Scott Cox is an icon in the motorcycle industry. Starting his company from scratch, Scott worked his way up until he became infamous for his work. He consistently captured legendary photos containing great stories. His work is still recognized today and seen as an inspiration for many current photographers. Furthermore, his extended involvement and experience has made him extremely knowledgeable about the industry. We caught up with Scott to learn more about his experiences and his opinion of the current motocross scene.
How did you get started in the motorcycle industry?
“I grew up in northern San Diego county, so we rode a bunch, and my crew was mostly desert guys. My first motocross race I ever went to, I was in junior high school and by sheer coincidence I own the property that the starting line from that race was on. That is where I am talking to you from right now. We are about a mile or so from the ocean and I was an “On Any Sunday” type of kid. Everyone in the neighborhood rode dirt bikes and I was very fortunate to grow up in this spot. That really kick started my interest in motorcycles and my opportunities to meet people and even meet some of my heroes. “
What was your first job in the industry?
“I was a real artsy kid, I got into photography when I was young and loved creating and designing things. I started shooting photos of my buddies riding and I met a guy who became a promoter of some riding clubs. He had a bunch of riding events, all different kinds of styles from MX racing to off-road racing and decided to get into the race promotion side of things. I made his first ever event flyer for one of those events. That kind of started things off for me. The second thing I did was I made the original stationary package for what became “Fun Bike Center.” San Diego was great for me personally for being in the motocross industry, if we weren’t riding, we were surfing.”
Did you have any other jobs at this time or were you now kind of chasing the dream and putting your full focus into photography and design work?
“I also designed logos and other artwork / photography, but photography really sparked my interest. It was a fun thing to be a part of. My mother owned the biggest printer in San Diego, so I grew up around the presses and that caught my interests. I was around a bunch of people in that specific industry and I was able to get a job in the printing world while I was in high school and learn how things went around there. How magazines were made, and fashion catalogs were put together, I learned how to do all of that. That kick started me and stayed in that creative trade most of my career, but I also worked for general dynamics for a period of time and I worked on a cruise missile program which didn’t have anything to do with being creative. I always kept a side business going to make extra money, I had a higher paying job to pay expenses and then would do the creative stuff that I enjoyed just to stay in it.”
The motorcycle industry in general, seems difficult to land a high-paying full-time job that you can rely on to pay bills and other expenses, did you always have a side gig, or did you eventually figure it out and go all-in?
“I am from a family of workaholics; I have always been open to working. I love working and I love doing things, I like creating things. At the time, unless you worked for a magazine, a lot of the guys were part timers even the good ones and not crushing it money wise. I developed a taste for making money really early in my life. I liked being able to buy a new motorcycle or a new car and liked to live in my own place, not an animal house with 4 guys. Income part was important to me, not everything but enough to live the way I wanted too. But money was not the motivator for me as far as photography and creating goes. That is my passion and I just wanted to put out great work. I always believed the money would come if your work is good and you stick with it. I always focused on mastering the fundamentals, if you master those and the consistency of the work comes out, that is what carries to the next gig. During my career I almost never promoted or advertised, I just made sure I put out quality work. Being consistent, being creative and bringing your A-game to the party. That’s what lands gigs.”
SCOTT COX: MOTOCROSS ICON
Working other jobs at the time but also working in the industry, how did you balance making money at other jobs but also giving up time to chase your dreams in work that didn’t pay as much just yet?
“I worked for a NY ad agency for a while, but I am about the people. The motorcycle industry is small, and you get to work with the same people basically forever. I am sure you know the same people you have been seeing for years in the industry and I liked being around that. That became evident to me about the motorcycle industry, it's really small globally and people hang on to it. That’s really the main reason I love it. At this point I went all in on the motorcycle industry and started my agency working for big brands like Ducati, BMW, Husqvarna etc.”
Can you explain your agency business to those who may not know?
“We were a campaign-based business and brand builders for companies. My base DNA is in creativity, drawing, painting, photography, visual structure design. I was blessed to work on some major campaigns inside and outside the industry and I really gained a love and an appreciation for brand campaigning. I worked under a legendary brand campaigner and used this experience for my future projects. I went on to work for many major racing teams and companies.”
What are you up to now? Do you still do some riding?
“I am retired now. I just sold my KTM adventure bike, I can’t decide what bike to get, I really like the Africa twin. My favorite type of riding now is to go riding to Mexico and go fishing. My grandfather ran fishing boats, and it is a hobby of mine.”
Do you see a huge difference in motocross racing today as opposed to racing back in the day?
“I don’t. I know this is a heated debate, but I really don’t see a difference. The kids today are trying and are just as passionate as Decoster and Ricky Johnson were back in the day. It is the same thing to me, just different eras. I remember going to suspension testing with Honda back in the 80s and have witnessed the same thing today, it is different evolved products but honestly it's basically the same process. The riders today want to win just like the riders back in the day wanted to win. Putting everyone in a time machine and seeing who the better rider is is just silly in my opinion. All of these guys from any era are fierce competitors.”
Any advice for people coming up that want to work in the motocross industry?
“Make yourself available and make yourself important. Everyone assumes right off the bat that they are entitled to a certain amount of pay and only work for that number. If you really want it, ask a company if they are hiring and if they say no tell them you will work for free, that’s what I did. I needed to see someone in the industry doing it. I wanted to see the pros do what they do.”
KAWASAKI KLX 110R
4-stroke single, SOHC, air-cooled
Bore And Stroke
53.0 x 50.6mm
Fuel Delivery Carburetor
4-speed, return shift, automatic centrifugal and wet, multi-disc clutch
Suspension / Front
30mm hydraulic telescopic fork/4.3 in
Suspension / Rear
Swingarm with single hydraulic shock/4.3 in
Brakes / Front
90mm mechanical drum, cable actuated
Brakes / Rear
110mm mechanical drum, rod actuated
Tires / Front
Tires / Rear
L x W x H
61.4 in x 25.6 in x 37.6 in
Rake (Caster Angle)
Life’s goal is to do something you love and be able to make a living doing so. Having a passion for what you do makes life a whole lot easier and gives one purpose to their daily routine. Not only does Eric Anderson do what he loves, but he has made a tremendous impact on the motorcycle industry. An industry in which he has a vast passion for. A list of his job positions include: Former VP Sales and Marketing at Intersport Fashions West, Former VP Sales and Marketing at Scorpion Sports Inc, Former Vice President Sales and Marketing at Motorsport Aftermarket Group, Board Director at Motorcycle Industry Council and Founder / President at Vroom Network. Talk about leaving your mark on the industry. The best part is, his impact on the sport started much before all of these accomplishments. We caught up with Eric just before he headed out on a motorcycle trip to eastern Oregon.
Tell me about this motorcycle ride to Oregon you are packing for?
“I am heading out early tomorrow morning to eastern Oregon all by dirt. Hundreds of miles per day all navigated by GPS and finding our way through mother nature’s great scenic routes, beautiful rides through northern Nevada and Oregon. I have an adventure bike, a KTM 890 Rally. It has about 250-mile range and is big enough to do 85MPH on the roads if we need to and able to carry all of our camping supplies (sleeping bag, folding chairs, tent etc.). 4 of us are going on this trip. We take a trip like this every month. Sometimes we take smaller bikes and stay at hotels but this time we are taking all the gear and camping out.”
How do you find these trails and routes to your final camping destination?
“There are a lot of different map programs out there and apps that are useful. The Rever app is one. Also, ONX off-road app, Avenza maps, Google maps, Gaia GPS, we can lay out a route on dirt roads using google earth and then transfer right onto our GPS if we want, so there are a ton of options. It used to be harder back in the day but now we purposely try to get off track and have some fun exploring because we know we will be able to find our way back to the trail with GPS.”
There has to be some great stories from all of these trips, do you have one that comes to mind?
“We had a situation where we camped out and I didn’t put out a tent that night. I made my bed and slept parallel to my bike and I woke up with the bike on top of me. I was pinned to the ground with the bike on top of me and couldn’t breathe. With one of my last gasps, I yelled for my brother Mark “Help me! I can’t breathe!” He came rushing out of his tent and found a bear on top of my motorcycle, that was on top of me! We had all of our food tied up in a tree but must’ve left a tiny peanut butter snack in the bag on my motorcycle and that is what the bear was after. Long story short, They pulled out the pots and pans and scared the bear away and everything was fine for the most part after they got the bike off of me, but I will always remember that story.”
In August 1977 Eric joined the Peace Corps in East Africa Kenya as a teacher, sports coach and bush pilot but also raced scrambles on the side and became a national champion for 2 years.
“In Africa they call it scrambles not motocross, it is a British variation of off-road riding and racing and was a bit longer distance. Sort of like motocross but a much longer course. I was doing really well in Kenya and became the national champion. I bought a block pass over there and used that to my advantage as they had never seen this technique in racing before. I introduced this to them, and they were definitely not happy about it at the time. They said it was “not proper”, but I let them know that they were welcomed to use the technique themselves if they’d like too and that it was not an illegal move. One day we went to the local screening to see the premiere of Star Wars and the sports news reels popped up in black and white before the movie and out of nowhere pops up “national scrambles champion Eric Anderson” and showed highlights from the race. I was totally shocked! I was pumped up for the next few days. It was totally unexpecting and a very cool moment.”
What was your first job in the Motorcycle industry?
“My brother had two job offers right out of college in the industry, one from the AMA and the other from MIC. They were both for land use planning job positions. He helped write the book on “plan em don’t ban em” and “less sound more ground” which basically explain how tracks and trails should be made, for example here is how a single track through the forest should be made, here is how staging areas should be built etc. Trying to quiet the 2 strokes so they don’t bother anybody and also teaching DNR US force service how to provide for Off-road motorcycles rather than ban them out of ignorance. Everything he did back then is still being implemented today. When I returned from Africa, I joined my brother and began working for the MIC as the technical analyst because of my scientific background. I became the communication liaison between the MIC OEMs and the federal government when the clean air act and the noise control act were still fairly new. As motorcycles became quieter and cleaner, I was a big part of that. We were on the path to reduction of exhaust admissions and reduction of sound.”
Staying on the same topic, people still seem to complain about noise in certain areas especially with the population growing, how do you see motorcycles evolving to keep the public happy?
“There is still a Land Use program out there which helps solve these problems, whether its noise reduction with bikes or setting up a tech inspection before races, but ultimately motorcycles are heading in the electric direction. It was really encouraging when the ALTA was introduced. We saw it be competitive in Endurocross and other types of racing and it was so cool watching a silent bike out there. Also, Stacyc for kids is coming on like gangbusters now. Now kids are no longer riding noisy bikes around the neighborhood, they are riding Staycyc’s. I think that is bringing up a whole new generation that is going to be track savvy on these machines and they are going to want to race them. Instead of racing BMX on a bicycle, now they have an electric motor on them, those kids are going to want to race them instead.”
Tell me about the Vroom network?
“I ended up becoming the vice president at MAG (motorsport aftermarket group) after Scorpion and at the same I started my own company for consulting. I knew so many people in the industry both in Europe Asia and America and I ended up helping so many brands re-market themselves or come to America. There are a lot of European brands that see America on the map and think “man we have to go there we will be successful” and this is very difficult unless you understand 2 step distribution, dealer logistics, social media, amazon, there are all these traps that these Europeans don’t think about and the biggest is shipping. America is a big country, and they will kill you with shipping times. It takes 5-6 days to get your products across the country and other dealers are being spoiled by tucker rocky or parts unlimited, they order today they get it tomorrow, so you are not going to be competitive against those companies in that market. Vroom network helps a lot of brands either re-brand or come to market. We work with a lot of startups, I’ve got clients in Columbia, Argentina, Poland, Scandinavia that are looking to come to the US. I think there is room for premium brands that will sell to a smaller group of dealers. Vroom network is much more of a premium branding process, smaller volumes but nice margins and more boutique.”
You seem like a very busy guy; how do you balance having fun and going on motorcycle trips and also getting all the work done that you are involved in?
“That is the challenge. I am not a one man show I have a team, but COVID helped a bit. Not having to hop on a plane to go to a meeting, everything is basically over the phone or on zoom calls now. People are ordering products online now instead of walking into a dealership, which is unfortunate, but the dealerships are doing really well. People are buying bikes and UTVs like crazy right now so they can get out of the house. This is also an opportunity for me with Vroom, I will bring in some other brands, some premium brands or refurbished brands. I kind of think of myself as a plumber. I can find something wrong with a brand or a business. I have the analytic eye to go in and find out where the blockage is in their business pipeline and fix it. It could be marketing or sales. Sales pushes product through the pipeline and advertising and marketing pulls it through the pipeline.”
If you have never been to Elk Heart Lake Wisconsin, you are missing out. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the entire U.S. and that also happens to be the location for round 3 of MotoAmerica at famous RoadAmerica!
Now then, I wasn’t able to make this round. I lost a donor/sponsor just a few days prior to the VIR round and sadly, that has proven to be a financial loss that we can not overcome to continue racing in the Sportbike track Gear Jr. Cup. My dad and I are working frantically to turn it around, but for now, I’m sidelined until we find some more support.
For the rest of the teams who had a bit less drama getting to the track, the racing was great! The weather was beautiful, albeit a bit warmer than usual for The Elk Heart/Plymouth Wisconsin area. Nothing that these racers couldn’t handle though.
Friday practice saw the Righteous Racing rider and Twins Cup points leader Jody Barry taking a spill early into the Full Practice one session bringing out the Red Flag and limiting the twins class from getting all the laps typically due to them in that session. Barry was airlifted to hospital and admitted but was ultimately released later in the weekend and even made his way back to the track to cheer on his competition. Everyone was definitely glad to see her was okay. Other practices went to plan and the other series got their laps around the huge 4 mile Road America course.
Saturday morning was qualifying and the grids were set to go racing. Let’s set the grid starting with The Mission Foods King of the Baggers. Kyle Wyman aboard the Factory HD entry took the pole with his 2:27 lap late in the qualifying session moving Tyler O’hara to second on his Indian followed closely by Michael Barns also aboard a HD.
KEAGAN BROWN: ROAD AMERICA
The STG Junior Cup saw Ben Gloddy in the top spot with a lap of 2:39.8. But hot on his heels was Ty Scott aboard his KTM RC390-R and then Gus Rodio who would have a HUGE weekend, but more on that a little later.
Twins Cup having only had two or three laps of practice prior to taking to the track for qualifying had a diverse front row. Kaleb DeKeyrel took the point with a laptime of 2:29 with Teagg Hobbs taking second and Action Jackson Blackmon qualifying 3rd. Trevor Standish rounded out row one in fourth. Standish entered the weekend as the point leader after action packed rounds at Road Atlanta and VIR.
Supersport 600 was Sean Dylan Kelly out front at 2:18 with defending champ Richie Escalante in second and the little team that could, Stefano Mesa qualified 3rd. Setting up what will be one of the most exciting races ever during race one.
Super Stock 1000 was only scheduled for one race and found Geoff May on point with Corey Alexander in 2nd and (no you aren’t seeing double) Stefano Mesa in 3rd.
Finally, Superbike was headed up by teammates Jake Gange and Josh Herrin going one and two and Suzuki rider Bobby Fong in third.
Let’s dive right into the racing action with the two support series for this round. King of the Baggers started off with a great battle between Kyle Wyman and Tyler O’hara. A classic battle between Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles right in the backyard of Milwaulkee where American motorcycle history began. HD not only came out on top but went 1,2 and 3 after the Indian of O’Hara retired early leaving Kyle Wyman way out infront over his brother and teammate Travis Wyman aboard the second factory HD entry and rounding out the podium was Hayden Gilim aboard the Vance & Hines HD. Definitely a great weekend for the HD community!
Stock 1000 went green and then promptly went red when two riders made contact and subsequently went down. Their crash wasn’t cleared in time and so the red flag flew. The first start saw Corey Alexander and Stefano jump out front with the two Hondas of Ashton Yates and Geoff May not far behind. However, the red flag within the first lap reset the field to the original grid and the restart saw pole setter Geoff May go to the lead. In short order, Jake Lewis reeled in May and went on to win by a margin of 1.3 second over May with Alexander bringing home 3rd for a Suzuki, Honda and Kawasaki podium!
Junior Cup race number one gave us all the close drafting action we have come to love in the series. Lots of lead changes and only .928 of a second separating 1st through 6th at the finish line. The stand out to me in race one was my long time riding and racing friend Blake Davis going to the point on several occasions. STG JR Cup is some of the best racing in all of motorsports. A rider can go from 5th to 1st and back again in one lap at a huge 4 mile facility like Road America. That is exactly the type of racing we saw. In the end, Ty Scott on the KTM was able to out brake in turn five of the last lap and pull a big enough gap over the pack of 5 riders. The gap was big enough to prevent the pack from picking up his draft leaving the pack of 5 swapping and dive bombing one another jockeying for the last two podium spots. In the end, Cody Wyman shuffled his way to second with Ben Gloddy right there to take 3rd in race one
Race two was even more of the same with the top five constantly shuffling positions with multiple lead changes per lap at times. Gus Rodio used the draft to perfection to win by less than half a bike length at the line over Tyler Scott and Max Toth. The three crossing the line together with .046 of a second separating from 1st to 3rd. All three bikes within one total bike length over the line. If that’s not close racing, I don’t know what is!
Speaking of close racing, how does 34 lead changes between two riders sound? That is exactly what Sean Dylan Kelly and Richie Escalante gave us for race one of the Supersport 600 race! SDK and Escalante would swap 1st and 2nd several times a lap and still managed to open a gap over a hard charging Stefano Mesa. That is until the middle of the last lap of the race when SDK and Escalante both went down in the same turn completely unrelated to one another. In other words, they DID NOT make contact. They just both happened to crash in the same turn! Mesa went on to win with Sam Lachoff, and Ben Smith rolling in to 2nd and 3rd making it a Kawasaki, Suzuki and a Yamaha podium. Not to worry, the gap was so large for SDK and Escalante that they were able to recover, pick up their bikes and still finish 6th and 5th in the points. That is crazy great racing.
Race 2 for Super sport 600 was way less dramatic with Richie Escalante putting his head down and never looking back to finish first over SDK who had a large gap over the best race on the track between Stefano Mesa and Sam Lochoff with Mesa bringing it home in 3rd!
MotoAmerica continues to put more and more spectators through the gates and on screens across the country and even the world thanks to their SVOD service MotoAmerica Live+. With restrictions lifting everywhere, the future is bright for those of us looking to see great live racing action. Whatsmore, the entire motorcycle industry is experiencing a boom not seen since the 90s. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are a rider yourself. Take advantage of the boom and get a friend into riding or make them a fan of racing. Help others to discover this sport that we all love so much. Remember to help them do it safely and make it fun!
The next round is at The Ridge in Washington State. It’s not looking good that I will attend, but I will continue to bring you great stories from the MotoAmerica scene and a breakdown of all the racing action! Until then….Ride safe and keep it shiny side up!