By Andrew Short
Have you ever wondered what a factory ride is like? How about what a factory bike is like? Is it how it looks in the magazines? Are the factory bikes really that good? I can tell you that those thoughts crossed my mind more than a few times as I was growing up. While I practiced motos one after another in search of my dream, those questions fueled my fire. All I wanted while growing up was a chance to swing a leg over Jeremy’s bike. After a lot of hard work and a little luck, my dream has become a reality. So you ask, is it as perfect as I imagined? Let me tell you about my dream come true.
There are many amazing things about being a factory rider. Here are a few of the perks that go along with having your dream come true. “Can you believe they pay you to do this? asked Losch (the best technician in the world), just after he just handed me a bag of 15 pre-oiled filters, spare wheels with brand new tires on them, two cases of oil (just in case) and a fresh bike that feels more like a 450 than a 250 when I twist the throttle. After that he unloaded my bike and put it on the stand, as I sifted through my gear bag full of new gear. Let me tell you; one cool perk is having new gear to wear before it comes out in the stores or even before it hits the magazines. So not only do I no longer wear scratched goggles or holey gear, but my bike also requires little to no maintenance and comes with all the spare parts I could possibly ever need, at no cost to me! I know you what are thinking…. Spoiled.
Probably the best part of this dream is to have a group of hard working professional technicians to keep my bike running. Let me tell you it is way better than working in the freezing cold garage for all those years just trying to keep my bikes running. First there is Kaipo, the suspension technician, whose job it is to make sure that I won’t have any excuses after the race about my suspension. He is available to revalve or freshen the suspension within the hour. Of course I cannot forget to mention the chassis guy Shane and last but not least Dan, who is in charge of my motorcycle. Yes… just mine! Another unbelievable perk you cannot believe until you see it for yourself, is the access to a parts building that is equivalent to the value of Fort Knox. In it are all of the “Gucci parts that give my bike that “bling effect. Did I mention the pressure? It is worth it… every bit of pressure is worth this chance.
Racing is what we all love to do and racing is what brings the factories to the starting line. Personally I can’t tell you what racing under the Honda semi is like yet, but I can tell you this opportunity has already taken me to many unbelievable places. Fortunately I have been one of the lucky few to experience Castillo Ranch. The place must be what motocross heaven looks like. This year, Honda has tested more there than at its own test track. Testing is the key word here. It is a dream come true to test, test, test and ride, ride, ride and have it be your job. Even when it rains in southern California it is a good thing, because the hills in Beaumont are a wonderland. Another great perk of living here and being a factory rider is to get to go play riding in the hills with a group of top pros who are all pushing each other to get a little more upside down.
So is having a factory ride everything I dreamed about for so long? Yes. It really is a wonder they pay us to have so much fun. So the next time you are at the races and see your favorite rider you can shake your head in disbelief about how lucky they are. My advice to you is to practice like you love it and sooner or later your dream my come true, too. I know it has for me. Maybe I don’t get to ride Jeremy’s bike, but I get to do the next best thing, pit next to him! See you at A1!