Brian Shaffran- Owner of Skidmark Garage and Head Coach at Motogo
Owner of Skidmark Garage and Head Coach at Motogo, Brian Shaffran, discusses creating an inclusive space for people, including young students, to learn and work on their bikes. He shares personal stories of how learning to build a bike at Skidmark and Motogo has impacted lives, how they help various community organizations, and the latest growth of the garage.
MotoAmerica is the OFFICIAL Sponsor of Pit Pass Moto!
MotoAmerica, home of AMA Superbike and North America’s premier motorcycle road racing series, is thrilled to announce that it will partner with Daytona International Speedway to host one of the world’s most prestigious races – the DAYTONA 200 – during the weekend of March 10-12, 2022, in Daytona Beach, Florida. The 80TH running of the DAYTONA 200 will feature increased competition from more manufacturers and an international contingent of racers coming over to battle with America’s best for the $175,000 in prize money that’s up for grabs. .
In addition to the DAYTONA 200, the MotoAmerica weekend at Daytona International Speedway will be the opening round of the 2022 Mission MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Championship, marking the first time Baggers will race on the high banks of a Superspeedway with speeds expected to exceed 160 mph, and also the first round of the Twins Cup Championship. Joining the Baggers and Twins Cup will be the ever-popular Roland Sands Super Hooligan national championship. All three classes will run two races during the Daytona 200 weekend.
Tickets are on sale now at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP
Pit Pass Moto is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Producer Leah Longbrake and Audio Engineer Eric Koltnow.
This transcript is AI generated. There may be grammatical errors.
[00:00:15.550] - Dave Sulecki
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 Dave Sulecki.
[00:00:24.190] - Dale Spangler
I'm Dale Spangler. And this week's guest, the owner of Skidmark Garage, Brian Shaffran. Moto America is the official sponsor of Pit Pass Moto. Moto America, home of the AMA Superbike and North America's Premier motorcycle road race series, is thrilled to announce that it will partner with Daytona International Speedway to host one of the rules most prestigious races, the Daytona 200, during the week of March 10 through the 12th, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The 80th running of the Daytona 200 will feature increased competition from more manufacturers and an international contingent of racers coming over to battle with America's best for the $175,000 in prize money. That's up for grabs.
[00:01:06.120] - Dave Sulecki
In addition to the Daytona 200, the Moto America weekend at Daytona International Speedway will be the opening round of the 2022 Mission Moto America King of the Baggers Championship, marking the first time Baggers will race on the high banks of a Super Speedway with speeds expected to exceed 160 mph and also the first round of the Twins Cup Championship. Joining the baggers in Twins Cup will be the ever popular Roland Sands Super Hooligan National Championship. All three classes will run two races during the Daytona 200 weekend. Tickets are on sale now at Daytona International speedway.com or by calling 1800 Pit Shop. This week's weekend watch is AMA Supercross round nine of 17 coming from Daytona Beach, Florida. Daytona has been the site of that race since 1974. That's 48 years running and it was a tough and gnarly track required a lot of fitness. The man who came through who set a record this last weekend, Eli Tomac, wins his 6th Daytona Super Cross kind of sets them alone as top man in Daytona Supercross racing.
[00:02:19.260] - Dale Spangler
Yeah, it was quite a race. It wasn't much of a dominating win, I would say, for Eli as some of his past wins. But wow. To surpass Ricky Carmichael make history, take a 6th Daytona win. What an incredible race for him. But what about Cooper Web? Cooper Webb seems to have found his group led most of the main event. Looks so much more confident on the bike and just loose and like the old Cooper Web we knew of before. Rounding out the podium was Chase Sexton, who wrote Road to kind of a quiet third place finish over Dylan Ferrandis and Justin Barsha. The big question is, Dave, is what could have been, right? Malcolm Stewart and Jason Anderson once again come together and end up having a little bit of an incident. Malcolm Stewart had finally had enough and took Anderson down and boy, what could have been?
[00:03:02.940] - Dave Sulecki
And and they both ended up with penalties on the evening or both docked one position for accelerating back onto the track after they left the race course. Kind of hurt Anderson more than it hurt Malcolm, but Anderson still 18 back of Eli and points, so it's still a Championship chase between the two. And Cooper Webb, like you said, is quietly sneaking his way back into the points.
[00:03:24.880] - Dale Spangler
Another thing of note with Tomax Win also moves him into a tie for fifth in the all time 450 Supercross main event victories at 41 with none other than Ryan Villa Poto. Pretty cool news there onto the 250 class, though it was once again the Jet Laurence Show. Of course, this week, with no Austin Forkner and Jeremy Martin both out due to injuries, there's quite a few podium spots up for grabs.
[00:03:48.820] - Dave Sulecki
What I took away from that was just some fresh names on that top five list, Styles Robertson, who pulled a whole shot and led briefly before Lawrence passed him, and Pierce Brown and Enzo Lopez. With all the star guys, the walking wounded, not on the track, all these other guys have taken up the slack and slotted themselves in there into the points Championship.
[00:04:08.950] - Dale Spangler
For Robertson, that was his second career podium, which also happened to be the year before at Daytona. So he backs that up with another podium for the second year in a row at Daytona. And then, of course, behind Lawrence and Robertson, we're Camera Mcecadou grab that last podium spot and kind of stays within five points of Jet Lawrence in the Championship. So onto the next round. This week's Industry Spotlight focused on the recent announcement that Power Sports Business magazine is now accepting nominations for its 2022 Women With Spark Dealership program to recognize and honor women to accelerate growth and profitability at the dealership level. Making its debut later this year, the Women With Spark program is intended to recognize women at the Power Sports dealership ownership and staff levels who have made large contributions to the dealership's success have helped accelerate growth and help guide the business into the future. According to Power Sports Business Content Director Dave McMahon. With more women than ever engaging with Power Sports dealerships, it's the perfect time to put the spotlight on those women with Spark. For more information about the Power Sports Business Women With Spark program or to suggest a nominee, head to Powersportsbusiness.com.
[00:05:57.470] - Dave Sulecki
We'd like to welcome back to Pit Pass Moto, Brian Schaffran, the owner of Skid Mark Garage and also program director at Motogo in Cleveland, Ohio. So, Brian, welcome back, man.
[00:06:08.050] - Brian Shaffran
Thanks. Thanks for having me back on.
[00:06:09.540] - Dave Sulecki
Yeah, absolutely. We really enjoyed talking to you last time. So I know you've got some changes and updates to your locale and your garage. If you want to talk about those briefly, that'd be great.
[00:06:19.510] - Brian Shaffran
Yeah, sure. So after five years at our second location at 50, we picked up and moved one block west, 48 six Hamilton. So we went from ten 0 sqft to twelve 0 sqft. And we no longer have a leaky roof. And I got a ten year lease and I got my own parking lot, and I have a bathroom with more than one Crapper, a little bit bigger lounge. We built a stage. We've got two levels of bike storage, kind of like a little mezzanine. So it's an upgrade in every single sense. And we're still trying to get organized. So we spent most of the month of August moving in here. And since December 1, I have been in here for like ten to 12 hours a day, just trying to find things, organize things, put things where they go, set things up correctly. And then on top of that, Motogo moved into the third floor of the same building. So I've also been trying to spend time up on the third floor and set up the Motogo space for students to come in there and work on motorcycles. That's been my life since early November.
[00:07:37.990] - Dave Sulecki
So I understand now at Skid Mark, you're offering some classes you're doing on site there.
[00:07:44.210] - Brian Shaffran
So we've had welding classes and some machining classes in the past four or five years. But then a member named Steve Noble, who is also he also works at NASA. So he's quite the Brainiac. He knows quite a bit about motorcycles. And so he started a lot of people asking simple questions, how do I do this? How do I do that? How do I change the oil? How do I learn to ride? And he kind of discovered that maybe there was a need for him to teach some general motorcycling classes and some more specific ones. So he teaches, like a one on one maintenance class for the people that are really new to riding. He does that once or twice a month. And then he teaches his other big one has been carburetor classes. And a lot of people are coming in learning how carburetors work, how to clean them, how to get them ready and modify them. And he does things like how to do suspension adjustments. And he also does so SNS donated two engines. We use those. And he does an SNS rebuild like a top end rebuild. So he has that maybe once a month.
[00:08:58.630] - Brian Shaffran
And so he rolls those two engines out, and a couple of people pay to come and learn how to take the whole thing down and rebuild the whole thing. And Super Trap sponsors his classes and gives him some exhaust so he can do exhaust modifications. And he's doing quite a bit of good work over there in the corner of the garage.
[00:09:20.020] - Dale Spangler
Kind of changing directions a little bit. Looking at Skid Mark garage as a whole, I mean, it seems like from the outside looking in me just learning about your business, it seems like you're trying to create this inclusive space instead of an exclusive space, meaning Skidmark is trying to build up this community without judgment, where people from all walks of life can show up, feel accepted, and feel like they're a part of something would you say that's the case kind of behind your business strategy?
[00:09:46.590] - Brian Shaffran
That is 100% the case? I don't know that I originally meant for it to be that way. I haven't really thought that far in advance and didn't realize it was going to go that way. But after things got rolling, my wife kind of made it clear that I need to make a point to kind of rein in the people that are kind of seen as outcast by society and create a space that was where people would feel safe to come in, no matter what they looked like and what they believed in, and not be judgy about who they are and not be judgy about what they ride. And I was pretty scared originally to go that route because I feel like that was going to write off the top, eliminate half of my possible customer base. But it seemed like the right thing to do. And we kind of jumped in with both feet. And we did a fundraiser for the local LGBTQ community when they were raising funds for a new building. And so we had a little fundraiser party and some bands played and we had food, and it was a big hit.
[00:11:11.920] - Brian Shaffran
And incredibly, business jumped because I was doing that. And I've had so many people come in and mention that one of the reasons that they're joining is strictly because I advertise this as a safe place for everyone. And a lot of people are afraid of that motorcycle reputation of motorcyclists being big, bad, mean dudes. And this kind of calls out to a lot of people. So a lot of people that come in for tours and a lot of people that join are happy to see that. We hang the pride flag in here and we hang the flags of members that come from immigrant families. We hang those in here, and we're trying to sustain the idea of being the island of misfit toys over here, and it's working out really well so far.
[00:12:05.940] - Dale Spangler
I also noticed another aspect of that is the building you're currently in. A lot of the other people in their businesses are kind of similarly like minded. Can you maybe talk a little bit more about that? I think you were pretty adamant about wanting to surround yourself with like minded people like that.
[00:12:22.010] - Brian Shaffran
Well, the old building had a lot more businesses in it that had Rebuilders Exchange and Ingenuity Cleveland and Soulcraft and architecture office, and there were a bunch of smaller businesses within Ingenuity. But since we've moved, we are now in a building with Motogo, obviously up on the third floor. And then third floor is also being sublet to some woodworkers. And then on the second floor is a place called Recess Cleveland, and they are a nonprofit just like Motogo, but they bring Recess back to schools and back to parties and for adults. And it's just kind of a way to stay active and they've got all the portable roller skating rank that they'll bring to a party and rent you the roller skates and set it all up and dodgeball old school stuff like that. So right now, that's all we've got in this building. There's three more floors above us, four, five, and six that are vacant at the moment.
[00:13:23.770] - Dave Sulecki
Brian, you've mentioned Motogo on the third floor. And I love the slogan Bring Back Shop Class, which really resonates with myself. And I think a lot of people in our community, in the motorcycle community, and your mission and vision and core values really touch on some what I think are important things to get young people involved with. Can you kind of expand on that a little bit and talk about your mission, where you teach kids to solve problems through motorcycles and then the vision and core values.
[00:13:51.550] - Brian Shaffran
We really we're bringing old Honda CB 350s into schools and just thrusting the tools into the kids'hands and letting them figure it out and letting them fail and learn from failing and learning from getting their hands dirty and learning by doing. I had a very tough time in school because all I did was memorize, and so I never really learned anything in my twenties. I realized what a shame it was that I wasted so many years in school not really learning. I kind of decided I didn't want that to happen to tons of kids. And once I found out that today's high school students, especially in the city, will grow up without having access to any tools in their house whatsoever, I realized that someone has to bring it back, and nobody seemed to be jumping in to do it. And after Skid Mark got rolling, I figured now is a good time to start something and lure kids in with a motorcycle. What's possibly sexier than a motorcycle? I'm certainly not going to be able to bring back shop class if I'm lugging lawn mowers around or getting people to build birdhouses while in themselves.
[00:14:59.290] - Brian Shaffran
Okay, projects. It's not the hook. And so once the kids see me pushing motorcycles down the hallway of the school into a classroom, every single student wants to know what's going on. That's all it takes. It's just that just seeing that motorcycle in the hallway get them to want to come in. And once we put the tools in their hands and they find out really quickly that they actually have the ability to take a machine apart and put it back together, that blows their minds. And next thing you know, they're trying to fix other things in their house and they're trying to take better control of their surroundings. And it's really inspiring to hear these kids come back after a couple of weeks of class and tell me that they've done things like fix their bedroom doorknob that's been broken their entire life. And one kid, he was a little bit behind on his reading ability. And like any kid in school, you don't really want to work on your reading. He learned pretty quickly that if he didn't know how to read the manual, he was going to have a tough time trying to figure out this motorcycle.
[00:16:02.510] - Brian Shaffran
So he started taking himself to the reading specialist at school on his own instead of her having to chase him down. And all he wants to do is learn how to read better so that he can read the manual. She came to me in tears after he did that. The week after. It was like a week after he did it. I came back in to teach some more classes, and she came bursting into the classroom and pulled me aside and told me the story. And she was crying when she told me that's the whole reason to bring this to schools is to get these students who might otherwise feel like they're stupid or otherwise feel like that they don't have the ability to do what they got to do because traditional classrooms don't fit their learning style. And I throw this at them, and then all of a sudden they realize they're not stupid, that they can learn, and they just learn in a different way. They learn with their hands instead of just sitting at a desk staring at a chalkboard or a whiteboard or a computer screen. And it gives these kids a sense of purpose.
[00:17:02.710] - Brian Shaffran
It's a huge, important boost of confidence that I never realized was so important. But it truly is for some of these kids.
[00:17:09.540] - Dave Sulecki
It's an absolutely life changing class to take it resonates with people in a way. And what more satisfying thing for somebody who is a teacher by trade and getting that feedback directly. And I know you've partnered with school systems to bring the programs to fruition, and I understand you teach in what's called the Steam curricula. Can you describe what that is?
[00:17:32.960] - Brian Shaffran
Kind of focuses on the things that, unfortunately, in all the testing that we put our kids through, we find that our kids are lacking in science and math quite a bit compared to other countries. So the Steam curriculum or the Stem curriculum, and then the Steam curriculum was designed to try and approach that deficiency. Fortunately, working on a motorcycle fits into that. It fits into the engineering part and it fits into the math part, and it fits into the science part. And even in a way, the art part. We've had some students that will take the tanks or a helmet or the side covers and take them home and spend a bunch of time painting them. That's pretty exciting that they get that into something that they want to do, something on the side. We didn't kind of set out to try and fit into the Steam curriculum, but it's just a natural fit. And it's convenient because it puts us in the categories to apply for specific kinds of grants.
[00:18:32.590] - Dale Spangler
It definitely seems like I'm sensing a theme of really giving back. And I really stood out is when you said these younger people have these life changing moments. And I can definitely sense that with a lot of what's going on there at the garage. So one of those aspects is you have event coming up here. I believe, this weekend, the Moto Goes Fourth annual Bringing Back Shop Class benefit, Saturday, March 12. You're kind of showing us a little bit before we came on here how you're getting everything set up. You got a stage and everything. Tell us a little bit about that event coming up this weekend.
[00:19:05.550] - Brian Shaffran
So that event is this is going to be our fourth. Last year was Virtual, but it was still pretty successful. But we've been really pushing to raise as much money as we can to keep our programs alive and especially for the programs in the school districts that don't have the kind of funding that say that a private school does. There's a lot of private schools that are just willing to pay whatever we ask in order to bring the program in. And that's great because part of our mission is to be able to offer the same exact program to the schools that don't have the money, regardless of what they're able to pay. So if we can get the wealthier schools to pay the full amount, we can also bring it to any school in the district that whether they have the money or not, we want to bring the exact same experience there. And having this fundraiser obviously helps us quite a bit in this route. So there's a guy in town named Brett Lindsay who just came out of the blue and loves what we're doing and donated his Road King, and it's in near perfect condition.
[00:20:11.550] - Brian Shaffran
And so we're rattling that off at $100 a ticket. And with only 100 tickets, I think this morning we were up to 92 tickets sold. And Skid Mark has donated a six month membership with the CB 350. Got a whole bunch of other little raffle baskets, and it'll be kind of an experiential benefit. So people will be able to jump on a CB 350 and kickstarted, and we'll let people take some of the bikes apart and put them back together. We've got a cutaway engine that's Steve Noble from Noble Moto made. And we can kind of have students show people what's going on inside the engine. And we'll have food and booze, and we've got a couple of bands playing on the stage. The first two that were in person were a fantastic time. The third one that was virtual was still strangely successful for being virtual. But obviously you're not standing around with a bunch of people listening to live music and having a great time. This fourth one here, we seem to be hitting our stride. And my wife Molly, who is the executive director of the nonprofit, has already raised like close to $70,000 and we haven't even gotten to the benefit this weekend yet.
[00:21:23.870] - Brian Shaffran
So I think it's going to be a record breaker for us and it's really going to help us continue our programming all over the city.
[00:21:30.920] - Dave Sulecki
Awesome news to hear. We're excited to hear where both programs are going, both the Garage and Motogo for sure just for our listeners so they know where to reach you or find you. Where's the best place to look for both Skidmark and Motogo? Just maybe mention social media.
[00:21:47.200] - Brian Shaffran
Also, Skidmark Garage can be found at Skidmark Garage on Instagram and Facebook. Do you need to email me at [email protected]? You can pretty much find [email protected] and Motogo Cleveland on Instagram and Facebook. Both of those have links to donate and to buy tickets for the raffle items for this weekend's benefit. And Skimark garage also has a website, Skimmargarage.com, but that needs some serious attention and updating. So what you see on that website doesn't accurately represent what's actually happening, but those are the best ways to reach out to us.
[00:22:30.060] - Dave Sulecki
Thanks again for spending time with us today, Brian.
[00:22:32.210] - Brian Shaffran
Yeah, thanks for taking time to reach out to me again and have me on. It was absolutely my pleasure.
[00:22:53.390] - Dave Sulecki
Thanks again to our guests for being with us today and thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate review us. We really appreciate it. Make sure you're also following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit Pitpassmoto.com where you can check out our blog and our brand new store where you can get your Pit Pass swag this has been a production of Evergreen podcast.
[00:23:19.560] - Dale Spangler
A special thank you to to Tommy Boy Halverson producer Leah Longbrake and audio engineer Eric Koltnow. I'm Dale Spangler and I'm Dave Sulecki.
[00:23:28.870] - Dave Sulecki
See you next week on Pit Pass Moto.