By Big E
Photos by Chris Kinman
Coy Gibbs is the owner of the JGRMX empire in North Carolina. You have probably heard of his father, Joe Gibbs, and the incredible things he has accomplished in the football and NASCAR arenas. Having deep roots in both football and NASCAR, Coy decided three years ago to take a different route, diving headfirst into motocross. After two full racing seasons, JGRMX will be entering their third year as a team. I caught up with Coy to see how things were going and to see what he thinks the future holds for JGRMX.
Entering your third year of running the team, is it all you thought it would be?
This year has been hard. With the economy taking it’s toll on the manufacturers, we sure have been blessed to make it through all of this mess with the economy being the way it is. I think we get better at what we do each year, and that has been our plan all along. Looking forward, I am very excited about Josh [Grant] and Justin [Brayton] going into next year. Watching both of those two is going to be fun every weekend.
Can you tell us how Josh Grant is feeling?
He’s healthy and started riding about three or four weeks ago. His ankle was a little bit sore at first, but he is fine now. He and Justin started to see a storm come in so they checked out to California to go ride for a few days. I think they come back Sunday night; then Monday or Tuesday. weather permitting, we will be riding the 2010 YZ450F for the first time.
So you don’t have any 2010 bikes yet?
We had one, but it was disassembled within minutes to start to build parts for.
Great job acquiring Justin Brayton… He already has a win under his belt! What qualities does JGRMX see in him?
We actually tried to get Justin a while back, but it was a timing issue and we missed out. He is great to be around. I think he is going to be a great teammate, and he and Josh are going to work well together. They have different personalities and that usually works out. Justin gives us great feedback on the bikes when we are testing, and I think he is going to improve our program dramatically. Obviously, I think he felt good at Bercy. He was able to win there, which was a big deal being his first ride for us. I know he was pumped about that, because we sure were!
Is he living in North Carolina yet?
Yes. He moved out here about six weeks ago. He is all set up ready to go.
Are there any plans in the next year or two to add a third or a fourth rider? Maybe a 250cc based truck?
That would be a goal of mine someday for sure. In NASCAR the Nationwide series breeds talent for the Cup series. Keeping the talent in the family is the way to do it. I don’t see a 250cc truck in the next year with this economy. It takes a tremendous amount of money to do another program like that and it’s just not in the near future right now. As far as a third rider for us goes we have been approached by a few different people that would like to be here. We are open to it, but I don’t see how we could do it with the economy being what it is right now. I am not final on that, though, at this point in time. We will see.
Is there a long-term vision for JGRMX being involved in the sport?
Yeah. This is what I have dedicated my life to for the last four years. This will be our third year going racing, so you could say I am “all in.” I would love to be here long term. That has always been the goal of ours. I have said since day one that I would love to be a manufacturer’s factory team. I think we would do a good job for them not only on the track, but off the track get them good coverage and put their product up front, like we do with Yamaha.
You have said in the past, “We are not here to make money; we are just here to make a living and have fun.” Do you think that takes some of the pressure off of the team to have that kind of attitude?
The economy definitely does affect us. I am not here to lose huge chunks of money every year. In the first few years of any business you are willing to invest X amount of money, but at some point it has to make some financial sense. We have been blessed this year; it looks like things are going to be good for us. My family has always believed that if you run up front, the sponsorship will come. From my perspective, you never would get into this sport, like I have, thinking you are going to make a lot of money. If you do, you’re kidding yourself and I think I lot of people do just that. I have been on the car side of things, and I realize just how hard it is to make money owning a team. When you reach that 13th or 15th year, you might start to make some money, but all you are doing is hopefully making a living for you and those you employ.
On another note, you will most likely be seeing things like suspension and or motor service coming from us to the consumer. I think we do things different than most shops. There are a few different ways to do things. We think we do things better than most out there, and we have proven that it works. We would like to branch that off and sell some of the technology to the consumer that we have come across.
Are there any new sponsors coming on board for 2010?
From last year we have lost a few, but none of the big guys. We finally got everything done with Yamaha this week. Toyota has been with the family for a long time, and supported the JGRMX effort from the beginning, and they’re on board. We have some new ones coming on this year too. I don’t want to blow the whistle early, but we will have a formal press release coming out really soon. We are excited about the sponsors we have on board for 2010.
You have four children, right? Ty, Case, Jet, and your daughter Elle?
Yeah, that is a lot of children!
I hear that Ty is the North Carolina BMX State Champ!
Not only that, he is a Redline Cup Champ too! He just moved up to 7 Expert. BMX is fun for us. It’s something me and Ty do together. I really like it out at the BMX track—it’s nice and quiet out there (laughs). I am half-deaf from all the cars, drag racing and motorcycles I have been around all my life. Ty and I are going to go out to the ABA Grands in Tulsa to see if he is into that. I used to race BMX all up and down the state of California when I was little and I loved it. We did it as a family and it was probably more about being together as a family than the sport itself. Now I get to do that all over again with our family.
Is there any pressure to play football for any of them?
You know, my dad never forced me into playing football. You can predict a lot of the time with body types whether they are going to play or not. I would like for one of my children to play football, because it’s been such big a part of our life, but there is in no pressure for them to do that. If they want to race bikes or ride horses like my Elle does, I am okay with that.
Anyone you would like to thank?
I would like to thank all of the sponsors that have been there and helped us do what we do. Toyota, again they have been with us since day one and we can’t thank them enough.
Thanks for your time Coy and good luck in 2010!
Thanks Big E!