News Feature

Motorsport Exotica rises from humble beginnings



March 7, 2017 | Story: Rahoul Ghose | Photos: Stan Evans

Rising from humble beginnings in Jarred Fixler’s home garage three years ago, Hollywood’s Motorsport Exotica now caters to a high end list of riders set on getting the most out of their sport bikes, whether they are flicking through local canyon roads or laying down perfect lines at the host of race tracks SoCal has on offer.

It’s a journey that has seen Fixler build some great moto business and personal relationships in the city, from the formation of a competitive race team and a partnership with Newcomb’s Ranch, to ties with the California Superbike School and its SoCal Corner Workers Program.

The connection with Newcomb’s Ranch came about in a familiar LA manner for two-wheeled enthusiasts … on the seat of bike, negotiating some of the county’s more challenging canyon backroads.

jarred fixler | photo: stan evans

“I started exploring Los Angeles on my bike the very day I moved here (from Connecticut),” says Fixler, adding Angel Crest Highway quickly became his “home away from home.”

“I woke up early one Sunday to meet at the La Canada Shell station at the bottom of the crest with some buddies and had no idea what I was in for. Twenty-seven miles with over 100 turns on the edge of a cliff … I was hooked.”

Fixler, who picked up his first bike at age 18 and has been racing since 2009, rode ACH every Sunday between 6 and 7:30 AM with the local crew for four years … never missing a Sunday.

“We called it church. Everyone has somewhere they go and gather on Sunday mornings ... this is ours,” Fixler says. “After many rides Freddy (Rundall) and the rest of the Newcomb’s Staff, including Tanner (Giao) all just started a friendship. If you see the same person week after week for several years, it just kind of falls into place.”

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  I woke up early one Sunday to meet at the La Canada Shell station at the bottom of the crest with some buddies and had no idea what I was in for. Twenty-seven miles with over 100 turns on the edge of a cliff … I was hooked.  

-- Jarred Fixler, Motorsport Exotica
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Fixler has organized moto events – including the upcoming Pole Position Charity Event and Moto GP Kickoff, March 19 – with Newcomb’s Ranch owner Freddy Rundall for years, while Tanner ‘Guardrail’ Giao – a bartender at the ACH locale – is a recent addition to the Motorsport Exotica race team.

“Tanner and I rode together quite a bit from random track days to ACH rides in the AM. Our friendship just cultivated from there, and after seeing his progress over the past few years, he was a no brainer for a racer choice. If Tanner and I are riding together it is either on track or ACH ... very seldom do we stray from those routes.

“Freddy on the other hand is more of a personal relationship, not based 100 per cent on riding, but more the lifestyle and the camaraderie. We do a lot of events together and motorcycle-based gatherings. We each bring quite a bit to the table in regard to getting a crowd assembled, so it’s a seamless transition from pleasure to work with him.”

The Pole Position Charity Event, a kick-off to the 2017 SoCal riding season, will benefit the 'no kill' animal organization Best Friends LA, and features more than $5,000 in raffle prizes with everything from Suomy Helmets, quick shifters, jackets, tires, and track days, to one-on-one coaching from California Superbike School and Yamaha Champion Riding School. Participants at the Newcomb’s Ranch bash – there were more than 1000 last year – can also get their suspension adjusted and set up by Suspension Matters, a GP race suspension technician, or have their picture taken with any of a number of beautiful models. And, of course, there will be food all day, Fixler says.

"Remember this is a motorcycle event with limited parking, so although we want everyone to come and support, cars are slightly discouraged as parking is at a premium."

THE RACE TEAM

tanner ‘guardrail’ giao | photo: stan evans

Relating to your clientele, even racing and riding with them, can forge long-lasting relationships. ‘Know what you do’ and ‘do what you know’ never applied more aptly.

Motorsport Exotica devotes resources to sponsoring a race team – along with co-sponsors Hustle Hard Racing, Spiegler Brakes, SoCal Fit Assist, The Adrian Law Firm and Push Smart Gauge – with riders in both novice and expert classes.

Currently this season the team is riding two Yamaha R6s and a BMW S1000RR in the Chuckwalla Raceway Winter Series.

The shop also sponsors the Expert Supersport open class races and offers trackside assistance to other teams and riders.

“Our goal as a race team is to further our brand recognition while clinching the championship in each of our race divisions,” Fixler says. “We plan on running the CVMA series again next year with hopes to get to the Moto America grid. We also plan on participating in one-off races throughout the season … Pikes Peak and some other club racing, to name a few.”

TRAINING FOR SUCCESS

Motorsport Exotica even work closely with the California Superbike School, in particular with the SoCal Corner Workers Program.

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  The perks of being a corner worker are second to none. Free track time for experienced riders as well as being able to really learn a track as you're stationed out in each corner.  

-- Jarred Fixler, Motorsport Exotica
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“CSS is a fantastic program that I got involved with at a student level many years ago. I had several track days and club races under my belt but was looking for somewhere to regroup and relearn. CSS was it,” Fixler says. “After reading up on Keith Code and the school I felt very comfortable with my decision. On one occasion I was introduced to the guys who run the Corner Working Program, and from there I was (on board).”

Corner workers help run course control with the flags and offer an additional level of safety to the track.

“The perks of being a corner worker are second to none. Free track time for experienced riders as well as being able to really learn a track as you're stationed out in each corner.”

For Fixler, the benefits of race training extend far beyond the track to teaching skills every rider on the road should have.

“I encourage everyone on a motorcycle to ride the track in a controlled environment at least once,” he says. “Track riding changes most people’s dynamic of riding. From a safety aspect, there are no other vehicles on the road except for bikes … no animals, pedestrians, cops, or road hazards. This allows for additional speed due to a lack of distractions. The biggest things I’ve noticed on track with new students is the ability to coach body positioning in a manner that it can be replicated over and over again.”

Body positioning is one of the most important things in riding a bike correctly, Fixler says, adding it should come as second nature.

“On the street that is hard to practice as you can seldom duplicate the same turn twice. Being on track allows for a fully controlled environment where you will be able to have repetitious markers and motions. Brake points, turn points ... they can all be mapped out and fixed, whereas on the street they are variable from turn to turn.”

‘Smooth is fast’ is a saying you will hear Fixler and a lot of coaches often say.

“The best way to get smooth is seat time and being able to practice your key riding points often. I know quite a few riders who have transitioned from street riding or canyon riding to track riding and now only run on closed courses. They agree that it’s more fun and enjoyable when those danger variables are greatly reduced and greater speeds are allowed with less consequence.”

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  The best way to get smooth is seat time and being able to practice your key riding points often. I know quite a few riders who have transitioned from street riding or canyon riding to track riding and now only run on closed courses.  

-- Jarred Fixler, Motorsport Exotica
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BACK IN THE SHOP

jarred fixler in the shop | photo: stan evans

Motorsport Exotica offers full race prep for new riders as well as full out race builds for current racers.

“We work on all sorts of bikes at the shop, some for street riding and some for full race," says Fixler, whose shop team includes general manager and race team head technician Sean Kelley and technician Jacob Eldridge, both with a wealth of experience and certifications.

Two recent bikes the garage tackled were a Ducati 996 with motor and electrical issues, and a Yamaha R1M in the shop for a full canyon build.

“(The 996) is an absolutely beautiful bike and one that most people would agree is the sexiest thing to come out of Ducati. Flawless lines and fantastic curves make this extreme eye candy,” Fixler says. “It came in for diagnostic and we found fueling issues and tuning problems. Injector cleaning, some rewiring of the harness and fueling and it was back on the road.”

The Yamaha R1M owner wasn't interested in racing, but did want every last drop of performance out of the bike for canyon riding.

“This included rear sets, gearing, electronics, suspension, engine case covers, brakes, and a full dyno tune. All and all, we took a bone stock Yamaha R1M and transformed it into a canyon weapon that will rival anything else on the mountain.”

sean kelley | photo: stan evans

The shop services bikes from a wide variety of clients -- new riders to experienced, from the entry level budget to the international business professional.

“We have worked with TV and music personalities as well. One of the things about our business is a client is a client … is a client. So we prefer not to name drop nor make a spectacle of some of the race builds as some teams and individuals choose us for anonymity. We don’t share customer’s tech sheets, nor will we put names or faces to tuned bikes. Those are just all trade secrets. Although I can say that we have had bikes in music videos, TV shows, and in magazines. You probably have seen some of our work, but just don’t know it.”

Fixler’s current favorite project is full supersport build on a Yamaha R6, expected to be completed later this year.

“We tore the entire bike down to the frame and are building from there. New Ohlins and K-tech suspension will be going on, along with full data logging and telemetry from AIM Data Sports. We have parts coming in from Japan and Italy to help cool the bike as well as an exhaust. Coupled with the full motor build and some other 'race secrets' we are hoping to put down between 134 and 139 whp (power output measured at the wheel) with this bike at completion.”

jacob eldridge | photo: stan evans

Fixler says the biggest change in sports bikes today has been the introduction of electronic rider aids: traction control, wheelie control, launch control and ABS braking.

“These are things that have been used on the Moto GP and WSBK side of racing but have always been too expensive for the club racer to obtain. Now bikes are coming from the dealerships with these aids and it’s great to be able to dial them in to each individual client and help them drop seconds off their lap times. Electronics really are taking over motorcycles. From CAN-BUS systems and drive by wire it really is becoming more and more about the tuning of the bike and getting all the systems to work seamlessly with how to rider rides than it is about just putting on an exhaust and air filter. Some of the top tier bikes are coming direct from the factory, ready to race at this point. Add bodywork and go turn laps.”

THE FUTURE

Looking to the apex, Fixler hopes to expand Motorsport Exotica in the future with additional locations throughout Southern California, while trying to maintain the same level of personal support the current Hollywood shop provides.

“(But, for now), we are focused on the race team and the current shop, and will continue to be until we feel that it is completely self-sustaining,” he says. “The last thing we would ever want is for customer service and that attention to detail to diminish because we are trying to expand. After all, if the client is unhappy we are unhappy. No ifs, ands, or buts.”

The future may even see a larger race presence.

“I can say this ... It's always been a dream of mine to have Motorsport Exotica on the front gate of a race track.”

If wishes were horsepower ...

For more information on Motorsport Exotica visit them online at motorsportexotica.com.

Back to News Homepage [+] | Motorsport Exotica Links       

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Stan Evans is a portrait and lifestyle photographer searching for random moments and interesting people. He often finds both -- traveling on his Speed Triple. Check out Evans' websites:   

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