LITTLE TRACKSIDE TIME WITH DOUG EICHNER
Doug Eichner, probably most famous for winning the
Ponte De Voux in France an amazing 7 times, has
made a name for himself over the last 20 years for
being an extremely fast, talented, and very well-rounded
rider who is capable of not only taking on some
of the most grueling and physically demanding racecourses
in the US and abroad (and he’s got the championships
to prove it!), but also for his ability to conquer
the most technical MX tracks around with the best
of the best. Anyone who has spent more than a few
minutes talking with Doug Eichner comes away from
their conversation understanding what it means to
truly enjoy doing what you do best. For Doug, that
is racing quads, no matter where or what the terrain.
Not only is Doug well respected by his fellow riders
no matter what the level of competition, it’s
quite obvious that he is also well liked by them,
too; and after having the opportunity to talk with
Doug for a little while, I can definitely see why.
Not only did I learn a great deal about someone
I already admired from afar, I was reminded the
whole time simply by being around Doug and feeling
his enthusiasm and hearing his obvious love for
this sport, of why I started this whole sport to
begin with; and it can be summed up with one word………because
I sat down with Doug for a few minutes
between races, and was able to find out a little
bit more about him:
What made you decide to start racing? Well,
I raced two wheelers for such a long time before I broke
my collarbone, and then I bought my 3-wheeler and joined
a club, and we all went to Sand Lake and rode all the
time. We used to go up and do snow runs up there in
Washington in the winter and go up to the reservoir
and run on the ice on the lake and have ice races –
that was fun for a while but I kind of got bored and
I wanted to start racing again.
Eichner - Quick Facts
||San Diego, CA
|Twist or Thumb:
||Welder for Fox shocks
|1st ATC/ATV &
||86 250R 3 Wheeler; 21
||Pizza, BBQ ribs
||Ice cold Pepsi!
||Golfing, dune riding,
How many years have you been racing? 33 years
was the first event you entered as a Pro Racer and how
did it go? My first event was just a local
mx race at Washougal National Motocross Park, and I
went out there and won it.
different events have you competed in other the years?
I won the Mickey Thompson Offroad Championship in
1993, I’ve done the Nationals back East, I have
competed in the 12 hour Ponte de Voux and the Baja
1000 with the SCORE Series and won that, the ITP Quadcross
Series- whatever kind of racing there is, I’ll
usually go do it on a quad.
are some of the highlights of your career? My
championship from the Mickey Thompson Offroad Series;
I was a 3 time Open Pro Champion back east on a Banshee;
and 7 time Champion of the 12-hour Ponte De Voux….
of all the races, organizations, and countries you
have raced in - where is your favorite place to race?
You know, me and Jeremy Schell were invited over to
New Zealand by their ATV Club – they paid for
us to come over and have a little school for them,
and those people there were so nice and the islands
we were on were really nice……. I’d
have to say New Zealand was probably one of the neatest
places I’ve been.
was your scariest moment as a racer? Back in
1987 I broke my femur on Friday the 13th (so don’t
race on Friday the 13th )! I was in traction and had
to have a cast for 6 months and….. they tried
to put a metal rod down inside my leg, but…..
they screwed up that so I had to be in a cast for 6
months. That was probably the worst. Breaking my femur
was one of the worst things……luckily it
wasn’t a compound facture, but it was bad enough.
were your most memorable events from last year and
what makes them so memorable? It would probably
be….me and Lance Armstrong winning 7 times over
in France; you know…. I won the Ponte De Voux
7 times now, and he’s won over there his 7th
time - so that is probably one of the most memorable
is the Banshee still your machine of choice for competing
in the Ponte De Voux? Well, we have so much
time invested in that Banshee and we know what it
takes to make it work and make it win – I’d
actually rather ride a Honda 450R, but my co-pilot
that I ride with, John - he’s sponsored by Yamaha
over in England, so we pretty much have to ride a
Yamaha. The YFZ 450…….we have not quite
had enough time on it to work the bugs out of that
- it’s fast and it works good and everything,
but it has little problems. Tavis Cain and Chad Lohr
have run it over the last couple of years and they’ve
had some problems…..but they’ve been fast
when they didn’t have problems! But we have
just had so much time on the banshee and just know
what it takes to make it win.
there any one individual who has influenced you the
most in your life
and helped you get to the point you are at right now,
career wise? Yeah, as far as starting out,
Arlen Lehman from LRD and Bart Sanisfield from Oregon
Motorsports, starting out- and Duncan Racing……
Loren and Lenny. As far as racers, probably Gary Denton.
you have any pre-race rituals, or anything you do at
the gate or the start of a race to help you with your
races? No….. you know, every race I just
go at it…. and you have to visualize yourself
getting the holeshot- that is just something that will
help you every time. And so I just kind of go through
that over and over and think about the track –
what corners and what to do where – just kind
of mull it over a little bit. I’m usually pretty
happy-going and pretty loose - that start doesn’t
really bother me.
are your race plans for 2006? Race the WORCS
series and hitting the ITP’s when I can –
the Ponte De Vuex, I’ll do that – probably
do the Elsinore Grand Prix and the Adelanto Grand
Prix. I like those town races where you get all the
crowds - those are fun. Those are probably the main
into 2006, what is your main focus - what would you
like to accomplish most of all this season?
Winning the WORCS Series.
drives you to compete in the WORCS Series over the
other racing events? I just like this type
of racing because you get a little bit of everything…
you have the mx track and then it sends you off into
the desert or the woods and the trees - depending
on where it’s at. It’s kind of a good
all around kind of racing - it’s a good series
and it’s mostly on the West Coast.
is your favorite track from last year on schedule
for 2006 & why? I really enjoyed Goldendale,
Washington – it was a pretty fast, natural terrain
track and I won that one, so I’d have to say
that was my favorite track last year.
changes in your race program/sponsorship for 2006?
Just my suspension – I’m running Fox shocks
this year instead of Elka. Since I work for FOX it’s
just easier for me and works out better for me in
the long run.
List? Duncan Racing, Roll, IMS, Golden West
Cycle, ITP, Douglas Wheel, GPR,ETC, FOX Shocks, Hinson
Racing, Motion Pro, Edelbrock, O’neal Racing.
long have you been working with Duncan Racing?
I’ve been with Duncan racing for a little over
10 years now.
did you get started riding for them? They
approached me at the Mickey’s and said that
they’d like to do something with me in the Mickey
Thompson Offroad Series….. and I was planning
on moving to California, so it kind of worked out
good for me to start riding for them when I moved
what way do you feel they help to put you above the
competition? They are just a great organization
and they build a very good motor. You know, it might
not be the fastest thing out there, but it’s
for sure the most reliable. Lenny Duncan – you
know he’s a good mechanic (even when he puts
gas in the bike when maybe he SHOULDN’t put
gas in the bike…. but anyway!) (laughs) They
are just a good outfit to work for - very professional.
did the Bombardier Outlander work out for you in 2005?
The Outlander was a very fast bike for as big as it
was, and the suspension was OK, but…. for as
big as it was it ran out of suspension pretty quick.
It was a fun bike, we just didn’t have enough
time on it to do the Baja - we had some problems and
it broke. But Bombardier is a good company to work
for and to ride for….. it just didn’t
work out as good as we wanted it to.
Are you going to be working with them at all
again this year? No, not this year.
You are a huge inspiration to me personally,
to be able to win the races you win, racing against
riders who are half your age... What advice do you
have for other racers like me, who aren't young pups
anymore and who have families and jobs - who have
to race against the younger racers out there with
nothing to loose? You know - a lot of it
is heart. You just have to have a bigger will and
a bigger heart than the other riders and just want
it more. And the biggest thing is, you don’t
have to be the fastest guy out there but be the smartest.
Don’t make any mistakes - ride smooth. The biggest
thing I tell a lot of kids and people when they say
“man, you just look like you’re cruising
out there” and I tell them that it’s about
riding smooth. If you can be smooth, fast will come.
Riding smooth, you don’t get as tired as quick
and it’s just easier on yourself and the bike.
It’s a lot of heart.
you ever get him into racing? You know, I
got him a little electric quad, but I’d rather
put a baseball bat or golf club in his hand!
does your wife feel about you still racing ATVs?
She supports me 100%! She has to prod me quite a few
times to get off the couch and go workout and ride
because after working 40 hours a week, it makes it
hard to get up and go work out. She actually bought
me a gym membership for Christmas so I would get to
the gym, but I haven’t been there yet! (laughs)
do you find time to work out? You know, right
now I’m lucky if I get to ride on the weekends.
Every day I take a half hour at lunch and ride my
mountain bike for a half hour for cardio – and
that’s about all I do right now…. I just
don’t have time for anything else.
do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?
Hopefully I’ll be doing something with my boy,
Devin - spend time with him. I’m sure I won’t
be racing, but I’m sure I will still be riding.
I will probably be going to the dunes and having fun
with my buddies. I will probably never quit riding,
but I’d like to spend time with my family and
more years do you plan on racing at the Pro Level?
At the most, two years. I mean… I’ll
do this year and next year probably - and then seriously
think about retiring. We will see what happens this
you plan on staying involved in the Sport after you
retiring from racing ATVS. If so, do you already have
any plans? Well working for FOX shocks like
I do now, they have their test rider whenever they
need him do their R&D work, so I’m sure
that with FOX I will still be involved with the ATV
business a little bit. My part of it now - I work
for the Offroad part – which is the cars and
trucks part of it - but they still kind of work together
on quad stuff too….
you ever thought of starting your own race company?
Yeah, I have. It’s just, right now there are
so many people out there building stuff, and while
the market is good right now, it’s not quite
THAT good. I thought about it years ago after I quit
working at Laegers…. to go out on my own….
and I probably should have then. It would have been
good back then to do it, but now it would be really
tough with so many other people out there doing it
and the competition is greater.
your family and racing, is there anything else that
do you ride when you aren’t racing? We
used to have a track in El Cajon where we used to ride
at, but it got closed down. We used to ride there every
Monday night, but it’s gone now. I have a little
sand track by my house where I like to ride, but they
don’t like me riding there - I get kicked out
every once in a while. I really don’t have a specific
place I can ride right now!
spending time on? I like to go golfing. I
was actually going to bring my clubs this weekend
and try to get out some time to play some golf….
you go to the dunes? I like to go to the dunes
and ride…we like the dunes or the hardpack –
we ride the hardpack too. On big weekends I will take
the wife and the kid and we will all go out in the trailer
and spend the weekend at Glamis or Superstition and
you Doug, for sharing some insights and for
spending time with us!! Good luck in 2006 and
we will be watching you in your pursuit of the
WORCS Pro Championship!**
someone like you, with so many accomplishments in
the ATV racing
industry and so much drive to continue racing, what
do you do to keep
yourself motivated year after year? What drives you
to do what you do? You know, you have to
go out and have fun. That’s the main thing –
to have fun. I get to meet a lot of different people
and I’m friends with almost everyone out here.
It’s like a weekend out racing or riding with
your buddies at the dunes – it’s just
a fun thing I like to do and I do pretty good at it
still, so I like to go do it.