AUS-X Open | RV2 Testing for Australia

AUS-X Open | RV2 Testing for Australia

ARAN.IO provided aerial support for this Australian group and their lead-up content to the 2016 AUS-X Open with 4 time Supercross champion Ryan Villopoto at the Kawasaki Test track in Corona, California.

4 x World Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto preparing for his international return to racing, this November 12 & 13 at Qudos Bank Arena Sydney. The AUS-X Open will be the only supercross race Villopoto competes in, in 2016 and the first since his shock retirement last year.

I Am A Freewheeler | Vonzipper

I Am A Freewheeler | Vonzipper

The VZ Freehweelers MX club is an outlaw dirt riding outfit where membership has to be earned before you can run the colors. These demons of dirt ain’t no weekend warriors. They’re nomads leaving roost and a mark wherever they go…


Directed and Produced by Aran Eversman, with footage courtesy Mike LeGrand / The Viewing

Rookie White | Rite of Passage

Rookie White | Rite of Passage

On the cusp of his professional career, Rookie White doubles down with his trainer Shaun Miller in this no-holds-barred Arenacross prep edit from Milestone MX in Corona, California.

Soundtrack featuring Jazz Cartier: “Dead or Alive”

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Wil Hahn Talks Injury, Comeback

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Wil Hahn Talks Injury, Comeback

Recently, I caught up with Wil Hahn after a nasty crash in midweek testing left him on the bench for the rest of the outdoors. Check out the full story here:

Wil Hahn | “It’s what I want, it’s what the team wants..”


Week after week in the 2015 outdoor season, Wil Hahn showed up.  He’s been putting in the work to deliver for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team and just as the results started to show, a crash in testing left him sidelined for the season. We caught up with the venerable hard-charger while taking some time to rehab in Louisiana. We’d like to envision him doing this interview in a lawn chair and a straw hat…mint julep in hand (although we didn’t ask).

Without further ado… Here’s Wil Hahn…

Hey Wil, bummer to hear about the setback. What’s the latest?
Right now I’m down in Louisiana, I’ve been getting myself gathered and back together, I had a crash a couple of weeks ago out testing. I went down and ended up hitting my head pretty good, breaking a couple of ribs and collapsing a lung. What the doctors tell me is take some time for myself to heal up, give my head rest and that’s what I’m trying to do.  I can push certain things, but the head isn’t one of them.

You were starting to hit your stride outdoors, how hard is it to be sit out rest of the season?
It’s frustrating, like you said I was building and everything was getting better and better every weekend. At Red Bud I qualified 6th, my speed was getting better, I didn’t put together the motos by any means but I was taking that next step forward and starting to feel like myself. The team has been great getting me comfortable and helping me adapting to this bike.  They’ve done such a good job making that transition as easy as possible, I’m really thankful to be in that environment.  I’m hard on myself when I’m not delivering what they deserve; they are putting the time in and to not get good results, it’s hard not to deliver.

At least you are setup with some time for proper Supercross prep. At the stage, what’s the gameplan and the goal moving forward?
I think right now the main focus is to get healthy and get comfortable on the 2016. By the time I get going for Supercross we’ll be on that, they’ve made a lot of changes on the 16 Kawasaki so I’m excited to ride it. They made it quite a bit lighter, made a bunch of engine changes and chassis changes, I’m looking forward to seeing how it stands against the old model which was really good too. I’m lucky to have a lot of good people guiding me over there, it’s nice to see how they operate as a team and has they handle things. There’s never a point in your career, whether your Ryan Dungey or whoever, where you aren’t learning. You’re always learning something and for me, it’s nice to go into a new team and be a sponge.

My goal is to keep building like we were in outdoors. In 2014 I was getting better every weekend, got a Top 5 and was starting to qualify Top 3 every weekend. In the big picture that’s the goal and that’s where I belong. It’s what I want, it’s what the team wants, and we’ll be using the off season to make sure we’re ready.

Despite setbacks and injuries, you keep a positive outlook and always seem to come back hungrier than you left off.  What keeps you motivated to keep pushing through the ups and downs of racing?
I’ve always had a drive for it.  It’s the way I was raised; seeing what my parents sacrificed to see me achieve this dream of being a professional motocross racer. That’s all-motivating in itself…what they did to get me here, it’s easy to get up and go to work.

With Loretta Lynn’s just wrapping up, what advice would you have to the next generation of groms coming up?
I was just at Loretta’s a few days ago. My only regret maybe from my amateur career looking back is I didn’t enjoy some of the last couple years with my family. There was a lot of pressure on me getting a ride and securing that part…it’s necessary and looking back, it all worked out fine. But that’s also your spring break and you only get to go to Loretta’s one time every year, so you have to enjoy those moments when the whole family is together. Once you move onto a team it gets pretty serious from there on out…you go to work. Nothing wrong with it but that’s the reality of it.

I saw a lot of really fast kids last week. I haven’t been around an amateur race in a while so there were a lot of unfamiliar faces, but I saw guys like Austin Forker, Tristan Charboneau, those guys were riding really well…across the board these guys are so young and going so fast. Even watching the 50 class, Deegan’s kid’s doubling through all the 10 Commandments where I struggled to do that on a 60! It’s funny seeing the evolution of everything.

How did it feel going back after nearly a decade?
At the point that I’m at in my career and my age I guess, you have a different appreciation for it going back. Looking at the track, the facility and the track was really good. New sections, good passing and good racing, it’s crazy how focused these kids are at such a young age now. It was starting to get that way on my way out of amateurs, but you see all these kids on 80’s on on their road bike or whatever…when I was on an 80 was probably eating funnel cakes and just being a kid! It’s cool to see the evolution but at the same time, you still want to see a kid being a kid.

To someone who might not understand, what does it take to be a racer at your caliber and compete at the highest level? Can you do it on good luck and natural ability?
It’s a lot of sacrifice and dedication, that’s the bottom line. To be any professional athlete, whether it’s football or basketball or motocross or whatever your discipline is, you’re still going to be sacrificing some things. You aren’t going to be going out on Friday nights with your friends or whatever, there’s just little bits here and there that are different. Growing up in that environment though, it’s really not a big deal; it just comes with the territory, it’s part of the deal and you just know that. But, it’s just a lot of focus. Tom Brady, whoever you are, there’s going to be an amount of focus you have to put onto your game if you want to show the kind of results and achieve the goals that you’ve set out for. It’s that simple,

What’s on the calendar that you’re looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to riding in general right now – as long as I’m on my dirtbike at this point, I couldn’t be complaining!

Fear and Loathing at the Swanpound

Fear and Loathing at the Swanpound

Fear and Loathing at the Swanpound

Inspired by Raoul Duke
Check out the full story here:

A fictional account of the legendary Swanpound Beer Nationals by Aran Eversman, inspired by the “Gonzo” style of the late, great Hunter S. Thompson. Copy edit by Brandon Tietz

 I scanned the latest headlines for anything worth reading. Team changes, amateur races, product reviews. “Radically redesigned”, it seems, didn’t catch my attention like it used to.

There’s a place just a few hours drive down the I-5 drug corridor in a forgotten corner of Santa Cruz, where the moon casts a blue-ish hue and depraved motorcycle riders assemble to rear their ugly heads and answer the call of All Hallows Eve. For once a year, the bell of the Swanpound tolls and those who answer the call find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Bearing down on 100 in my old pickup, the wind howls a shrieked whine as the centerlines blur past below. 60, 40, 20 miles to the off-ramp for Half Moon Bay.

What happened next is socked into my memory like the fog that settles in over the Monterey.

Photo Credit @tedescophoto

The old iron gates contained the madness. Terrifying vibrations coming out of the place. Screams and shouts melted through the trees while the music kept the madness disguised, the soundtrack of the haunted mansion. As I walked the path towards the sound, the crazed, yellow eyes of the mountain creedlers blinked back at me in the glow of the night. Who or what were these awful beasts? I wondered. I had come too far to stop now and the drugs were just beginning to take hold.

Around the corner and out of the darkness was a writing pit…helimonsters? No, no it was far worse. “Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?” one of them breathed at me, hisDonnie Darko rabbit costume too realistic for comfort. “Swan, I’m looking for Swan goddamnit” I answered back but it was too late, this party was too far gone and the only way to fight this beast was to join the tide and lose any sense of remembrance why I came here.

I was a journalist by day but this was an assignment better off forgotten. No mainstream media would pick up a story about the last remaining vestige of the 1960’s motorcycle craze. This is no Hell’s Angels biography man, no…this is something else completely.

They call him Swan. A Hesher in the flesh who seems more set on breaking the rules than following them. While the underlying cult of racer culture strips motorcycling away of its defining freedom, he took the red pill, upsetting the balance of the do-gooders and throwing a good times bash worthy of the original On Any Sunday. He’s the namesake of the place but in this sea of costumed-marauders he’s nowhere to be found.

The clouds hung heavy on this bone-chilling night, menacing; threatening to unleash the fury of the gods upon the Swanpound. But the energy here seemed to hold it off, high-powered spotlights illuminating a section of course where all the action seemed to be going down. A sacrificial ritual? Perhaps, the roar of small-bore motorcycles could have been chainsaws but instead carried Batman…Super Mario…Maverick and a giant squirrel past in a blur. This was definitely happening, a pit bike death race of Satan and all of his minions was unfolding before my very eyes. The rules were simple: No fighting. No weapons. No pumpkins. A head-to-head contest through the pig slop of a blown-out venue was to be carried out in full costume.

In some circles, the Swanpound Beer National is bigger than Anaheim 1 and the Super Bowl combined. In an effort to raise capital, the Baja 1000 scheme was devised to assemble friend and foe, racer and creedler on the night when the smell of medicinal herbs and the belching fumes of mistreated machinery draws the red out of your eyes.

“Death Juice”. Is it some kind of exotic drug designed to invoke the Ibogaine effect? Pure adrenaline maybe, a limitless pill for racers trying to find the edge, and come back from it. On the prerequisite list to enter the race, it seems a glass of the stuff was the only cost to enter. After the dust settled and the sun fought through the final throes of night, it was the weight that cast the balance to the edge of control.

The course was a high-speed run with more turns than jumps, but tonight, it didn’t matter. Even the man-sized rabbit with tiny slits for eyeholes could navigate it on a good night, but this was no ordinary Halloween. Rain, wind, and cold had set in on the course. The kind of slop that cakes your knobbiest and turns your shoes into skis, there is no fighting this kind of terrain. Like the glass of Death Juice I consumed to enter, it was time to let it ride and hang it out. The controls of the once-identical XR70’s were bent and mangled by its passengers before me. Bits of blood, sweat, drink, and vomit speckled it’s front half. Would this machine take me straight to hell and pass the course entirely? On the edge of the track lies a cliff more infinite in size than measurable. They gave the signal to go, the machines roaring to life and sliding down the first straight. Jeering, cackling jackasses leaned in close over bales leaving no way off of this death match while their costumes turned into grotesque projections of the beings they were trying to assimilate. Smashed from the inside and pushed wide rounding corner 2, I was less than a knobby’s width from the edge of No Man’s Cliff. Staring straight down into the belly of the beast, I jerked left to try to save the thing, and myself from the infinite tumble into Dante’s Inferno. Cellphones blinked back at me while the wind whipped my bleary eyes fighting for control. Past Spicoli into a position I didn’t know, I picked them of one by one as I clawed, slid and smashed my way to the front. It’s the last thing I remember before the darkness set in, somewhere between concussed and unconscious the details are sparse from there on out. It was a massacre.

Thrashed. Violated. Raped. The smoldering wreckage of the grounds held the only memories of last night’s contest. Somewhere, a makeshift trophy denoted the winner but it didn’t matter. Well into the night and through dawn I stumbled from circle to circle. Cackles, vultures laughing, drinking, smoking, steaming from the cold, cold night their words melted past me at a pace I couldn’t keep up. Their faces contorted from human to lizard and back again. Night crept into all corners of my vision, hard to keep my senses alert as the darkness encroached. All the while, I realized, the plan was unfolding exactly as the puppeteer had planned.

Bodies and tents littered the yard sometime after dawn as I rounded the corner for the back porch. And that’s where I found him : Swan, the architect of this mountainside madness rolling a RAW paper and surveying the scene. He didn’t speak, but his upright posture resembled that of the bird by which he’s named. Shaking his head as he noticed me, I wasn’t sure what would happen next.

“You see this?” He asked me, pointing to the carnage and wreckage that surrounded us on all sides. “This is what I call a good fuckin’ time, man!” Laughing at his joke and sparking a light, I knew he was right. Not a person left standing or otherwise would argue that fact. This place is a monument to the misbehavior that made motocross the rebel’s anthem. A pit bike race? Nah. Halloween bash? Not quite. The Swanpound Beer Nationals is more than that. One of the last holdouts of what motocross was supposed to be, it’s a fight club for motorcycle racers to explore the inner beast away from prying eyes of journalist swine like me. On every 365th day of the year, those who answer the call find themselves wondering just what happened the night before. Battered, bruised and on the backside of a night best not remembering, it’s the Swanpound that keeps their racer spirit alive until the moon and the Santa Cruz night howl its werewolf call once more.