ALAN OLSON NAMED AMA MECHANIC OF THE YEAR
ÿÿÿFor Alan Olson his dream was to be an AMA National Champion. It never happened. Although Alan was a successful Pro racer in the ?70s at Saddleback, Indian Dunes and Carlsbad, he never made it to the factory ranks. He started racing late and by the time he turned Pro he had a family and two kids–and although he kept racing, he also worked full-time as an electrical contractor with his brother Marv Olson–a legendary SoCal racer.
ÿÿÿÿAlan pursued his Pro career into his mid-30s, racing for the famous Wheelsmith Maico team, but it wasn’t until Vet racing took hold that Alan Olson showed what might have been if he had started at a younger age. Alan Olson would go on to win nine World Veteran Championship–he even manage to win several titles between his stints as a AMA National mechanic. And in the process of winning his titles Olson raced against some of the greatest riders in the world including Gary Jones, John DeSoto, Torleif Hanssen, Rich Eierstedt, Mike Runyard, Kent Howerton, Jim Weinert, Bengt Aberg, Rich Thorwaldson, Dewayne Jones, Ken Zahrt and Lars Larsson. Olson was also on the American Vet Team that raced in Sweden in the ?90s–and was teamed with Roger DeCoster on the Team Peak Honda Vet team–they went 1-2 at Mammoth Mountain.
ÿÿÿÿYet for all of his racing victories, Alan Olson’s greatest life lesson comes from the work he did for Chad Reed in the 2006 AMA Supercross series. Olson, who had previously wrenched for Doug Dubach, Paul Carpenter, Craig Anderson and Steve Lamson wasn’t suppose to be Reed’s mechanic this year. He was working for Team Yamaha as the exhaust pipe technician for their White Brother’s exhaust pipes. Then, Rookie Sorenson, Chad’s mechanic, was injured in a riding accident one week before the 2006 season started. Chad Reed personally requested that Alan be his mechanic, probably because Alan had worked on Chad’s cousin Craig Anderson’s bike. With only a week to prepare Alan, at the tender age of 61-years-old, became not only the oldest mechanic on the AMA National circuit, but the oldest mechanic to ever wrench on a winning bike (Chad won twice in 2006).
ÿÿÿÿIn recognition of Alan’s trouble-free season and the fact that he took the job at the very last instant–the AMA awarded Alan Olson the “AMA Mechanic of the Year Award” at the AMA Banquet in Las Vegas last week. The MXA wrecking crew is especially proud of Alan, not just because he has been an MXA test rider since 1982 and is the father of MXA managing editor Tim Olson–but because all of his old Saddleback Saturday buddies, many of whom are still plying their trade at REM Glen Helen, are proud to have raced against one of the nicest guys in the sport.
ÿÿÿÿÿ”I wanted to thank a lot of people when I was called to the podium in Las Vegas,” says Alan, “but I was so shocked and unprepared that I got stage fright. I know that I forgot a lot people who made my dream come true. It was really cool to be honored by my peers. Everyone from Ricky Johnson to Mark Johnson came up to congratulate me. It was a good feeling. Now that I’ve got my senses about me I’d like to thank my wife (who has put up with my racing for 30 years), White Brothers (who assigned me to Team Yamaha), Bob Walker (who provide the team with great pipes every week), Keith McCarty, Jim Perry and Mike Guerra (for having faith in me),ÿBob Oliver (who knows more about motorcyles than I will if I live to be 100), Corey Hutter (who provided the bike with great suspension), James Troutman (for fabricating one-off parts),ÿ Brian Heath (for keeping the cooler full),ÿ Raymond Johnson (Heath Voss’ mechanic who was always willing to lend a hand), Darrin Sorenson (who let me work on his race bike) and, most of all, Chad Reed (who believed in me enough to trust his Supercross bike to an old man).ÿÿÿÿÿ
ÿÿÿÿ”I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Ed Scheidler (for all of the advice and help over the last couple decades), Doug Dubach (who taught me what it was like to work for a real pro) and Paul Carpenter (who proved to me that any part on a bike can break at any time).”
OTHER AMA NON-RACING AWARD WINNERS:
Mechanic of the Year: Alan Olson
AMA Supercross Champion Mechanic: Mike Gosselaar ÿÿ
Team Manager of the Year: J.C. Waterhouse
Team of the Year: Kawasaki
Transport Driver of the Year: ÿTimmy Tyler
100% Award: James Marshall/Ernesto Fonseca
Walker Garrison Lifetime Achievement Award: Mike LaRocco
FIM Recognition: ÿJohn Gallagher
KTM Jr. Supercross Recognition: Selvaraj Naryana
AMA Recognition: Steve Whitelock