[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ere is the latest dirt from around the off-road market: Motocross legend Mike Bell is on a roll … literally. After nearly 30 years with optics giant Oakley, “Too Tall” is now the sports marketing manager for Wheel Pros. In his new role, Bell is managing and overseeing all aspects of motorsports relationships and sponsorships. Wheel Pros is an aftermarket wheel manufacturer and distributor with a network of more than 25,000 dealers in 30 countries. Brands include American Racing, KMC Wheels, ATX Wheels, Moto Metal and Motegi Racing.
Shuffling the deck at KTM. After former Vice President of Sales & Marketing Brad Hagi left the company to pursue other interests last fall, industry veteran Tom Etherington stepped up. Most recently, KTM’s new sales manager, Etherington, had also served as national sales manager for KTM Canada, circa 2003-2009, and served stints as a DSM for Suzuki Canada and Yamaha Motor Canada.
At the same time, former VP of sales/marketing for LeMans/Parts Unlimited, Greg Blackwell, joined the KTM team. Blackwell’s experience working with 12,000 dealerships around the world made him uniquely qualified to become KTM North America’s VP of parts, garments and accessories.
Meanwhile across the driveway from KTM HQ in Temecula, Calif. Husqvarna has a couple new faces in place. Blaine Schuttler is the new North American sales manager. He oversees all sales-related activities for Husqvarna Motorcycles in the US and Canada. “This is an incredible opportunity” Blaine said. “One of the key focus points in the coming year will be to continued development of our dealer network throughout the US and Canada to better serve and expand our customer base. We have already grown our dealer network by 80 percent in the past 10 months!”
Husqvarna has also welcomed 4-time Baja Champ Timmy Weigand to the North American team as off-road racing manager. “I am looking forward to working with Mike Brown and National Enduro Champion Andrew DeLong, who will both be continuing with Husqvarna in 2015.” Weigand said. “Brownie is a tremendous competitor, and Andrew is really coming into his own. I’m thrilled to work with these guys, and build off of this year. We are looking to make a bigger push in 2015 and have an even greater presence in off-road racing.”
Former Husky Off-Road Racing Manager Andy Jefferson finished out the 2014 season before transitioning into his new position as media relations manager for Husqvarna. “We made some big strides in 2014 with two national championships, and this year will be even better for Husqvarna,” says Jefferson. “I am proud to hand over the off-road program to someone of Timmy’s experience.”
After capturing his third Baja 1000 title, Robby Bell and MSR have inked a deal that will extend their partnership through the end of the 2016 season.”It is fitting to have Robby back in MSR gear, since winning the Baja 1000 is what helped launch Malcolm Smith’s career back in the day,” said MSR Brand Manager Nick McBride. “While the gear has definitely evolved, the heart and soul of what makes a champion continue.”
Former National #16 Ronnie Jones is back in the dirt track saddle as senior director of AMA Pro Flat Track. “AMA Pro Flat Track is focused on celebrating the rich history of dirt track racing while successfully expanding its reach and engaging new fans and partners,” said Michael Gentry, COO of AMA Pro Racing.
“Ronnie has been involved in nearly every aspect of the series over the years and has enjoyed success both on the track and through his business ventures. He is a celebrated star of our sport with a keen business sense and is an ideal leader to provide oversight of AMA Pro Flat Track and bring forth a new era of success.”
In the new role, Jones will provide strategic leadership in all areas of AMA Pro Flat Track and oversight of officiating for the competition department. Off the motorcycle, Jones has enjoyed a successful career as a race promotor and marketing professional.
Through his company Arrow Promotions, the Oklahoma native promoted the Oklahoma City Half-Mile for nearly a decade and has worked extensively with 80 Harley-Davidson dealerships. “Ronnie will work very closely with Steve Morehead and the hard-working event staff to help AMA Pro Racing capitalize upon its strong momentum heading into the 2015 season,” concluded Gentry.
Adam Booth is the new off-road editor for Motorcycle USA. “I’m excited to have Adam join our editorial team,” said MotoUSA Editor Bart Madson. “During the past 10 years Adam has established a well-earned reputation as one of the hardest working off-road journalists in the industry.” Booth joins MotoUSA after working as senior editor at Dirt Rider for the past three years. He was associate editor for Dirt Bike before that. Booth will be based in the company’s Irvine, Calif., office.
Former MotoUSA Off-Road Editor Justin Dawes remains on staff as senior editor and will continue to contribute dirt- and street-related feature content. He will also continue leading the 4WheelDirt.com ATV/UTV website. “Justin does amazing work at MotoUSA and will remain a vital asset in our two-wheeled content production,” said Madson.