TWMX All Access: Mach 1 Motorsports’ Greg Holbrook

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Over the last few years, Mach 1 has been steadily working its way up the ranks of support teams. As they’ve signed progressively better riders, scored better equipment, and garnered increased support from Yamaha, they’ve gotten closer to nabbing their first podium.

At the Yamaha Team Introduction, we sat down with Greg Holbrook, the guy who’ll be writing the checks for Ezra Lusk and Heath Voss this season.

TransWorld Motocross: Tell me a little about the background behind Mach 1 Motorsports.

Greg Holbrook: Well, a partner and myself bought the store (in Vallejo, CA) seven years ago. As far as racing, this was always the plan. There hasn’t been another plan for me. My partner would be a different story. He’s a road racer. His background is strictly pavement, although he’s ridden dirt quite a bit. This was my focus, when we bought the store, to bring it to this level…some type of factory supported team. We just took baby steps to get there.

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TWMX: Which brands do you carry in the shop?

GH: Honda, Yamaha, and KTM. It’s been there for 30 years. We bought it from…I wouldn’t say the original owner, but he’d bought the Yamaha side of the business from a company called Pelican Cycles. I think that was in ’69. There’s some serious history. But he moved it down the street, and added lines. When we bought the store it was Honda and Yamaha, and we added KTM about four years ago.

The building itself is 14,500 square feet, and we sit on about three acres. We have a little 50cc track out front, which is nice. We don’t get to use it as much as we’d like, because we’re always so busy, but we let the kids out there, and actually have a school that we do with the Police Activities League. They run the school, and we teach kids how to ride.

TWMX: How do you rank in sales among the dealer in your area?

GH: We’re usually in the top five. It all depends on the category. In some we’re up. In dirt, we’re usually top three. It fluctuates up and down. We’re not the biggest, but that’s not my goal, anyway.

TWMX: What’s the motivation for being a factory support team? If you look at Yamaha of Troy, they back it up with mail order, are you guys headed down that same avenue?

GH: I don’t think we’ll focus on a lot of mail order. Not to a huge degree. We’ve stepped it up a little bit, with Internet sales and that kind of thing, but that’s not really the focus. It’s a name affiliation, but I don’t need the store to reap large rewards from the race team. It’s nice that it does, but it’s just one of those perks. It’s a bonus thing.

TWMX: It sounds more like a pure love of racing.

GH: Yeah, I’ve been involved in motocross my entire life, since seven years old. My first motocross race was in 1969…that’s where it comes from.

TWMX: How do you support that level of an effort. Going from a motorhome a couple years ago, to a semi last year.

GH: It’s not easy. (Laughs) That’s a big challenge, all the way around, from the logistics, to the support from the industry itself. It’s a lot of work. Sometimes you have to step back and say, ‘Was this all worth it?’ For me, it’s not until we’re on thbox, but better yet, win something. My focus is to do something that I couldn’t. I had limited opportunity, but not the resources that we pour into this, when I was younger and I could race. It’s just my turn to give back to the sport. That’s what we’re doing.

TWMX: How much support do you guys get from Yamaha?

GH: We see it in the media all the time, that our riders are on a bike that anybody could go build. I kind of just bite my tongue. There’s no way you could have anywhere near the bike that we have by buying it off the street. I worked hard to get to this level, and we just figure that people should know that their equipment was works equipment last year. Not the whole bike, but a lot of pieces on the bike.

This year we have the whole bike. We paid our dues as an entry-level support team last year, and now since we did a good job, they’ve rewarded us with all the equipment this year. Of course, the riders don’t hurt, either.

TWMX: How does it work logistically? Do they do the maintenance between rounds? Or do your mechanics do it?

GH: It’s all us. We work out of their shop. Our mechanics are working in their shop. They have to go back every couple weeks to freshen up the motors and all that.

TWMX: Do you get access to the test facility, too?

GH: Oh yeah, we’re there full-time. Without that, it’s pretty hard. Both our riders have tracks at their houses, but the resources there at Yamaha…I mean, we not only have access to the facility, but we also have resources through their personnel and equipment, which is key. Last year it was a little bit more where we were on our own. There were some works parts, and here’s Ross to help you out on suspension. We could come to them with problems or issues that we had, but we were a little bit more on our own. This year they’ve stepped it up. We’re part of their crew. So they come out and test with us. If we have issues, we resolve them the same day. It’s not a back and forth delay kind of thing, which is very nice for us.

TWMX: With the change to unleaded fuel, do you get access to their notes on that, too?

GH: Of course. Like I said, there’s no favoritism here. That’s something I love. We will be running the same fuel that they’re running, and running the exact same engine. The bike’s identical. It’s all a matter of rider preference. Heath’s will be different from the rest of the gang for supercross, because he’s the only one on the 450. But the rest of the bikes, it’s just preference as far as pieces are concerned.

TWMX: How did you work out the deal with Ezra? Was that a combo effort between you and Yamaha? Did you chase him first?

GH: I chased him first. We knew the contract was up, so we chased him down. He’d already started talking with Keith (McCarty) at the beginning of last year, because he’d liked Yamaha so well in the past, and wanted to ride one again. Keith was more than willing to try and put something together for him. Keith and I and Ezra worked together and put together a package where he won’t be at a deficit at all. It’ll be a level playing field, which is fantastic for us.

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TWMX: What are your expectations for him?

GH: Championship. (Pauses) I don’t want any less, I’m realistic, though. If we’re on the podium half the rounds, I’ll be happy. If we can bag a couple wins in Supercross, I’ll be extremely happy. Obvously, I want it all like the rest of the world. (Chuckles) That would satisfy me.

We were so close to the podium last year, so many times. It was a nail-biter. Nick and Ernesto were going at it for five or six races, and Nick always came up on the short end. But this year we want the box. We’ll get it done with the crew we have. I know we will. It’ll happen.

TWMX: Back to the shop for a minute: how much does what the race team uses affect sales in the shop?

GH: Oh, definitely. The sponsors product reap a huge reward for being in our store. If I was to take one product, obviously the gear would be the most influential, because it’s seen more readily than anything out there. Last year’s gear did fantastic for us, and this year we’ve changed to No Fear, and I’m sure that we’ll have riders in No Fear gear in pretty good numbers. Yeah, it’s a direct influence.

What are the tracks close to us? Our closest track is one that’s been around as long as I have. It’s called Argyle Park. It isn’t overly utilized. There are some random races there a couple times a year. Most guys would rather go to tracks that are prepped more often. The other tracks would be Prairie City (Hangtown), Marysville…two tracks there, Club Moto, and of course Carnegie and Hollister. You’re starting to drive a little bit there.

TWMX: How often do you travel to the races? Every week?

GH: I used to, because when we started I was everything. Just like anything starting out, I wore all the hats. Team manager, mechanic, coordinator, whatever. I did it all. As we grew and added employees, thank goodness I don’t have to do it all. Now I don’t have to do anything but sign the checks.

TWMX: How many are on staff for the race team?

GH: Well, we have two riders, two mechanics, one manager, and one truck driver. That’s six. I’d say that 40% of my resources are spent on the race team, so make it six-and-a-half. I’d go to all the races if I could, but there’s still a store to run.

TWMX: When you get up to San Francisco round of the Supercross series, how many extra passes do you buy?

GH: It was ugly last year. (Laughs) I supplied the whole store and their families…I don’t even know the number in the end, but it was close to 100 people. This year I expect it to be the same or more. Everybody that heard about it and didn’t get to come. It’s going to be a good race for us. We’ll do a big hospitality like we did last year, where we bring out our good customers and feed them and let them sit in the hospitality area and hang out with the team. Meet and greet…it’s the way to do it. It makes everyone feel good about being part of our store.

Contact:
Mach 1 Motorsports, Inc.
510 Couch St.
Vallejo, CA 94590
(888) 336-9911
www.mach1motorsports.com

Sponsored by:
team uses affect sales in the shop?

GH: Oh, definitely. The sponsors product reap a huge reward for being in our store. If I was to take one product, obviously the gear would be the most influential, because it’s seen more readily than anything out there. Last year’s gear did fantastic for us, and this year we’ve changed to No Fear, and I’m sure that we’ll have riders in No Fear gear in pretty good numbers. Yeah, it’s a direct influence.

What are the tracks close to us? Our closest track is one that’s been around as long as I have. It’s called Argyle Park. It isn’t overly utilized. There are some random races there a couple times a year. Most guys would rather go to tracks that are prepped more often. The other tracks would be Prairie City (Hangtown), Marysville…two tracks there, Club Moto, and of course Carnegie and Hollister. You’re starting to drive a little bit there.

TWMX: How often do you travel to the races? Every week?

GH: I used to, because when we started I was everything. Just like anything starting out, I wore all the hats. Team manager, mechanic, coordinator, whatever. I did it all. As we grew and added employees, thank goodness I don’t have to do it all. Now I don’t have to do anything but sign the checks.

TWMX: How many are on staff for the race team?

GH: Well, we have two riders, two mechanics, one manager, and one truck driver. That’s six. I’d say that 40% of my resources are spent on the race team, so make it six-and-a-half. I’d go to all the races if I could, but there’s still a store to run.

TWMX: When you get up to San Francisco round of the Supercross series, how many extra passes do you buy?

GH: It was ugly last year. (Laughs) I supplied the whole store and their families…I don’t even know the number in the end, but it was close to 100 people. This year I expect it to be the same or more. Everybody that heard about it and didn’t get to come. It’s going to be a good race for us. We’ll do a big hospitality like we did last year, where we bring out our good customers and feed them and let them sit in the hospitality area and hang out with the team. Meet and greet…it’s the way to do it. It makes everyone feel good about being part of our store.

Contact:
Mach 1 Motorsports, Inc.
510 Couch St.
Vallejo, CA 94590
(888) 336-9911
www.mach1motorsports.com

Sponsored by: