For motorcyclists and motorcycle racing enthusiasts
We are a weekly podcast that brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to fans. In addition to candid interviews with top names in motorcycle racing, we provide insights into the trends and trendsetters driving the motorcycle industry.
We have the latest in industry news from hosts Tony Wenck and PJ Doran, and get to know Pit Pass Moto's new co-host, Dave Sulecki! He is a 37 year industry veteran, lifetime motorcycle rider, racer, builder, restorer and enthusiast.
His favorite motorcycle saying: "Four wheels moves the body, two wheels moves the soul."
PJ Doran: Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you.
Tony Wenck: Merry Christmas. This is Tony Wenck, alongside PJ Doran and our new sidekick, Dave Sulecki. And this week, we're going to have Dave on, we're going to introduce Dave to our listeners. Dave Sulecki is from Ohio, he was my boss at Wiseco for maybe once or twice while he was there and I was there, and I'm still there. But, a guy that I absolutely respect his opinion, and his outlook on things, and probably one of my all time favorite guys from Ohio, even more favorite than Jeff Gibson, who I'm really fond of. But, first, here's the latest in the industry.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, big news out of road racing, guys, I don't know if you heard, but Team Suzuki is going to be managed by Team Hammer going forward. So that was quite a shock to the industry, because Yoshimura, who was their partner since, I think, their first superbike title, going back to 1978, and they're no longer going to be the flagship running the program.
PJ Doran: Pops Yoshimura's heart is breaking right now.
Dave Sulecki: I can imagine.
Tony Wenck: You look back at the Wes Cooley days in the late '70s when they first... when AMA Pro Racing first became a thing, or the Superbike series first became a thing in the United States, that's big news. Yoshimura has been around forever. They're still going to be involved I understand, but they're not going to take the lead like they have.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, so they won't be managing the team, and that's going to be left to Hammer, who's been with them, I think 30 years they've been with Suzuki. So, they've got a history and they know the team and they know how to make the bikes go fast. It was interesting news that I think a lot of people were shocked by.
PJ Doran: Well, the Ulrichs, to be very fair to them, have been bird-dogging motorcycle road racing talent forever, which quite often was then poached by the factory Suzuki team, be it Yoshimura or Rockstar, however you wanted to refer to them in any given era. I think, again, the Ulrichs, specifically Team Hammer, have more than earned the right and clearly, Suzuki agreed.
Tony Wenck: I'd be interested to hear what the story is on it, and we're going to probably... I'll probably make some calls and get-
PJ Doran: One of the Ulrichs, Chris, has pretty much been the team captain-
Tony Wenck: ... I might call Don [inaudible 00:02:34] and see what he says about it.
PJ Doran: ... Go outside the circle.
Dave Sulecki: There you go, go right to the source, huh?
Tony Wenck: Yeah, why not? It'll be interesting to see. I think running a race team, whether it be road racing, off road, even in an amateur level, is a huge burden financially. You got to sell a lot of pipes to-
Dave Sulecki: How do you make a million dollars racing?
Tony Wenck: ... Start with two.
Dave Sulecki: Start with two million, exactly.
PJ Doran: That is so, so true. Yeah, honestly, there were a lot of teams that went away, or scaled way back, or changed much, as in this scenario, some management was changed in the road racing world here in America. We all, I believe, our road racing series, our national Motoamerica series is going in the right direction.
Tony Wenck: Do you think Motoamerica is making money, PJ?
PJ Doran: I don't think so. I've been to the races personally enough, there aren't enough human bodies there to say that money is being made. It is clearly a labor of love and they're trying to keep a sport alive that. As we've discussed too many times, we don't have new riders. That's going to destroy all that Harley sought first, because their clientele are the oldest, the rest of the industry is now seeing exactly what, unfortunately, is happening worldwide, or at least in the US.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, so I mean, taking the temperature of that series in general and in motorcycling, what do you see, PJ, what are the factors that are affecting people not wanting to go road racing, let's say?
PJ Doran: Well, if you don't see children literally hanging on the fence at a motorcycle race, then it's probably not doing what me, as a fan of the sport in general, wants to have happen. A lot of guys like Tony, promoters and track owners, if you don't have kids hanging on the fence just chomping at the bit to get closer to that noisy cool thing, then it's probably... you're fighting an uphill battle, you might even get people out. But, if there's no one really, and that's a sad commentary, I know. [crosstalk 00:04:39].
Tony Wenck: It's not just racing, you guys.
PJ Doran: It's everything.
Tony Wenck: It's everything, hunting... I mean, we beat this horse enough. Hunting's in trouble, fishing's in trouble, and it isn't with the older crowd. Here's what you got, you got kids that are doing it with old people like my age and older, and then you got old people doing it. The 20s to 30s, they're not doing it. They're not going racing, they're not going watching the racing. A guy told me, I was at an open house at Hicklin Powersports, my local Yamaha KTM shop, I was talking to a guy that's built some very big companies in the industry, he happens to live here in Des Moines. I'm not going to give him the... I'm not going to give him the-
PJ Doran: I know who you're talking about.
Tony Wenck: ... I'm not going to say his name, just because he'd like it too much. He fired me years ago. We won't talk about that either.
Dave Sulecki: That guy.
Tony Wenck: That guy. But, he's really smart and I did enjoy talking to him. But, he said everything that happens in the car industry or in the cars happens in motorcycles 10 years later. Well, you look at car racing, it has taken-
PJ Doran: A nose dive.
Tony Wenck: ... It has turned, it has changed drastically, and you see all kinds of little racetracks going away.
PJ Doran: Big ones.
Tony Wenck: We've said this... We've said this for many years, motorcycle racing is a lot like farming, all the little ones are going to go away and only the big ones are going to be left.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, shaking in a monkey tree, sure. You say that auto racing is down, I know NASCAR has gone through some things. Last Friday, I was at the Performance Racing Industry show down in Indianapolis, and that's primarily an automotive market show. It's kind of the hardcore engine guys and racers.
Dave Sulecki: I'll tell you what, if you walked into that show, you would think that racing was completely on the upswing, that it's just exploding right now. You would think that by looking at that market and kind of just observing it. So something doesn't quite box in that realm. I wish the motorcycle trade shows had the same vibe and the same health, I guess, for lack of a better word. PJ, you've probably been to trade events and seen nobody is there.
PJ Doran: Absolutely. But, then, you will occasionally see notable standouts. I've been to Circuit of the Americas in Texas a couple of times for MotoGP, worked that event. They do a really good job of marketing that specific event, I think, and Austin's a vibrant city, which really gives you a whole bunch of clientele, I think, for what you're trying to do at a racetrack. If you took only that race as a barometer of what's happening in US motorcycle racing, you'd say, "We're in great shape." I don't know that that's necessarily true.
Dave Sulecki: It's kind of like walking into Loretta Lynn's and saying, "There's nothing wrong."
Tony Wenck: Exactly.
Dave Sulecki: Look at all the research, everything's great.
Tony Wenck: Well, you come to my qualifier in the spring, if it rains...
Dave Sulecki: Go to a local track and you see so many fine racers and wonder.
PJ Doran: That is the exact analogy.
Tony Wenck: Exactly.
PJ Doran: This week's trivia question's a good one. What year was the first, very first, full-faced coverage helmet introduced? What year was that?
Dave Sulecki: Bonus points if you name the brand.
Tony Wenck: What's up, Dave?
Dave Sulecki: Oh, not much. Thanks, Tony, I appreciate the intro and the kind words as always.
Tony Wenck: I threw you in there with Brock Sellards and Jeff Gibson.
Dave Sulecki: Those are some pretty big motocross names right now.
Tony Wenck: Kind of a big deal over there in Ohio.
Dave Sulecki: We always have this debate in Ohio, who's the fastest guy ever from Ohio, motocross. We're always jumping back and forth between Sellards, and Gibson, and Fred Andrews, or who's that guy? I always go back to Gary Semics.
Tony Wenck: Oh, yeah, well, but you're showing your age there.
Dave Sulecki: That's going a little further back, actually further back than myself. But, still, you talk about accomplishments in racing, all great guys. Luckily, being in the industry, I've gotten to meet and I know a few of them. I think I know Brock better than any of them. He was a long time friend of Wiseco, one of our zealots out there in the industry, works for Western Powersports as a, I think, one of the distributor reps or one of the area reps, excuse me.
Tony Wenck: Yeah, he's a rep in Ohio, and he actually... from just knowing his numbers for what he did at least with... Obviously, he's going to do well with Wiseco because we were sponsors of his team and of him throughout the year. But, I look at his numbers and he's ranked very well in the company with those sales.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, he always was. Yeah, I can remember doing the training at Western. Once a year you would go there as a big distributor for their product, excuse me, as a supplier of product, and you would do training with all the reps, and he was always top of the list. He's one of those guys that he goes into a shop, he knows them really well already, and as you know, racers bring credibility to a brand. He would carry that with him.
Tony Wenck: 100%.
Dave Sulecki: 100%. He'd take it out in the market and they knew if Brock was connected to it, it was a good product. We were always lucky to have good guys like that all along the years, yourself, other racers out there in the world that really help push and promote the brand. It's a good product, it kind of sells itself, but having that credibility tied to it is priceless.
Tony Wenck: I was on an online auction to buy a water truck and I'm talking to the guy, the contact. It was really weird. He answers the phone, I said, "Hey, I'm calling... " And this guy's down in Missouri or somewhere, it's a ways away, he doesn't know me from Adam. I said, "Hey, I'm calling about the water truck. Is this a good time?" He goes, "It's a pretty good time, I'm sitting here working on my KTM and it's pissing me off." And I go, "Oh, you're a motorcycle guy."
Dave Sulecki: Well, there you go.
Tony Wenck: Yeah, it was funny, he goes, "Yeah, I'm originally from Ohio and I'm down here and I live by Finger Lakes Park," which is where they used to have... I raced Ricky Carmichael there and minibikes, he spoke to me and I was on an 80 and he was on a 60. But, it was really cool talking to him. But, he was talking about Ohio and he said that there's not near as many tracks, and there's a ton in Missouri, but he said Ohio is just full, littered of off road and motocross.
Tony Wenck: We were talking about Crow Canyon and he said he could never... he couldn't get in there as a member, because they're sold out. I about lost my mind, that there's that many people knocking on their door to be a member that they have to turn people away, and that's a big place.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, Ohio's a healthy off road area. I mean, there's places... I only have to drive 20 minutes to ride, even less sometimes. It's all close by. There's racetracks and off road riding combined. I mean, it's pretty much anything you want to do. Not quite riding out of your backyard, like you do, Tony, but plenty of opportunities. You said you raced Ricky Carmichael and he beat you on his 60?
Tony Wenck: Yeah, so we were at this thing called the Hotdog Shootout, and I was Team Green, before my folks got a divorce and my dad sold the bike shop. I got a little tear going on right now. So we had to hit certain races and stuff, and the Hotdog Shootout was a close one. We hit Whitney, we'd do [Punker 00:11:44], obviously all the bigger ones, but the Hotdog Shootout was kind of a big deal.
Tony Wenck: So we're down there and they said, "There's this kid on the 60 that wants to ride with the 80 class. Anybody mind? He's going to be scored differently." "What do I care? I'm going to smoke everybody, right?"
PJ Doran: Little did you know.
Tony Wenck: Yes. So I'm hauling ass, at least I think I am, through the loops and here comes this little, fat, pudgy, little freckled red head kid that just annihilated me. It was so... I'm like, "Who is that?" I'm like 10, it was RC, and he's just a smidge younger than me.
PJ Doran: Very demoralizing is the word.
Tony Wenck: And still three foot shorter than me, I'll remind him of that every time I see him to this day. And now he's as fat as me, it's great.
PJ Doran: You hope he doesn't listen, he will call and throw eggs.
Dave Sulecki: I got a similar story and this is absolutely amazing, the parallel, you're going to love this. Probably about 1988, I would say, I was riding 500 two strokes, that was the class I rode. I was getting to be a pretty good rider, I was top B rider, I could usually win most weekends.
Dave Sulecki: I went to local track here in Cleveland on the west side called Amherst, it's a club track, ran the usual motos. They had a class called extra class, you might even have it at your track now. You pretty much... anybody can sign up, any ability, it's really just for track time, but still, they drop the gate and you go.
Dave Sulecki: So we line up all the bikes and I'm on my 500 Honda, and naturally pulled a [00:13:21], it goes without saying, right? I'm going along what I think is pretty good, I'm going through the loops pretty fast and I hear this little, "Weeee" coming up behind me, and flies past me. It was a little KX 65, and it was Brock Sellards.
Tony Wenck: It would've been a 60 back then.
Dave Sulecki: He blew my doors off, absolutely smoked me.
Tony Wenck: Sellards beat you on a 500, you're on a 500 and he's on a 60.
Dave Sulecki: I was on a 500 and he beat me. So you should feel better about yourself now.
Tony Wenck: I don't think I'd brag about that one.
PJ Doran: Yeah, it happens.
Dave Sulecki: Well, there it is on podcast, so everybody can talk about it.
PJ Doran: It happens everywhere. I've, through complete and utter luck, got to ride with a bunch of fast road racers. As they were coming up, I was really getting into amateur road racing. It was their stepping stone up, it was the pinnacle of my mountain, those two paths crossed. So I got to ride with Garrett Gerloff, Jake Lewis, Elana Myers, JD Beach, all of them when they were right at the crossing over from riding track days to clearly they're going to be getting paid to race motorcycles for Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki next year. I would have to line up with these kids, and the amount of embarrassment, I mean, I just quit even... I had to check my ego entirely at the trailer and go, "Hey, it'll be... I got the best seat in the house at least, I get to watch these guys from the starting line as they ride off into the sunset."
Dave Sulecki: That's racing, man. No matter how fast you think you are, there's always somebody faster.
Tony Wenck: So you watch guys like Brock come up in Ohio, and Ohio is or was a hotbed for a lot of guys on a national level, and not all of them made it to the extent that those guys did. But, you always have fast guys in Ohio. Something that we've talked about on this show and definitely within the organization of the people that run motorcycle tracks like I do here at motocross, we've seen a sharp decline in fair races here in Iowa I suppose, because motocross isn't as popular as it was, but also it's more expensive and fair boards have been extremely difficult to deal with to keep a race going.
Tony Wenck: I think that has been a good way to showcase motocross as an entryway to go racing of all different kinds of racing.
PJ Doran: Yeah, in case you're in front of a new audience, that's a huge win at a fairground.
Tony Wenck: And also Arenacross has not failed, put that thing to bed.
Dave Sulecki: Stick a fork in it.
PJ Doran: There is someone trying to read. To be fair, there is an organization out there that's making a go of it.
Tony Wenck: But they're not here.
PJ Doran: They're not here.
Dave Sulecki: No, it's all West, isn't it, Tony?
Tony Wenck: It's down South, it's out West. There's a...
Dave Sulecki: It's not in the Midwest where you know there's a big concentration of racers.
Tony Wenck: There's one in coming up in Omaha. It's the same weekend as Anaheim one. I'm not going, I'm headed to Florida, so I'm going.
Dave Sulecki: Bad kind of timing, I would say.
PJ Doran: It is.
Tony Wenck: I don't know if it is though, man, because by the time the racers start in Anaheim, these kids are done racing. It's too big.
Dave Sulecki: That could be, that's a good point, late start.
PJ Doran: Hey, it'll be interesting to see what happens with that. We should try and talk to somebody from that deal and get a temperature reading on how did the event go.
Tony Wenck: I think is a nice trail across series.
PJ Doran: It sounds right. And we've talked to him before.
Tony Wenck: I just think that it has been a deterrent to keep the momentum for motocross going in our state anyway. I'm curious, you being in Ohio, what's your thoughts on it, or is it just gangbusters still?
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, well, I mean to talk about the fair races specifically, in Ohio, it was never a platform to grow the sport. It was more a... they always teamed it up with the fair events, which is usually in the fall in Ohio. And they would tag it onto the Smash-up Derby and kind of make it sound like that.
Dave Sulecki: You got a bunch of people sitting in the stand drinking beer watching guys race and it would be just kind of a one off event. It seems like in Ohio, my take on it after doing it as long as I have is it seems to be feast or famine. You have tracks that are either killing it or starving and there seems to be no in between.
Dave Sulecki: And the ones that are starving, and I just use that as a term that is, they're not literally starving, but they are the practice tracks on the weekend now, they're not holding race events cause they can't seem to make the money.
Dave Sulecki: But then you have the other end of the spectrum. You have these tracks like Malvern or Chile town that are just, they crush it, 400, 500 riders a weekend. And the other tracks are lucky to get 60 or 70 or 80 guys out there to race.
Tony Wenck: Oh, they are that much better or what?
Dave Sulecki: I think so. They run type programs, they keep a good surface.
PJ Doran: If you have money, you have better facilities, which then leads, it's more money.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, it's [crosstalk 00:18:02].
PJ Doran: If you have a nice clean bathroom, you get Lisa's mom to show up.
Dave Sulecki: Bathrooms at those tracks, what?
PJ Doran: Yeah, there you go.
Dave Sulecki: I'll never forget racing. Going down to middle Heil, they actually have an indoor bathrooms with showers.
PJ Doran: Oh yeah. And everybody remembers the worst ones. You remember the worst ones.
Dave Sulecki: You do remember the worst ones.
PJ Doran: I know in Michigan, the road race tracks that had the worst ones.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah. And you always go, "Man, I remember that hole, I'll never go back there." It just seems that way to me. My perspective is its feast or famine. And the ones that are doing well or are more clever, they're doing things like you've done at your track Tony, you just seem to be more creative with the ideas on how to draw people out.
Dave Sulecki: You talked about doing the off road event, the woods cross where, "I'm going to let the guys you race here all the time, race for free," those little things-
Tony Wenck: I do it constantly.
Dave Sulecki: ... add up to a lot, and I think for the racers it means a lot.
PJ Doran: You're making it a family event. What I see at Tony's event that very clearly and firsthand is this is a family event and you've just increased the audience by a massive amount. If it isn't... All right, the starting Gates there, the pits there and don't... anyone walk around or do anything-
Tony Wenck: But so many hot moms though, just kidding.
PJ Doran: ... Well, there are trucks where it gets a little antiseptic. It does.
Tony Wenck: I have tried to though, like we have a playground, I have a pit bike track that's absolutely-
PJ Doran: That's the stuff I'm talking about.
Tony Wenck: ... you don't have to pay anything. If you're eating-
PJ Doran: Bring your kids, let them play.
Tony Wenck: ... There's kids that don't race and I didn't know this until this year. They thought they were busted. I'm sitting here talking to this guy and I go, "Your kid out there?" And he goes, "Oh, he's on the pit bike track right now." "Oh cool. What class does he race?" And he just kind of froze up and he goes-
PJ Doran: He doesn't.
Tony Wenck: "We don't. We just wait till you have an event. And he brings his pit bike down and he rides. We pay 10 bucks to get in and we ride all day on this track." And I said, sweet.
PJ Doran: Perfect, tell your friends about it. They need to come because that's your audience and out of that audience, someone's going to get the bug and they are going to be at Pit, but you got to at least let them see what it looks like.
Tony Wenck: He paid 10 bucks, so what...
PJ Doran: You already won.
Tony Wenck: I didn't prep that track. I built it. It's done. It's got an over under. It's so cool. It's got-
Dave Sulecki: That's... My favorite track is... Tremor Vines runs a race track out just East of me. It's a 40 minute drive.
Tony Wenck: TV land.
Dave Sulecki: TV land. Yeah, exactly. I think you might've actually been out there a Tony when you're out to visit.
Tony Wenck: No, I've never been there.
Dave Sulecki: Okay. For some reason I thought we took you out there. But anyway, the point is Trevor does that kind of thing too. He keeps it fun. He's got a huge pond where you can ride a jet ski. It's got a slide for the kids to go into and a beach, he's got two kids tracks that are going constantly. And you don't necessarily have to sign up and race but you can be there and ride. And after the races are over he lets the kids ride.
Dave Sulecki: It's those little things add up to a lot and that's what helps, I think, draw the people out that maybe are a little intimidated going on the race track, but they can kind of dip their toe in the water, kind of see how things go during the day.
Tony Wenck: I agree with that. I'll give you an example of people that are doing it right and people that could improve. We've got a series over in Illinois, an off road, Hare scramble type series that they always have a separate track for the minibikes and then when the race is over, they ride all day long. There it is, keep going.
Tony Wenck: So then in Iowa, the off-road series, they don't have a separate track a lot of times and the kids don't get to ride all day long and they have their race, they race for half an hour and then they go home.
Tony Wenck: And if you see, which... you can't do it, I mean you can't always have everything for free and you can't always provide everything.
PJ Doran: No, letting those kids ride then just builds their desire to go to your track.
Tony Wenck: So the minibike turnout over in Illinois is 100 minibikes alone. The turnout in Iowa is about 14. Figure that one out. It's like the average age of off-road racer in Iowa is plus 40, I'm not joking, that's not Motorcross, that's Hare scramble woods guys. That's holy crap, we're in trouble.
Tony Wenck: We've just got it approved to go through the IRA, speaking of organizations that I'm picking on. They have welcomed me with open arms. I'm pretty stoked on this. We're getting ready to announce a GP series that we're going to do a four tracks. Mine, Oak Ridge, might not be in Winterset, Riverside Raceway, Oak Ridge up in Northeastern of in Iowa, one over in Sigourney, which is a a fairgrounds and then a new and called Circuit 180 that everybody's freaking out about. It's so good and it's got woods too.
Tony Wenck: So we're going to have longer motors like 20 plus minute motos. They're going to be two modal formats. There's going to be motocross and off road. The rule is no single track. It's going to be four foot or wider.
Tony Wenck: So, every Motorcross or every trail rider, every guy that is intimidated by that. The exception is if you're going through a covert, under a tunnel jump or a manmade obstacle that's specific, we are going to have Enduro across sections that you can go around if you want. And it's going to be quicker to go over the obstacle obviously.
Tony Wenck: And the idea is we're going to cater to mini bikes and we're going to cater to vets because that's who's going racing. The 20 somethings, they're either going to show up or they're not. But you can't build a business around them because they don't have the money or they're just not spending it with me.
Dave Sulecki: Well, and the key takeaway is you're getting creative. You're doing a little bit different than the other guy. And I think that draws people out just in itself.
Tony Wenck: Working twice as hard [crosstalk 00:23:32], believe me.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, you're working twice as hard, but I think it makes a difference. And that's the big concern. Where's the future riders coming from? And it sounds like in Illinois they've got it figured out.
Tony Wenck: So Dave, I talked about this, you were my boss at Wiseco, no longer working for that company, but still obviously very involved in the industry, especially here with this podcast, the show. You were at Wiseco for like 30 years or something.
Dave Sulecki: 31, feels like a lifetime.
Tony Wenck: You have seen this industry swell up and shrink, swell up and shrink many times.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, I have. And it's always interesting to look back in the rear view mirror and try to figure out what the triggers were for it to shrink. A lot of it was economy 2008, things fell out and that was the shaking of the monkey tree where a lot of the weak aftermarket companies fell off and the strong ones survived.
Dave Sulecki: Unfortunately, I think that's what you get when that happens. Four strokes coming in, in the motocross, that was huge, but it really changed the aftermarket and how people repaired and maintain their vehicles. And that whole mindset has changed from what it used to be. Anybody and everybody worked on a bike prior to that and they weren't afraid of it, and it's really changed the mindset now.
Dave Sulecki: You have racers who say, "I won't touch it. I take it to somebody else."
PJ Doran: Because I don't want it to blow up on the starting line.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah. And you know PJ in a dealership, you see it too, right?
PJ Doran: Oh absolutely. We've built motors and it's not a fun... side commentary, not a real fun business to be in motor builder. There's a lot of stress and the people who want it done, money is tight for any race program that I'm in a encounter. It's a weekend race program and, "Hey, can you build us a hot rod and we don't have much money." That sounds like a whole bunch of bad for both of us.
Dave Sulecki: And I can never remember back before that people threw motorcycles away. You blow up a 250F and then you see the frame for sale on a [crosstalk 00:25:41].
PJ Doran: We don't talk about it. They insure these things. It blows my mind that an insurance company would even consider laying down a policy.
Tony Wenck: Wait a minute, wait a minute. What?
PJ Doran: Motocross bikes get insured.
Tony Wenck: Are you sure there's a guy that throws motorcycles away.
Dave Sulecki: Yes.
PJ Doran: They insure them-
Tony Wenck: Monthly.
PJ Doran: ... monthly. But the whole reason I've thought long enough about it, it's because there's borrowed money on the line. I mean the likelihood of a 18 year old who managed to scrape together a good enough credit rating to sign up for a 250 or even younger, he's likely could get the loan, the way it goes.
Tony Wenck: That what I'm talking about. I lose my mind when I see the price of these motorcycles. There's $12,000 for the race.
PJ Doran: Yeah, the bike's not going to lose on that.
Tony Wenck: The thing is, why I say we're catering to the kids and the old guys. Because the old guys can buy them for the kids, and the 20 somethings they can afford to have a bike, some of them, but they can't afford to go race a lot of times. That's why they're hitting practice tracks.
Dave Sulecki: The bike is just the starting point. You still got to gate there, you got to maintain, you need the riding gear.
PJ Doran: You need gear, you need everything.
Dave Sulecki: Tires aren't cheap, fuel's not cheap and it all adds up quickly. And next thing you know-
Tony Wenck: Entry fees are cheap.
PJ Doran: Entry fee is the easiest hurdle of the whole deal.
Dave Sulecki: It's the lowest number anyway.
Tony Wenck: We're talking about it and they're like... I've always been the first guy to say, "We need to raise our entry fees, which to raise... for everybody to say, We're all raising our price," that's illegal.
PJ Doran: That is price setting.
Tony Wenck: It is illegal. However, I can't afford to be in business to lose money.
PJ Doran: No.
Tony Wenck: But when I know that I'm going to lose money, I got to have some hope that I'm going to break even and that hasn't happened in two years, unfortunately.
PJ Doran: It has to happen.
Tony Wenck: But it has to start or, let's hope my other businesses continue to kick ass because if they don't...
PJ Doran: Fireworks are always in demand.
Dave Sulecki: Well, Fireworks are financing the racing.
PJ Doran: Yeah. It's always something. Dave, I wanted to ask you, you're a so clearly off-roads, your real wheelhouse background. Awesome. Do you get out, have you been out to road racing at all in any recent capacity?
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, I have. I'm fascinated by those guys who do it and do it well. I've ridden street my entire life. In fact, like this summer I picked up a new street bike and I forgot how much I missed it and enjoyed it.
PJ Doran: It's a lot of fun.
Dave Sulecki: It's a ton of fun.
PJ Doran: In your relative neighborhood, Indianapolis, back on the calendar for road racing, not MotoGP unfortunately, but we are going to see our national best series.
Dave Sulecki: All right, still exciting.
PJ Doran: Motoamerica at Indy. I will absolutely be there. I love camping there. A facility that's built for 500 plus thousand people feels awesome with exactly 100,000 people. It feels empty. You feel like you have the run of the place and it's still a really good time.
Dave Sulecki: 2Oh I bet. I bet. My era was super bike racing at mid Ohio.
PJ Doran: Amazing place.
Dave Sulecki: Out of Wiseco, the previous owners was the Kipp family. So Tommy Kipp was racing out of Ohio, out of a Wiseco. That was a big event because the entire shop would go down to middle Ohio to watch him race.
PJ Doran: As long as it didn't rain. It was one heck of a facility.
Dave Sulecki: Oh yeah, that's a great track.
PJ Doran: That's really what took it off the calendar. It's unfortunate that they never... without knowing the backstory, there's a reason Trex don't... things...
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, I'm sure they've changed hands a few times. And now their big thing is they do some SCCA stuff there and Vintage Days. That's the big event that-
PJ Doran: Vintage Day's huge.
Dave Sulecki: ... the entire country I think shows up in Lexington, Ohio for three days.
PJ Doran: Much like Barbara and their vintage. Their Vintage deal at Barbara has absolutely eclipsed everything else at Barbara.
Dave Sulecki: I got to that every year.
PJ Doran: It's eclipsed everything to my understanding that they do at that facility, that's the thing that does the best buy a lot.
Dave Sulecki: That's what the guys in the mid Ohio will tell you the same thing. They'd say that's their best event dollar wise, because it's three days long and it's, I don't know how many hundred thousand people.
PJ Doran: Tony, I'm hearing you need to invent a vintage class at your track and you need to have a vintage weekend because it's where the money is and everyone's figuring it out.
Tony Wenck: I was just talking about it last night. I was saying, "I want to do like a-
PJ Doran: '70s [crosstalk 00:29:58] or?
Dave Sulecki: [crosstalk 00:29:58] motocross or?
Tony Wenck: No, I mean not any more, guys just quit coming. But I mean we have a vintage class, but I want to do like a Midwest vet just called Midwest vet and do like, like I'm not into the twin shock stuff, but there's a bunch of them out there and just kind of like destroy my track, so everything's just kind of rolled or whatever and then do a big deal and get Jeff standing there and Damon Bradshaw and a bunch of guys from the '70s. I think for like-
PJ Doran: Hollywood. Wouldn't be cool to get your Baja teammate over there? Oh man.
Tony Wenck: He would come.
PJ Doran: He would come and probably bring a killer bike.
Tony Wenck: Yeah, Jim Hollywood would come to it. I think we could really... I was just saying this last night. "we need to do a vintage thing at the track." My facility is a little jumpy. I can totally ruin my track, and I could do something with side-by-sides too, honestly, like a weekend later or something because it would-
PJ Doran: It would pay the bills.
Tony Wenck: ... it would pay for the dirt work, in other words.
Dave Sulecki: That would be a good way to look at it. Isn't AMA a possibility, where you could bring in the entire class structure and have an event?
Tony Wenck: Yeah. The trouble with AMA, it's just like the structure that I have going on now, there's 25 classes and you might get three in each class. Super boring.
Dave Sulecki: So you've got combine gates and really make [crosstalk 00:31:20].
Tony Wenck: I run the vintage race in Davenport, it's a half mile flat track race.
PJ Doran: That's a great event.
Tony Wenck: It is a great event. And I inherited it. I mean, I bought it off of the guy that ran it for 20 years and the guy before him was John Parham, on J&P Cycles, who passed away a few years ago. But that event's super cool, but we don't do AMA. It's kind of a little bit of a melting pot, some of the classes, and, "Hey, that's not the correct tire that's on the bike." No shit, you're going 80 mile an hour and that tire would kill you.
PJ Doran: Would kill you and guy behind you and in front of you. It's not safe.
Tony Wenck: So that's why we're doing it this way. And it's-
PJ Doran: AMA often won't let common sense get in the way of a correctness.
Tony Wenck: I'm not thinking AMA specifically, but their clientele definitely are sticklers, and I'm not looking for something like that. I'm just looking for a cool vibe that where I as a...
PJ Doran: As a fan.
Tony Wenck: And there's a lot of millennials that ride 1990s bikes and early 2000s. I want to have a class for that too.
PJ Doran: Absolutely.
Dave Sulecki: I think '97 is the cutoff for a lot of that. They kind of, I think, they call it Ultima. I could be wrong, but either.
Tony Wenck: I don't care. I want it to be in the 2000s, there's two-strokes.
PJ Doran: Early 2000s yeah, it's the last of the two-stroke era.
Tony Wenck: Yeah. R250s, CR500s.
Dave Sulecki: I think the reason they cut it off at '97 or '98 was because of the four- stroke introduction, so they said anything from that and back. But the other sanctioning body's AMA Vintage. So you being already AMA affiliated, that might be an avenue to take because they have a little bit different class structure and it might be a little more friendly to some of the riders that want to come there and do it.
Tony Wenck: I think we're going to do a Tony class structure.
Dave Sulecki: Tony class structure. Run what you will.
Tony Wenck: Well, Dave, it's going to be fun having you on. I want to welcome you to the team.
Dave Sulecki: I really appreciate it. I'm excited for 2020, this is great. Really, really appreciate you guys having me on and everything that Evergreen's done.
PJ Doran: All right. This week's trivia question on Pit Pass was, what year was the first full face coverage helmet introduced? And the answer is 1968. The Bell Star helmet. Thank you Bell for bringing all of us better grills because without that we would've had more teeth missing.
Tony Wenck: And multiple concussions at '90s.
PJ Doran: Definitely. That was a helmet that had staying power for some reason, and it really had staying power. It's stuck with the industry for quite a while. Merry Christmas to everybody from Pit Pass. Because of the holidays we don't have a lot going on in the immediate future around the corner. Of course, we have Supercross season starting in January. We'll talk to you about that next week.
Tony Wenck: All right. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app where you'll get alerts when new episodes are uploaded. Of course, make sure you also following us on Twitter and Facebook and our website hitpassmoto.com.
PJ Doran: This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Adam Entkinap, our producer Leah Longbreak and audio engineer, Sean Rule Hoffman. See you next week.