Shadetree Surgeon is an aspiring grassroots hare scramble racer with a new toy.
There are many videos showing polished, experienced racers doing their thing, going fast, kicking butt, and taking names. They're fun to watch, in part because few of us can ever aspire to reach their level of skill. Then there's this guy.
Shadetree Surgeon, a.k.a. Josh Laurenti, has been a YouTuber since 2014. He's posted entertaining videos of bike builds and modifications, rants and raves, and general shenanigans with his buddies at the Dirty Shame, his bar in Ybor City, Florida.
Last year, old Shadetree took on a new challenge: hare scramble racing using the 2016 KTM XCW 300 6 Days he bought to replace his stolen Husqvarna. He'd already done a bit of off-road riding but never in a race, so he decided to try it out and take his GoPro with him.
This is no polished factory effort. It's quite the opposite, in fact. This video begins with him installing a Clake 2 combination clutch and rear brake lever. Moving rear brake operation to his left hand should give him much better control, both of the brake itself and to be able to leave his right foot firmly planted on the peg. They highly recommend that you practice a bit to learn the new controls before any hard riding. Shadetree throws caution to the wind and rides his newly equipped KTM for the first time at a hare scramble event at Strickland Ranch, a race that seriously kicked his butt last year.
As if that wasn't difficult enough, Shadetree is coming off a Saturday night shift at the bar at 4:00 am. Strickland Ranch is three hours away, so he hops in his already loaded truck and drives straight to the race, arriving on time with absolutely no sleep. What could possibly go wrong?
Unsurprisingly, Shadetree struggles a bit with the new controls on the practice lap. Muscle memory is strong, making him reach for a rear brake that isn't there with his foot. But he gets the hang of it, and soon has no idea how he ever lived without it. Still, Shadetree is far from the fastest racer out there. The fast guys pass him all the time, and only rarely does he make a pass of his own unless the rider he passes has crashed. He crashes regularly himself, too, though not as much in this video as his previous ones.
I've been a fan of Shadetree Surgeon for years. I've enjoyed watching him branch out in this new direction since the beginning when he replaced his KTM's lights with low-budget numbers made of electrical tape before his first race. It's been fun to watch him progress from totally sucking (by his own admission) to sucking far less in more recent races and the path he's been taking to improve. These racing videos are rather long, but his raw commentary, including during the race, makes them quite entertaining.