, but there I was. Over the next 4 days, I would be chasing the JL dust trail through the desert, accompanied by Spencer Hill editor at large, and Elias Rubel owner of KTM Twins. My job was simple, “Get the Shots”. I was there to ride, but I got the opportunity because of my ability to create engaging media content. So, with 35 pounds of camera equipment strapped to my back, I let the lens tell the story of my time in THE MOJAVE.
THE MOJAVE DESERT
Creosote bush and Joshua Trees dot the landscape of a dry and arid country side. A place where flat valleys meet mountainous walls of rock, and the dust filled air adds to the light show at dusk. This is the great WIDE-OPEN space known as the Mojave Desert. Recognized as Americas most ecologically significant desert landscape, the Mojave occupies swaths of land, 30 million acres to be precise. This majestic territory stretches from the Sierra Nevada range to the Colorado Plateau, with elevations ranging between 279 feet below sea level up to 11,918 feet atop Charleston Peak. A mecca for Off-Road life.
Half a dozen KTM Dirt bikes sit outside of a newly constructed building, and Jimmy is circling an obstacle course trailed by a student. That familiar scent of 2 stroke and new tires aromatized the building. Motorcycle parts and relics of the past set the tone for what would be and EPIC 4 days in the Mojave.
“Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo, Catch a Tiger by a Toe…” runs through my head as JL says “Pick a bike, and let’s go for a ride”
Lucky me! they’re all KTM’s, the machine of choice. I chose a 500 EXC, a big bore thumping machine, and desert perfecta. The sound of the desert floor crushing beneath the tires of my loaner bike was music to my ears, as we made our way through Joshua tree groves at dusk.
I consider myself to be a good rider, tackling just about any obstacle that lies in my path, and keeping a pace that is faster then most. However, riding with JL was a wake up call. He was quick to remind me that a good rider will keep their speed through an obstacle such as a WASHOUT or G-OUT, but a great rider would slow their speed, establish balance, then accelerate through the obstacle. Applying those simple rules increased my speed, yet decreased my exhaustion, thus prolonging a much more enjoyable time on the gas.
Every time we stopped was an opportunity for Jimmy to give us a lesson on Balance, Braking, or Throttle Control. Elias being the least experienced rider in our group, I was able to watch him develop skills over the 4 days period that made him not only into a better rider but a safer rider. It was through this experience that I recognized the value of the Jimmy Lewis Off-Road school.
With JL’s Off-Road Racing career behind him, his focus has turned to instructional riding techniques. He runs an Off-Road Riding School out of Pahrump, NV, where he teaches safe motorcycle riding skills to riders of all abilities on all types of bikes. Find them on Instagram @jimmy_lewis_offrod
When he is not teaching, you can find him pushing the limits of test bikes, off-road motorcycle related parts, and gear. As an owner of www.dirtbiketest.com JL puts his passion to work bringing the end user a non-biased report. Find them on Instagram: @dirtbiketest
NOTE TO JIMMY:
Room Temperature Beer: Check | Slow is Fast: Check | Good Times: Check | In all seriousness, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to enjoy the wide open spaces of Nevada while ripping around on one of your shop bikes. I will cherish the time spent in the Mojave, and I look forward to the day that I return.
C O W B O Y