From 10 AMA National Trials Championships (the record at the time he retired), to a successful Endurocross career, to Nuclear Cowboyz and Red Bull Trials shows, Geoff Aaron is a man who knows how to reinvent himself. Geoff has once again changed career paths, this time as the team manager for the GasGas off-road team. While he hasn’t quite yet hung up his helmets, both open face and full face, he claims to be more of a weekend warrior now. We caught up with this motorcycle-legend-turned-corporate-guy at the California Trials Invitational, which was held right at the KTM headquarters behind the supercross and endurocross tracks. Here is what Geoff had to say about life behind a desk instead of handlebars.
Racer X: So, Geoff Aaron, 10-time National Trials Champion, tell us what you are doing now?
Geoff Aaron: Basically, we have gone full, deep corporate now at this point. We have been with GasGas for 23 or 24 years and was kind of in the right place at the right time when KTM group purchased GasGas at the end of 2019. I was slowing down a little bit with my Red Bull (trials) shows and had done 15 years of Endurocross, 20 years of Trials competitions and lots of exhibitions so I was kind of looking for my next chapter. So, I got hooked up with the KTM group and was really the first hire for the new GasGas.
We are out here today at the California Trials Invitational; this event was pretty much the first event we did for GasGas as a brand. The first bikes that came into America were GasGas Trials bikes and it was right when Covid struck. So, we were like, “How do we launch a brand in the middle of shut down?” We decided to hold our own event at our own private facility, that’s how this thing was born. We built basically a training ground, and they allowed me to invite riders. We did a really small invite only with the media, and some select VIP people to showcase the sport a little bit and show off the brand. So here we are now, four years deep with the California Trials Invitational, so far so good. It's been a great way to keep our training course up to date, every year we try to add more stuff to it and make it cooler and make it better. Now things are open so we invited more people so they can come and check it out. We had some good battles. But yeah, I’ve been busy, but I cannot get enough of these two wheels.
So, you were the trials team manager at GasGas before KTM took it over, correct? How much different are things now verses before KTM acquired the brand? I feel like it's very similar to when they brought on Roger De Coster to the moto team and really elevated things, they are doing the same now with trials, not just with the GasGas team, but they are really trying to elevate the entire sport. So how much different is your role now?
Well with the old Ga Gas it was much smaller with less people involved so I was kind of a jack of all trades. I was still racing I was managing my own program, was trying to help out other riders and do stuff on the west coast with media. Here I am a little more specialized, I am doing team management for off-road, all of off-road. We have GNCC racers, we have Enduro, Sprint Enduro, we have stuff on the west coast like National Hare and Hound, we have NGPC.
So, do you go to GNCC’s and National Enduros?
So I mix it up, right now I focus on the things that I am good at, so I go to all of the National Trials, I go to the Endurocrosses with Taddy Blazusiak, and then I will dip into all of these other series. So, I will go to a couple GNCCs, I will go to an Enduro. I go to kind of just random events to check on some of my support riders and show my face and be present at some of the events.
Do you get to ride much anymore?
I’m a little bit more of a weekend warrior now for sure. But my normal routine when I am around is I ride Cahuilla Motocross once a week and I ride trials with my boys once a week. So, I try to stay on the bike as much as I can. I mean that’s why we all do this because we love ridin. I’m definitely a two-wheel guy.
You are still a bad ass on a motorcycle. How is that being a team manager? On one hand it is nice because you have been there before and can help your riders along, but is there ever a point when they are messing up and it gets awkward because you could still be out there competing, and possibly showing them what’s up?
Well, I am definitely getting older now and maybe the confidence isn’t quite as high, but I still do ride a lot and I still enjoy it and I do have a lot of experience. So, one of the things that was satisfying this winter was testing with the riders. We would be out testing and we would also be working on technique and things like that. I’m able to give my input to some of our top riders. They are better than I am, but I can still give some insight on how to win.
So, your son Murphy was out there riding today (he won the Junior Pro class) so that has to be fun to go from rider to team manager to dad cheering on your boys.
Yeah, both of my boys have been riding since they were really little and same thing there, we started off just having fun on the weekends, no pressure, no nothing. But now everybody has latched on, they’re riding the Nationals, they’re practicing all of the time. My son Murphy has really gripped onto it recently. He’s a good rider, and I’m sure he is going to keep going.
Yes, that’s so awesome. And then your rider, you have multiple of them, but Josh Roper he is riding really good. He got his first National win this year.
Yeah, Josh Roper has been coming on strong and he is still relatively young. He’s been moving his way up slowly through the ranks and he is getting closer to that number one spot. We try to do as much as we can on the GasGas side with good equipment, we have a new bike for 2023. That was good shot in the arm, and he came out swinging at the first National and he got his first National win, so that’s just another thing checked off the list for us. Now he just needs to fine tune and keep pushing hard and hopefully someday he can be the best.
Main image by Chris Tedesco