Spanner: James Coy

Travis Pastrana may be extremely talented at just about anything and everything that he touches, but that doesn’t mean he can be trusted to freely wreak havoc upon the earth without the watchful eye of a chaperone…or…many chaperones, for that matter. If you’ve ever seen Travis on a video, at a freestyle contest or at a Supercross event, then you’ve probably witnessed firsthand the abuse that he places upon his machinery. To help combat the problem for the 2005 Supercross series, Team Suzuki has assigned their best available man to the difficult task of keeping Travis’s RM250 in tip-top shape. We caught up with Suzuki’s James Coy to get the scoop on his background in motocross, and life with #199…
Tell us a little bit about your background in motocross and the guys you’ve worked for before you ended up here with Travis. Well, I started in the industry in November of 1998. I was at Pro Circuit for two years, working for Scott Sheak and Billy Payne, and then I went with Billy over to Plano Honda in 2001. After Plano, I came here to Suzuki and worked with Branden Jesseman from ’02 through ’04.
Prior to your days of wrenching, did you do a lot of riding yourself, or have you always stayed on the mechanical side of things?
I grew up racing District 34 in upstate New York. The love of the sport basically kept me in it for all of these years, though, and then after I pretty much ran out of money (laughs)… I got the opportunity to come out to California to work for a team.
Fast forwarding to this year-you were sent over directly from Team Suzuki proper to work for Pastrana… How did that come about?
Well, actually, the circumstances were that Branden (Jesseman) left Suzuki, and I still work for them. I am employed by Suzuki, and Travis’s bike is a factory Suzuki bike, but on the weekends I work out of his truck with his team.
So during the week you actually work with the rest of the Team Suzuki crew out of their facility in SoCal?
Exactly. I build the bike out of the Suzuki trucks, and I work in the Suzuki race shop every day of the week.
You haven’t been working with Travis long, but have you had the opportunity to visit him at home yet?
(Laughs) No, I had the opportunity to go a couple years ago, but after watching the videos of what goes on there, I am glad that I didn’t go. Every person I know who’s ever gone says that there’s a ton of peer pressure the whole time to do crazy stuff. I think I’ll steer clear for now.
Travis tells us that you’re the most meticulous mechanic he’s ever met. If that’s true, then he must make your life pretty tough with all of his antics…
(Laughs) No, he’s okay. I think I am like that just out of fear of something happening. Travis just wants to ride and he doesn’t really like to take breaks, but every once in a while I’ll stop him just to check spokes and stuff. But really, that’s quite a compliment.
Is there anything about your job that you absolutely dread?
Now it’s the traveling. I have a wife and a five-month-old daughter at home, so I find that it’s a lot harder to leave for the airport than it used to be. I still love it, though. I love the people here at Suzuki, and I am really enjoying working for Travis and his group, too, so there really isn’t anything that makes me cringe, except for the travel.
What do you look the most forward to day in and day out?
I think for me it’s building my race bike. Building a bike and knowing that Travis can holeshot on it or possibly even win on it is the driving force behind it all. When Branden was doing well and winning races, the motivation was unbelievable, and now to be able to work with Travis is just awesome. I generally can’t wait to go to the shop and work on my equipment.
When the Supercross series is over, will you start learning how to shave seats and chop fenders for X Games?
(Laughs) Unfortunately, it’s Supercross only for Travis and me. If he invites me on a personal level, I’d be happy to do that, but my job is to work for Suzuki, and as far as they’re concerned, this is a Supercross-only deal. I do hope that he returns to Supercross again next year, though.