Sturgis 75th Partnership Groundbreaking

Freestyle MX and Supercross legend, Carey Hart, was in Sturgis on Wednesday for the ground breaking of Harley Davidson’s new Permanent Plaza and Torqued Magazine caught up with him for a chat about bikes, business and life in general:

TM: Hi Carey, thanks so much for finding time to chat to us today.

CH: It’s my pleasure, good to chat with you.

TM: So, you are in Sturgis for this great ground breaking, at the site of Harley Davidson’s new Permanent Plaza, right on Main Street, how special has it been to be there?

CH: It’s been a trip, to be in Sturgis outside of the rally, to be here when it’s all quiet and it has been a lot of fun to see the town itself. To be a part of the ground breaking has been a real privilege, it has meant a great deal to me to be involved with Harley Davidson on this, ahead of the 2015 Sturgis rally.

TM: Talking of the Sturgis, you have been named as the Grand Marshall for this year’s Mayor’s ride, you must be filled with pride. What bike will you be riding for that?

CH: Yes, I am very proud to be doing that, it is a great honor. I will be riding my Harley Road Glide. Myself and some of my buddies are planning a road trip to the rally, from either L.A. or Tennessee, around 1500 miles, it’s going to be a lot of fun doing that and then the Sturgis. I love baggers and being on the road, but I love to be comfortable on long trips, the Road Glide is perfect for that.


TM: Before we go further, we have a reader question for you, from Mr. Mark Pittman of Utah; he would like to know: that as Freestyle MX and Supercross saw vast improvements in motorcycles, especially with suspension, tires, engine developments and so on, through the 80s when you started riding, into the 90s and up to the present day, how has that changed the way you approach each race or freestyle event?

CH: That is a very complex issue, but pretty much when I started Freestyle in the mid 90s, as a privateer, all of the bikes were standard 250cc 2 strokes, no bolt ons, no real room to improve performance and everyone was pretty much on an even standing. The evolution from 2 stroke to 4 stroke was pretty slow, we all had to get used to the amazing amount of extra power from the 475s, dealing with EFIs, engine mapping and so on were new and gave us room for improvement in performance and power output, suspension got better and really made us work hard overall to adapt, so it was more of a gradual change.

TM: So, the main thing was adapting to 4 strokes and the extra power more than anything, plus the different riding style that you need when moving off 2 strokes?

CH: Yes, that’s it exactly.

TM: Carey, you are a hugely successful businessman, you have appeared in movies, on TV, in music videos and magazines worldwide, you have achieved unbelievable success in Freestyle MX and Supercross, you have a massively successful and popular supercross team and you are married to a music megastar, Pink (Carey chuckles at that), with all of this, what makes you get up in the morning, what drives you to further success?

CH: Well, I would love to lounge around on the sofa with my wife now and again, but I am not wired like that (laughs). I do things I love, every day is fun, it’s all fun. I love seeing my brands being successful, the clothing line, the tattoo shops, it’s just so great to be involved with it all and to see everything keep getting better. I want to win championships with the race team, that is a big goal and of course I always have fun at Sturgis, this year will be massive fun. I am busy all of the time, it’s what I enjoy and that is what drives me. Of course, I also have my wife and daughter.


TM: You have 3 tattoo shops right now, any plans to expand, maybe even open up in New York City?

CH: The TV show (Inked) really helped when we opened the first shop in Vegas and more shops followed, but with the slowdown of the economy, we had to downsize a bit – we do have the store in Niagara, on the Canadian side of the falls, but it would be great to maybe open something in New York City. There are a lot of great artists up there and it would be tough, but it is something that does interest me and we may well expand again in the future.

TM: You run Supercross, Freestyle MX and UTV/Offroad race teams, plus you have musicians and personalities under the Hart and Huntington banner, how do you keep your finger on the pulse?

CH: I have a great staff. Jay and Josh are incredible, they handle most things and keep me informed of everything I need to know.
Everyone is special, they all work together and make managing it all a whole lot easier.

TM: Going back to the days of Freestyle MX and Supercross and the incredible amount you achieved, what is your most treasured memory and what would you say is your biggest achievement?

CH: I don’t really have a most treasured memory, but what I do think about, is how I was in there with a handful of guys when Freestyle MX was starting out and I am very flattered that my name is associated with the development of the sport from the very beginning. I think the standout achievement, for me, was succeeding with the back flip, that was huge.

TM: That definitely shows that no matter what, if you keep pushing, eventually it all works out – you had some painful crashes before you got it right, but that is a lesson for everyone. There is a huge amount of talent around in motorsport – who are your favorite riders at the moment in Freestyle, MotoGP and Supercross?


CH: Well, yes, there are so many great riders around and many more up and coming, it’s difficult to name any favorites, but in Supercross, (I know he rides for me), but Ken Roczen, for the dedication he has shown, coming from Germany and winning the Pro Motocross 450 championship and he is still only 20 years old. In MotoGP, definitely Valentino Rossi, he has shown so much dedication for so many years, he has been a massive champion and he is still fast enough to win races at the very highest level. Freestyle, well, there is a deep talent base, a lot of great riders, but Mike Mason, Lance Coury, they are right up there and doing great things.

TM: Carey, you have such a busy life, do you ever get time to throw your leg over a bike and just ride for fun, to wind down and relax?

CH: That’s what Sturgis is for!! Seriously though, my wife and I do that whenever we can, she is always willing to get on a bike and head off out for a ride, maybe for a breakfast stop or a weekend away. She took to it like a duck to water and rides very well now. Her first bike was a Triumph Bonneville, now she has a Harley Nightster and loves riding it.

TM: Finally, what advice would you give to particularly, young people, who want to be successful at FMX or Supercross or for people in general who want to succeed?

CH: First off you have to love the sport, you have to eat, breath and sleep it , you have to work hard all of the time, you have to be committed 100%, you have to be totally dedicated, just never stop working, but have fun and enjoy it.

TM: Great advice, Carey, thank you very much for your time and for chatting with us today. We wish you all of the very best for the future and success in all you have lined up.

CH: Thank you, it has been my pleasure.


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