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It is every dirt bike riders dream to travel the world with their bikes in tow, riding natural terrain. Visiting the sunny southern California hills, Brazilian FMX riders Fred Kyrillos and Jeff Campacci have spent the past month living this dream while staying with FMX rider Destin Cantrell in Menifee, Calif. Getting there is half the journey they always say, and when traveling internationally with FMX bike parts, riding gear, and other necessities, it can be quite challenging. First there is getting through customs, and then there are the rental car agents waiting to charge an arm and a leg. But in the end, it's all worth it to be living a dream.
Fred and Jeff decided to leave the hot and muggy conditions of summertime in Sao Paulo, Brazil to come freeride the rolling hills in pristine cool winter conditions as well as participate in the Pro AM class at the R.A.D. Amateur FMX contest at Pala Raceway in mid-December. Jeff explained "For me, it's more fun than it is competitive -- I only had two days on the new bike and suspension to get comfortable." Fred added "For me, the contest was more of a great experience than competing against the other riders." It's not every day that they get to hang out with riders they have never heard of from across the U.S. and to watch the Pro Demo with riders like Todd Potter, Blake "Bilko" Williams, Destin Cantrell, Ronnie Faisst, and others throwing down.
After spending nearly a month in So Cal they quickly learned the cool sunny weather makes for ideal riding conditions for freeriding legendary spots, like Beaumont, Reche Canyon, Ocotillo Wells as well as newly redesigned Lucas Oils MX Park and Destin Cantrell's private compound. With Cantrell as their guide, the Brazilians truly got to experience the epic free ride locations So Cal has to offer. Fred had visited California a few times before but this was Jeff's first time.
"In Brazil, we don't have hills like you have here. It's so awesome to be able to ride such good hills like that," said Jeff. When asked about riding hills compared to ramps, Fred responded, "Riding in the hills is so much more fun than riding ramps all day. You learn a lot of new things riding natural terrain. You can't measure out how far the jump is and you have to just see it in your head and use the natural riding skills you have. You gain so much from doing that. That's one thing we are going to do back home -- lots of free riding."
Another advantage of staying and riding in southern California, is that a very large majority of the SX/MX industry is based in the sunny location. With years and years of knowledge and experience, the two Brazilian riders capitalized on their opportunity while here. Destin took the guys down to Race Tech suspension and got them dialed in. They hooked them up with rider support and tuned in their suspension. According to Fred, "It's the best stuff I have ever rode." They can now take their suspension home and start shredding their compounds with new confidence and determination.
The sport of Freestyle Motocross is all about progression. Stepping up the game and going bigger and better. Jeff experienced this first hand while riding with American riders. He said that he forgot his flip levers at home and when riding down in So Cal, the American riders pushed him to not use them for his basic tricks and in turn, this pushed him to become a better rider. With progression comes the possibility of injury, and Jeff found this out the hard way while riding in Ocotillo Wells during New Years. He went for a jump and had to bail off the bike and through the bars. The resulting crash left him battered, bruised, and though he said there were no broken bones, Jeff was hobbling and limping around almost five days after the crash.
An experience of a lifetime, both Fred Kyrillos and Jeff Campacci are headed towards a 15-hour trip home with smiles and memories to last forever. They are going to take everything they've learned in the hills of Southern California and apply it to their riding back home and bringing back knowledge and experience that will help shape and form the sport in Brazil.