Bart Hayes founded Powersport Grafx, which you probably know as PG or RidePG. Since founded PG, Bart has become a key player in the offroad scene. I dropped in on Bart for this edition of Rambling on Chat.
Hey Bart, how are things going today?
Well the phones are starting to ring again after a mediocre summer so that’s good!
That’s good to hear! I guess riders are fixing everything up over summer break. So you founded Powersport Grafx several years ago, how did this all come about?
I’d like to say it was the result of several years of planning, but it was mostly fate.
PG seemed to come really far, really quick in terms of moto companies. What do you contribute this success to?
We started in January of 2003, so that’s been over 7 years. We built the company on relationships, quality and service. Word of mouth was and is our best advertising. It helps that the vast majority of us here ride and race, so that builds credibility.
PG was the first and well, still the only graphics company that really showed a lot of support for the offroad scene, what inspired this?
Our background was offroad, so it was a natural choice for the company. I have owned a race shop (Genuine Dirt Racer products) for several years and it serves the offroad community. We were very familiar with the Moto scene and the attitudes were different on the Moto side. Offroaders are a great bunch of people to work with and they tend to stay with the sport a lot longer.
That proved to be a good choice too! How did PG get involved with KTM?
I have a great friend, Willie Bradshaw (Fun Cycles in Valdese, NC) and he made the initial introduction for me. I was able to get in front of Rod Bush and he gave us the opportunity. It grew from there.
How did you become involved with the offroad racing scene?
I started riding when I was 10 years old. After I got my drivers license, I started racing motocross. When it was time to go to college, my interests changed and I stayed away from riding for almost 15 years. My son, Patrick got a Z-50 and we started trail riding together and it all grew from there. We went to an NCHSA race with my buddy Dale Cooke and the rest is history. I guess if I had anyone to blame, it would be Cooke. We have been crashing into each other since we were very young!
What has been your favorite achievement in the offroad world so far?
There are several. Seeing my son Patrick ride and do well at it is probably number one. After that, our race team that KTM sponsored was very special. We had 6 GNCC championships and 51 class wins over 2 years. All the set-up, suspension and major mechanical work was done in our shop. Working with David Knight to build a bike (that we had no experience with), race it and beat all the factories within the span of one week was quite an accomplishment. Now we are diversifying more on the mechanical side. We are working with Jesse Robinson and Chris Bach and they are making us look good. I guess we have a lot to be proud of.
Out of all the races you’ve ever been to, which has been your favorite?
The “Bike only” GNCC at Sparta, KY a few years ago is certainly on the list. After that, I like them all, especially when they are technical. My all time favorite is the Red Bull Last Man Standing.
I hear people say “PG Graphics” pretty often. That’s like saying “Powersport Grafx Graphics”, does that ever bug you?
Yes, but as I get older I tend to look past things. I lost most of my hair a long time ago.
Yeah, it bugs me but I’m kind of OCD anyway. What do you feel is the biggest thing it takes to run a successful moto company in today’s economy?
In today’s economy, the ability to survive is the biggest thing I see.
What does the near future hold for PG?
We have been working on relocating for quite some time now. This is the key to our being able to diversify within the industry as well as new markets. Our current facility just does not have enough room to enable us to be efficient.
I can definitely see that. Where do you see PG in 10 years?
I think the brand will continue to grow. We will expand through diversification.
What would you like to see happen to the offroad racing scene in coming years?
I would like to see offroad maintain the number of participants and show some consistent, manageable growth. I think the National Enduro format is a definite winner and the GNCC format works. We need to organize the local series’ from a class structure standpoint to mirror the national series’. That way a guy that runs Vet B in his local series, will be properly classified nationally. I realize that this is the way the current structure is supposed to work, but it doesn’t.
Oh no doubt, and the online forums are always blown up with sandbagging discussions haha… Who is cooler, Burt Reynolds or Chuck Norris?
Chuck Norris…….but Uma Thurman (Kill Bill) would most likely kick his a@@.
Alright. That’s all I have for you, anyone you want to thank or give a shoutout to?
My family for their support, everyone that rides, and especially the people that use our products. You don’t have enough room to for everyone I need to thank, and I would hate to leave anyone out! I have a pretty big list!
I don’t doubt it! Awesome, thanks Bart!
For more on PG and to order your custom graphics, numberplates and more, head on over to www.ridepg.com