The Beta Factory Racing/Stillwell Performance Team Manager talks about the new 350 Beta, his riders Cody Webb and Max Gerston, and how pumped they are to get this season started!
Alan, you have a new team to run, a new bike to tune and two Factory Beta riders to work with this season. How has it been working with Cody Webb and Max Gerston?
Both of our guys are great. Not just as riders, but they are really, really good kids who have all their priorities right. I can’t tell you how much fun it has been working with both of them.
I feel like Cody has matured from a trials champion into a full on racer. He has been doing EX long enough now that he knows what it will take to win. Coming from trials, you really don’t get that hardcore MX, bar banging racing that EX is all about. His technical skills are as good as anyone out there but he needed to learn how to race. We have been very focused on that as well as the mental mindset he needs to be a championship contender. Cody wants to win really badly. Taddy raised the bar high, and we will need to be on our A game to race him.
Max is just an awesome kid. He destroyed the amateur ranks last year, and you could see him improving each time on the bike. At Boise when he won the amateurs and also made the pro main-that was a turning point for him. We have had him riding and training with some of the top guys like Cody, Kyle Redmond and Cory Graffunder. The kid is just a sponge-he can watch these guys do a difficult section, and in no time he has it dialed. I’m really excited for him, and I think he will surprise people.
What are the goals for the team this season?
I believe we have all the pieces to win this year. So, for Cody obviously that is the goal. He has been on the podium in the past but both of us agree it’s time to put it on the top step. That is not an easy thing, besides Taddy having a perfect season last year I think there will be a number of guys stepping it up.
For Max with it being his first year in the pro’s, we are focusing on the Junior Championship. It’s attainable and I think he has a good shot. He loves this bike, he’s fit, and there is no reason not to pin it!
Why did you decide to take on the Factory Beta Team when you had such a solid relationship with KTM last year?
Going into the last part of the season we (Stillwell Performance) had been talking with KTM and making plans to expand our program with them for 2012. We were pretty far down that path when Tim Pilg, the president of American Beta contacted me.
Earlier in the year Cody and his dad had asked me to help them with his suspension. I had been watching Cody and was impressed with him, there was a tremendous amount of potential there. I got to know Cody and really liked him, so that was the start of things. Cody went to Beta and said he wanted us doing his suspension in 2012. Beta then approached me about running their North American racing program and developing their race bike for 2012. It was a great opportunity to work with a good team, and really have input into making the 350 a great race bike.
So you made the move-was it a hard decision?
Yes, it was actually. The KTM Factory Team had really been great to us and I appreciated all their support. Anything we needed they were right there and I want to thank them for that. But the opportunity to take a bike with all this potential (the 350RR), and build the program then combine that with the two riders we have was really exciting.
What’s the big picture for you & Beta in the future?
Beta is pumped to be racing, and they are really putting a ton of effort behind this program. They have some awesome things bike-wise in the works and the future is looking pretty bright for the company. I have been really happy with the relationship, our team is very close and everybody pitches in to do whatever it takes. It’s a great vibe and our pit is going to be a pretty fun place this season. They are looking to expand into other series in 2013 and I believe they will be very successful.
Who are the team sponsors?
We have a super list of companies that have stepped up to give us support, as well as all the guys at American Beta. We would not be this far along if it were not for their help!
Dunlop, Kal Gard, HBD Graphics, Dirt Tricks, Earth X, Rekluse, FMF, DP Brakes, BRP, Fasst Co, Posey Racing Engines, No Toil, Woody’s Wheels, Slick Off Road wash, Matrix Concepts, Sidi boots, Kali, Fastway, ODI, VP Fuels, Fluidyne and Fox Shox.
Thanks Sydney. See you at the races!