Dream Traxx builds the ultimate freeride motocross track with the help of a John Deere 333G SmartGrade™ CTL
No limits. That’s what freeride motocross is all about. And that’s the vision of the competition at Red Bull Imagination 2021— pushing the boundaries of creative expression in the sport. Jason Baker and his company Dream Traxx built the course, providing the best freeriders in the world with a playground that gives them the creative freedom to express their imaginations and styles. “Everyone in my sport wants to take it to the next level,” Baker says. “If you’re a motocross rider, you bring that extreme mentality in everything you do.”
Dream Traxx carved the custom-built course out of the Great Plains in Fort Scott, Kansas. Drawing inspiration from skateboard parks and snowboard-terrain parks, the course includes a quarter pipe, a wall ride, and numerous jumps and obstacles that give the riders the freedom to create their own lines. That includes catching big air over tall trees and a John Deere articulated dump truck. With no starting or finish line, riders can attack the course in any way they see fit. Whatever a rider sees, goes. The most creative lines score the highest.
For Baker, course building is also a very creative process. “The guys are freeriding and, in essence, I’m free building. It’s artistry. It’s about how cool I can make this. We create a bunch of weird shapes and mounds that let the riders go every which way and use their imaginations.”
Before building tracks, Baker was a professional rider for five years. “I’m a rider at heart,” he says, “and to be a good track builder, you need to have riding experience. I look at things from not just an operator’s perspective but a rider’s. I speak their language. As I’m building a course, I’m riding it in my head. Before anyone has used the course, I’ve ridden it mentally 100 times.”
At the age of 19, Baker built his first track with his father in their backyard. “I got a crash course in running equipment and track building, and I fell in love with it,” he says. “I love it as much as I do riding.”
Baker quit racing in 2003 to pursue Dream Traxx full-time. He quickly gained notoriety building tracks for local and top-level riders. And as a racer, he knew a lot of people in the industry and got his foot in the door. Over the years the company has built motocross, supercross, and freeride tracks all over the country and the world for the sport’s top riders.
With three weeks to complete the course, the company worked nonstop 12-hour days. “We don’t get an ‘A’ for effort,” says Baker. “It’s get it done or you fail. That’s the bottom line. John Deere products give us the confidence to just go to town and go full throttle. We put the machines to an extreme test and push them hard, and they keep up. Deere manufactures a quality machine.”
To build the course for Red Bull Imagination 2021, Dream Traxx ran a fleet of John Deere equipment featuring SmartGrade grade-control technology, including crawlers, excavators, and a 333G Compact Track Loader (CTL). “SmartGrade is my interpreter,” says Baker. “It takes what I see and puts it into the machine in a way that makes sense to the operator very quickly.”
The 333G SmartGrade CTL is the first compact machine to feature fully integrated grade-control technology, and it’s loaded with features that make track building easier. “The advantages of this machine are great,” he says. “A lot of jumps are in confined areas that the 333G can slip right into.”
Slope control allows Dream Traxx operators to dial in a specific grade and hold it. This allows Baker to provide direction on the fly, as he is often working from his own imagination instead of precise 3D plans.
He also appreciates the power of the 333G SmartGrade CTL. “It can go up steep inclines with a full blade of dirt, unlike many comparative competitive machines I’ve tried. I’ve been very impressed.”
So, is the 333G SmartGrade CTL the dream machine for Dream Traxx? “I’ve always envisioned running something like the snowcats with the big blades that are used to build snow courses. I think the 333G encompasses that. It’s basically like a compact dozer. We can quickly change from blade to bucket, so it’s very versatile. It saves time and makes us more efficient.”
The course received rave reviews from the riders, including one who gave it the ultimate compliment, calling it “insane.” “I don’t mind being the unsung hero in the background when these guys show up, shred, and put on the ultimate event,” says Baker. “Just seeing them smile when they go off and get nuts on the course, doing stuff we’ve never seen before. That’s my proud moment — my pat on the back.”
Baker attributes his company’s success to his team. “The group of guys I have is amazing,” says Baker. “They can get in any machine and do a great job. I can never thank them enough. You are only as good as your support team. We’re a tight-knit team — like brothers. At the end of the day, we’ve got each other’s backs.”
And John Deere has Baker’s back. “Deere has really embraced what my team does. They gave us a huge amount of support for this event, and that means a lot to me. It’s awesome to have that level of support, and it makes me very excited to work with them.”
Dream Traxx LLC received equipment and support for the Red Bull Imagination 2021 event from Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Kansas City, Missouri.