YT Mob Log: Entry #2.18
Wrenches to Races
Words by John Hall // Photos by Isac Paddock
Column Sponsored by Fox
Off-season. I don’t think I’m the only one when I say we need a new term for this time of year. Something more along the lines of, “take a break for a couple weeks because you’ve been non-stop traveling and working since March with minimal ‘days off’ and there’s a lot to do so we can go racing again in April.” Is there a word for that?
In actuality it’s really not that bad, and I love the “off-season” just as much as I do the race season. I love the down time in the beginning to catch back up on life and the slow ramp up to go racing as the anticipation and workload increases. It’s a different kind of work for those of us on the staff side of the team and that change of pace is what keeps things interesting. It keeps the fire burning until we can get between the tape again.
For example, Kogel Ceramic Bearings is a new sponsor for us this year. For the mechanics, stuff like this is a big deal. We need to know the inner workings of the bearings, how long they last in certain conditions, which seals to use in varying weather patterns, time between rebuilds, if needed, and so forth.
Kogel actually had a guy in my area doing some demos with a local bike shop and he made the time to stop by my home for a day. We went through everything together. To have someone go above and beyond to make sure we have the knowledge we need is a huge confidence booster for us.
It’s comforting to know that if anything is ever needed, an email or message is all it takes for it to be taken care of. That’s just one example, I could say the same thing for all of our sponsors…they’re with us for a reason.
This time of year is filled with preparing for the upcoming race season. Exactly what that entails is different every year. Much like what team owner, Martin Whiteley, said in last month’s entry, there is a huge list of preparations to make things flow smoothly. The usual things like parts orders from sponsors, new product orders from any new sponsors that have come on board as well as plenty of testing and learning. We also have to get used to the new products so we’re comfortable come race weekend.
A lot of times there will be days set aside to work with new product sponsors to get the inside scoop on how their stuff works in all conditions, and what the proper care and handling are. As a mechanic this is important because if Aaron rolls into the pits and I have limited time to make an adjustment or repair, I have to be intimately comfortable with each and every part. It’s not just the new brands either. Even the sponsors that have been there since the beginning set aside time to work with us one on one. It helps us learn about the new and improved products that we’re always running.