Upshift: Jeremy McGrath, 7-time Supercross Champion, all the stadiums, all the lights, all the fans, and we’re out here in the desert by ourselves, why is that?!

McGrath: Ha ha, because we love motorcycles! Yeah, it’s cool with the fans, with the jumps, and the supercross and all the excitement, but the reason I did that is that I love to ride bikes. We are out here with some friends enjoying some of this wet California dirt that we don’t get very often.

Upshift: Before you started racing Supercross in the 90’s, I know you used to go and ride in the hills with your friends. Does it feel like that again going out trail riding now?

McGrath: Yes it does. It’s pretty rare that we get such sweet conditions as we’ve been getting a ton of rain lately. I had an injury not too long ago with a dislocated shoulder, so this is the perfect way to break it back into riding. And of course, Kawasaki built this great KX450 trail bike.

Upshift: The bike looks like it would be fun to go down to ride in Mexico for a few days.

McGrath: Yes exactly. It’s got a tail-light, a Rigid headlight of course, some blinkers, a kickstand, and some Acerbis handguards.  It’s fun, and you need good trails to ride a trail bike on, so that’s why we came out to Ocotillo today. It’s a KX450 with an 18” rear wheel that is the go-to size for off-roading. It’s just like my motocross bike, but with all the added parts it’s a really fun trail bike.

Upshift: Apart from local trail riding, where would you like to do some adventure bike riding?

McGrath: That’s the funny thing. I’m so interested in it, and of course I follow Upshift Online and see all the rad photos. Adventure riding is getting more popular, and there is some momentum behind it, so I have some excitement for it, I just need to figure out where to go! Going to ride in the mountains would be cool.

Upshift: The gear you are wearing today is not the motocross gear we are used to seeing you ride in.

McGrath: I got some Thor dual sport riding gear. I don’t get to ride in this gear very much, so it feels a bit different to wear baggy gear, but I like riding in the jacket with the sleeves off. When you wear dual-sport gear, you just feel like you’re kicking back all the time, so it’s a good vibe.

Upshift: Are you heading to Mexico soon on this bike?

McGrath: Yes I’m ready to ride Baja. I love Baja anytime we can go. Maybe we should go in a few weeks? I’m down to go to Mexico anytime.

Upshift: Would you ever want to race the Baja 1000 on a bike?

McGrath: No way! I’ve always told myself I’d never race a bike in Baja. I’ve known too many people who have been hurt racing down there. As much as I love riding in Mexico, racing is a different deal down there. I love going with my buddies. We park it at night and sip some tequila and have some fun. You can ride down the beach and if you did that where we live you’d get arrested in about two seconds. The people in Mexico are just so awesome, so I’m ready to ride there anytime!

Kawasaki KX450 Desert Project

Pro-Racing XC Lighting Kit
Pro Circuit TI-6 Exhaust System w/Spark Arrestor
Moose Side Stand
IMS Fuel Tank 2.8 gal
Acerbis Handguards
Acerbis Skid Plater
Acerbis Front Disc Guard
Optional Heavy Flywheel 9.5: P/N 21007-0629
KLX450 Front Brake Hose: P/N 43095-0314
KX85 Front Brake Hose Guide: P/N 92170-1810
18” Rear D.I.D. Rim 
KLX450 Rear Spokes: P/N 41029-0039; P/N 41029-0040
14/49 Gearing

Chris Glaspell

The success of any online publication depends on the quality of execution, and
in this respect UpShift Online’s success is virtually assured.  It was founded by veteran motorcycle industry professionals: English-born photographer Simon Cudby, the premier photographer in the world of motocross, and Chris Glaspell, creative director with firms serving clients that include Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Cycle World and Yoshimura. This, plus Upshift’s veteran editorial staff and unrivaled journalism, will gives readers unparalleled views of adventure motorcycling.