The District 23 off-road family took a big hit recently with the loss of long-time member, racer, photographer and friend Mike Pohl. Mike was completing a epic day of fall trail riding with a group of 17 others in the Paul Bunyan State Forest near Akeley, Minnesota when he suffered a fatal heart attack as his group returned to the Martineau trail head.

Mike was an immediate friend to anyone who ever met him and was known for always choosing to start on row one of an enduro so he could jump back into the woods and shoot photos of everyone as they completed the race.

Mike and I bonded over our passion for photography but I’ll never forget our introduction.  It was one of my first enduros, at Akeley, and I pulled up next to him and about 20 others at a check, completely gassed and wobbly. I stepped off my bike put down the stand and started to walk away only to hear it fall over onto his with both laying waste to his new Klim helmet that was on his handlebars. I immediately went back to apologize and accept the verbal lashing that I deserved but instead got a big smile from Mike and was told “don’t worry about it, now it’s broken in and I don’t have to worry about putting the first scratch on it.”

Mike owned and operated A.C.E.S. Flight Simulator in the Mall of America before starting a new business this summer, STEMulation Learning, where he had been setting up educational flight simulators across the country.