INSTAGRAM | @dpipes181

INSTAGRAM | @hepmotorsports

The sport of professional motocross and Supercross racing is made up of a long list of great people, and longtime professional turned team manager Dustin Pipes is one of the nicest guys out there. While he’s always been one of the top privateers on the track, he’s officially hung up the boots in pursuit of the next chapter within the industry – becoming the Team Manager for the newly formed HEP Motorsports Suzuki squad. With a new roster that includes Adam Enticknap, Alex Ray, and Kyle Chisholm they are excited to begin the season and we sat down with Pipes to discuss it all.

Now that you've fully transitioned from professional racer to team manager, what's it like? You raced this year didn’t you?

Yeah, so this last year of racing I both raced and ran the team too but I had a lot of help doing it. It was very difficult to focus on riding and also what the other three riders were doing and needed. I ended up starting the team with Billy and George Holland and since I do know the sport really well it was a good fit for me to take the team manager role. It was just kind of a natural fit to transition over.

You were also going to college throughout these past few years of your racing career, right?

Yeah, I went to college and that’s something that not a lot of guys in the sport do. I was never a top pro, so at some point I had to look at other ways to make money. I really wanted to get a business degree and a law degree so I made my way toward doing that while racing. It's sort of been put on the backburner now with where I'm at in this new role and opportunity.

You can always go back to it when the time is right.

Yeah, and honestly that probably helped me out more for this role than being a racer because during school I had to manage my time so well. When you're going to school and racing at the same time you just have to get things done for you to be able to either work out or do your homework. So that was a structure that I never really had in my life, just being a racer before that, so it brought a lot of structure into my daily routine and I saw that kind of take effect on the team this year and last year. More so when I'm managing the team, and just having that structure and being on time with everything and having all of your ducks in a row to get it all done.

So the racing boots are hung up, but have you jumped on a bike to do any testing or anything?

I haven't ridden in like four months!

Is it weird?

Um…I'm actually really content.

You raced and trained for a long time, it's probably nice to take a step back.

Yeah, honestly if we're looking back at it I probably shouldn't have raced this last year either. [2018]

But you had to have some fun doing it right?

Of course, and I made a main again last year at Boston. And at that point, the season was close to done and I was already struggling. I also wasn't even riding Supercross during the week because that wasn't fun anymore.

I remember you saying that to me at a race! "I haven't even practiced Supercross during the week in a while!"

[Laughs] Yeah, I literally didn't ride Supercross tracks the last two months I raced it. I just rode outdoor tracks. And then I ended up making the main in Boston and the last rounds after that went well so that was cool. And then for me my last round of racing as a pro was Glen Helen, and I was able to go out with a top 20 and that was pretty cool for me. I wasn't in the best shape, but I was like, "Let's just go out this last moto and give it your all." That was really gratifying to go out and give it my all and score points in my last race.

A lot of privateers never earn a point, so scoring some in your last round had to feel good. Not that you haven't done better, but it should always be looked at as an accomplishment.

Yeah, for sure. It was pretty tough because I came in and I was spent after the first moto, and emotionally I was like, "That's it. That's all I want to give." But I went out and gave it my all in moto two. After the motos it was a little tough knowing that was it, and something you've chased since you're six years old was kind of going a different direction now. That was a little tough pill to swallow but at the end it was really gratifying.

You're going into the second year of the team, and you now acquired Adam Enticknap Alex Ray, and Kyle Chisholm. It had to be exciting for you coming into the new season.

Yeah, I think just to see the continued growth of the team is cool. Last year we came in with about two months time before Anaheim One and that was stressful. Even this year is stressful, but having that year under our belt is huge. Kyle Chisholm is such a respected name in the sport, and he's been around so long and has a career number. He's a professional, and you can see it when he practices and when he tests. I think that is something that the team needed this year and we're super happy to see what Kyle can do. He did really well last year in the 250 class, and I think putting him back on a big bike with good support is going to open some eyes. He's been really riding good and adapting to the bike well –everything has been looking good. With Alex, he just gives it a ton of heart and I don't think as a team manager you can ask anything more than that. He tries his best day in and day out and always gives it 100%. With Adam, he's such a big personality and media-wise he does so well for himself. He's like no other rider in the sport. So for us, initially, Adam was a huge value on that side of things but as we've seen through testing his progression on the bike has been incredible. This past day of riding he was the fastest guy out there, hands down, so it's pretty incredible seeing his growth. Hopefully this opportunity will allow him to showcase his riding results just as much as his big personality.

That's one thing to mention, with the modern landscape of social media a guy like Enticknap does have huge value based solely on that.

Right, and I think myself, Billy, George, my dad, and everyone that's involved with the team looking into this year we really wanted a team that would bring a positive vibe to the pits. And I'm not saying that we didn't have that last year because every one of the riders we worked with was great. But that was just one of the goals and requirements coming into 2019 and I think we got that with all three riders and that is a great feeling.

You have Suzuki support, which is huge as well. You've personally had Suzuki support for a long time right?

Yeah, I've had Suzuki support since I was a B rider. It's been almost ten years. So how it happened, I was at JGR last year I did the bike intro for the new RM-Z450 and it kind of got brought up there with the RCH team leaving and them wanting to have another team in the paddock. I kind of pushed for it a little bit, and they were open to it so it’s been a good thing.

You're also wearing a WD40 hat –that's a pretty big name sponsor as well.

Yeah, we're with WD40 and they do all our lubricants. We also have Redline Oil, and they do all of our oils. The good thing with it is that those two companies don't conflict with each other so we've brought both of them into the sport and proud to have them on board. We're hoping to continue to reach companies that haven't been in the sport yet.

The look of everything is solid.

Yeah, everything is looking good. We switched to Thor this year, which was awesome for us, and working with Jim and everyone over there has been great. Just having the resources of a brand that is so iconic in the sport and has been around for so long has helped the team, leaps and bounds.

Let's be real –the more teams around, the better. And it's great to see a guy like you that is fresh off a race career doing what he feels is best for a team.

Yeah, it's something new and I'm ready to tackle it and see where it goes.

You also can't deny to me that you probably won't miss lining up for an LCQ!

[Laughs] Yeah, honestly it feels so good not having to jump a triple. I'm way cool with it.

What will you miss, and not miss the most.

I won't miss the pressure. When I was done racing mentally but haven't told anyone that, just riding at a local track and having all of the guys jump in behind me and pace me…man I will not miss that! I think I'll miss the fans and stuff like that the most. It's pretty cool to have little kids come up to you and tell you that you're their favorite rider. You know? There are guys like Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey and it's pretty hard when they are winning and you're not at their level, but I think it's pretty awesome to still be a hero to certain kids.