Founder of Motor Medic Racing - John Turner
We'll recap the week and discuss the World Supercross Championship. Then, Dale and Dave jump into a conversation with John Turner, the founder of Motor Medic Racing. John talks about how someone's "really horrible" mechanical skills changed his life and his thoughts on re-writing stock bikes.
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This episode is brought to you by MotoAmerica. Moto America is the home of AMA Superbike and North America's premier motorcycle road racing series, with some of the best motorcycle road racing on two wheels. Rewatch every round of the 2022 series – and catch all the action from each race – with the MotoAmerica Live+ video-on-demand streaming service. Or visit the MotoAmerica YouTube Channel for race highlights and original video content. Look for a complete 2023 schedule coming soon at motoamerica.com.
Pit Pass Moto is a production of Evergreen Podcasts and Wessler Media. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson.
Note: Transcript is machine generated and may contain spelling and grammatical errors.
[00:00:16.890] - Dave
Hello, everybody. Welcome to Pit Pass Moto. It is the show that gets you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in the motorcycle industry right to you. I'm Dave Sulecki.
[00:00:27.490] - Dale
I'm Dale Spangler. And this week, our guest is the founder of motor medic racing, john Turner. This episode is brought to you by Moto America. Moto America is the homeowner VMA Superbike in North America's premier motorcycle road racing series with some of the best motorcycle racing on two wheels. Rewatch every round of the 2022 series and catch all the action from each race with the Moto America Live Plus video on demand streaming service. Or visit the Moto America YouTube channel for race highlights and original video content. Look for a complete 2023 schedule coming soon at motoamerica.com. And be sure to follow Moto America on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for real time series updates. Well, here we are, Dave. Episode 140. Can't believe it's already been 140 episodes. I think since I've been on the show now, it's been almost a year. We had to have done at least 50 or 60 episodes. But man, it just seems like it's going by so fast.
[00:01:26.880] - Dave
Yeah, pretty cool. Time flies when you're having fun. And we are definitely having fun, no doubt about it. How about some fun in world Super Cross racing over the weekend? Did you get any of that?
[00:01:36.060] - Dave
Yeah, once I kind of figured out it was on Fox Sports, I tuned in. Of course it was delayed 24 hours delay. So I tuned in a little bit on social media to get little bites here and there. And I'd say overall I was pretty impressed. I think I was expecting there to be a little bit more maybe some more bugs along the way. There were I think there were some little quirks about the series that maybe probably need some tweaking going forward. But for the most part I felt like I was watching like an AMA SuperCo. As far as how the format was, the track look very similar, albeit maybe a little bit simpler than a normal AMA supercost track. But for the most part it seemed like they had everything pretty dialed. Some of the other changes, though, they added a Super Pole, which I thought was pretty exciting. You get an extra point if you win Super Poll. So there's that. It seemed like the main events, though, like the short main events. I thought that was a little hard to get used to. More like a Triple Crown in the United States.
[00:02:38.350] - Dave
But it also kind of makes me think going forward, if this is going to be the format, are these riders going to be training differently? They're going to be doing more sprint fitness as opposed to that longer 20 lap type main event fitness. So definitely a lot of little changes. What about you? What are some of the observations you saw?
[00:02:54.030] - Dave
Yeah, I think some of the pluses you mentioned all make sense. And to me, it didn't have the feel of an AMA Super Cross. It definitely kind of had its own brand feeling to it and they had some positive things about the program which made sense. That three moto format with no break between kind of be a little strange for the rider yeah. To just pull off the track, line up again and go again. Kind of like a reset. And then the cadence of eight laps. Eight laps. Twelve laps, I think, on the big bikes. So definitely made for some actionpacked racing. I think we all kind of predicted it was going to be some elbows thrown and a lot of barbanging and some gnarly crashes over the course of the weekend. I was really surprised to see Chad Reid and Josh Grant both go down from the same team and same jump. Same jump, but different problems. Grant broke a chain and Reed, I guess, had a fuel pump problem, but took those two guys out of the program, which I was excited to see them race. But those are the positives for me.
[00:03:51.070] - Dave
There are a few negatives, I guess, but, you know, it's easy for us to be Monday morning quarterbacks watching. A lot of work went into putting that event on. But for me, I thought the track was a little bit sketchy, a little slick. Not a fan of stereo ramps, but I guess that's their brand. So short races, 47 2nd lapse and cardboard tough blocks are a little sketchy to me. I think that's a safety thing. I'm sure they're going to work on cardboard. I guess on practice day, a rider tried to sit down on one of the tough blocks and ended up sinking into the ground and fallen over backwards, but not good for the riders. So if they were to crash into one of those, it just disintegrates some positives, for sure. Everything I'm saying has been splashed all over the Internet message boards, too, and I'm sure they're going to work on trying to dial in the program. As far as getting things tighter, I guess, as far as, you know, the presentation of the event. What do you think about these bike cameras?
[00:04:51.250] - Dave
Yeah, I think it's a great idea and I think that's what I noticed the most is they have some good ideas, like the Super Bowl. And these cameras on the bikes, unfortunately, they just were ridiculous. Like 360 P, like vomit inducing. They're just so jittery and low quality that I don't really think it actually added to the experience, but I think the ideas there, I think it'll be cool once they figure it out. I don't know if it's just the cameras they're using or what. I'm sure they probably have a camera sponsor, but I think the concept is there because they can replay it from a writer's perspective, which I thought was interesting. I saw a couple of those of chad Reid and Josh Grant when they went down, which nobody likes to see that, by the way. And these are two guys that have had an amazing career. And I don't know about you, Dave, but I can speak to the fact that, like, when you hit the ground at when you're 30 years old compared to when you're 40, and then when you're 50, it's a difference. I don't care if you're still in shape or not, but it's just different.
[00:05:44.490] - Dave
Absolutely. And Chad Reid paid that price badly. I mean, a separated shoulder, some broken ribs, definitely took a hard hit. I didn't hear how Grant fared, but that was the highprofile wreckage of the weekend. I think Dean Wilson also went down and he just got healthy again. So interesting situation for Dean, but how about Eli, though, going one one? Anybody might have predicted that, but it's hard to say in practice. But he had decent enough starts and he was the fastest guy on the track. It's just been the year of Tomac and this was a good capper for the season for him.
[00:06:18.540] - Dave
Yeah, I think it looked to me, it looked like Tomac and Roxton was business as usual. Looked like they just picked up, like they'd raised supercast yesterday, the day before. So it was just like they look like it was routine for them. But how about your guy, though? You predicted it last week, vince Freeze guys with taking Tomack out of the picture as a wild card. Roxton and Freeze are the two guys that can end up with this title, so you never know. I mean, Friesy was up there. He's a good starter. I think he nailed it when you called that one.
[00:06:46.830] - Dave
Yeah, I was quite surprised to see my prediction come true. And he was the best of the rest, I guess you could say, because everybody kind of thought Tobek and Roxson would run away with this, and they did, as far as total points. But yeah, Friezi was in the battles, man. Him and Brighton both. And Josh Hill surprised with the top five. So some good battling with those top tier riders and then you had the rest beyond that. Just really exciting racing, I think, all the way around in the 250 race. I think consistency is what won that one out. So Shane Mcgowrath taking it home for require racing on that Yamaha.
[00:07:21.030] - Dave
Yeah, I think the biggest winners in this entire whole World Supercross Series is the racers, because I feel like even if you're in the US series, which we'll talk about here in a little bit, that the development's there, or in the World Supercast, I feel like all these riders got a pay raise. And so I think it's showing you that competition is good for everybody. In this case, it's definitely a huge benefit for the private tiers and some of these, like, second and third tier racers where they're going to be able to make a living now with this, which is great to see. I think we've all wanted to see it for quite a number of years.
[00:07:53.710] - Dave
Yeah, you're seeing names you wouldn't normally see in the top 20. So hopefully those guys are making money and being prosperous. So mark your calendars. We'll have this discussion this time next year to see kind of how things play out against this Super Motocross series that's coming up. Their series schedule was announced over the course of the week, which I thought between you, me, and the audience was very suspect timing as far as how they did it and when they did it. Absolutely, I get it. No coincidence, no coincidence whatsoever, but I get it. And it's a pretty stout series. It's a lot of race, 31 races, I think it is, over the course of the season.
[00:08:30.670] - Dave
Yeah, they're going to be going so now the season is going to be now that it's all become dispelled. MX Sports, they're calling it Super Motocross League in quote marks here that unifies all the unique elements of Supercross and Motocross and puts it into one. And then we have this three race playoff, which I think is pretty interesting. I mean, overall, I think it's going to be great for the sport. They're telling us they're $10 million purse, never been that high, a new five year NBC Sports television package. So I feel like things are just going in the right direction. I also think that it's going to keep a lot of these American racers in America racing these series because, you know, after seeing the World Supercross, yeah, there's some bugs that need to be worked out. I think they'll get it together, no problem. But I also think that that put that pressure back on Feld and MX Sports to raise their game. And we're seeing it like it's $1 million to the 450 champion next year and 500,000 to a 250 champion. So that's some unbelievably unheard of money besides the US. Open back in the day.
[00:09:32.370] - Dave
$1 million price. So pretty cool to see.
[00:09:34.980] - Dave
Yeah, like Spacoli would say, man, those are righteous bucks for sure. I was excited to see Weege and Blair got the gig, and those are two good guys. As far as Color calling in the booth, I think that's outstanding. Those guys are always going to be good. So hats off to those guys for setting them up as the voice of SMX, which I really want to push. That alliteration SMX. Because I cannot say super motocross. It just doesn't roll off the tongue and just sound something strange. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I hope we start saying SMX more often.
[00:10:08.860] - Dave
I'm just waiting for the people to start saying Super Motocross. Putting that r in there. There's that OPA we always have when you see somebody spell motocross as Motocross. And so just waiting for the Super motocrossers.
[00:10:19.180] - Dave
Yeah, absolutely. So this chase playoff format's pretty cool. You get into the top 20 for the season, you get to go to the Chase in the final three rounds. But I found this interesting. If you win a Moto during the season but don't make the final 20, they're going to run in a last chance qualifier event to get two riders to round out the 22 for the gate. So it's interesting, you might have a guy who's a flash in the pan, wins a Moto sometime in the summer, they're going to get that opportunity to participate in this playoff.
[00:10:51.220] - Dave
Yeah, it makes for interesting I feel like, because that just brings a lot of questions in my mind. Like how are they really going to travel to Supercast for a chance to get one of those two spots? I mean, that seems like a big ask, especially when you're paying your way as a private tier. But I also thought another interesting aspect about these playoffs is the point system. So evidently you get seated in if you're the highest scoring person in the 450 class coming in. You start the Triple Crown with like 26 points as if you won. And then from there, first round is regular points. Second round you get double the points. And then the third round it's three times the points. So it's really going to make for an interesting three rounds at the final end of the season. And the points are going to be pretty wild, that's for sure.
[00:11:35.220] - Dave
So I imagine that's a way to keep a guy racing both Super Cross and Motocross to score the most points to roll in. Does that make sense as far as filling that out?
[00:11:44.020] - Dave
They're definitely trying to incentivize keeping people in that series. From what I've seen, a guy like Colt Nichols just signed with Honda to race in the US. I mean, there's no reason for him to go overseas from January through October, middle of October now. So it's non stop.
[00:12:00.220] - Dave
Yeah. And you're going to see the tug of war start to happen as the season evolves and the riders either have a good season or decides partway through the season, oh, you know what, I'm just going to wait till World Super Cross sign with a team and go do that. So I could see some of the riders going that direction if they start to have a tough season. But again, these are all unknowns. I think this next race season is going to be very interesting how it plays out against World Supercross, which I got to expect. World Supercross has got to expand their program for 2023. I know the intention was they have three races this year, they're only going to have two. But I got to think that they're going to make it a little grander than even three races. It doesn't seem like a true championship to me. I guess that's just my opinion.
[00:12:43.720] - Dave
Yeah, it takes time. I think people just forget how long, how many years the Supercross Series has been kind of grinding out all along. It's an accumulation. And to just come out of the box like the World Supercross crew did and I thought they did a pretty good job overall. Like I said, there's a lot of moving parts. They'll figure out the tough boxes instead of tough blocks instead of tough boxes. They'll figure all those little details out and same thing with the television package. And like I said, I thought it was pretty darn good for first time out of the box. And so yeah, I think it's great. As a fan of the sport, I love it. You know, more opportunities to watch races, bring it on.
[00:13:18.720] - Dave
Yeah, I agree. We get to actually sit and have these debates about which one was better because before we couldn't there was no either or. So this late in the season, usually we're kind of dreaming about gate drops in January. So to be talking about live racing going on now and in November is going to be pretty cool. How about in this Super Motocross series, the SMX series, they're going to return to the hallowed grounds of La Coliseum for the final, which is well, that's where they did the announcement. When they did it on October 6. I thought that was interesting and it's where Supercross, you could say technically started. So it was a pretty cool move on their part to nail down that venue and then do the announcement from there. So pretty cool. Did you ever get to race there though?
[00:14:04.390] - Dave
I did actually, yeah. So way back in 1989. Yes, show my age. Back then they had the East West shootout and they took a big break for, I don't know, 15 years or plus probably before they brought that East West shoot out back. But back in 89 I finished six in the Eastern region, Super Cuss. I was able to top ten, got to go to the La Coliseum and had the shootout in La Coliseum, jumped down the Paristyle, the whole thing. And so, yeah, I think I finished 10th for the East Coast and we won. We were the east coast team. We won that won the shootout. That's a pretty good memory. But to go back there all these years later, pretty incredible. I mean, I think to me part of the reason is that stadium probably isn't used as much as it used to be. And so they're probably happy just to get someone to come in and pay them money to use that stadium. And so with that in mind, they're able to use the Paristyle. They'll jump up and down, go in and out of the stadium, just gives them more options for this Super Motocross, this combined format to build kind of a hybrid track.
[00:15:04.900] - Dave
So I think it's a perfect place for it. Like you said, there's a lot of history and so, yeah, I think it's great. I think it makes total sense and it's going to be fun to see.
[00:15:14.430] - Dave
Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. It's definitely going to be cool to be talking about it in October when most people are talking about baseball. So pretty cool for us as race fans be able to talk about Super Motocross or S Am X. I'm going to keep pounding that term through everybody's head. So good stuff, man. Looking forward to it.
[00:15:30.760] - Dave
Any other fun observations you've had from the weekend before we get onto our interview here with John Turner?
[00:15:37.510] - Dave
Yeah, just myself. I was able to actually get out and hit the race track this weekend, which was cool. I spent most of Sunday afternoon at a local track that I like to go to and ride with some buddies and get some laps in, get some exercise and just absolutely perfect weather. We have about 60 degrees and the trees are turning and riding Ohio this time of year is just so cool. Definitely fun. How about you? Did you get on the bike this last weekend?
[00:15:59.070] - Dave
I went out on Thursday and did a nice 120 miles ride and so it was awesome. I just love it being able to go out and just I pretty much just ride by myself lately, but I just get out, just get some seat time in. I'm not worried about going fast, any of that stuff. I'm just here in Idaho, there's so much to see. It's beautiful. Sometimes I just get out and clear my head, so I'm loving it. But a couple of things I wanted to throw in real quick, though, for our listeners out there that I thought were really cool. Some observations. I don't know if you saw it day, but our friend of the show, Kayla Yakov, finished third place at the Yamaha R Three Blue Crew European Super Final in Portugal. She went over there, there was 25 riders between the ages of 14 and 20 that were chosen for this event, and she went over there and finished fourth and second in the two different races for third overall. So I thought that was pretty awesome to see someone from the Moto America series go over there and kick some butt.
[00:16:52.320] - Dave
And one other cool thing coming up this weekend, definitely tune in to the Red Bull Straight Rhythm at Huntington Beach State Park. I was able to go to that event a couple years ago, Dave. It was the Moto Beach classic put on by Rolling Sands. Super fun event. Had concerts, everything was on the beach. A bike show, art show, all kinds of really cool stuff. Well, this year they're in conjunction with the Red Bull Straight Rhythm, we're going to be seeing Plessinger, Justin Barscher, Marvin Moosecan, all these top name riders on two strokes, so even cooler. So definitely see if you can tune to that this weekend because I think it's going to be some fun racing.
[00:17:27.070] - Dave
Yeah, that is pretty cool. I think I saw something about Ken Roxen ryan the YZ 250.
[00:17:32.100] - Dave
[00:17:32.620] - Dave
Specially built by whiskey throttle. Our competitive podcast over there, built by Mitch Payton. So it'll be cool to see Kenny on. I don't know if I've ever saw him any Yamaha, but red bull money, so he's going to line up and go do that. That's pretty cool.
[00:17:47.950] - Dave
Yeah, they do things right. I saw a video on them, how much dirt they're hauling in. And of course, with it being a straight rhythm, I think I know the spot they're doing it. They had this kind of, like, drag strip area that they used when I was there that was just guys were doing little grudge matches, and I think that's what they're going to do. And then you actually be able to stand on the beach and watch the straight rhythm. So I think it's going to be such a cool event and have a feeling they found a nice home with that event going forward.
[00:18:11.520] - Dave
Cool beans. Look forward to it always. And it will be on TV, I imagine, too. So check it out. All right, we'd like to give a warm Pit Pass Moto welcome to John Turner. He is the owner of motor medic racing in southern California. And John, I know you're a longtime industry guy, and we love having industry people on here, so it's great having you. We appreciate you taking the time to join us today, man.
[00:18:44.100] - John
Yeah, thanks for having me. I went back and looked at some of your podcasts, and it's actually a really great show, so I'm actually honored to be on it.
[00:18:52.620] - Dave
Well, thank you. We appreciate that. And like I said, industry people. There's so many people behind the scenes that most of the motorcycling world doesn't know about. So I always look at this as a great opportunity to kind of showcase what they do, what their businesses are about or what they've contributed to the world of motorcycling. You've been in it a long time. I know. And I'm really curious to ask you first, though, before we get into your business, how did you get started in just motorcycling in general? What kind of sunk the hook for you?
[00:19:21.820] - John
Yeah, when I was younger, I was really having a BMX racer, and I had a big gross fert. One of my friends that I raced with was Tommy brackens, and he happened to be friends with Jeremy McGrath and got to ride one of Jeremy's bikes back when he was riding team green. And I was like, well, this is a lot easier than pedaling. I like it.
[00:19:42.810] - Dave
So that started that's funny. I agree with you. It's a lot easier to twist your wrist than it is to pedal pedals. And that makes sense to me. Did you get into racing at that point?
[00:19:52.320] - John
Once I got a bike, I got the itch pretty bad, and I started racing old tracks like they're not even around anymore, like DeAnza Cycle Park, glenn Helen Paris Raceway, way back in the day when Bill Brecker owned it. I will just do local races and just love their name of it.
[00:20:10.410] - Dave
Yeah. And it's one of those things that becomes a passion after so many years of doing it. And that eventually seems like it led you to the industry in some way. What kind of led you to your first, let's say, role in the motorcycle industry?
[00:20:24.270] - John
I guess with working on them would be after I got my first bike, my dad was paying some guy to fix my bike and he was really horrible. He actually took screwdrivers and a hammer to split my cases and the motor never ran. So I told my dad, you know what, dad, don't fix it. I'm going to get a book, I'm going to learn how to fix this myself. And off and running a web.
[00:20:52.270] - Dave
So then did that lead to I think I saw where one of your first industry jobs was Malcolm Smith Motorsports. So how did you land that job? And I would imagine that probably set the hooks a little bit more. As far as your interest in maybe working on motorcycles, malcolm Smith gave you.
[00:21:08.770] - John
A job as a lot harder. I was actually had a full time job working in the grocery industry. I was making about 80 grand a year back then and I hated every minute of it. And I got to meet Malcolm Smith. He offered me a job, was a lot porter for $7 an hour. And I took it and quit my job.
[00:21:25.450] - Dave
Wow. Yeah. Once it kind of gets into you, then I feel like then it's sort of over for you, at least like the majority of people that are power sports enthusiasts. But then after that so you worked at Malcolm Smith Motorsports and I think somehow you ended up with this awesome opportunity to work for KTM. And I think it was through Kurt. Nicole would love to hear a little bit more about that story.
[00:21:46.720] - John
So I was working at Little Triple X and working at that race team the time. And on the weeks off, I was doing Super Moto tires for Dunlop. And each week I would see Kurt either at the Super Cross race or I would see him at the Super Moto race with a different company. And he walked up to me one day and goes, do you ever take a day off? And I'm like, no, got to do it, man. And he goes, Call me Monday. Anybody that works like you works for me. That's how I got the job.
[00:22:23.910] - Dave
That's awesome. Well, I feel like that era that you were in back then, the mid 90s, like that MotoX, it just brings back so many memories. And you've worked with some pretty amazing writers from that era, like Damon Huffman. I think I read Kyle Lewis who wrote for Moto Triple X and then another name I haven't read for quite a long time, like Johnny Marley in Oklahoma. I'm like, wow, that's a name I'd completely forgotten about. So tell us about that period. What was it like work with all those top racers?
[00:22:52.460] - John
Just like everybody in this world, we're all different. And some of the guys were really cool. Some of the guys weren't so cool. But I think watching just the progression of the Marleys, the Brian Gray's, the liftels, watching all these amateur kids come through and pretty much set their own destiny was just amazing.
[00:23:18.660] - Dave
That had to be cool, though, to be part of these young riders reaching that pinnacle and going pro. Isn't that pretty satisfying time of working on engines for you?
[00:23:28.540] - Dave
[00:23:29.200] - John
Even today you got an amateur family or just a candice trying to make it, or guys trying to make it. Like, I work with Chris Howell, David Pulley. We're a bunch of private tier guys that aren't the eschelons of the sport, but just to have them make night shows, main events, finish as high as they've ever had. You're a part of that success in one way or another.
[00:23:56.490] - Dave
Yeah. Which is cool because it just gives you that good feeling that you help the guy get to that level. Yeah, it's what feeds your passion. And I want to circle back a little bit, though, back to the Dunlap era. How long were you at Dunlap? And you said you worked in the Supermoto program, so you got exposed to a lot of racers in that avenue, but how long were you there and what else did you do with Dunlap?
[00:24:17.080] - John
I worked for two guys that were amazing. I worked for Brock Clover and Brian Fleck. I worked for those two guys for 13 years. Two of the best people in the industry. The Super Moto times were way before that. I was working for a guy named Wes Washburn, and I got to meet some iconic people like Doug Henry, jeff Ward, miguel Duhamel. I mean, that was when we were doing X Games and people from all over the country would come to X Games and raise Super Moto. So I got to be a lot of stars, but I got to meet a lot of just very talented individuals.
[00:24:57.730] - Dave
Yeah, for sure. And as Dale said, that era just the Supermoto era, which is come and gone, it's kind of left us going through. That was kind of a bellwether era because there were so many big names that came through those programs. When I think about the David Pinkies and the Mickey Diamonds, and even Jeff Ward was racing some of those events.
[00:25:17.190] - John
That was an experience like no other. Working with factory downahaw Honda like Keith McCarthy and all those guys, they were just the most genuine people I work with.
[00:25:31.690] - Dave
We'd like to take a break from the interview right now and pay some bills. And here's a word. From our sponsor.
[00:25:37.840] - Dave
So what was it then that finally pushed you in that direction of starting motor medic racing? And I think I know a little bit of the answer to that, but I'm just curious to know. You're working for Dunlop, you did some time with KTM, and then at a certain point you decide, you know, I'm going to do my own thing. And I think a lot of us have been in that situation where maybe your hands forced a little bit. But what was it that kind of, like, finally made you decide, you know, I'm going to do this on my own?
[00:26:02.250] - John
I was working for KTM and it was one of the times when things were really lean. The KTM, like around eight things were not that great for the industry and they were doing layoffs. I was working for a manager I didn't quite care for, and I asked for my walking papers. I had $200 in my pocket and I decided I was going to ask somebody for 500 square foot part in the back of their building and start my own business. And many years later, here I am.
[00:26:36.820] - Dave
That's cool. So it's kind of like almost like that Apple Microsoft store where you just started in your garage type thing and then now you just been building it over the years. And I think you're, what, you're a little over ten years in now with your business?
[00:26:48.660] - John
Oh, yeah. I mean, total, I'm like 1516 started very humbly, very grateful for everything and all the customers that I have across the country. And I tell guys all the time, anybody should do it. You just got to be willing to sacrifice everything to get it done.
[00:27:09.750] - Dave
Yeah, I tell people all the time that if you want to get rich, probably shouldn't go into power sports, but if you want to have a lot of fun and do something you're passionate about, it's awesome for that. So would you say that's kind of the case? It's definitely obviously money's not everything, but like I said, if you want to make a lot of money, it's probably not the best place to go.
[00:27:29.530] - John
It's a love hate relationship. If you want to get rich, play the stock market or get to come politician. But when you're in this industry and you don't love it, you need to go find another job because this is something you do, because it's in you, it's in your DNA.
[00:27:46.570] - Dave
And that's something I think we all kind of joke about. It's the industry we love, but it doesn't always love us back. It's a lot of sweat equity. But hess. Off to you, John. You took the risk, which a lot of people wouldn't take that risk. You took the risk and gambled and it paid off and you're off and running and you've got your own business in a pretty well known one in your area, as I understand.
[00:28:08.260] - John
Yeah, we do pretty well, we have some other competition in town that they do get jobs, too. And at the end of the day, when you have a business, you got to give people a reason why to pick you. And that's the difference between some shops and other shops. If you go on reputation, hey, reputation is one thing, but relationships a whole another. So I think my own relationships and treating people like I want to be treated, and we just give the customer the best opportunity to succeed as possible. Whether you be a racer or just an enthusiast who wants to go ride trails on the weekend, everybody's the same.
[00:28:48.450] - Dave
Yeah. And it makes me you're dead right. When I look at the list of names and brands in that market space now, it seems to have grown tremendously. The DH Ones, the Twisted, the Tom Morgans, the Pro circuits and on, and it just goes on and on. It just seems to me that kind of when the fourstroke era began and things took hold. We're at that point now where the average owner isn't performing even the basic of maintenance to their bikes or performance models, and they're relying on shops like yourself to do that. Do you feel that's true? Is that kind of a good characterization? I should say, yeah.
[00:29:26.410] - John
Economically, for sure. You get guys out there that are super smart across the country, like you said, the DH ones. I have another friend of mine who has one called Origin Speed in North Carolina, and we actually collaborate together to help each other become better that way. If a customer across the country has a problem and one of my guys, my friends can't figure it out, they'll call me. We'll network it between three or four shops, and we'll get that customer handled whether they know that or not.
[00:30:01.230] - Dave
That's an interesting aspect. I never realized that you guys kind of work hand in hand. I know you speak to Brandon at DH One for sure. We know that because of our shared relationship. But it's interesting, though, that so many shops have grown out of that. But from your mind, what's one of the most difficult aspects of running a performance shop? Obviously, there's good things and bad things, but what's one of the more difficult things about owning and running a shop?
[00:30:27.730] - John
Everybody is the next superstar and everybody wants it for free.
[00:30:31.020] - Dave
I almost could have predicted that answer, Jen, but I buy it because everybody is an expert, I think, is what I was going to say.
[00:30:40.420] - John
Yeah. Everybody knows more than I do. I don't know how I got this far, but it's all good. You got to have a little bit of levity to your life in order to stay sane sometimes.
[00:30:49.620] - Dave
Kind of makes me wonder to kind of go back to that, like what Dave brought up the point about, because I come from that two stroke era, too, where I can work. I feel like I could do a top end of my sleep on a two stroke, but as soon as the four stroke error came about, like, I don't want anything to do with it. I feel like that's where your real true mechanical prowess comes into play. But I feel like a lot of these people nowadays are probably intimidated to work on their four stroke motorcycle. Would you say that's kind of a reality?
[00:31:14.370] - John
Yes, absolutely. And I try to tell people, if you just pay attention or get a mentor, like, I have an opendoor policy here for people. If you want to learn how to work on your dirt bike, you bring your own dirt bike in here and I'll show you how to do the things you want to do free of charge. Because I want people to learn the craft. If we don't teach and mentor others, the craft is going to go away.
[00:31:42.720] - Dave
Yeah, that's a great point, too, because the less people working on them down the road is going to be that much harder to find people to work on your motorcycle. And so I think that is partly probably why there's been success of a lot of these sort of niche shops around the industry, around the country. And it's more technical now. Suspension is more technical. Everything's more technical these days to where if you really, truly don't know what you're doing, it's probably best to leave that to the professionals.
[00:32:07.860] - John
Yeah. I mean, the electronic side of the bikes are just phenomenal. Now I work with Vortex software mapping and tuning and the electronic side of the bikes, it's really going to come a long way. I got the Dyno, the brand new 2023 KTM two strokes. The ones that are not carbureted, they're all fuel injected now and somebody did their homework. Somebody did their homework.
[00:32:33.330] - Dave
That's interesting what you said about the electronics, John, because now it seems that that's an avenue to tune the engine more than I think back to the twostroke days. Like Dale mentioned, you used to be able to put a pipe on or you change the reads or you added some compression by cutting the head or ported it. Those were the avenues to get to change your power or move the power. And it seems like now a stock bike where you can go in and rewrite the fuel map in the ignition map, you can achieve similar results without ever touching the inside of the engine. Is that true?
[00:33:07.720] - John
Yeah, it depends on how you format your firmware. You can tune your bike, a stock bike, to its potential. When you get a brand new bike, your bike is not at its best potential. You have to tune that bike. And once you start putting other things on your bike, like pipes and cams and all these other things you want to put on your bike, well, you have to start from ground zero and retune because it affects it in dramatic ways. That's the nature of the beast now. It's like you got to have a little geek in you to be a mechanic, because if you don't on the electronic side, you're going to get lost, you're going to get left of the dust.
[00:33:48.660] - Dave
Yeah. So it's not even a matter of just bolting in a high compression piston, bolting on a pipe and expecting the best. You got to kind of sync up all the tuning to go with it, if that makes sense. I guess to get the most out of it.
[00:34:01.330] - John
Everything matters. Everything matters. It's from fuel to pipe. It just matters. And the data that you can pull from these bikes now, I mean, they're just small cars, that's all they are.
[00:34:16.210] - Dave
Yeah, it seems that way. I remember when fuel injection first came along in the four strokes, and I think a lot of us old school guys, I guess I can claim to be one of those. We were fearful of the technology and now, honest to God, I don't want to bike without it. I don't want to bike without a starter. But I'm a senior vet rider, so I want all these conveniences. But now they're second thought, it's almost like when cars went to fuel injection. I can remember back in the 1980s when it became normal and it's just so much better platform at the end of the day.
[00:34:48.790] - John
Well, like I said with the KTM, the 23s, when he brought when I got him, I was like, where's the kickstarter? He goes, no kickstarter, let's start. I'm like, wow, I've gotten old.
[00:35:01.010] - Dave
I'm curious to know. So, like I said earlier, I tell people, if you want to get rich, power sports may not be for you, but in your case, I feel like you've chosen to do what I can tell you love what you're doing and you persevered in this industry that we all know can be challenging. But I feel like it's because you love helping others and you love what you do. Is that a pretty accurate assessment?
[00:35:22.800] - John
You know, at a certain point in everybody's career, no matter what you do, you got to identify what you're good at and what you're here for. And I figured out a long time ago, I like helping other people, so I embraced it. I immersed myself in my sport and my job and that gives me fulfillment.
[00:35:45.220] - Dave
Yeah, I can tell. I feel like that comes across too, because I've read so many just doing the research before our show today. I read so many comments from people that just admire you and your business, like what you stand for and how you conduct your business. So kudos to you for that. But I also want to know if there's one thing you'd like people to remember you for, what would that be?
[00:36:05.140] - John
No, it's easy. I'm an acquired taste, so I'm very straightforward. I'm very straightforward, so I don't wiggle. I'm straight ahead. You want to ask me a question? Be careful with the question you ask because I'm going to give you the answer.
[00:36:20.140] - Dave
Yeah. If you don't want to hear the answer, don't ask the question. Right, right.
[00:36:24.090] - John
It may not be what you want to hear.
[00:36:26.290] - Dave
So do you have any favorite builds at the moment? Like some racers or any special projects? I think I saw where you had an old three wheeler in there that you might be remodeling here soon.
[00:36:37.390] - John
Yeah, the three wheeler is going to take a backseat. We got a lot of kicker read across stuff. I'm getting ready to finish up to get my guys going for that. That starts in November. I got World Vet bills I got to get done for that big race. I think the most fun, coolest build I'm doing right now is I got some of these billet cases for Cr 500 and that fit into the 2023 450 chassis. The customer is not cutting any corners. He is going top notch with everything. And when it's done, it's going to be amazing because the cases are a work of art. They're literally a work of art.
[00:37:21.940] - Dave
And that's cool stuff because a lot of the customers are at an age now where they can afford to spare no expense and build that ultimate dirt bike that they have always wanted. And that's where guys like you come in. That's pretty cool.
[00:37:33.550] - John
Yeah, it's fun to build those because you look at it, you're like, wow. I asked him, I go, Why are we doing this? He goes, because I can love it. Let's go.
[00:37:43.450] - Dave
Yeah, it's awesome. That's the exact answer you want to hear, for sure. So any chance you're going to throw a leg over a bike for the World Vets coming up? But it's in November, I think.
[00:37:53.350] - John
Yeah, I've been super busy. No time to train. My bike right now is a big gun exhaust, getting a custom exhaust put on it. They're coming back into the game here pretty soon. I'm going to come off the couch cold. I'll be honest with you. I'm going to come off the couch cold and lay some wood on everybody and see when we finish up.
[00:38:13.450] - Dave
That's awesome. It never stopped any of us, right? We're all fast in our minds. So I wish you luck and stay safe. That's the most important thing. And probably the most important part is have fun. That's why we do it in the world.
[00:38:25.240] - John
That's a great event, just to get a bunch of old guys from all around the country. Pretty good times.
[00:38:31.470] - Dave
Yeah, that's cool stuff. Now, as we wrap up here, John, I just want to take the last few minutes. You could let our audience know where to find you, either on the Internet or on social media so they can look up motor medic and get their engines built. Man, you're the guy to go to.
[00:38:47.910] - John
Yeah. Easy way to get a hold of me is Instagram. It's motor Medic racing. That's the Instagram and that is the website. And we try to accommodate everyone. We're here in Southern California where there's a lot of people to choose from, but hopefully I can be your choice and make you smile.
[00:39:08.250] - Dave
Absolutely. Folks, check him out. He is John Turner, owner of Motor Medic Racing. And John, really appreciate you taking the time to spend with us today, man. It's been great talking to you.
[00:39:18.060] - John
You two guys, thank you.
[00:39:32.210] - Dave
If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow Pitpass Moto on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate and review our show. We'd really appreciate it. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit pitpassmodo.com, where you can check out our blog, listen to past episodes, and purchase your own Pitpass Moto. Swag.
[00:39:54.280] - Dave
This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson in the production team at Westler Media. I'm Dale Spengler.
[00:40:04.050] - Dave
And I'm Dave Sulecki. See you next week on Pit Pass Moto.