Stories like this don’t come together nearly enough. Longtime-privateer grinder John Short, known more for his solid, consistent results than brief flashes of speed, got the nod to join the Bar X/Chaparral/Ecstar Suzuki squad in Monster Energy AMA Supercross this year. Bar X, run by Myron Short and Larry Brooks, has been a Suzuki amateur team for a while but got the call up to the pro side for 2021 after the departure of JGRMX. This 250 team is built around young talent, like former KTM prospects Derek Drake and Sean Cantrell, and Bar X’s own recent amateur grad Dilan Schwartz. Then Drake went down with a broken femur in the off-season, and Short got the call.
“I like the motorcycle, but I only had about eight days on it before I came into the series,” Short explains. “So every time I get on it I get more comfortable—every practice, every race. I’m trying to have steady progress every time I throw a leg over it. I need to work on my starts, that would help a lot to get toward the front.”
Short was completely taken by surprise when the team came calling.
“I was actually road biking in early December and I didn’t know who was calling me so I answered on my headphones and it was Myron from Bar X,” he says. “I pulled over so we could talk and he just kind of picked my brain about what my plans are for 2021, my goals, and what I’m riding right now etc. I didn’t have much going on at that time, so I was happy to get the call! After we spoke on the phone, about a week later I didn’t hear anything else so I started calling every day to try and let them know I’m serious and wanted to ride for their organization! Once they gave me the green light I drove straight out to California.”
Short, who hails from Texas, didn’t have much time, but he did get to experience the California test track lifestyle he’s missed throughout his career.
“It was pretty unique to me to get to go to California for a few weeks before the season, and getting to work with a guy like Larry Brooks,” he says. “That whole experience was new to me and it brought a little confidence coming into the season, working with Larry and having Suzuki and everyone backing me.
“I actually have never spent any time in California other than to race for the weekend,” he explains. “It was definitely an eye-opening experience! I found a place to stay out in California on the 20-hour drive out there and spent four weeks leading up to H1 acclimating to the new yellow bike. I felt bad for everyone back home because I got to miss all the cold north Texas weather and enjoy the warm and sunny weather in California. [Laughs] It makes it easy to be consistent with your training, though. You don’t have to plan or really miss any days due to weather, which was huge considering I only had a small window to prep.”
Finally, Short was getting to live the factory supercross test track dream, an experience that wasn’t lost on him.
“I rode at the Suzuki track most days and that was a really cool experience to be at the famous test tracks that you see videos of everyone riding online,” he said. “They are literally just right on the side of a foothill. It was very beneficial to be there in person and see all of the factory guys riding the tracks.
“The whole scene in California is different to me, all these tracks are pretty much in the city and it doesn’t bother anyone. No noise complaints or city limit issues. It feels like everyone embraces motocross. In the evenings people just ride their dirt bikes around the neighborhoods and fields when they get off work and there are no issues. It was kind of refreshing to see so many people into motorcycles. I wouldn’t want to live in California, but I did enjoy it and plan to make another trip out there.”
Short has been his usual, solid self through the first two races of 2021, going 11-11. He had a huge battle with Josh Osby on Tuesday, but that ended with a wild ride in the whoops. Somehow he saved it and brought it home.
“Yeah that was a lot of fun,” he says. “I’ve raced Josh a long time, and it was good, clean, hard, racing. Helped the main event go by a lot faster, that’s for sure! Then I got sketchy in the whoops after one of our position swaps! It was good, we bumped fists after the race and I hope the fans enjoyed it.”
Short is growing in stride with this team. Bar X, again, is new to supercross, but it’s coming along.
“The Bar X Suzuki team definitely has potential to grow into a great program,” he says. “They have some good people involved like Jamie Ellis from Twisted Development, Rob from RG3 suspension, and Larry Brooks. With the short amount of time that my deal came together in, my deal with the team has many similarities to programs I’ve put together or been a part of in the past, but they have plenty of top-notch equipment and resources they provide me with, which is very helpful and a big relief.”
It’s not quite the traditional factory team setup with a big semi and an army of technicians. Suzuki’s press releases tend to refer to the Twisted Tea/HEP Motorsports Suzuki 450 team and the Bar X 250 team as “premier” programs instead of factory. For Short, it will certainly do for now.
“At the races we are pitting out of the box van and we have a spare bike and suspension which is more than I usually have to work with,” he said. “So that’s refreshing knowing we have spare equipment if we need it. We don’t have a race mechanic full time which can be a hurdle. I’ve had a couple friends from Texas come help me out and wrench for me this week and we are currently working on provisions to have support personnel at Indy and beyond. Overall though, this program is a step up considering the amount of time we had to make this deal happen. I think it’s a good program that’s only going to grow. It’s a very low pressure environment and I’m thankful to be a part of it and riding the Suzuki.”