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Jim Holley: Motocross Legend, Dirt Bike Magazine Test Rider, and Supercross-on-line Commentator Speaks Out (Part 2 of Interview)

ChronicMX recently had an opportunity to interview motocross legend Jim Holley. Holley answered dozens of questions sent in by Holley fans and loyal followers. Holley stole the hearts of MX fans throughout the 80′s as a fearless Dirt Bike Magazine test rider and lightning fast privateer turned factory pro. Here is Part 2 of the insightful Q & A session. Enjoy! Cheers Rocket 88

1. Andy from NY asked: “Who is your favorite rider of all-time…past and present?” and “Who was your toughest competitor ever?” Jim responded: “My favorite rider of all time would be a toss up between two European champions, Roger DeCoster or Yamaha’s Heikki Mikkola. Those guys were absolutely amazing motocross racers and I really looked up to them. There is no one single rider who is my all time favorite though. I like a handful from each different era. In the 70′s I admired Bob Hannah and Brad Lackey. Brad chased the world championship for ten years until finally bringing it home for Team U.S.A. In the 80′s I liked Johnson because of his aggressive riding style and Bailey for his natural ability on a motocross bike. Along came the 90′s and both Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath were awesome. Today, I’d have to say my favorite riders are Ryan Villopoto, he reminds me of RC. I like James Stewart because of the way he rides, and I like Chad Reed for his tenacity and drive. My toughest competitor was everybody that made the main event! LOL. Honestly, anyone on the starting line was a tough competitor!”

2. Kyle from FL asked: “Jimbo, what the heck is up with the death of two strokes? Do you think we’ll see a comeback?” Jim answered: “We wont see them comeback to Supercross ever…but I don’t think they will die. Too many people still like them. If there is a market for them…someone will keep making them. It’s a political thing, but at the same time…two strokes just cant do the things that four strokes can. They are cheaper though, and the 125 is good for riders making the jump to larger bikes.”

3. Phil from GA asked: “How do you think Bubba will do riding for Team JGRMX in 2012?” Holley responded: “JGRMX is a great program. I was at their workshop prior to Josh Grant winning Anaheim and I can tell you that they run a tight ship over there. Coy Gibbs and Jeremy Albrecht do a great job…it’s a solid program and was a perfect choice for James Stewart. Bubba has the extra benefit to potentially race NASCAR for them too one day…and that’s a big plus. I think Stewart is pumped and should do really well. The program is what he really needed…there is no nonsense over there! Bubba has quite a lot of distractions, so Joe Gibbs’ coaching history of young superstars in the NFL should help with that! I expect he’ll help coach James using that wisdom, along with the awesome race-shop facility. I think it was good that Bubba got to stay on his Yamaha YZ 450f too, and get it even more dialed in.”

4. Tom from CA asked: “Hey Jim, what was your best race ever?” Jim responded: “Man, I had so many. That’s a tough question. I’d have to say that my best race ever was when I beat John Van Den Berk at the final round of the Rodeo Cup series in 1985. The final race was at the L.A. Coliseum and although I placed 5th, it was all I needed to win the title of West Supercross Champion. I almost didn’t make it and had to race in the LCQ to get into the main event! The other best race ever that comes to mind was The Montreal Supercross in 1988 and 89. I won both years in a row on a completely stock YZ 250 that we picked up from the Yamaha factory just outside of Toronto. My Dad was my mechanic and the purse for winning the race was a pound of gold! I still have the gold bar today and its worth something like $18,000! When they gave it to me it was worth just $4,000!”

5. Peter from FL asked: “Holley, do you still ride or race today?” Jim replied: “Yes I still hit some occasional vet races out here in California. In 2011 I won the +50 class at Mammoth Mountain. There were a bunch of really fast guys in the class like Troy Lee and Willie Simons. Jeff Ward was there too but he ran the 40+ class because he is a few years younger than me. I raced the Yamaha Race of Champions (YROC) a few years back too. It was great because Broc Glover, Jim Pomeroy, and even Georges Jobe were there. I do lots of play riding and still ride on occasion as a stunt man for  various studios.”

6. Jeff from AL asked: “Jim, What is the single biggest change in motocross today compared to when you used to race?” Jim replied: “The bikes have changed more than anything else! Drum vs disc brakes, air cooled vs water cooled, two strokes vs four strokes…and of course the suspension. The bikes are so much faster today. I am glad to see that the gear has progressed too…especially full faced helmets! Oddly, one thing that I don’t see around anymore are the medical cards that were on microfiche. I had a flap in my Hallman pants for it, and a racer wasn’t allowed out on the track without one. It was the size of a credit card and had all of your medical information on it. This should still be implemented today.”

7. Alex from NV asked: “Jim, can we look forward to you providing more media coverage of supercross in 2012?” Holley responded: “Yeah, I will be covering all the supercross races again on Feld Motorsports has that going all season, so I’ll be doing video’s and interviews. I will be doing the Motoshow too, thanks to Todd Huffman and SPEED.”

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