Vital MX Forum QNA: Dave Osterman

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9/7/2015 2:32 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2015 2:37 PM

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This week's guest in the Vital MX forum QNA is Dave Osterman.

We always dig it when guys who are already members on Vital MX agree to do a Forum QNA, and the latest is Dave "Ozzy" Osterman.

Dave's a true lifetime veteran of MX. In high school worked for Al Baker R&D, building pipes and more. He spent time as a racer in the early days, and later as a wrench for Eddie Cole. He caught the attention of Yamaha, and spent time spinning wrenches there during the box van era. He worked mainly with Mike Bell, but also did with Broc Glover, Jim Holley, Rex Staten, Jeff Hicks, Tim Locey, Scott Burnworth, Warren Reid, and Donnie Cantaloupi.

Over the years he's been at KTM (twice), Pro Circuit, Yamaha of Troy; and Buell, when they were toying with the idea of doing a motocrosser. He's been Team Manager of the Year a couple times, and has been involved with championship-winning teams.

For the last few years? He was the Team Manager at Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports.

Now? He's on the hunt for a new gig, and has time to hang out with us.

What questions do you have for Dave? Bring your best, and he'll be peeking in here this week to answer them. As always, keep it respectful, and ask questions that you would like in a face-to-face meeting.

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9/7/2015 3:37 PM

I'll drop a few to start.

How far along did the Buell MX project get? Can you describe your role on that one? Were there any working prototypes?

What were the highs and lows of the Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports years?

You did get in a pretty good rant here about the TwoTwo Motorsports tablecloths disappearing. The ransom video that the gang did was pretty epic. How long did it take before they 'fessed up and let you in on the joke?

I think you're on the lookout for a new gig. Obviously you've been a Team Manager in the past. Are you looking for a similar role in the future? What's the job market like for a veteran manager like yourself?

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9/7/2015 4:24 PM

GuyB wrote:

I'll drop a few to start.

How far along did the Buell MX project get? Can you describe your role on that one? Were there any working prototypes?

What were the highs and lows of the Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports years?

You did get in a pretty good rant here about the TwoTwo Motorsports tablecloths disappearing. The ransom video that the gang did was pretty epic. How long did it take before they 'fessed up and let you in on the joke?

I think you're on the lookout for a new gig. Obviously you've been a Team Manager in the past. Are you looking for a similar role in the future? What's the job market like for a veteran manager like yourself?

The Buell Project had potential.
However some things there were beyond my control. I tried, trust me. I learned a lot there. I was in a team of incredibly bright people. I had a big role. Someday I'll open up about it.
TwoTwo was awesome.
We made History. That's hard to do these days.
Winning & having that potential to always be a Player was huge.
We followed no one.
We ALL felt we were leading, setting a new STD.
Obviously the lowest low was shutting down the Team.
Boys will be boys & my crew pulled a few on me for sure.
It's all good & all part of it all.
The future???
I'd love to land somewhere in a similar role if possible, but this yrs Silly Season seems to be the leanest I've seen in some time.
I'm riding my mtb a ton which keeps me occupied but it's always in my head thinking of the future. We'll see how things go...

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9/7/2015 4:41 PM

Wow - what a great career so far. I have two questions for you:

What is it that has made you so successful in the industry for so long.

Having wrenched and managed teams of all types of riders - what is the thing you see that elevates to a premier rider and what is the thing that keeps riders from making that premier level?

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9/7/2015 4:55 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2015 5:51 PM

Spat24 wrote:

Wow - what a great career so far. I have two questions for you:

What is it that has made you so successful in the industry for so long.

Having wrenched and managed teams of all types of riders - what is the thing you see that elevates to a premier rider and what is the thing that keeps riders from making that premier level?

Successful?
It is luck, perseverance, more luck, haha!
I'm not gonna lie but I always give it 100%.
You'll always get your money outta me!!
Good crews too. There's no "I" in team
so it's about teamwork & making that happen no matter what.
Riders?
Many times you see it coming.
The walk talk attitude & swagger!
Some have to work at it. Most never get it.
As in any sport the cream rises to the top.
Bringing that out is awesome to see.
But for some, it's just there.

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9/7/2015 5:05 PM

You can never have too much talent supporting you, but when Two Two was just Chad were there too many high end technicians on the team? With the current MX/SX "model" is it possible for a private owner/rider team to compete for an extended period of time (i.e. if Davi wouldn't have gotten the BTO ride would it been sustainable for him to have his own team)?

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9/7/2015 5:12 PM

Two questions,how do you feel about the sports direction today? And also, you favorite memory from twotwomotosports?

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9/7/2015 5:16 PM

Hi Dave,

Do you remember HP output on Metty's 2005 YZ125 or remember some yummy dyno numbers?smile

If I remember correctly, Brock Sellards was supposed to ride the YZ125 YOT in 2005 (East), but chose the 250F.
Did you try to enforce to Brock that he had to ride the 125, to help Yamaha promote the new alu-framed '05?

Did you think the '05 YZ125 was a big disadvantage against the 250Fs in '05?


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9/7/2015 5:16 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2015 5:53 PM

yak651 wrote:

You can never have too much talent supporting you, but when Two Two was just Chad were there too many high end technicians on the team? With the current MX/SX "model" is it possible for a private owner/rider team to compete for an extended period of time (i.e. if Davi wouldn't have gotten the BTO ride would it been sustainable for him to have his own team)?

I hear that all the time, but it's wrong.
Whether 1 rider or 4, you need who you need. We had just the right amount of guys,
Trust me. All of the best is what you try to do. A mix of experience. Self motivated all sharing the same goal.
The crew wasn't our issue!
Davi was smart.
Doing your own team as Chad did is huge.
I believe Davi saw that.
Davi saw his dollars being spent as he developed.
A plan & sponsors are key.
Plus you must have a way to sustain yourselves beyond sponsors as well.
At BTO Davi loses nothing.
He only gains.
Sure he brought them a sponsor & that helped him, but everything is on the team.
Davi just needs to be a Winner again.

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9/7/2015 5:24 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2015 5:53 PM

RCB33 wrote:

Two questions,how do you feel about the sports direction today? And also, you favorite memory from twotwomotosports?

I'm mixed on the direction.
SX is making strides.
I favor SX lately.
MX is another story for me.
My favorite memory was shaking Chad's hand at his hotel weeks before getting an official contract & hitting the ground literally running. I had a new gig yet not much time to get it all together.
That was GNARLY!!!

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9/7/2015 5:34 PM

Ok, so you have run probably the best "rider has his own team", that may ever be. Do you think that it is possible for this model to work, or really is a rider having his own team a mistake. Obviously, given unlimited budgets, it would be financially possible, but I think your sponsors were pretty solid and at least as good or better then anyone can expect. It just seems like it is too much distraction for the rider and of course, money is not easy to come by, is this an accurate assumption???? Would you recommend it to the next great rider that decides to give it a go????

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9/7/2015 5:34 PM

Well first of all, I think it's a safe bet to say, if you choose something outside of mx/sx, you will be highly regarded as one of the best team managers and a great ambassador of the sport, so congrats on a amazing career to this point.

Here are my questions.

Who has been the best manufactor to deal with up to this point

Working for both factory teams and a privately funded team, which would you rather work for.

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I AM CANADIAN

9/7/2015 5:42 PM

Benchracer17 wrote:

Hi Dave,

Do you remember HP output on Metty's 2005 YZ125 or remember some yummy dyno numbers?smile

If I remember correctly, Brock Sellards was supposed to ride the YZ125 YOT in 2005 (East), but chose the 250F.
Did you try to enforce to Brock that he had to ride the 125, to help Yamaha promote the new alu-framed '05?

Did you think the '05 YZ125 was a big disadvantage against the 250Fs in '05?


HP really didn't matter againt 250F's.
For me there was only 1 guy that could run a 125 againt the 250F's sucessfully & his name was James Stewart.
Metty tried his ass off.
He was finally allowed to race a 250F much later in the yr for us.
That whole deal was a Marketing ploy.
To each his own on how you think it went.

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9/7/2015 5:53 PM

resetjet wrote:

Ok, so you have run probably the best "rider has his own team", that may ever be. Do you think that it is possible for this model to work, or really is a rider having his own team a mistake. Obviously, given unlimited budgets, it would be financially possible, but I think your sponsors were pretty solid and at least as good or better then anyone can expect. It just seems like it is too much distraction for the rider and of course, money is not easy to come by, is this an accurate assumption???? Would you recommend it to the next great rider that decides to give it a go????

It can be done.
It's done in other Motorsports.
We ALL learned a lot here.
But it can be done.
Actually, TwoTwo did it.
We did it for 5yrs.
To do this it depends on the guy.
I'd also change some things.

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9/7/2015 5:53 PM

Thanks for doing this Ozzy and welcome back!

Tell us a good story from being a mechanic back in the day... Something funny from the road!

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Cheers, Crush
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9/7/2015 5:57 PM

Ozzy,

Do you now wish you would have let me help with tear down after this years Dallas SX even after all the double Crown and sprites I had consumed...

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9/7/2015 5:58 PM

kingrigger721 wrote:

Well first of all, I think it's a safe bet to say, if you choose something outside of mx/sx, you will be highly regarded as one of the best team managers and a great ambassador of the sport, so congrats on a amazing career to this point.

Here are my questions.

Who has been the best manufactor to deal with up to this point

Working for both factory teams and a privately funded team, which would you rather work for.

Thx for the props!
I try..haha
I'd love the opportunity sometime if it came up to step outside of this arena.
There's so many parallels to other things.
Best Mothership?
They'll ALL good.
Having Factory Support is amazing.
Regardless of color & all that goes with it,
It's always a privilege to be with the Factory.
Hands down.


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9/7/2015 6:00 PM

Crush wrote:

Thanks for doing this Ozzy and welcome back!

Tell us a good story from being a mechanic back in the day... Something funny from the road!

I've got so many...
Too many!
Someday I'll write a book.

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9/7/2015 6:04 PM

oshow wrote:

Ozzy,

Do you now wish you would have let me help with tear down after this years Dallas SX even after all the double Crown and sprites I had consumed...

I don't really recall?
There's a liability for the teams & promoters if we allow the public to help us.
Usually after the race even if we Win, we ALL want to get outta there.

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9/7/2015 6:13 PM

Thanks for doing this, Ozzy.

We've all read stories about how picky (if that's the right word) Chad is about bike set up. What I'm curious about is how good is he at verbalizing the changes he wants? Can he pinpoint what he wants changed, or does/did he give you guys a general direction and you had to run from there?

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9/7/2015 6:43 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2015 7:24 PM

Sully wrote:

Thanks for doing this, Ozzy.

We've all read stories about how picky (if that's the right word) Chad is about bike set up. What I'm curious about is how good is he at verbalizing the changes he wants? Can he pinpoint what he wants changed, or does/did he give you guys a general direction and you had to run from there?

Thx!
Yes, Chad was & is picky.
I used to compare him to Broc Glover in the way they were both involved totally with their bikes. Right or wrong!
There's always that point of to much or to little but at the end of the day, Chad was usually in the neighborhood of what he was after.
Even getting lost at times improves the breed.
It's ALL about making the rider happy.
Experienced riders know more.
They know what's possible so they're not afraid to ask or request things.
Being the Captain of his own ship gave Chad the freedom to question most everything. That came from owning his own team.

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9/7/2015 6:47 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2015 6:51 PM

Ozzy,

Chad had mentioned the toll it took on him mentally running his own team.

Did he let you and the rest of the crew handle most things or did he have his hand in the majority of decisions?

At what point did you think he had had enough and was going to shut the team down?

Good luck with your next endeavor.

Thanks.

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9/7/2015 7:00 PM

neverwasfastenuf wrote:

Ozzy,

Chad had mentioned the toll it took on him mentally running his own team.

Did he let you and the rest of the crew handle most things or did he have his hand in the majority of decisions?

At what point did you think he had had enough and was going to shut the team down?

Good luck with your next endeavor.

Thanks.

Yep, that's what he said.
We ALL saw it at various points, but for me personally & me alone, I realized such when he called me Thursday morning before Hi Point & told me the tale of the tape.
It was hard for him to say, I could tell.
It was hard to hear as well.
The best analogy I can give, is if you own a Ball team, you need to let your guys play their positions to the best of their abilities.
Like I said earlier, I learned a lot here.
Running a team is the same as running a business. As in life & almost anything, there's always room for improvement & learning. Every race car hits the wall, every 1. That's how you learn, grow, & improve.

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9/7/2015 7:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2015 7:09 PM

Thanks for taking the time to do this, Dave! Quite the storied career you have- one that could make any moto-head jealous. I have three questions here that are completely unrelated to each other.

1) What was your racing career like? High, lows? Almost no-one gets into this business in the capacity that you have without having the passion start with their own racing.

2) In your opinion- what do top-rider owned teams need to do (and what does the industry need to do) to have longevity (ten years plus) in this sport like in other motorsports? Obviously, owning a team in general is extremely tough and what Two-Two Motorsports accomplished is absolutely paradigm breaking. That said, I'd like to see that trend continue so that riders aren't tethered to existing teams and hopefully have more teams created.

3) What are the odds that Chad Reed will ever do a QNA on Vital? Is hell more likely to freeze over before then?

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9/7/2015 7:28 PM

Watson, it's open for anyone who wants to devote the time and effort to answering questions from the Vital MX faithful. I haven't asked Chad...yet.

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9/7/2015 7:53 PM

GuyB wrote:

Watson, it's open for anyone who wants to devote the time and effort to answering questions from the Vital MX faithful. I haven't asked Chad...yet.

Tell you 1 thing, keeping up with the questions is what it is!! Haha....

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9/7/2015 8:03 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/7/2015 10:20 PM

watson wrote:

Thanks for taking the time to do this, Dave! Quite the storied career you have- one that could make any moto-head jealous. I have three questions here that are completely unrelated to each other.

1) What was your racing career like? High, lows? Almost no-one gets into this business in the capacity that you have without having the passion start with their own racing.

2) In your opinion- what do top-rider owned teams need to do (and what does the industry need to do) to have longevity (ten years plus) in this sport like in other motorsports? Obviously, owning a team in general is extremely tough and what Two-Two Motorsports accomplished is absolutely paradigm breaking. That said, I'd like to see that trend continue so that riders aren't tethered to existing teams and hopefully have more teams created.

3) What are the odds that Chad Reed will ever do a QNA on Vital? Is hell more likely to freeze over before then?

I raced local.
Never Pro or Expert.
My folks weren't into it at all.
I was always good with my bikes mechanically so from HS on I pushed myself to get in there, learn & move forward.
The promotors can not take money from the teams as they are in some directions. Teams need funding.
We're the clowns in their circus!
Any sould understand that.
It's very hard to compete against the factories.
Private teams that actually have a chance are few.
Chad on Vital...?? I made a habit of not answering for him on things like that.

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9/7/2015 8:26 PM

Did you guys ever get the hostage tablecloth back?

Side note, I had no idea your career went back as far as it did - pretty cool.

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9/7/2015 8:43 PM

Dave, your time at buell is one of the most interesting pieces of moto history to me. I listened to your podcast with matthes a while back and remember you saying you had to sign a confidentiality agreement or something of that sort. If I remember correctly, you also mentioned there were quite a few features that were ahead of its time. Are you able to share what some of those features were?

By the way, I hope you're serious about the book. I would order one in a heartbeat!

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9/7/2015 8:47 PM

JeepnMike wrote:

Did you guys ever get the hostage tablecloth back?

Side note, I had no idea your career went back as far as it did - pretty cool.

Haha!!
The crew got me on that 1..!!
More specifically my former semi driver Shane Westlotorn. He punked me good!
But hey, I'm just showing my passion.
I take personal pride in our set-up.
I bust my rear to make sure we're on point.
The positive that came from that was the Outdoor Promoters having better Security.

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