Photo by: Doc Weedon
These “Privateer Showcase” interviews presented by Race Tech Suspension at MotoXAddicts tell the stories of the guys in the trenches week in and week out trying to chase their dream of racing professional motocross and Supercross. While the riders at the front of the pack get the money, the T.V. time and the glory that goes with it, there’s a huge pack of guys just hoping to get a spot inside a factory semi. We tell their stories.
This week’s “Privateer Showcase” is with the co-owner / rider / team manager of the H.E.P. Motosports / FXR / Suzuki team, Dustin Pipes. Dustin, with some help, put together a program with Henry Miller, Tallon Lafountaine, Kyle Cunningham and himself on the bikes for the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season, and by all accounts, the team was a first-class effort. The only problem for Dustin: that effort took his focus off of racing and onto team management, but with the team looking to grow, I think he’s okay with it.
The H.E.P. Motorsports team started off as an SX-only effort, but with Dustin and the team being based out of central California they decided to race the first two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross events. Dustin was not able to score any points at Hangtown, but the #181 put a point on the board for round two at Glen Helen. After their outdoor racing was over for 2018, Chris Cooksey caught up with Dustin to talk about his day at Glen Helen and wearing many hats as a team owner / manager / rider. Chris also tried to pry out of him who he is talking about signing for 2019, but mum’s the word.
Dustin, what did you think of the track at Glen Helen? How was your day there overall?
My day was pretty good for not really riding much outdoors going into it and not really committing to a full season. I was pretty pleased with it. I had 26-20 moto scores, so I was able to score some points. I didn’t get the best of starts. I think I came from somewhere in the high 30’s each moto, so that was a bummer. I was happy to score some points. In terms of the track, the track was typical Glen Helen: rough, rutty, square edge bumps, huge downhills, but they honestly did a good job with it. I was surprised in practice and at Press Day on how they tamed down some of those monster jumps they had. Everyone kind of spoke up about it, and I’m glad they listened to the riders and took our safety into their minds. The track was pretty good. I was definitely happy with it.
This is your first year running a team—HEP Motorsports team—but what exactly is your position? Are you the owner, rider / manager or what?
It’s me and two other guys that actually started and own the team, so I guess I’m a rider / owner / manager—a couple titles, so however that works out.
That’s a lot of work. Do you think taking on all that affected you in SX this year? We’ve seen you in the past making more main events. You made just one this year, correct?
Yeah, just one, and it did. Having to deal with so much stuff on your plate, I guess it was a little bit hard to deal with everyone else’s stuff. It was my job to do that, but to try and go to the race and focus on yourself while watching the other guys on the track, it was definitely a little hard. Dealing with all the team stuff definitely put my riding and training in the back seat. It definitely showed on the track, but it is what it is. The team grew and we’re pumped with where it’s at today.
So you’re done with the outdoors now after Glen Helen, but will we see you and the HEP Motorsports team back at SX again in 2019?
Yes, for sure. For 2019, we’re already talking to a bunch of sponsors, and we’ll be back for sure. We’ll be better. We’re all excited.
How old are you again now?
Is this something you built to transition from racing to manager, or is this something you built more to keep you racing?
It’s definitely not something that’s just to keep me racing. When I started this I think the dream was to turn it into one of those cool teams out there like Rockstar / Husqvarna or like a JGR and to compete with the big guys, so my riding kind of takes a back seat to the team’s success. As the team gets better, if I’m not on that level that the team’s at, then it’s probably time for me to transition into something different.
Have you talked to some new riders about riding for the team in 2019? Any ideas?
Nothing you can talk about? (laughs)
No, no. (laughs)
This year you had Kyle Cunningham [Henry Miller, Cedric Soubeyras (late addition)], but nothing signed or a done deal for next year yet? Well, except for you I’m assuming.
No, nobody is a done deal yet, but we’d love to have Kyle back. We’re talking to a couple other guys and some of the guys that were on the team this year. We’re probably not going to have a Lites program. It’s probably going to just be a big bike team. I think it will be good. We’re happy.