Turning Wrenches with Tim Bennett

By Annie Connolly, 10.5.2010
Everyone seems to know that a mechanic plays one of the most important roles when it comes to racing dirt bikes, however, they are often overlooked and given minimal spotlight.  With this new feature we hope to bring these guys some coverage that they deserve.
Tim Bennet is a pretty familiar face of the pro circuit these days.  Having worked for a handful of successful amateurs, Tim is now one of the main guys over at team Nitro Circus/Suzuki City.  We recently caught up with him to ask a few questions…

Where are you from and how did you get started with Motocross?
I am from Birmingham, Michigan which is about 45 minutes north of Detroit.  My Dad and Uncle got me into it.
How and when did you decide you wanted to wrench on bikes for a living?
I started to realize that I wanted to start working on bikes for a living probably at the age of 16. I started working at a shop by my house as a porter and progressed to where I am today.
Where did you get your early experience – Mentor/Shops/School?
I have had a few very influential people in my life that I can give credit to. The first would be Jeff Plawecki, who is the owner of JP Speed, a well known suspension company in Michigan. (www.jpspeed.biz) The other person that has really helped me as well would be Todd Lachance, the owner of TLR Performance. I have spent a lot of time in his shop down in Florida building our race motors. (www.tlrperformance.com)
Current position?
Currently I am the main mechanic for the Suzuki City Nitro Circus Race Team.
What’s been the biggest highlight of your career thus far?
The biggest highlight I have had was probably last year in September when I went over to England with Steven Clarke to race the European Des Nations in Ukraine. Scuba ended up winning every moto except one, which was really cool for me.
What are your goals going forward?
Well, my main goal is always to better myself or whatever it is I am doing.  Right now we are getting our test bikes ready for SX and we’ll see where it goes from there.
Do you have any superstitions when it comes to racing?
Not really, I am not  a very superstitious person. Everything happens for a reason.
What do you typically do to your bikes between races (weekends) and how long does that take?
From race to race our bikes are torn all the way down to the frame and completely redone. Our motors are torn apart and crucial parts are changed.  Our suspension usually goes a couple of rides before it is redone. Usually it takes a day to do an entire bike including the motor. We have motors that we rotate through, so we pull one out and put another one in.
What’s your least favorite/most annoying part of that process?
I enjoy most of it, haha, but probably trying to make used parts look new again.
Pet peeves when it comes to your rider?
I have really high expectations of myself so I think that carries on over into my rider. I expect them to work as hard as I work.
Favorite thing about your job?
Everything.  I’ll never be able to go and work a 9 to 5er, haha!
How do you usually spend your downtime?
Usually when I have down time I try to go home as much as possible to see my family. I have twin sisters that just turned 16, Leah and Lauren, and I try to see them as much as possible.  I ride pitbike a lot and standup jetskis. My most favorite is probably going fishing with my Dad which I have only been able to do a handful of times in the last 4 years, there’s just not enough time!
Plans for 2011?
My plans are to keep moving forward with Suzuki City, we have a really good program going on for 2011, so hopefully everything will go as planned.