Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Joel Dengler Interview
Tell us a little about yourself…family etc. .... I'm a Union Boilermaker, married with 2 kids (Michelle, Hunter and Haleigh). I grew up in Chatsworth, NJ and now I'm in Barnegat, NJ.. Started racing when I was 13 in 1987, spent 7 years racing the AMA nationals and SX, I had 6 AMA national numbers in a row, till I stopped racing pro MX and started Offroad. Away from bikes I like to go fishing, go surfing, jet skiing, spent the day on the boat, or hang with the family..
You grew up around racing motorcycles and your dad was a top racer back in the day. Is that what got you started racing? Yea I grew up at the track for sure. My dad raced here in the District 6 series in the 70's and 80's, he also did some Trans Am's and the Florida winter series. So you can say I was born into racing bikes.
As a top amateur in the area you moved on to the nationals. Despite good finishes you never got that factory ride. Do you think if it was 10 years later you would be that guy in the semi? I had this same talk at the Kawi ( KROC ) race a few years ago with Jeff Chambers from Team Green, and he said the same thing.. If I was 10 years younger things would have been different for me and many more guys I raced with. I had some top 10 finishes in both the SX's and Outdoors. I'm not saying that I could have been a RC or Stewart, but I might have been a top 15 or so guy. But you never know how much better it could have been, with more support and better bikes you never know. I rode stock bikes that had little motor work and some suspension upgrades, but nothing compared to what some of these guys have now.. But I'm not going to say I could have been better, I did as good as I could with what I had..
In addition to your skills racing motocross you are also a very successful off-road racer. Tell us a little about some of your successes. I always rode in the woods. Where I grew up there was endless trails for enduros that were run in the area, most of the trails were on the way to go to my riding spots. And after my dad stopped racing MX in the mid 80's he started racing enduros, so I was around the woods races a lot too. I raced a lot of hare scrambles and some enduros for fun and it was also I good way to stay in shape. I never really was to serious about it because MX is where the money was and there was no money in offraod at that time. I have raced with Mike Lafferty a lot here in the local ECEA races, Mike is a 7 time national enduro champ, and I have been able to beat him a few times and also have had some great battles with him. I also was able to win the ECEA Hare scramble Championship in 2001.
You were also a top 10 GNCC racer. What kept you from pursuing that career further? I raced a couple GNCC's in FL when I was staying down there in the winters, and when I finally stopped racing MX and SX in 1998 I tried another GNCC which was only 10 minutes down the road from me.. I finished 5th overall in the Pro class. From that race on I did the rest of the GNCC races that year. The next year I did the whole series started the year off with a top 10 finish, and I didn't fall out of the top 10 in points all year. I had another 5th overall and many more top 10's. I finished the year 10th overall in points. I got a Factory Husky ride for the next year. I had some good races that year, but had some bad ones as well, new team new bike we had a learning curve to deal with. I ended up 15th overall in 2000. At the end of the year Husky wasn't really sure what they wanted to do and were dragging there feet, so I went back to the Suzuki I was used to and that's when I won the ECEA Championship. I wanted to do the GNCC's again but the cost of traveling and racing was adding up. There wasn't much money to be had at the time so I didn't have purse money to fall back on.. When I look at the series now many of the guys I battled with then are still at it and have some sort of factory ride now.. Maybe I should have hung in there for another year, but it was had to go and not make money, when I could stay home and go to Englishtown and make a few hundred..
You are a well rounded competitor. You have experienced success racing off-road, mini-bikes and regular motocross at various points in your career. How do you choose an event to race on a given weekend? Now I just go to whatever I feel like doing that weekend.. And if I', not feeling it I can stay home without feeling like I missed something, or that I owe it to someone to be at a certain race. That's what still keeps me going, the fact that if I want to Moto I can, if I want to do a enduro or harescramble I can, if I want to race my pitbike I can, and if I want to stay home and go out on my boat or jet ski o r go fishing I can without any guilt. Sometimes I will decide to race at 8pm on Saturday night.
Which aspect of racing do you enjoy the most…motocross, pit bike, off road?
It depends, I have had a blast doing each one.. I enjoy going to see all the people I have meet over the years.. I got my Moto family and my Offroad family, as different as Moto and Offroad is they are both the same, we all love racing bikes.. The only thing I don't enjoy is getting hurt and seeing people get hurt.. It would be hard to choose which is my favorite, that is why I still do all 3..
How do you stay competitive against the next group of young riders coming up? You when I turned a in 1990 I was that young guy, all I wanted to do was win. I did some crazy stuff then.. When I watch these kids today, I can't believe what some of them will do or can do on a bike.. I have no interest in riding like that now.. I don't get to ride that much these days, most of the time my day of riding is at the races.. I just go out and ride to my limit, I don't push over my limits anymore. I still have some talent but just lack the drive to win and hang it out.. I'm happy to just ride and get out unhurt these days..
What is your favorite racing memory?
I have had many good times over the many years racing, finishing 9th in sx, finishing 9th in a moto at Budds creek, getting a 6th overall at the USGP in Unadilla, finishing 2nd overall at the Delaware National Enduro, My 10th overall in GNCC, living in FL with a bunch of friends a couple of years over the winter months, going to Canada to race some SX races, going to Lorreta Lynn's and the Mini Olympics a couple times.. But all the great time spent traveling with the family and my close friends going to the races is something I will always remember.
What are your plans for this season? I'm just out there to have fun, hit a few races.. No plans I'm just going with the flow.
Looking past 2007. What is next for Joel Dengler? Well my 5 year old son hunter just started riding a PW50 this year.. So i guess i'll see where that leads me..
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