SEPT. 25, 2014 - ERIC SHIRK

Friends of the Freeway: Phil Egleston & Duane Fisher


It’s 7:00 AM on a cool Pennsylvania morning. As the fog rises and the morning dew evades into hiding, the razor sharp blades of farm machinery begin to tear into every inch of topsoil in attendance. Anxiously, I rush to get dressed quicker than any of the other young rippers in an attempt at being the first one to lay a line in the freshly fluffed track. In a “quiet before the storm” type scene, we push our bikes to the line and await the spin of the finger from the referee — signaling us that it’s time to start em’ up. With a spin of the wrist and a flick of the finger, he gave us the signal. One-by-one we hit the track for the first practice of the day. As he pointed to me and I dropped the hammer harder than MC on what could have possibly been the most perfectly prepared course I have ever seen, there was only one thought on my mind — I love dirtbikes.

Alright that was pretty emotional, but hey, that used to be the routine every weekend for me as a kid and looking back on it I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe one thing, because what I should have really been thinking as I hit the freshly prepared course week in and week out was, “Thank You.” I was a little sh*thead kid at times (sorry mom and pops!) and as I was growing up I think I was under the impression that Water-truck Wizards and John Deere Fairies came every night while I was sleeping and made the track mint. Well here’s a news flash if you have, or are, an unappreciative little monster like I was: There’s no wizards and no fairies. I know, “spoiler alert.” However, in my opinion the real masters of track magic are more impressive than these imaginary beings anyway. Especially in two of these incredible individuals situations; Phil Egleston and Duane Fisher. 

Phil Egleston (owner of Miles Mountain MX) and Duane Fisher (owner of Evansville MX) are some of the coolest people we’ve had the pleasure of working with on the tour thus far. When I was making the calls to set up ride days in Pennsylvania, I’ll be honest, it was — for lack of a better way to put — it beginning to really piss me off. The first three places I called in the northeast were no-gos, and I was beginning to think it just wasn’t going to happen. However, one quick call to each of these rad track owners and we had two ride days setup in minutes. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, these guys were super stoked to help us in any way possible. 

That kind of hospitality gets me super hyped. To get to a track and have the track owner, as well as everyone else involved, display the same amount of ambition that we have always awakens my drive to produce some great content. For example, when we arrived to Miles Mountain on Tuesday, it wasn’t long before we were jacked up on a construction boom lift getting ariel shots of the track. “Take your time guys, I’ll stay up here all day if I have to. Whatever it takes!” Phil told us as he whipped the boom around like a brand new ‘rari to help us get the perfect shot.

Oh yeah, and he let us shred his amazing facility for as long as we wanted after the day was over. By the way, just because we film that doesn’t mean we don’t miss riding. So Phil gets major points on our end for letting us put down the cameras and hop on his track on borrowed gear and bikes after we were done working.

Wednesday was amazing as well, in that Duane and his wife, Tracy, weren’t afraid to lend a hand with whatever we needed the entire night during Evansville’s Supercross Practice. Honestly, I’ve never seen a group of people that were so thankful to have us hold a ride day at their track. All night long we heard stuff like, “All of you guys better head down to the vurbmoto booth and buy some of their amazing products right now!” over the loudspeaker system. Needless to say, we sold a ton of merch due to these announcements and their convincing methods as they walked around and personally made sure everyone knew how cool we are and how dope all of our are sale items were. Trust me, we’re not that cool, but hey it’s always rad to hear that kind of support every once in a while. 

Sure, I’m originally from Pennsylvania and I grew up racing Miles Mountain and Evansville my entire childhood. Hell, Evansville was the first dirtbike track I ever rode on. So I guess in some ways I’m a bit biased toward the fact that these places are great facilities. But all in all, my choice to have ride days at these tracks was made with a different intent. My goal was to give back to a few dudes who work their asses off day in and day out to produce some of the greatest motocross facilities on the East Coast. Yes, Phil and Duane are two different people with two different tracks, but they both have one common goal that all of us here at vurbmoto can relate to — a passion for dirtbikes. Both Phil and Duane work labor intensive day jobs for extra money to put back into their motocross facilities. I can relate to that and I’m sure every other dream chaser can, too. Everyone that pursues their dream job at some point is supporting their 5-9 with a 9-5. It’s just part of it, but at some point it’s nice to see the fruits of your hard labor unfold in front of you. So I think it’s about time these guys get the recognition they deserve, and the coverage to make these hidden gems turn out some fortune and fame.

Bottom line, if you’re ever in the area, make sure to hit these places up. I can promise you won’t be disappointed. Duane and Phil, you guys went above and beyond your duties once again just as you had the entire time I was racing. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to give back for all of the great memories you’ve provided me with over the years. Keep the passion alive, and never lose sight of the reason why we push 24/7 and continue to work countless hours to keep our dreams afloat. It’s not for the publicity, it’s not for the recognition, and it damn sure isn’t for the money. It’s one reason and one reason only — we love dirtbikes. Simple as that.

Eric Shirk