MXA TEST RIDER CHRONICLE: BILL KEEFE

June 26, 2014
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Bill and his bevy of beauties in an ad for Motocross Action jerseys.

HOW DID YOU BECOME AN MXA TEST RIDER?

I knew Jody because I worked at DG and when he would come by he would always take the time to talk to me. Then, one day I was racing the 500 Pro class at the Golden State series series. It was a muddy mess. It was so horrible that I pulled over to the side of the track and stopped. The next thing I knew Jody was standing next to me and he said, ‘Don’t quit. You are one of only five guys still going. Keep going—this is what motocross is all about.The next weekend he asked me to ride a bike he was testing and tell him what I thought. That’s how I started. From then on I raced MXA test bikes.”

WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MXA MEMORY?

One weekend at Saddleback I was assigned to race a Can-Am 400 and test Scott boots. I struggled with the bike and with the boots. I didn’t want to race the bike and I didn’t want to wear the boots. I told Jody and he said, “Bill, somebody is going to buy that bike and somebody is going to buy those boots. And, someone has to test them to tell the public what they are like…and today, that guy is you.” By the end of that day I kind of liked the boots, but no one could have liked that bike.

WHO WAS TESTING BIKES AT MXA WITH YOU?

I came to MXA in the early 1980s, so I missed the Pete Maly, Paul Boudreau, Dick Miller era, but I was there with Ketchup Cox, David Gerig, Gary Jones and Clark Jones. When I wasn’t racing for MXA I did testing for Ketchup Cox’s MOTOcross magazine.

Bill Keefe (61) racing MXA’s 1981 Honda CR250 against Pro Circuit’s Mike Monaghan (102) at Saddleback.

WHY DID YOU STOP BEING A TEST RIDER?

I had worked at DG, Wheelsmith and Pro Circuit (and later Klemm Research). I wanted to make it as an AMA Pro and even though I loved being an MXA test rider I felt that the best way to make it to the top was to race the same bike every weekend instead of a different bike every week…and sometimes every moto. I went to work for Mitch Payton and raced Husqvarnas out of Pro Circuit. I didn’t do any better on one bike. Today I am the general manager at Troy Lee Designs.

 

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