Yesterday, the factory Red Bull Honda team announced that WMA star and current champion, Ashley Fiolek, will be moving into their tent for the 2009 season, using the same equipment as Ivan Tedesco, Andrew Short, Ben Townley, and Davi Millsaps. Making the move with Ashley into the Honda rig will be her current mechanic, the young and enthusiastic Cody Wolf. We were able to spend a few minutes with Cody to learn about his background and this exciting new opportunity.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started with the Fioleks, and how you came to be their mechanic?
I met Ashley at Ponca City and Loretta Lynn's in 2006. I had a back injury from racing on my own, and I met them through a friend, Brady Rodriguez, who now does rider support at Smith Optics. We immediately built a good relationship with Ashley, her mother Ronnie, and her father Jim, and the conversation began as them just looking for a beginner mechanic; someone who knows how to do the basics. So I told them that I just learned how to do that stuff on my own, while I was racing. After Loretta's we kept in touch, building a relationship.
Eventually they presented me with the opportunity that when I graduated high school in January of 2007 they were interested in moving me down from my home in Wisconsin to their place in St. Augustine, FL to take care of Ashley's practice and race bikes. After five months of doing that, I was not certain if I wanted to continue on as their mechanic, go back home, or pursue some interests in college. I ended up moving back home, got a roofing job, and it didn't take me long to realize that I was so happy working on bikes that I was willing to move away from family to do so. So in July of 2008, I moved back in with the Fioleks and here I am. We have built a great relationship and no complaints.
To backtrack little, you are new to the professional racing scene, so can you tell us who Cody Wolf is?
I am originally from West Bend, WI, north of Milwaukee. I grew up racing, and my dad is a diesel technician and works on semis. My parents were divorced, and I would spend time in the shop that my dad owned, just tinkering around. With racing, my dad, and maybe some genetics and growing up at a semi shop just working on stuff and learning is where I learned my mechanical skills. When I was about fifteen or sixteen, my dad told me motocross is an expensive sport, and if my brother and I wanted to continue doing it, we would have to pay for it ourselves. That really forced me to mature. I bought my own bikes, paid for my racing, and really learned how to work on my own bikes. And then in 2006 I broke my back in a riding accident. Not long after that, Brady Rodriguez brought me to Ponca and Loretta's for the first time. I had never even been to an amateur national or ever reader an amateur motocross magazine. But I came into a new atmosphere and walked out of it with a great job opportunity with Ashley and her family.
Now that you are on the professional WMA tour, how have you adjusted to the professionalism, sponsorships, and travel and are you enjoying it?
Our transition from amateur to professional racing, I believe, has been really successful. I did a couple amateur nationals with Ashley, and I was also a mechanic for a kid named Kyle Corman for a short period of time as well. The difference between the amateur and professional scene is that it's a lot much faster paced. And as you said, dealing with the sponsors, if there was one thing that hit me at a young age, it was to act professionally, present yourself well, and to be kind and respectful. Based off feedback from other people, they feel that I have done quite well. The Fioleks tell me that I should be able to continue on somewhere within the professional industry of motocross.
When I started working for Ashley, she had a whole list of different sponsors, so for me it was fun interacting with so many new people and seeing how the professional side of the industry runs.
I would have to agree with the communication part, I think you are pretty good at it!
(laughs) Thank you for very much.
Speaking of professionalism and sponsorships, congratulations on the new deal with factory Honda.
Yes, Ashley has signed a new contract with factory Honda to become the first girl in the United States underneath a factory tent. She will be teammates with Ben, Andrew, Ivan, and Davey and I think that is really saying a lot for Ashley. People took her seriously enough to say that not only does she now how to ride a motorcycle, but also her marketability is very important. She is a great person on and off the motorcycle.
There is that and then her commitment, along with all of the other girls she races with, to the WMA. I think it will open peoples' eyes for those that think motocross is a boys' sport. Not only having Ashley on good equipment, but all the girls will make fans pay attention to the fact that the WMA has some great racing as well. They can put on a good show and someday maybe even be competing with the boys.
I think Ashley is well on her way to doing that. And I believe for 2009, the women will be running both of their motos on the same day as the men?
I believe so. I have heard a lot of different things on whether it will be a one or two moto format. But it will be good. I think it would really mean a lot to them if the women can get the same practices as the men, or at least more practice time. It will make the women more comfortable to go out there in their races and really put it all on the line like the boys do and keep the fans on their feet to show them that the girls are just as exciting as the boys.
Well Cody, thank you for speaking with us and good luck with your transition over to a factory team.
Cody: Thank you very much.