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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.
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.
Dave Sulecki: I'm Dave Sulecki.
PJ Doran: This week on Pit Pass we have Tyler O'Hara and Brock Sellards. But first, here's the latest news in the industry, what's going on Dave?
Dave Sulecki: Well, a lot of racing to talk about this weekend. We had Supercross Triple Crown in Arlington, Texas. And we also had some GNCC racing to touch on. But before I get too deep into that, PJ, what's your take on the Triple Crown? What do you think?
PJ Doran: I love the races, this was number two of three for the season, right?
Dave Sulecki: So you're a fan?
PJ Doran: I am a fan, I like seeing three main events. I think you lose a little bit in that you don't get to see maybe the qualifying, during the main broadcast, because there's so much actual main event racing.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, and you get the same riders on the track at the same time three times in a row. So you got three additional... I wouldn't say additional gate drops, because it's the same number of gate drops, but you got your main players on the track.
PJ Doran: Yeah, absolutely. So you get to watch Roczen and Tomac and Webb and everybody else really duke it out. You got the 250 class, what a race that was.
Dave Sulecki: It was, yeah. Well, we could start with that. It turned out to be a [Sexton 00:01:26] win. He went 2-1-2 for first overall, which was great. [McElrath 00:01:31] right behind him, he finished 3-2-1 for second. And then Hampshire came up third. Hampshire was the surprise of the night in that class, he was just wreaking carnage on the [inaudible 00:01:40]-
PJ Doran: Yeah, he was. He made some passes that maybe got under a couple people's outer skins maybe, if you will.
Dave Sulecki: Let's just say he had a propensity for green motorcycles that night. Because he took out Smith, gave him a good parking, took out Sexton, but he also took out Smith. He just had it out for those guys. He was aggressive. It was good to see, he got his actual first Supercross win in that class.
PJ Doran: Yeah, and McElrath as we discussed last week, had been so dominant. He still was absolutely fast, but it didn't go all his way tonight like it previously has.
Dave Sulecki: No he suffered from some Tomac-like starts and had to work his way up to third in the first moto, second moto. Got up to second, third moto, he said, okay, I'm just going to start up front, it's a lot easier that way and I can win the race that way. And that's how it turned out. And then Sexton didn't push it, he didn't need the win.
PJ Doran: He definitely gave him a run though. I would have to say, Sexton looked like he could run McElrath's pace when he wanted to.
Dave Sulecki: He did, he did but then he backed it down. Because he didn't need to win the moto to win the overall. So that put an interesting spin on that series, because now you got two guys tied for first, two red plates next week, when they go to Georgia.
PJ Doran: Yeah, that's interesting, two red plates. Yeah, it's going to be awesome watching how this E-series plays out. And in the 450s, there was some excitement there too.
Dave Sulecki: Oh yeah, a lot of carnage there. As we know we had a couple riders hurt. So the big word of the night is camelback. So that jump and that obstacle just wreaked carnage. First it takes out AC in qualifying, so the Cianciarulo's out now for probably the rest of the Supercross season with a broken collarbone.
PJ Doran: You think? I mean, we've seen riders come back from collarbones.
Dave Sulecki: Well, it depends. They say if they played it, he can come back in four weeks, if they let it heal, it's probably six weeks. But still, it's going to pretty much take him out of the series for sure. The other guy it took out that was pivotal in the series was Cooper Webb. He went down in that second moto, and just rode the front wheel and flipped over and hit the concrete hard. It was hard to watch. And he bounced off the concrete.
PJ Doran: Yep, that is definitely going to leave a mark. He's a superhuman athlete, so I'm sure he's going to surprise us with his ability to come back. But that's going to have to affect his performance in the upcoming races, one would think.
Dave Sulecki: Unfortunately that put some 26 points down on Tomac in first. So where's his season going, it's hard to say, that's a lot of ground to make up unless something major happens. I feel bad for him. He was really starting to do well, but that obstacle just took a toll on... It basically, I think three riders I know for sure, that suffered because of that camelback obstacle. Obviously Webb and AC, but also Jimmy Decotis in the 250 class. So it definitely, unless those guys sent it and got over that fourth hump, they were going to crash. So it was rough on everybody.
PJ Doran: Yeah, it definitely was a difference maker on the night, the rest of the track. I really enjoyed the racing, there was a lot of good passing back and forth battles. Anderson, gosh, we've talked about how rough his season's been, and finally things go his way a little bit.
Dave Sulecki: A little bit, until that last moto when he started out out front, and then I thought, well, it's finally going to happen for him. And then I thought about what we talked about before and wouldn't you know it, I think he ended up fifth in that final moto. So he had a rough night. Tomac really took hold of it by that third moto, just he owns the class right now. Roczen gave a good run. And Roczen had a good stat going into that event, because he finished four Triple Crown Motos in a row in first place. And then Tomac came along.
PJ Doran: Yeah, it was it was interesting to watch. Tomac got a horrible start in the first moto, or the first race as it were, first main. And then main two, he got a great start and he was gone. No one even got close to him. It's good to see that he can fight from the back when he has to, but it's wonderful when he doesn't have to, because God, he's just so much faster than everybody else when he's going.
Dave Sulecki: Well for sure, he had to work for it, that third moto. I mean, he'd started out I think about sixth or fifth and worked his way up to first. There's some couple guys who fell down, but he worked it out. So Tomac with first with a 5-1-1, Roczen with second and a 1-7-2. And your boy Anderson with a 3-2-5. So that kind of shakes the points out. Tomac starting to build a lead, now he's got about seven points I think on Roczen. And then it's a big leap back to Cooper Webb in third. So the points are shaping up. It's kind of headed where we talked about before. It looks like Tomac's the stud of the class and Roczen's close. And now with Webb hurt, who knows how that's going to go when he goes to Georgia next week? Hopefully he'll be able to ride and also compete. I guess that's the big question.
PJ Doran: Yeah, and Cianciarulo to your point, likely out for the foreseeable races. He's always been, this season, been a front starter. He's into turn one with everybody. One last guy maybe who's going to be challenging for that whole shot.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, for sure. And the other guy I mentioned a couple of broadcasts ago, Justin Hill, just another good night, he ended up sixth overall. Again on the semi private tier MCR smart top motorcycles. Just, he's making a lot of noise in that class, and he's been the cream of the crop of the second tier down. Over Stewart, and even Plessinger who's a factory guy, and Dean Wilson, Blake Baggett, he's been ahead of all those guys. Justin Hill's been impressive, it's really been a great series this year. I'm looking forward to this third and final Triple Crown race coming up. But until then we've got some standard supercrosses coming. And some real competitive racing, I hope.
PJ Doran: Yeah, and I will continue to mention it. As we will be talking with one of the competitors in the upcoming Daytona 200, looking forward to talking to him and a couple others over the coming weeks, as we lead into that crucial first road race event here in the States.
PJ Doran: Got a pretty interesting trivia question this week, what do we got going on?
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, we do. This week's Pit Pass trivia question of the week is a really good historical question, recently historical anyway. What was the first four-stroke motocross bike to win a Supercross? Name the rider and what year. We'll look in on that later in the show.
PJ Doran: Look forward to the answer. All right, welcome to Pit Pass. Tyler O'Hara, one of our perennial favorites here at Pit Pass. We've interviewed him lots of times and fortunately I've gotten to meet hang out, eat tacos and drink beer with Tyler on occasion. Of course after his racing duties have been fulfilled. One of our favorite racers to watch who is going to be hopefully one of the front runners in the very soon to come Daytona 200. Welcome back to Pit Pass Tyler, what's going on?
Tyler O'Hara: Hey guys, thanks for having me back. Just enjoying my training and preparation, and getting ready for Daytona 200. And really excited for the opportunity and looking forward to the challenge.
PJ Doran: And who you riding with for this upcoming race Tyler? I know there's a lot of riders. The class I think has now cleared the 60 plus mark of entries. There's a lot of seasoned veterans who maybe aren't racing entire seasons, like you have very recently raced entire seasons of road racing, who are you riding for?
Tyler O'Hara: So this year, basically we got the same program that we had last year. Last year we had Floyd's of Leadville come on board as our title sponsor for Daytona 200. And basically this is going to be a one off race like we did last year. Been preparing all winter and actually ever since we left Daytona last year. M-Tech Motorcycles and Matt [Warbis 00:09:44] has built the bike all winter. And feeling very prepared basically running our own program. We're riding that Kawasaki into 636. We picked up from K&B Motorsports here in Petaluma, and got a little support from Kawasaki USA with that. And everything's in-house. We bought the bike and we built the bike, we got equipped with K-tech suspension and all the good parts; spark exhausts, and just really happy with the build. Last year for us, everything kind of came together last minute for our sponsorship, and we kind of just do the deal together and go to Daytona and kind of see how we'd fare. We had some good pace, and we actually had the fastest track speed last year with our bike, and qualified fifth. Just the consistency wasn't there, just not really enough time on the bike. But basically this last year we developed the bike all year and I'm feeling a lot more confident and comfortable on the bike.
Tyler O'Hara: Really looking forward to the to the challenge, man. I've been training my butt off. And we went and did a two-day test this last weekend at Sonoma Raceway, and had a very productive test. We got a couple new crew guys and some new you know [inaudible 00:11:01] and a new rear quick change, and we're going to go test the weekend before Jennings GP as well, and practice our pit stops some more. So everything's on track and my plan is just stick to the plan.
Dave Sulecki: So Tyler I saw some video, you testing at Sonoma which was pretty cool. Now what were you guys working on specifically when you were at the track? Were you trying to dial-in handling as an engine tuning, what's the usual approach?
Tyler O'Hara: So Saturday, we just worked on our chassis setup. I had a different set of forks, K-tech forks, but we had a different valving and spring rate. And it was like night and day. And I'm really glad that we got to try that, because we were kind of going around in circles with the forks that we had. And it just wasn't getting any better. We were testing the fork settings and spring rate, and then also we made some clutch stack adjustments. We found that sweet spot, say that. And then I tested some tires. And that was a big one, I'm going a different direction this year, which I think is going to be a real big advantage, and put us up front.
Dave Sulecki: Tires are ultimately very important to Daytona as we know, that's sometimes the make or break, right?
Tyler O'Hara: Yeah, you know, it's important. And I got a good opportunity and a good deal I couldn't pass up from Pirelli, going to run the Pirellis this year at Daytona. And this Kawasaki Ninja 636 really likes that front tire that they got. I don't know if you watched the race last year, but Kyle basically rode away from us in the infield. By the time we got onto the banking, he was already checked out. So kind of had a little something to do with my decision but basically, I went back-to-back on tires and then slept on it, and that's the decision I made.
PJ Doran: That's a big one. I mean, that's no small thing. But it sounds like you're going to get the testing that you need on that, Tyler. What are your realistic goals? Are you aiming... top of the box is the only satisfactory outcome? I mean, you guys definitely I would say were contenders last year.
Tyler O'Hara: Yeah, I mean absolutely. Last year was all about just getting our feet wet, not necessarily getting our feet wet, this would be the third time I race in the 200. You know, I got good juju at Daytona, I've won Daytona twice on the Harley's. And I'm aiming to win the thing. I really want that watch. And we got the crew chief, Gary Medley, he's won it four times. And we got Matt [Warbis 00:13:38] at M-Tech, he's won it as well with Gary back in the day with Scott Russell. All this preparation and hard work and everything that I've been doing preparing is to win. I'm not going to beat around the bush or anything like that, I'm going to win and that's my plan.
Tyler O'Hara: And it's definitely not going to be easy. Last year I kind of was a little bit relaxed on my game plan, and not really showing off my motor and was just kind of sitting there, kind of approaching it like a like a last lap draft pass to the finish, when really I needed to attack the whole race and approach it like a 57 lap sprint race. And you know, last year our pit stop's really what kind of killed our race effort really. And our consistency, I wasn't as consistent as I needed to be as far as mid race and stuff like that. But I got a lot more time on the bike now, and really happy with our motor package this year. We got the motor just a tad bit better, and it's already a strong motor to begin with. And just basically the chassis and feeling comfortable.
PJ Doran: Tyler, have you got plans lined up for this upcoming road race season beyond Daytona? We've talked to a number of racers, a lot of whom are racing Daytona 200, that haven't exactly got their year's plans ironed out. As I'm sure you're aware, a fair number of guys are going flat track racing who might otherwise have been road racers in previous seasons. What's this year looking like for you after Daytona?
Tyler O'Hara: Well, I'm all in for Daytona. That's my main focus. And basically, I might do a wild card Ninja 400 entry for Josh [inaudible 00:15:25] again, like we did last year. I ran him at Sonoma Raceway in Laguna Seca. So just kind of giving him an opportunity to finish what he started, and let's go try to win a race. And then we might do some East Coast stuff, maybe Indiana and Pittsburgh, [inaudible 00:15:40] tentatively something we have in the works as far as proposals and stuff. But if we get the funding, it'd be fun to go do and and maybe get a second rider and just kind of do more of the mentoring and the team manager and the coaching, that's kind of what I have on the backburner as far as the season. Doing more coaching, and I got two Ninja 400s I do rental coaching. And then I bought one of the Ohvale 190s, and I rent that out and coach on that as well, and train on it as well. But yeah, maybe some Wild Car 400 stuff. And then I really don't have any plans to go race MotoAmerica.
Dave Sulecki: So Tyler in your past you've done some supermoto, and I know they've got a program going for 2020, is there any thoughts of trying that again?
Tyler O'Hara: Well, there's Stateline Supermoto, which is the Anthony Hart Memorial race where Papa Hart basically puts up $25,000 purse. And it's funny because it's basically in a rundown parking lot, but there's a big purse. And it makes it worthwhile that you can go and make a little money. I haven't committed to that, I'm just really completely focused on Daytona at the time right now. But last year, basically that was included in the AMA Supermoto Championship. It's always a lot of fun. It's kind of always a slam fest, or kind of short course, you know, a little rub and racing kind of a race, but I have my supermoto bike ready. And once I get through Daytona, we'll see what happens.
Dave Sulecki: Seems like they kind of spread it out all across the country, they even a round in Hawaii I think, and one in Belgium. I'm pretty sure. It's a pretty elaborate schedule, I was surprised.
Tyler O'Hara: Is that right? Yeah, see, I haven't even looked at the schedule to tell you the truth. Belgium is something that, I think every supermoto racer in America would like to go to the Belgium Superbiker race. That's something maybe in October or something, it'd be fun to go do if my schedule allows it, but it's a big effort as well.
PJ Doran: So how are you digging that, you mentioned the Ohvale, the mini GP bike, those things are clearly awesome. Looks like more and more people are getting into it. Right now is there a series, racing those on the West Coast Tyler, is that what's going on with them?
Tyler O'Hara: Yeah, there's a Nor-Cal Mini GP Championship that they got running locally, and then there's a Supermoto USA where they have a mini GP class as well. Basically, I sold my Harley, my XR 1200 that I won a bunch of races on to Bartel's Harley-Davidson, that was my sponsor when I ran the Harley. So they got the bike down there and on display. And on my way home, I sold one and I had to come home with one. I ended up buying the Ohvale on the way home and basically you know, everyone else has got one, so I got to have one. And you know what, I was really kind of nervous as far as the price point, and for what they were, and I was a little bit nervous it wasn't going to be enough on the car track. But I have to say, I've found something the last time I rode it. It's mid corner, that first third of the entry into the corner and just carrying momentum with the small wheels, it really emphasizes all your riding. You got to be really smooth and on your feet, on the balls of your feet. And it's fun. It's not for kids, man, that thing is no joke. It's a fast little bike.
PJ Doran: Yeah, I assume you bought the top tier one, they've got a number of displacement levels on that machine, and ultimately full trim levels. The top one is a bit of a beast, right?
Tyler O'Hara: Daytona 190-
PJ Doran: That's the one you went with, I would have to assume.
Tyler O'Hara: Yeah. And the brakes are good, and the suspension's decent. And the tires are good. And it's just something I had to have. And now I'm basically training on it. And then if anyone, any younger kids have some experience, I can give them an opportunity to go out and ride it.
PJ Doran: I foresee some epic battles on those. At some point the stars are going to align, and we're going to have a bunch of racers of your caliber Tyler, maybe nearing the ends of what they might call their competitive careers, I foresee a race some day with all of you guys on those things. Because just like you, everybody else has got one, just in case I need it for something, it sounds like.
Tyler O'Hara: Well, the MotoGP guys have them and [inaudible 00:20:16] and [inaudible 00:20:17] and Ross, he's got so many bikes. And I think the whole theory, it's almost like taking a step backwards but it's really just staying sharp and on top of your game, and moving forward. And the small 12-inch wheels is really what you got to learn. That corner entry and how fast you can tip in and carve and get through the corner and really emphasizes all your body English too. You know, the stuff that when you can get away with on a big bike, it's really emphasized on the small wheels.
Dave Sulecki: It's all about momentum at that point.
Tyler O'Hara: Yeah, yep.
PJ Doran: Well Tyler, it's been awesome talking to you. We're so excited for your upcoming effort at the Daytona 200. Is there anybody you want to thank? I know you're running your own program, so you get to say thank you to yourself for keeping it up and out there. But anybody else you want to give props to?
Tyler O'Hara: Yeah. Floyd Landis, former professional cyclist, as Floyd's of Leadville, he came on board last year and believed in me and put this effort, and gave me an opportunity to run my own program and kind of gave me the ball to roll with it. M-Tech Motorcycles up in Bend, Oregon, they've built my bike to be a race winner. And Matt Orbis, he's responsible for that motor oil for sticking with me over the years. Bill at Motonation and Sidi Boots always get me a supply with nice boots and most comfortable. Audrey at Moto Liberty, [inaudible 00:21:44] Tai Chi [inaudible 00:21:46] Technologies, MOTO-D, Spark Exhaust, Core Moto brake lines, Skip at Orient Express, K-Tech suspension, Brian and K&B Motor Sports. Oscar at Pirelli Tires, thank you for the opportunity and supplying me with some good rubber this year, really looking forward to running those. Of course 6D Helmets for keeping me safe and giving me the confidence to go out there and go fast. And Motion Pro, everyone, my wife, this has been not challenging, but it's just, you have to be selfish to train and get prepared for these. And without her support and my family, it wouldn't be possible.
PJ Doran: Well, thank you so much Tyler O'Hara, we're looking forward to how your effort goes at Daytona 200. Look forward to seeing you hopefully at some point this season, man. It's been a lot of years. We've been watching you and you're one of our favorites from Pit Pass, one of the favorite racers we follow. So thanks again for joining us today and good luck at Daytona.
Tyler O'Hara: Thank you guys very much, really appreciate it. We're ready.
PJ Doran: Thanks, Tyler O'Hara super fast racer going to Daytona. Dave, what was the answer to that interesting trivia question this week?
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, well let me read the question one more time. This week's Pit Pass trivia question of the week was, what was the first four-stroke motocross bike to win a Supercross? Name the rider and the year? Well, I remember this. It was 1998, Doug Henry on the Yamaha, Y-Z 400 F, so that was a special, special motorcycle.
PJ Doran: Yeah and a special racer, Doug Henry, still out there inspiring people and still shockingly fast on... kid's just insane. It's insane what that guy can do with limitations. With limitations, Doug Henry can do things most humans could never even dream of doing on a motorcycle. I was just watching a video of him riding a full on motocross track and the dude is flying.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah.
PJ Doran: I mean, flying.
Dave Sulecki: He hasn't lost a step at all, just keeps hammering. He's always been that guy. And I do remember this race, it was Las Vegas Supercross because it was a really, it was attracted favor to four-stroke, but at the time, none of us really knew that that as favoring a four-stroke. But it was dry and slippery, and that four-stroke just hooked up and connected with the track where all the two strokes were just dancing over all the bumps and obstacles. So he put that power to use and won the first race. And really, that's what we call a bellwether moment, right? That's when racing changed for dirt bikes.
PJ Doran: Yep. And I remember right around that very timeframe within a year or so, of that when you started seeing 400s in the back of pickups. I did in Iowa, so I have to believe in the more moto-friendly areas of the world, it was already happening. California, the East Coast, local riders even in Iowa were already starting to get into the four-stroke generation.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, I would say by 2003, 2004 it was over. And everything was starting to switch over. And the last holdouts and two strokes were starting to fall off and convert over. It hasn't been the same since. It really altered the sport in many ways. And in some ways good, I'm not saying in a bad way, it just changed it forever. And it's not a bad thing that four-stroke motorcycles are here to stay, but you hear a lot of guys kind of pine for the old days, right?
PJ Doran: And there's definitely... I've mean working in the industry, I had a dealership [inaudible 00:25:13] Power Sports where I sell Yamahas and KTMs, and for that matter, betas, very good cross section of the off-road world. We never don't carry two strokes. And with the new TPI technology, I would not count two strokes out just yet. Again, they never went away, but there seems to be a current resurgence, particularly in the off-road world. I wouldn't say so much on the motocross world, but in the off-road world two strokes are really fighting back right now it seems like.
Dave Sulecki: And it's good to see. I think if that technology applies to two strokes, that could be the next evolution of the off-road bikes for sure. Because I think for sure, the two-stroke applications that the platform works very well for off-road, just simply because of the weight, the ease of maintenance, just, it's a more sensible bike for off-road. The power's more sudden and available. So, you're not dealing with the weight. And that's I think the big difference.
PJ Doran: Yep, that's the big win. The saddest thing for me is that two strokes, one of their many advantages, not only lightweight and immediate power was, less expense because they were less technologically advanced, had fewer moving parts, they could be sold at a lower price. The advent of TPI, and what I'm sure will be from other manufacturers similar systems, results in they're every bit as expensive as their four-stroke siblings. So there is no longer a cost savings.
Dave Sulecki: Good point, good point. What's the cross section of riders? Is it more vet-related guys, or is it younger riders that are coming in and purchasing two strokes? What do you see?
PJ Doran: I would say it is vet guys primarily. Of course the biggest two-stroke group of customers is the Young Rider, because 50, 65s and 85s are in fact two strokes and only made that way with the exception of course of Honda's brilliant 150 R, in that category. Everything else is two-stroke for the young kids, so they're starting life on two strokes. But yeah, they seem to really want to convert right away, probably because their heroes riding in the Supercross series on 250s and 450s are on four-strokes.
Dave Sulecki: Yep. And so there it is. That was a big moment in time for motocross and Supercross racing, and it's something that like I said, changed the sport forever and I don't know if we're ever going to look back.
Dave Sulecki: All right, coming up next here on Pit Pass Moto we have a guest who's from Ohio. He's a native of Ohio, retired racer, riding coach, airplane engine builder and track builder. He does it all, Brock Sellards. Brock, welcome to the show, man.
Brock Sellards: Hey, thanks for having me, good to be here.
Dave Sulecki: Good, good. So besides the things I mentioned, you're also a guy who's working in the industry. What are you doing these days?
Brock Sellards: I'm a sales rep for Northeast Ohio. I work for Western Power Sports out of Boise, Idaho, and this is my 11th season doing so.
Dave Sulecki: Awesome. Well, Western's an outstanding aftermarket company. They do a lot of things. They've brought along the FLY brand which is just everywhere, in off-road and motocross.
Brock Sellards: Yeah, it's pretty impressive to think back of when they started, I don't think there was a pro racer that would wear it. It was like very uncomfortable. I mean, they basically just went and made it a T shirt factory and just had some gear and to see it evolve throughout the years to where it is now is mind blowing. Because it is like its own company inside Western Power Sports. It is huge and it has done nothing but climb the scales as far as the racing industry is concerned.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, I agree. And they've gone up against some heavy hitters in the industry, because you've got major brands like Fox and Thor are out there, Answer Racing and they've really brought it. I think what they've done a good job of is penetrating that grassroots level, getting as many grassroots level racers into that gear invisible is really been the thing that's helped them get to that point, I think.
Brock Sellards: Absolutely. From the get-go, we had a helmet called a Kinetic helmet, and it's a price point helmet that came in at around $100, but it looked like a $400 helmet. And that helmet alone had taken off... I remember when I was first working, it was the number in our entire company of what we had for sales is just the Kinetic helmet. I mean, it was that high in our entire company. And you can imagine how many catalogs we have to be that high. So whenever you went to the track, you saw tons of FLY helmets. And then the FLY gear just kept growing and growing and growing, and it was big in the ATV world, really big in the ATV racing and stuff like that. And it's kept growing in motocross and Supercross, and actually in GNC season stuff. So it's amazing how far it's went.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah it is. With that backing with Western, just being the biggest and penetrating into all the dealers. It's a great story, it really is. Shifting gears just a little bit, Brock, talk about some of your history. You're a guy who came out of Loretta's, you had great success down there, won some classes, graduated to motocross, were a professional motocrosser for a long time, I think nine years or more. Motocross and Supercross, both. And then you graduated to Arenacross. But just thinking through that whole thing, who was your biggest competitor when you were out there at the premium level? Who was the guy that you know, you really really fought with the most when you're out there?
Brock Sellards: Well, the first two years of my career, as far as going to Loretta Lynn's racing, it was a kid named Andy Boyer which Clint Boyer, the NASCAR racer, it's his brother. Clint never seemed to be much of a dirt bike guy, he's more of a car guy. But Andy was really fast. And then his best friend was Ricky Carmichael, who was pretty small at the time, but he ended up growing up and becoming my biggest competitor throughout. Unfortunately, I live in the Ricky Carmichael era, so.
Dave Sulecki: That's a tough area to live through racing, for sure.
Brock Sellards: Made me a bridesmaid most of my life, but it also, Ricky also gave me the opportunity whenever I was in school to... I actually left and went to Tallahassee, Florida, went to Leon County High School with him. His mother, [teached 00:31:52] the learning disabled class and Ricky and I went to our classes. And they gave me an opportunity that I didn't have, and I'm blessed to have that. It totally changed my career. I had a rough year at Loretta's, leading up to the first year I went to Ricky's. And when I went down there to Tallahassee and rode every single day by, we call her meanie, Jeannie Carmichael...
Dave Sulecki: Meanie Jeannie I've heard the stories, yeah.
Brock Sellards: You know, and I love her to death and she don't take no crap. You mess around, you go for a long walk. And you come back and you put in your laps and hopefully you get out of there. But it totally changed my perspective of how you do it. I mean, who teaches you... we didn't have writing facilities when I was younger. So I was just lucky. She basically set the bar for how things should be done. And other people afterwards kind of followed suit. Like Colleen [Millsaps 00:32:56] and with GPF and MTF and stuff like that. But they kind of set the bar really high, and they still do to this day.
Dave Sulecki: That was that era when those training facilities started to pop up everywhere, I remember it wasn't long after that. How come meanie Jeannie never caught Ricky run into McDonald's?
Brock Sellards: I don't know, I'll tell you real quirky-
Dave Sulecki: He was known for sneaking out every once in a while.
Brock Sellards: The funniest story is we get to Pro Circuit, we fly to California, my first time there. I'm going to go meet Mitch Payton and we were at the time, I don't remember, I might have been in B class, and he was on 80s and Supermini. And we fly out there and we stop at In and Out Burger, which is on Surface Club Drive, right, right before you get to Pro Circuit.
Dave Sulecki: I'm familiar, I've been to that very In and Out Burger, actually.
Brock Sellards: So he's like, "Ah man, I'm starving, we've got to stop." And I'm like, "Oh, man, that's a burger joint, okay." And then he's telling me, "It's not on the menu, but you have to get this four by four animal stop. And I'm like, "Well, what is it?" He goes, "Don't ask, just get it." So I'm like, "Oh my gosh, here they make four pieces of meat, four piece of cheese, sauce on everything, all the works, this thing so big there's no way I can fit it my mouth. And here you get these big old pile of fries. We're trying to scarf it down why we're going into meet Mitch and I'm thinking, this is probably the worst idea I've ever had.
Dave Sulecki: That's awesome.
Brock Sellards: I was just timid. So we get into Pro Circuit we walk in, Mitch is there, he's in his wheelchair, he's messing with something. He instantly quits, comes over to talk to us. Looks at me, looks at Ricky, goes, "Did you guys head to In and Out?" And I was white-
Dave Sulecki: Oh no-
Brock Sellards: ... I was white as it ghost, man. You could read right through me. Here I am, a kid-
Dave Sulecki: Meeting Mitch Payton of all people.
Brock Sellards: Yeah, Mitch Payton's like calling us out, and I cannot make eye contact with him, because I am scared that I'm... I'm getting fired in my eyes, you know. So he's like, "No, what makes you think we did?" He's like, "Come here." He's like, "No, why?"-
Dave Sulecki: Because he knows Ricky, that's why.
Brock Sellards: Yeah, he's like, "Come here." And he's like, "No." And he's like, "Come here." So he's on his wheelchair, he gives it one quick little roll forward and grabs a hold of Ricky's arms, sniffs his fingers and says, "In and Out fries, you lied to me." And he just left. He was so mad, he just left. Because at that time, Ricky was pretty chubby.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, yeah.
Brock Sellards: And he loved to eat. It wasn't until after his rookie year that he took training seriously, he took writing seriously, but not training. So that was probably my funniest story that I had because it wasn't funny at the time, but looking back at it, me and Mitch, we can still laugh at that one. Because he knew, and he sniffed those dang fingers, I'm like, this guy's smart.
Dave Sulecki: He is, he is. You're not going to sneak anything passed him for sure.
PJ Doran: That is awesome. So do I understand this correct, Brock? You are an airplane engine builder? Is this a side gig? Or is this just a hobby that you're building airplane engines?
Brock Sellards: Well, it was actually my business when I was done with racing. I got into doing Arenacross which was only during the wintertime, so you get a little bored during the summers. And I was over just traveling anymore. I just wanted to enjoy, I have 100 and some acres, I just wanted to hang out at my house. So I built a runway. I already had a hanger on my property when I bought it, so I'm like, ah, this aint bad. So I got my pilot's license in 2006 and then started flying. And I started looking at... now, we're talking about airplane engines that are on little two-seaters and the experimental Airclass field, which every time somebody hears that, they're like, "I would never fly anything with the words experimental." But basically, it's a motor that is a two-stroke Rotax motor that is half watercraft, half snowmobile, and it was engineered, probably in the '70s. And a lot of the things on it, because, you know, I'm used to a dirt bike, when this was the four-stroke year, where you starting to put every little bit of everything makes this much more power, this much more durability. And I'm looking at this motor going, "Okay, I just went back in time."
Brock Sellards: So I started reading and I started updating the engine. I had my own aftermarket engine company with Dave at [inaudible 00:37:38] we created our own Pistons Forum, I actually took out the steel sleeve liners and made aluminum sleeve nickel sealed liners that I had done at Millennium Technologies. Because one of the problems with those motors is the piston gets hot and seizes to the steel sleeves because they don't heat up the same. So there's a lot of like... it's just an old motor, so I updated them and put coal bearings into them, instead of the plastic race bearings. And did a bunch of things to make them more modern and there was a lot of people looking for more longevity out of them. So it was actually a really good business to get into. But then Western Power Sports, I had approached them at [inaudible 00:38:19] about wanting to be a rep, and the spot in my territory opened up, and I had to take it. And I don't regret one bit, best decision I probably ever made in my life.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, for sure. I think you getting in there has been... It brings a lot of credibility to a company like Western, having professional racers involved with their program. The dealers recognize that. And everybody in Ohio knows Brock, and I think that goes a long way.
Brock Sellards: Yeah, it was definitely an easier transition I would say for me, than maybe some other new reps. Just because, you know, obviously I went into dealerships and they're like, "Man, Brock's here, what's he doing? He's our rep?" So I didn't have to worry about a trust thing or people building up any type of a relationship. I already had a relationship through the sport. Even though I didn't know them personally, I had a common ground that we could talk to and it helped me get a foot in the door and be successful right out of the gate.
Dave Sulecki: What do you see going on in the industry, Brock, as you go to dealers and you service these guys routinely, and it's the one-on-one visits with the owners and the parts managers working on parts sales and things, how is that working as compared? Are there any e-tailers involved too in those conversations? Or is it solely dealerships? Or dealers that maybe work as e-tailers too?
Brock Sellards: Well, it's kind of made a shift, kind of what you would watch online. Go back as far as like when eBay started selling stuff, there was a lot of people like Newegg and a bunch, and they're still around, but everything was popping up and so everybody thought that they could start an online business. And a lot of dealerships were like, that's the wave of the future, let's start an online and... So we built programs where we can hook you up to get you started right away on doing that. The problem is, buying power is everything in every sport.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah.
Brock Sellards: Or in every business, I won't say sport, but business. So with that being said, it seems like the bigger and the small lean themselves out and they can't succeed. So what I've noticed is, the big players which is your Rocky Mountains, your RevZillas and stuff like that, that are online and have a store, they sell everything in [inaudible 00:40:44]. Now the smaller shops to be able to compete, they can only focus on a couple items. And they got to be really good at those couple items to have an online presence. So the online thing has gotten humongous because let's face it, it's pretty nice to sit at your house, order something and get it two days later. But there's a lot of setbacks from that. You know like, if it isn't what you wanted, if it doesn't fit, if there's any air you've got to send it back and you've got to wait, and you got to go through a bunch of crap that you don't have to through a Brick and Mortar. So they had to implement like MAP pricing which is manufacturer advertised pricing, or whatever, I think that's what it means. But basically that protects the brick and mortar from online going...
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, going to deep on discounts, exactly.
Brock Sellards: Yeah, too deep on discounts. So that has helped a lot, now it's hard to manage MAP, and there's a lot of courts you've got to go through there. But it has definitely helped Brick and Mortar survive. And without brick and mortar, our industry is toast. I mean it... you can't buy bikes, you can't service them online. So-
Dave Sulecki: Agree 100%. What say you PJ?
Brock Sellards: ... we have to have it.
PJ Doran: I would totally agree. And I was just curious Brock, I mean Western is huge and one of the big... I work at a dealership, a multi-line dealership, we've got a good cross section of brands and the most startling thing to me in the last eight to 10 years has been the prevalence of the side-by-side market ATV off-road portion of the overall dealer market. Are you seeing the same born out? I mean, it really is a lion's share of our business currently.
Brock Sellards: Well, the thing that the UTV market has brought to our sporter industry is, they brought the mom and dad and the family into the power sports industry. Because let's face it, some people are car people, so they're into Motorsports. But it's the bridge between cars and two-wheelers, I would say. So it accommodates everybody. So it has grown so big because anybody can drive them. It isn't like you're on a dirt bike and it's a major risk factor. You can have four seats, you can have two seats, you can take them on a track, you can take them on trails, you can drive them on the road, you can use them around your farm. I mean, it's just all around the best answer you have, as far as power sports to accommodate everybody. You're at a niche market when it comes to motocross or Supercross or off-road, anything else, I mean, like sports quads. I think there's one manufacturer left that even makes them. All that has gone by the wayside and the UTV market has just taken over.
PJ Doran: Yeah, it absolutely has. It's said often by a lot of different corners of the market. They're propping up Brick and Mortar stores, and again as part of one, I appreciate the business and you're right, it's bringing in families that otherwise might never have set a foot in a dealership. Now they're in there and maybe the percentages are probably the same as to, which percentage of a family is going to say, "I want that dirt bike over there."? Now at least they're getting to see one.
Brock Sellards: Yeah, so I think also the roots guys that like the motocross and stuff like that, or always wanted to dirt bike and really didn't have one, or only got to ride one a little bit, I really think like from my generation growing up to now, a lot more people are better off. They have more money. And I was talking to a guy today, he bought his kid a 110, and his youngest son an XR 50. I think in the trail white market, I think that's still growing. I think that's still a big market, as far as getting kids into it. But then I think there's a gap as far as, I'm not getting your race bike because... they think, I don't want you to be like a Travis Pastrana and do back flips or something crazy like that. And parents are protective. I mean, nowadays it seems like it's co-parenting, so you have a mom and a dad that both have sort of an equal job or an equal paycheck, where it wasn't like that back in the day. So that's changed a lot of things.
Brock Sellards: I think the moms have more of a say so than what they used to, back when I was younger. And everything has just changed along with the industry. I mean, you got people that just absolutely love it, and they'll be there forever. Just like you got two-stroke and four-stroke people. I mean, it's never going to change, it's just how do you get more people involved? And I think like with FLY Racing coming out with their new their new helmets and everything, with the [reon 00:45:54] and stuff in it to protect your head from concussions and so on, their technology of helmets alone has grown crazy and it's evolving at a rapid pace. And I think that'll help mom and dads. I think it's a little safer, give them a little bit more protection to let them take the next step to maybe a race bike, and going further.
Dave Sulecki: These are all good signs Brock, for sure. With your points about trail bikes, increasing sales in trail bikes as a trend. That's what they call your future addressable market. So as that grows, those riders get into bigger bikes, or maybe they shift over to UTVs, but they're all still in that power sports world. So that's all good signs and we're glad to see it. Our time's wrapping up here Brock, we really appreciate you coming on and talking to us about the industry and sharing some great stories about your past. I'm still chuckling about the Ricky Carmichael sneaky fingers story, I think that's great. I'm going to probably re-listen to that one many times over, it's great. Thanks again for coming on the show and you're welcome back anytime.
Brock Sellards: No problem, guys.
PJ Doran: All right, thank you Brock Sellards for joining us on Pit Pass. What do we got on upcoming news, Dave?
Dave Sulecki: All right, so upcoming racing, we've got Supercross in Atlanta this coming weekend, Saturday night on February 29th, which should be great. We've also got Kicker Arenacross in Salt Lake City. That'll be Friday night on February 28th, and then Saturday on the 29th. And then the week after they're back GNCC racing at the Wild Boar in Palatka, Florida that's on March 7th and 8th.
PJ Doran: That's going to be a big one.
Dave Sulecki: GNCC is awesome. They had a round this last weekend, it was the first round. Some good racing. The man who's been dominating it for the last, I don't know, seems like 10 years, Caleb Russell won this last weekend. But our friend of the show, Josh [Stringer 00:47:58] got third.
PJ Doran: Go Stringer!
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, how about that?
PJ Doran: That's awesome.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, so the GNCC series I thought was interesting. Same thing in the WXE class, the women's class. Becca Sheets just continues to win everything in that class. And Taylor Jones got second. So if you get a chance to go to a GNCC, you should. It's one of the greatest off-road events. And it's 2,000 people going through the woods at motocross speed for two hours.
PJ Doran: I think I'm going to try and make that Indiana round this year. The riders we talked to said they love it. That one I can reach in a reasonable amount of time in my car, bring a scooter or something and I like the area-
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, it's pretty cool-
PJ Doran: ... I enjoy going to Indiana every once in a while.
Dave Sulecki: That's a great venue, I've been there for that one. And it's usually the largest one of the year, because it's usually the final. And it's they have the largest attendance for the year. That facility's got the room, I mean, they can really pack them in, but talk about a great time.
PJ Doran: You're talking me into it Dave. Well thank you again to our guests for being with us today, and thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app where you'll get alerts when the new episodes are uploaded. And of course, make sure you're also following us on Twitter and Facebook and pitpassmoto.com. This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts, a special thank you to Tommy Boy Hoverson, social media contributor Chris Bishop, and our producer Leah Longbrake and audio engineers, Sean Rule-Hoffman and Eric Koltnow. I'm PJ...