By: Casey Davis @air_d617
Mechanics are the unsung heroes of motocross racing, as they are in many ways the backbone of the sport. A full-time mechanic that handles a riders race bike and practice bike needs will log more hours of work per week than their rider, which is unfathomable to some. This is the kind of career path that isn’t for the lazy or faint of heart, and it requires the individual’s full dedication, so to get a little more insight on the life of a full-time practice and race bike mechanic we sat down with RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki’s Mikey Germain, who is currently wrenching for Broc Tickle as his full-time mechanic.
You’re Broc Tickle’s practice and race bike mechanic; a job that takes up a lot of your time. Talk a little bit about a normal work week for yourself.
Since the racing season is underway, I’ll typically fly home from the race on Sunday – hopefully get home around noon – and then head to the shop on Monday morning to prep the bike for Tuesday. I try to coordinate my schedule around Broc’s so that everything is prepped and ready to accommodate his riding schedule. Once I’m done with the bike, I move on to the truck to make sure that we have everything we need for either a day of motos or a long day of testing. Obviously there’s a lot more work in between, but that’s the gist of it. We’re still testing, so not a whole lot is going on at the moment. Once everything is wrapped up on Tuesday, I fly to the next race on Wednesday and build the race bike on Thursday. We’ll head to the track Friday to do Tech. and to set up the rig, then race Saturday and fly home on Sunday.
On average, how many days a week would you say you’re at home?
Well I grew up in Massachusetts, but I’m living here in California full-time for now, as I just rented a room from somebody. On Sundays I try to get home as soon as I can from the races, which typically ends up being around noon, so I have Sundays to do what I want. I mean, to answer your question I think it only ends up being just one day a week. It’s enough for me to do my laundry and sleep (laughs).
Would you say that it takes a certain kind of person to be able to work as a full-time practice and race bike mechanic?
Yeah, I would say so. This job is a full commitment! Essentially, you’re committing your life to racing. You don’t really get a lot of time to have your own life and your own friends outside of the motorcross community. However, we all have a good time on the weekends off from racing, and here at RCH they’re really cool about giving us days off. Outside of that, though, everything is non-stop, wide open. It’s definitely a tough job that not everyone could handle, but it’s the kind of thing that you get used to with time.
It sounds like you and Broc end up spending a lot of time together. What would you say is his biggest pet peeve of on the bike?
Honestly, he’s really easy to work for and he doesn’t have any crazy requests. Obviously he likes his handlebars and levers in a certain position, but that’s about it. Often times I don’t even have to change or adjust anything after he’s ridden the bike for the first time in practice at each race. I’d like to think I’m pretty good at knowing his tendencies by now, but like I said he’s pretty easygoing. I’ve had riders in the past that are constantly wanting their handlebars and controls adjusted, which isn’t a whole lot of fun for me (laughs), but at the end of the day I completely understand. They are hired to do a job and they want to do it right! With Broc, though, I honestly don’t even think I could pick anything that he’s super picky about.
Prior to working with Broc, you had been a mechanic for several years. Talk about some of the riders that you’ve worked with in the past.
I worked with Kyle Chisholm in 2015. He was a full privateer that year, so I drove the motorhome and went to every race through Supercross and outdoors. I believe he was even the top privateer in both SX and outdoors. It was a lot of work with all of the traveling, bike building and racing, but I had a lot of fun traveling through the country. I got to see a lot of cool places, so that was pretty fun. In 2016 I worked for Jimmy Albertson on Team Motorcycle Superstore, which was a lot of fun. We all had a lot of laughs with Greg and Jimmy! To work for Jimmy, I had to move to Oklahoma because that’s where the team was based, so it was pretty cool to live out there. Again, I’m originally from Massachusetts so it was a little different out there. This year I started working with RCH, but just as Broc’s practice bike mechanic until Supercross concluded because his mechanic ended up leaving. I was immediately bumped up to the race bike mechanic roll, while still working as his practice bike mechanic, so essentially it’s like double-duty. I enjoy going to the track, though, because I like to keep that relationship with the rider, whereas some other mechanics only see their riders on Saturday at the races. I think it’s important to have a good, solid relationship like that. We’ll go out to dinner sometimes and hang out outside of dirt bikes, so we’re just as much friends as we are work associates.
Are you like most mechanics in that you got your start as a racer?
Yeah, I started racing at seven years old. I actually grew up with John Dowd and his son Ryan. My parents got a divorce, though, and that completely sidetracked me from racing. I ended up not even following the sport for some time, but my uncle – who was Ernesto Fonseca’s mechanic for basically his entire career – moved back to Massachusetts in 2005 and opened his own shop. After I graduated high school I was at a point in my life where I was searching for a career path, and since I still had somewhat of an interest in motorcycles my uncle hired me at his shop. I didn’t know the first thing about working on a motorcycle, but he took me under his wing and showed me everything he knows. I even remember on my first day having to completely tear down a bike. I couldn’t even figure out how to get the seat off (laughs)! I think that was in 2008 when I started working at my uncle’s shop. At the same time I was going to the races every weekend with Dowdy and his son to help out, and I did that from 2008-2015 right up until the time I began working for Chisholm. I’ve been involved in motorcross basically my entire life, and I even have pictures of myself as a newborn in a stroller hanging out at Southwick (laughs). I think I’ve actually been to that race every year of my life!
Just last weekend you and Broc ended up on the podium at High Point! Talk about that. Was that a rewarding feeling for you?
It was awesome! Broc was riding good all weekend, and in the second moto he got the holeshot, which was great because he’s typically not the strongest starter. He’s actually been getting a lot of good starts lately, as he got another holeshot at Thunder Valley, but that’s what it takes to run upfront with those guys. That kind of thing will make your life a whole lot easier. I think he led the first lap or something and then had a good battle with Eli Tomac and Jason Anderson. We were really hoping that he would finish in front of Jason after the two passed each other a few times because if he did it would have been enough for second overall. He still finished on the box, though, which was great because that was my first official podium finish! That was a good day because everyone on the team was pumped.