WHAT’S THE MOST EXCITING
THING ABOUT AIMEXPO 2016?
AIMExpo was created to showcase the
newest and brightest the market has to
offer from a product perspective, so we
believe the magic is in what the exhibitors bring to market for 2017. After all,
the number-one reason the media, dealers and consumers attend is to see new
product! Beyond that, the experience
for this year’s attendees will be greatly
enhanced by the change in exhibit halls
at the Orange County Convention Center
to the more desirable North Hall, placing
AIMExpo outdoors directly adjacent to the
indoor exhibits. You can visit www.ai
mex-pousa.com for more information.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR
AIMEXPO THAT KTM HAS SIGNED
ON? It is very exciting that KTM has
joined in the party, and we welcome
the color orange to Orlando in October.
More than anything, their addition
signifies the importance of the North
American market to OEMs of all types.
KTM is growing their product offering
beyond their legacy off-road product.
AIMExpo is the one place where KTM
can tell their story to the media, their
dealers and showcase it to consumers all
in one place at one time.
MOST MANUFACTURERS RELEASE
NEW MODELS WELL BEFORE THE
AIMEXPO; CAN YOU FIX THAT? The
reality is that we’ve got products introduced all year long. The truth is there
will never be one perfect moment in the
year, so we chose to slot ourselves in
the fall time frame between the European
shows [EICMA and Intermot] to offer a
better-timed platform for North America.
What would make AIMExpo more directly
compelling for the off-road segment
would be to align or create an off-road/
moto-type event with the show, and we
continue to look at that for the future.
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH THE
SPORT’S PROGRESSION? Yes. The
bikes are more reliable than they were,
say, four years ago. That’s better for
everybody. They don’t blow up all of the
time like they used to. I remember in
2004 how bad four-stroke reliability
was. Those engines were ticking time
bombs. At Red Bud one year we had
10 engines in the truck, and we used
every single one. Every week we thought
we had the problem solved, and then
something else would break. By the
end, the cases had a big plate mounted
on, because the cases would break.
We had to keep the case intact, even
though it would be cracked.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE TOUGHEST
CHANGE YOU’VE HAD TO ADAPT
TO? Mapping hasn’t been too big of
a deal to me. Two-strokes have ignition maps. Four-strokes also do, but
now there’s ignition and fuel mapping.
Everything is a learning process, but
once you get your hands on it and
spend time doing it, then things don’t
seem so bad. Everything that’s new is a
challenge, but then you figure it out.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST
ACCOMPLISHMENT IN BUSINESS?
I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of really
proud moments. Some that stand out
are winning our first race, getting the
factory teams to run our pipes and also
our engine stuff. The fact that factory
teams wanted to run my stuff has been
a big compliment, because it shows we
have something that’s better than what
they have. Obviously, seeing anybody
on our race team win their first race
and then their first championship is
awesome. It’s something they’ll never
forget. For Joey [Savatgy] to start
winning, especially from where he was,
and see him start to think that he
should be winning, is cool.
HOW LASTING WERE YOUR
FOLLOWING YOUR RED BULL
STRAIGHT RHYTHM CRASH LAST
YEAR? It was pretty gnarly what happened and was a very traumatic brain
injury. It took a lot out of me. I did three
months of absolutely nothing. It was
hard to get everything back. My brain
was working slower than it usually was.
I worked with some good doctors, and
they said I wouldn’t have any long-term
effects. I’m not so sure I agree, because
I have lost a lot of my memory. I feel
good now; it’s just a matter of getting
myself back to where I need to be. A lot
of people do not understand how hard it
was—and still is—to deal with a massive
head injury. They think I am good to go.
I do not want to use that as an excuse,
but it is hard to come back from something like that.
MUCH HAS COME TO LIGHT
REGARDING CONCUSSIONS; DOES
THAT SCARE YOU? A lot of my crash is
pretty much blank now in my head. It is
kind of hard for me to take in whether it
is from that crash or after the crash. It’s
weird how the brain works. I feel I am
good and 100 percent ready to go, but
I just don’t know. I do everything to my
fullest during the week now, and I have
worked harder than I ever have. It is
hard to just accept things, but I still have
faith that I can reach my full potential.
IS IT TRUE YOU’RE SIGNED WITH
GEICO HONDA FOR 2017? Yes. They
took me in when no one else would
back in my Amateur days. The team
works hard. They are awesome, and
everyone—from our management, team,
owners, mechanics and crew—is so
friendly and positive. They know what I’m
capable of, and so do I. Now it’s my turn
to step up and get the results I know I’m
By John Basher
By John Basher
By Jim Kimball