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Touring the JGRMX Suzuki Race Shop in North Carolina

As tough as certain days in my line of work may be, I have to say that most stand out as exciting and some are even unforgettable. Yesterday was one of those days as the Media Director of the JGRMX Suzuki Team in Huntersville, NC, John Basher, gave my family and I a full tour of their race shop. I met John a number of years ago when he was working for Motocross Action Magazine in California. He was basically doing what I do until one day the JGR Team came calling and offered him a job in North Carolina. He packed up his family and moved across the country to begin his new job and his new east coast life. With my family and I spending Christmas just south of Charlotte, I called John to inquire about getting a tour of their race shop.

With driving rain outside, we arrived at the JGRMX HQ and were greeted by John. After talking about how cold it is in Canada and how hard the rain was falling outside, we began our tour. The next person we ran into was Jimmy Decotis, who has been very busy preparing for Anaheim 1. Jimmy and I sat down and chatted for a few minutes and he told me all about his Daytona injury and his difficult summer racing the US Nationals. However, all of that is now in Jimmy D’s rear view mirror as he is now healthy and excited for the 250SX West Series to begin. Jimmy is a great guy. He loved the summer he spent racing in Canada in 2015. He wanted me to say hello to all of his Canadian fans and also tell them thanks for all of the good wishes. His contract with JGRMX is actually only for supercross so he told me his was interested in coming up to race in Canada this summer if a team wanted him. Anyway, after talking to Jimmy for a few minutes we moved on to all of the other departments on the motocross side before driving up the street to the much larger Joe Gibbs NASCAR HQ.

We moved from room to room and were able to see everything from the engine department to the suspension shop. From the JGRMX shop we moved up the street to the building where all of the transport trucks are kept. John took us through both JGRMX semi-trucks as they were busy getting loaded with supplies for the opening rounds of the Monster Energy Supercross Series. From there we got back in our vehicles and drove back down the street to the massive Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR HQ. This building is made up of multiple structures. Once inside there was one strict order, no photos!! So with our camera tucked away, for the next two hours we made our from room to room to see every facet of the team’s massive NASCAR program. I can’t even put into words just how cool this tour was as we were able to see exactly how one of the team’s Toyota race cars are born. When we got to the fully functional gym area, John told us that the fittest people in NASCAR are actually the pit crew who change tires and fuel up the cars during the ever important pit stops. With training programs that rival that of professional athletes, the pit crews train 12 months of the year. Adjacent to the gym is a physio therapy room, a nutrition centre, as well as a room where a hairdresser comes in every Tuesday to give a haircut to anyone who needs one.

This amazing tour took us most of the day, and before we departed it was time to meet one more person. Just as we were getting ready to leave the JGRMX shop, in walked their newest rider, Chad Reed. After testing and racing for the team since late August, Reed finally signed a deal on Monday for the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Series. Reed took a few moments to chat and even was gracious enough to pose for a few photos with us. As you can tell it was an awesome day and I really want to thank John Basher for taking the time to show us around. For years now the JGRMX Team has been at the forefront of our sport, and they’ve certainly taken what a team does ‘in house’ to a new level. Their team’s bikes have always been made up of a combination of factory parts as well as parts they have fabricated right in their race shop. Since it was pouring rain outside we weren’t able to go out to the test track and watch the team ride, that will have to wait until Boxing Day as I’ve been invited out to their SX test track the day after Christmas to watch the team ride. As I said at the beginning, some days are just unforgettable and this was one of them!


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