Shimano hosted a group of top motorcycle racers yesterday at its Moto Athlete Ride Day, and for this third annual edition, the format was switched from road to dirt. Among the 100-plus participants were several racers who had competed in the previous evening’s Anaheim 2 AMA Supercross round, including Chad Reed, Davi Millsaps, Wil Hahn, Cole Seeley, Justin Brayton and Cooper Webb. Justin Bogle and Broc Tickle had sat out the night’s racing with injuries but still showed up for the Shimano event. In addition to the active motorcycle champions, a number of superstars from the past participated, including Jeremy McGrath, Jeff Ward, Ryan Hughes and Phil Lawrence.
“I’ve been a huge motocross fan for years, and I love seeing how into cycling these guys are,” said Joe Lawwill, Shimano Mountain Bike Marketing Specialist. “The Moto Athlete Ride Day is a great opportunity for us to get all these amazing athletes together for a fun ride with our Shimano staff and spend some time hanging out in our Shimano Business Center at HQ. This is our third year hosting this event and it means a lot to me that these guys make the effort to come spend the day with us, especially the guys that raced the night before!”
After Lawwill presented the moto athletes with jerseys commemorating Shimano’s 50th anniversary in the U.S., the group headed out on the 18.5 mile loop, which featured dirt roads and trails at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, accessed via the Serrano Creek suburban bike path. Afterward, attendees enjoyed a taco-truck lunch.
“Shimano has been supporting me for the last five years,” said Reed, who had finished runner-up at Angel Stadium the night before. “The product is second-to-none and super-reliable, which is good since I don’t have mechanics for bicycles like I do motorcycles! We racers use bicycles as a tool, but I enjoy riding them as well, especially mountain biking here in California.”
“I was cycling before it was cool!” joked Josh Hayes, a four-time AMA Superbike Champion. “It’s a staple of my training because it’s low-enough impact that you can do it even with some injuries, and since I’m the biggest guy on the road race grid, it’s great for stripping weight. I’ve done this event every year, and it’s always a good time riding with your peers, plus riders from different disciplines and eras.”