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Alex Moros, Founder of the organization TheLegends and Heroes of Supercross Tour, discusses the importance of preserving the history of motocross, as well as his own personal passion for the sport. He may even tell us who he thinks will be a future legend...listen to find out!
PJ Doran: Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you. I'm PJ Doran, and in most cases, we'd be bringing the racing right to you. Sadly, as we all know, we're dealing with a unique situation. COVID is in our way, in the way of all racing, so, "Wash your hands," as my producer, Leah, would say, "Wash your damn hands."
PJ Doran: Today on Pit Pass, we're going to be talking to the wonderful Alex Moros from the Legends and Heroes of Supercross, so we will look forward to that. And we do have a trivia question here on Pit Pass. This week's question of the week was, what year and make introduced swingarm rear suspension to production motorcycles, what year and make introduced swingarms to the rear suspension of production motorcycles. We'll be back with that answer on the other side of our interview.
PJ Doran: Welcome to the program today, Alex Moros. Alex runs the Legends and Heroes of Supercross, a preservation of Supercross history. Thanks for taking time to join us today, Alex. We really appreciate it amidst the very unique situation that the country finds itself in. We really appreciate you taking the time with us on Pit Pass today. Welcome.
Alex Moros: Oh, well, thank you. It gives me a break in my busy schedule today, and it's always good to talk to our Moto Heads out there. So hello to everybody.
PJ Doran: So Alex, speaking of, you said busy schedule. What are you up to at this somewhat challenging time? Clearly the history of Supercross doesn't go away just because of the situation we find ourselves in. What are you up to?
Alex Moros: Well, no, not at all. With this break that we had with the Supercross program, Ronnie Stewart Racing has been one of our guys that had been helping out this year and his wife Brooke and himself, actually, they're doing some cool programs starting this week with social media. They've been scripting out and we've been working out some chronicles of him and his relationship with us during the series and getting our sponsors recognition. So we're still promoting all the folks who promote our program to be involved in the social media that we do. And we've got a great team of people that work with us on that. Scott Lukaitis over at Engine Ice, he does a lot of our promos and scripting. Fellow that actually took over to manage the series for us in California by the name, he's from CALVMX, Frank Vrettas.
Alex Moros: Frank is the lead for the program and the major principal now for Legends and Heroes and his team does a fantastic job. And then we have a lot of the logistics that we're going to be doing when we hit the road again because when this is over, and it will be, and everybody will be healthy and ready to go. We'll be getting a Supercross grinding in the museum. We'll be going out there to celebrate along with the Pro Motocross series when that hits later this summer. It should be pretty good and we're all excited, busy, busy, it never stops for us.
PJ Doran: Gotcha, Alex. It's worth talking about exactly what the foundation is, Legends and Heroes, the Supercross. And can you talk a little bit about the museum? Is that a static museum or is that a traveling deal?
Alex Moros: Oh, it's a traveling deal. It is a traveling museum and depending on each year what we have for our funding program, it's either a tractor trailer or a mobile unit that we bring around. And it all initiated back in 2008, that's how far back we go. I was the ArmA Offroad Director back then and we were promoting ArmA membership drive. We were at the Motocross the Nations in Colorado. It just seemed like a lot of fun. A lot of people came by to see the old bikes. We were talking to a lot of folks in the industry . I ran into Gary Bailey and Gary Bailey liked the idea. It kind of morphed from just a bunch of volunteers showing old bikes to a programming. If I remember right, it was 2009 we coined Legends and Heroes as a trademark.
Alex Moros: And soon after that, when I saw and caught up with Gary Bailey, he donated a 45 foot Gooseneck Trailer. It used to be his Honda training trailer. That trailer was used as our first museum. We went to a bunch of Nationals and to a Supercross event, Daytona, and it was a lot of fun. People just came over and gravitated to bikes and sponsors started to help out. And that was important for us because this was a hobby that we had started and they had to have some kind of fuel and the fuel is basically the sponsorships and folks that we had known in the industry that would throw us some gas money, hotel money, and whatever. And we just grew it year-by-year after that.
PJ Doran: It's a great story. I'm sure that you've moved a long ways from that initial trailer, haven't you?
Alex Moros: Oh, yeah. We laugh because the Bailey trailer, and thank God for Dick Gary for donating it because without it we would not to learn about sponsorships and the opportunity of putting those sponsors in the forefront. But we knew that we wanted to get it to a next level. Then a buddy of mine, a racing buddy of mine, Mike Owens from California, Mike came in as a managing partner. The next trailer we got was a Tru, brand new trailer, it was a walkthrough and we had the bikes inside, and all the merchandise gear and everything from the early days of the event. It was cool to see all that stuff. Unfortunately, Mike passed away way too soon, but when he passed away, we had gone to a larger rig, another 53 foot trailer. We were just jamming down the road, a full Supercross contract and going to some of the outdoor pro nationals.
Alex Moros: What we did notice in that was that people love to gravitate to the old bikes. They like to see the old bikes and love to talk about the old bikes. And people in our industry, they like to see it and they like what we had brought to the table with it. It was fun. I was just thinking of a guy who raced and had a chance to enjoy this in the early '70s when it started. I got a chance to see all my heroes. That was the cool thing, from David Greeley, to Gary Jones, the Jones brothers, Brad Lackey, Jeremy McGrath. It's been really a cool ride with all those guys.
PJ Doran: Yeah. And how much involvement, you mentioned some obvious legends of the sports, how much involvement did those guys have on a recurring basis?
Alex Moros: In the early days of Jimmy Pomeroy, and Marty Smith, and Brad Lackey and Donny Hansen, there was a crew of guys that just gravitated to this because of what we were doing. They were also vintage racing, which was cool back in 2005, 2006. They were really getting into the sport again to race their old bikes. And so I got a chance to see these guys and connect with them, one-on-one basis. So when we did the museum, they were all on board to help out. If I went to California and say, "Marty, you want to do an autograph signing," it would be at San Diego and he's a legend in San Diego.
Alex Moros: We would give Marty an award, have an autograph signing and for a couple hours while those champs are there we'd be mobbed because everybody wanted to see the champs. And then every year as we gave our awards out, each legend would have a connection with us. I remember one year we did Damon Bradshaw. Damon's an East Coast guy and it was just so much fun to be involved with him. Damien is now involved with fly racing.
PJ Doran: He's awesome. I've had him in my shop recently, in my shop. I work at a motorcycle dealer. He's out there, he's an approachable superstar of the sport.
Alex Moros: Unbelievable. And it's so nice to see how grounded many of the guys are, they're so appreciative, they're great people. They had stellar careers and everybody acknowledged their careers, but more importantly, after their careers, they had a second life come to the surface for folks like us that appreciated their accomplishments and all the fan base that were about. That's why they feel good about it. That's why they enjoy it. At every event, there is somebody in the crowd that'll say, "I remember McGrath when he won Las Vegas." "I remember Doug Henry when he came out on that bike and he was the first four-stroke to win a Supercross in Vegas." Or they'll say, "Lance Weil, I remember Lance, I remember that bike down at Daytona and that was the first four-stroke ever to qualify."
Alex Moros: I remember when I met Lance Weil. I saw him at Daytona and it was in '96 or '97, don't quote me, but was either year, but that four-stroke was going down the straightaway down in Daytona. It was a 540 KTM one-off and every time he let off the gas, it backfired and flame came out of the exhaust, and the crowd went hysterical. Because we were two-stroking at the time and four-strokes were specialty bikes. That was the coolest thing I ever saw. When I met Lance, I was like, "Wow." He and I were talking on the phone one day and I said, "Yeah, I remember the flaming," and he says, "Yeah, it came out all the time." He was really way cool.
PJ Doran: And that's really an important part of what you're doing. What this foundation is doing is bringing back and reminding people of those indelible timelines, indelible marks in history, be it the riders, be it the machines. In that vein, how do you decide, Alex, what the next spotlight is going to be cast upon for you guys?
Alex Moros: Well, history is one of those things that it's timeless. What we call it, it's a dynamic ever-moving market. It means, in your age group, in my age group, there's a nostalgia for it. And today's person in his mid-30's has his age group that he has a nostalgia for. As we see the program ... I was so fortunate to have this program be a part of us and have some good people that helped me out along the way. As I said, folks like Mike Owens, some other folks, Red [Whitworth 00:10:54] and Tommy Erickson and Peter [Unamen 00:10:57], all these guys were all partnered up with me to get this through and grow it. Today it's in the hands, as I said, of Frank Vrettas and the CALBMX guys.
Alex Moros: We had some really close knit buds that are helping to run it along with a fellow by the name of [Marlon 00:11:14] Philips and John Tilton. As I am 69 now and I've been doing this a long time, I'm in a position where I'm mentoring these guys. They're going to take the reins, they're going to fulfill this to the next level and where we see it going is the museum itself for next year we hope to have a relationship with a major tractor manufacturer for a trailer, and host an interactive museum that people could come in and see some bikes. And not only travel at the Supercross, but to bring it to the main street in the country like maybe contract it out to have it at the shops or open houses.
PJ Doran: I was going to say, dealer tour seems like a wonderful, wonderful use of what you've built. Getting it to a dealer.
Alex Moros: It is. And you know, we had a couple of great opportunities when we were on the road with Supercross. We went to the Toyota dealer in Encinitas and, although it is a car dealer, they will host a bike night on Thursday night prior to the Supercross. I now have Cooper Webb or Dungey would be there or any of the mainstay riders and the teams. It was such a great evening because everybody gravitates to it and it's great for our sport. Going to Malcolm Smith's, we would do that one too. The cool thing about going to a shop like Malcolm's, or any shop, is that if we do the planning and they do the local marketing, we really get a big crowd.
Alex Moros: It's just not having the race teams there, but when you bring a museum in, the museum has a lot of gravitation to it. We always key on products for that dealer that might have a historical link. There's a lot of dealers that, for example Maroney's over here on the East Coast, Pat Moroney's still got one of his original Harley Davidson MXs that he raced with hanging from the ceiling. Then we were out there a couple of years ago doing a special event that encompassed his shop and that was a lot of fun. We are always open to that and that's something that we would like to have the museum have a chance to get more and more exposure. So it's more than just the events to see us, but more of the general public.
PJ Doran: Absolutely. I mean, you've mentioned you've got sponsors. Clearly they're a crucial component to, not only race teams, but to your foundation. I have to believe that you're a charitable organization in that you receive charity, a la any of the motorcycle foundations and/or museums that I'm aware of. What do?
Alex Moros: No, actually, Legends and Heroes and Thundercross Associates that originally opened up. We looked at being a 501(c), but we wanted to make it more of a business than a charitable group. That way we could consider taking donations, we could actually provide a service and that's what we do. For example, our friends at Feld Entertainment and Monster Energy Supercross, we have an agreement with them as a partner to deliver the museum as a value-add for the pit party. And then the folks at, say, Yuasa Battery or the folks over at Food for Life Bread, or Dunlop, Engine Ice, the guys over at Venco, Rich Designs, Acerbis Plastics, and I'll try to get through all of them in a second. But what we do is, we actually give them value as an advertising piece to our component. So they get a lot of exposure, and they get a chance to display their products and the history of their products.
Alex Moros: It's cool to see [Talon 00:14:45] Boland from Acerbis come over, and not only do we have a couple bikes there that actually have his products that people did rebuilds with, but the history of Acerbis going way back when they got into this country is cool. They have a legacy that they want to show and they want to get out there. It's the same thing with Dunlop, although Dunlop's been in the business. Dunlop tires around the bikes back in the '70s and they still, Broc Glover and that crew that manages the racing is a leader now in our industry. I think more championships have been won on Dunlops than anything else out there. So it's kind of cool that we show that legacy. Ironically if he asks me, why do I have a company like Food for Life Breads with us, well, the two brothers from the company, they used to race Motocross as kids and their father.
PJ Doran: It's all it takes.
Alex Moros: Yeah. Nate came out to see a Supercross some years ago and they've been one of our key sponsors ever since. I mean, they have a passion for the race and we've helped distribute their product, and a lot of racers use their product. They're not being paid to use it, they use it because it's a good product for training. It's quite a story there behind it. There's a story behind everybody. Yuasa Battery, actually a good friend of mine, John Hart, whose nephew is Carey Hart, we used to watch Carey race pro motocross years ago when he was a struggling kid out of his van traveling the country, a humble kid. And Uncle John, as we would say, John and I used to race vintage Motocross together. Well, where did John end up working? He worked at Yuasa Battery.
Alex Moros: Well, one day he came, he wanted us to add some new people and they wanted to get out there to a younger crowd to use the product. Well, we had that younger crowd, plus we had the Legacy crowd, and hey, every vintage bike, Enduro and everything back in the '70s, and '80s, or '90s, needs a battery if it's straight legal, so it was a perfect fit. So everybody who's involved with us has a chance to showcase their product and be a part of our team. And I've enjoyed it so much. I mean, my background was marketing and sales. So we always knew the value of promotion and delivering, being sure that our clients are happy with what we provided. It was just a natural for this program and how it was developed. And yeah, it's fun stuff and it's something that I look on as a hobby I did over 10 years ago that turned into a full-time job, and 300,000 miles later on the motor home, I'm still loving it.
PJ Doran: Gosh, that is awesome, Alex. So let's put you on the spot. I want to know, people want to know, who's the next legend that you guys are going to ... can you divulge future plans at all or is this a well-guarded secret that you can't let out of the bag until the time comes?
Alex Moros: Well, we did have Breyers Meyerhoff. He was going to be our legend for the India event and that was canceled. So the other guys that were in the wings, we really can't share yet because the events aren't noted for Supercross for the dates. It wouldn't be fair to them to say that they'll be the legend and because of the virus, the event doesn't happen.
PJ Doran: Absolutely.
Alex Moros: I will tell you that one of these days I would like to see James Stewart up there with us.
PJ Doran: That's funny. I was going to mention him.
Alex Moros: And I'd like to see when he retires, number 22 up there with us too.
PJ Doran: Oh, man. Gosh, he's still going strong. Yeah, he's a legend, not even a past legend, he is a current legend. He's reached that level.
Alex Moros: He's still a guy, if he walks down that pit, everybody knows who he is. He's left a really great legacy in his racing career and how many people enjoy him. He and I have had a couple of conversations on when he retires what he's going to do. And I said, "Well, you could join the circus with us," and he started laughing. He goes, "Man, I don't want to travel as much," when he retires.
PJ Doran: Oh, yeah. His dance card's going to be full. I would think he would be an automatic for the TV, as well for broadcasting in some capacity.
Alex Moros: Absolutely, yeah. So yeah, it's kind of cool. There's a lot of these guys that we were close to in the last 10 years, like Ryan Dungey and his family, and we were happy to help out with St. Jude's the last couple of years with Ryan and Feld Entertainment. And they're all great people. When you get to know them personally, they put their pants on the same way. They have the same personal issues that all of us have, plus they're elite athletes that have a desire to win and be successful. And ironically, the racer today, is the same guy he was in 1970, they have the same desire, they have the same issues. They have the same belief that they're going to be able to move on and be number one. That's what history's all about, it repeats itself. And talking to the champs back then and talking to some of these champs today, there's a lot of similarities that go on in their lives and brought them to the point to where they were.
Alex Moros: I always equate Brad Lackey 10 years in Europe to win the world championship and all the things he went through with the prototype bikes that were breaking and he couldn't get the points, and then he won that championship in 1982. If you hear the story, or if they ever made a movie on that, it would be so cool. But a kid that in 1972 went to Czechoslovakia that a couple of years prior to race for CZ and you know he was just about to win the championship in '72 and Kawasaki picked him up the last couple of races, so they could claim the championship versus CZ. Brad just went on.
Alex Moros: As the market developed here in the US they wanted a lot of the early riders to stay in the US to develop the program, and Brad wanted to go to Europe and he wanted to race with the best. He wanted to compete and win a world championship. He wanted to be a Roger De Coster, he wanted to be a Joel Robert. It was hard. I mean, he had his wife, they had their kids, they traveled their motor home in Europe 10 years. And I always remember talking to Lori Lackey and she would say, "Yep, yep. For 40 years, I was with that man motorcycling. So the next 40 years, he's going to be with me going on vacation."
PJ Doran: And that is a valid request. Question for you, Alex, how do you go about locating the remarkable, I'll say remarkable, machinery and equipment that you guys end up with? I mean, is that a never-ending supply? Is that the easy part of this or is it as difficult as I would imagine it is?
Alex Moros: Well, it can appear to be difficult for some folks, but remember I started racing with ArmA back in 1989, so we had a lot of friends all over the country when we did the racing. And as Offroad Director, I was at every ArmA National and there was a slew of people with bikes. And when we said, "Hey, we're going to an event and we're going to be in Colorado," and I'd call a couple of buds up, "Can you lend us a few bikes." Before I know it, I got 20 people bring in 20 bikes, they'd get 20 passes, come for free, and we'd set them up. And so over the years, all of our race buddies, in every major market, continually come over and we'll call them up and they bring the bikes. So a lot of those 15 to 30 bikes that you see are all local bikes.
Alex Moros: They're all part of our volunteers that come help set up the display and they help tear it down, and they showcase their bikes. That's just one of the good things that we were able to accomplish on a national basis. We could go to just about any city in this country and have a nice full display, whether it's Indianapolis, Dayton Ohio, Foxborough Massachusetts, Las Vegas Nevada. That's how it worked. Then, of course, we'd have some really pristine bikes inside the museum that would go on tour and they would travel with us. And those come from the collection, some of our volunteers who allow us to take the bike and put it on the road for the year. They're just good-hearted people.
PJ Doran: Vintage motorcycles have the best owners, typically. I mean, they're labors of love themselves. And getting to show it off is part of the reward, or at least that's been my experience regardless of type of motorcycle it is, road race trials, Enduro, whatever, Motocross. The guys who build them to perfection, they want the world to see them. It's not just bragging, but certainly there may be a component of that, but it's showing off what what they really did look like and it's wonderful to see.
Alex Moros: It is, you're absolutely right. It's a passion, as my wife would say, "You have a disease and I don't like it." I would laugh, but I got the disease. Your final carcass and you want to rebuild it, and it costs you more to rebuild it, than you could resell it. But there's a connection to it. Everyone that I know that has rebuilt from a little a Z50, to a Honda six cylinder street bike, to maybe their 1973 Maaco 400 has a connection to the bike and a labor of love when they built it. I mean, the best therapy you could have is go in that garage, take that bike, pull it apart, get the wire wheel, clean the nuts, clean the bolts, strip the frame down, everybody paint the frame, start reassembling, rebuild the motor, new fork shields. Before you know it, you got a bike, you love it, you go race it, then you start with another one. And that one might end up in your trophy collection in your office, or wherever.
PJ Doran: You get to share it with people. Alex, it's been a wonderful having you on today. I know you mentioned a good number of your sponsors. Are there more, I want to give you a chance, one, to mention any sponsors of the foundation, and further, how people can find out what's going on with the foundation in the future. Because certainly, I like the sounds of expanding your footprint, not just being at Supercross and Motocross, potentially being other places the public can get a look at what you guys are doing.
Alex Moros: All of our sponsors that I had mentioned earlier today are key to our existence, and I thank them so much for all their support. If folks want to reach out to us, they can always go to our website. That's legendsandheroestour.org and you can reach out to us there and email@example.com is a way to get ahold of us, and I'd be happy to discuss whether you want to volunteer, show your bike, you get a free pass to come to an event. Maybe that dealership wants to have us in town next time we're on the road or a maybe just want to be a part of our successful sponsorship program to put your shingle on the trailer and travel with us across the country. So by all means, firstname.lastname@example.org, just reach out, we're there and there's a phone number there. You can always reach us and happy to have another pilgrim join the journey with us.
PJ Doran: Well, thank you again, Alex, for joining us today. It's been wonderful talking with you. I want to say thank you for what you do, for keeping the history of the sport and the legends of the sport in current context for the fans that join you at the races. So thank you again, Alex, for joining us on Pit Pass.
Alex Moros: Thank you very much. I'll see you at the races.
PJ Doran: This week's trivia question on Pit Pass was what year and make introduced swingarm rear suspension to production motorcycles that got us away from the hardtails. Finally, the answer was the 1948 Royal Enfield, that was the first production bike. There were some one-offs before that, but that was a production bike and it really changed the way we rode motorcycles. I've been doing a lot of reading lately and swingarm suspension, wow, it changed our world. Before that guys really did say, "Nothing handles like a rigid," and they were correct. The first attempts at swingarm suspension were a bit dodgy and the front might go a different direction than the rear. They finally got that all worked out and it's brought us to where we are today. We still have swingarm suspension, so thank you, Royal Enfield, for being the pioneers on that.
PJ Doran: Sadly, due to the current COVID situation that we all find ourselves in, again, do stay safe out there and clean. We don't really have any motorcycle upcoming news, but I assure you, we at Pit Pass are going to be back to talk about motorcycles. Just because there isn't racing right now, doesn't mean we can't talk about them. They're still what we love, what we do and we know it's what you love. Hopefully, you get a chance to ride your bike, mini bike, scooter, whatever. Get out there and ride.
PJ Doran: Thank you again to our guests for being with us today and thank you for tuning in. We really appreciate it. If you enjoyed this episode of Pit Pass, make sure to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app where you'll get alerts when new episodes are uploaded. Of course, make sure you're also following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and pitpassmoto.com, of course.
PJ Doran: This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tony [Wing 00:28:49], Tommy Boy Halvorson, Ed [Coolincam 00:28:51], Social Media Contributor Chris Bishop, our Producer Leah Longbrake and the Audio Engineer Sean [Ruhoffman 00:28:58] and Eric [Coltnow 00:29:00].
PJ Doran: I'm PJ Doran for Pit Pass. We'll see you next week. Keep the rubber side down, the shiny side up, and keep your hands clean.