Between the Motos:  Brandon Haas

Between the Motos: Brandon Haas

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At just 25 years of age, Brandon Haas has turned what started out as a backyard project in Minnesota into one of the most highly respected training facilities in the country. A former professional rider himself, Haas, along with current pro rider, and investor, Zach Osborne, opened Club MX in the small South Carolina town of Chesterfield in October of 2010. Embarking on their two-year anniversary, Club MX has garnered plenty of headlines in 2012 with current pros Justin Brayton, Alex and Jeremy Martin, and more, along with the breakout amateur star of 2012, Shane McElrath, all training under the tutelage of Club MX. We caught up with Haas earlier today to talk about the rise of Club MX, their future, and much more.

Racer X: Let’s start with what Club MX offers riders, and tell us a little bit about the facility.
Brandon Haas: Club MX is located in Chesterfield, South Carolina. We specialize in a training facility where we bring in riders that are willing to commit to us on yearly contracts. We take 27 guys a year and each of them is with us for a full year. We try and set up a well-rounded program by offering, obviously, training on the bike with our various tracks. We have a front track that is a clay loam track and we have a back track that is a full GP style sand track. We have all of our corner stuff for training as well as a pro supercross track. We also do complete fitness and nutrition program. We are in the process of building a clubhouse right now that will have office cubicles that will help guys with their school work. We have a full fitness center with bathrooms, laundry, Wi-Fi, and a full shop that we can put 16 guys in.

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One of the tracks at the Club MX training facility.
Randall Overby photo

In a short amount of time you guys have established yourselves as a well-respected training facility. Can you take us back to the roots and talk about how Club MX got started and where the idea came from?
Originally I had Club MX in Minnesota. I was racing myself and I also built tracks on the side for income and it led to a lot of guys coming to spend the summer with me to train. It started off as a backyard deal, but I found out that I enjoyed working with other riders more than I did racing on my own. I started having guys live with me during the summer, picking them up from their house and taking them riding. And it has slowly escalated into what it is now.

We were down in South Carolina training with some of my guys and we ran into Zach Osborne at a local track and went down to train at his place a little bit. I ended up building a supercross track for him and I told him about Club MX and mentioned to him to I was going to buy some land down south and open up a training facility. He replied right away and said that he would have interest in investing in the facility and that kicked it off. From there I went wide open and brought in a couple other investors in on it and worked on it for about a year. I moved down here in 2010.

Can you talk about Zach’s involvement with Club MX and what you feel he brings to the facility?
I think with Zach’s circumstance he knows what it takes to make it as an amateur, but he had a really hard adjustment in the pros. So now, when it comes to nutrition and fitness, he doesn’t want to see kids lose an opportunity over that, because he almost did. I think he brings so much to the table on the amateur ride with what works, he won a lot as an amateur, but also that transition of being able to run long motos. He knows what it takes, he knows what these guys are going through, and I think everybody here respects him for that. Zach’s not an employee here, when he’s here he is training right along side with the A riders and I think he forces those guys to get to his level. Just the knowledge and background brings a lot to the facility. Also, having him as someone to go to when I need some help on something is great because he has so much knowledge and he is a great business guy as well.

Since the two years Club MX has been open, some big name pros have come to train there—riders like Justin Brayton, Darryn Durham, the Martin brothers, Phil Nicoletti, etc. How much spotlight has that shined on Club MX and how has that affected the number of riders you have wanting to come train there because those riders train there as well?
When you look at those riders in general, not just at results, but looking at them from a fitness standpoint, they are some of the most in shape riders out there. I think it’s great that they chose us because they know our tracks are the most physically demanding. They know what we do works, and it definitely shines a spotlight on us, but I also think it’s great that the amateur guys get to train alongside these guys. Sometimes younger kids get stuck imagining that pro riders are animals, but at the end of the day they are just like you and me, they just bust their butts to get to where they are. And I think it’s great for those guys [amateur riders] to get to see that. From Zach, to Nicoletti, to Durham, the first rider to win a pro race from here, everyone that has been through our supercross program has had career-highs. And Brayton, as well. Look at what he did during supercross this past year.

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Haas and Shane McElrath celebrate a big week from the Club MX rider at Loretta Lynn's.
Club MX photo

You also had a big breakthrough in your amateur program at Loretta’s this year as well. Shane McElrath was the surprise of Loretta’s and really brought Club MX to the forefront. How much did his success bring you added exposure from the amateur ranks?
Shane definitely was the standout at Loretta’s. We had 21 guys there this year, so we had other guys that did really well, but obviously being in the B Class and throwing out the fastest times of the week, Shane had a great week. I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone here, because we have seen Shane grow. I knew this spring that he was going to kill it. He really started clicking this season. When he came here a year and a half ago, his attitude blew me away. The way he held his head, the way he walks, I could tell he had that spark in him. Right now he is in California trying to get a deal lined up, so hopefully in the next few weeks he will have some big news.

You guys have a big event going on next month to celebrate your two-year anniversary. Can you tell us about what’s in store for the open house?
Yeah, the Club MX open house is a celebration of our two years. In October of 2010 we had an open house for our grand opening. Then we had another one last year to celebrate our one-year anniversary. We try and get everyone back because we want to show everyone what is going on at Club MX, behind the scenes. We have a ton of new stuff to show off and want to put our whole facility on display. All the club riders and their families come and hang out, but we invite anyone to come out and celebrate with us. We will have both tracks fully prepped, a catered dinner, a DJ, and will be giving away a bunch of stuff. Also, some pro riders will be here to debut their 2013 rides, and this will be the first time they will be out in public. We are really pumped on that. Also, we will be talking about our new seven-acre pond that we are opening up in the spring that Hyperlite is doing with us.

Obviously the company has grown substantially in two years. Where do you see it going and what are your goals moving forward, as well?
I think our goal for the future is to create this into a place for the most elite guys in the world. Right now we have a huge waiting list of people waiting to get in and I think that makes the guys here really want to step up. We are fortunate enough to be in the position to bring good guys here--they're all great riders. We want to make it a facility where it offers every rider everything they need. We want to be considered the best as far as training, fitness, nutrition, and some day possibly break off into a Club MX in another state.

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The Club MX training facility.
Randall Overby photo

You mentioned that you have a waiting list of riders wanting to join Club MX. Are there any plans in the future to expand on the 27 riders you currently have or do you feel that 27 give you the perfect student to rider ratio?
We are planning on staying at 27. This is the number we want right now. It’s perfect because we split into three groups each day, and it’s private but we still have groups where the intensity is there. As far as brining more guys in, we are not looking into that too much. If you had a 100 spots available we could have them all full, but then what would Club MX be? We want to perfect these 27 guys and use them as our reputation. I think that is how we took off like we have the last two years, because we really try and keep everyone happy.

If someone is interested in joining Club MX, what is the best way for him or her to get in touch with you?
The best way to get in touch with us is to visit www.clubmx-sc.com. They can send us an email or call us—both are located on the website—or they can follow us on Facebook or on Twitter at @ClubMX_Training. Just because we are full doesn’t mean that someone can't use get information on training or when our next opening is, so feel free to contact us.

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