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Between the Motos: Mahira Amir Khan

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Mahira Amir Khan is a producer for new Fuel TV reality show “The Moto – Inside the Outdoors” which airs on the network every week. We talked with her about working on a show like this for this week’s Between the Motos.

  • Jake Weimer
  • Mahira
  • Broc Tickle
Racer X: Well, last week was the debut of “The Moto – Inside the Outdoors”. How has the feedback been so far? I read some comments online, and I’ve seen nothing but praise.
Mahira Amir Khan: It aired Feb 17th on Fuel TV, so it’s all new and we’re waiting to see how the fans take to it. Basically, it’s a spin-off from the TGO series of documentaries. “TGO” the movie focuses on racing, but “The Moto – Inside the Outdoors” goes deeper and focuses more on the riders’ lives, their training, and their families, along with race footage. I hope the fans love it. It’s an insight the public isn’t privy to. I’ve seen some comments online, and it seems like they're into it. We’re waiting to see how it goes.

So is “The Moto – Inside the Outdoors” the world’s first motocross reality show?
Yes, in the sport of motocross, it’s the first reality show. I think it’s safe to say that no one has ever presented a view of the sport like this. You know you really get to see what it takes to live like a champion. The riders we covered give it their all. We see them training, with their families, their girlfriends... We see them celebrate and wind down off the track, and we also see them at their lowest points, when they struggle to stay on their path and keep going for the Championship despite injuries and the constant stress from all directions. They’re amazing people. And what really shows up is the fact that they are all young riders battling in a sport designed for men. We really see them as modern-day warriors.

That’s a long-running theme in motocross...
If you look at ancient tribal cultures, there was always a breed of men who were taken through rites of passage; bred and primed to become warriors. Take the Samurais in Japan, the Nordic Vikings, the Greek Spartans, and even the medieval knights; they were admired and they were a source of strength. I feel like in the modern day, we’re missing that warrior culture.?It’s funny that it takes a sport like motocross to create that warrior culture all over again. It’s like it fulfills a need for the fans. They see these riders and all their strength and courage and it inspires them.

Who are some of the riders you have featured in your show?
We cover the top riders like Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto, Mike Alessi, Ryan Dungey, Andrew Short, Tyla Rattray, Jake Weimer, Josh Grant, Tommy Searle, and upcoming rookies like Blake Wharton and Justin Barcia. And it’s not just the riders, but we see their families, and that’s a huge part of their lives and their success.

Is there anything you learned doing it?
Take for example the Alessis: As everyone knows, Tony Alessi is a big part of Mike Alessi’s racing career. He’s there at the track, he’s fully involved, he’s passionate, he fights for the good of his son... And to many he’s such a controversial character, and his techniques, manner and decisions are up for question, but you know, you spend more time with him and you can’t help but see what a great heart he has.

So, you’re saying he’s not the guy everyone thinks he is?
Tony’s totally dedicated to his son and to his success. You’ll see in the show how he speaks of the early days, when he had to struggle to mortgage his house and cash in his 401k to allow his son to ride. I’m not going to give it all away, it’s all in the show, but he’s definitely stubborn and emotional – but his drive and commitment are unbelievable. I hope the public gets to see his strengths. But he’s a character; he definitely makes the show!

Who else comes to mind?
Blake Wharton was a blast to get to know. We visited him, his Dad and his brother in remote Pilot Point, Texas. This town was so isolated we would have to travel an hour out to get any form of supplies! But it was an awesome experience. Blake seems so serious and quiet on the track and then you get to hang out with him and he is the funniest, off-the-wall character... He was constantly cracking us up. We didn’t know how to deal with him at one point. It was endless. He loves his “Family Guy”. I heard so many impersonations of Stewie...

Who else did you visit like that?
We visited the Shorts at their ranch in Smithville, Texas. We had an amazing time with them. They are just the perfect family. Really sweet, humble, inviting, All-American... We fell in love with their baby, Emma. The Shorts are so awesome. You enter their home and it feels and calm and peaceful. They’re good people. Humble, down to earth types. They had a lake on their property and we zip-lined with them. Andrew has a ton of bikes and quads and his own motocross track, and we all hopped on and had a blast all across his property. Then there were the horses and cows and his wife Jackie plowing away on her tractor...

Was there anyone else that made an impact on you?
I have to mention Jeff Spencer, the visionary trainer for riders like Andrew Short and Villopoto. Jeff is unreal. I remember it was myself, Troy Adamitis and cinematographer Jessica Young who were at his house, and we did a double take when we saw how he ran his life. Jessica and I vowed to live like him one day. He has trained Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods, he has a background as a chiropractor, but brings in Life Coaching along with all the latest medical and health technologies. He showed us his cold laser, bandages that mimic muscular action, “The Stick” and biofeedback devices...

  • The crew
You sound like you have a bit of a crush on him...
Of course I have a crush on him, but his wife is his biggest fan. She ‘s an interior designer. The entire house, down to their sofa, is green and organic. Even their walls are made of some Indian clay that releases negative ions. You feel this spaciousness and clarity around Jeff and you can see why it takes a man like him to make a champion. He took us by surprise. He’s an artist as well! His forte is the human anatomy so he blows glass depictions of the human body! So his whole house is decorated with his works and it looks like an art gallery! I asked him about it and he told me he believes in creating spaciousness in the mind. He said that only when the mind is clear is it inspired enough to be really creative.

That’s just Zen Buddhism 101...
It’s wild. He and his wife built an eco-community. It’s this zen garden that opens up to the mountains in Pasadena and they have all kinds of creatures that come to them to be fed. Birds fly right up to their hands! We were there all morning and when we were about to wrap up, his daughter arrived home and ran into his arms. And we just watched while they hugged for the longest time. She was adopted from Colombia. Pretty unusual, huh?

Yeah, that’s one way to put it. Tell us about the team for the show.
Troy Adamitis and Dave Dawes are Executive Producers of the show along with CJ Olivares and Shon Tomlin from Fuel TV. I am Producer and Brian Alexander is the Writer/Editor on the show. Everyone on the team has been so dedicated. It really took a lot of teamwork to get this far. Fuel TV gave us the chance to showcase what we can do. We’ll always be grateful because it’s the first time we get to show the mainstream audience the depth of the motocross world. Hopefully the show inspires everyone to live like a champion.

Will the show air every week in the same time slot?
It’ll air at the same time [8pm ET/5pm PT and again at 11pm ET/8pm PT] from 2/17 to 3/24, for the six weeks that new episodes come out. After that, it goes into run of schedule, and will continue to play every week for pretty much the rest of the year.

How long is the show?
It’s a 30-minute show.

Is it available online?
The Moto is now available on iTunes (one episode per week, 24 hours after air).?It will also appear on fuel.tv, hulu, Cinema Now, and Amazon unBox starting March 17th – again, one episode per week.
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