Get To Know Mike Butler

I met Mike close to a year ago and have been bench racing with him ever since. I quicky realized that Mike had a wealth of motocross experince, so I thought that I would dig a little deeper into his motocross career and share that with everyone. So take a few mintues and get to know Mike Butler.
.

Who is Mike Butler? Give us all some details about yourself so we all can get to know you. I was born and raised in Marietta, GA. I first started out riding a 5hp mini bike, and finally talked my Mom & Dad into getting me a real motorcycle. I started racing when I was 9 years old. At first I started racing locally around the Georgia area, and as I got faster I started traveling around to many of the regional races around the Southeast. When I turned 16 I got my Pro License and started racing Supercross & Outdoor Nationals.

You hold a national # right? I’m not 100% sure myself, so tell everyone what is involved in maintaining a national #. Yes I hold the National # 500. That has been my national # for the last 5 years. I’ve had the chance with AMA Pro Racing for a lower national #, but the #500 has been good to me and for me as far as exposure for my motocross schools. In AMA Pro Racing, you have to have at least 100 advancement points per year to maintain your pro license and national #. That can be a combination of racing Supercross, Arena Cross and the Outdoor National Motocross Championship. I have been fortunate to be able to maintain my pro license and national # with racing the Supercross & Outdoor Nationals and to get at least 100 or more advancement points per year.

Since you have raced at the “Pro” level, what does it take to make it in motocross and be successful? I first have to say that it was an eye opening experience for me when I went from what I thought was a fast amateur rider to racing at the pro level. Everything at the pro level is about 10 times more intense mentally and physically. At the amateur level you are riding 15 minute motos at the most and to jump into the pro level, you are racing two 30 minute heats plus 2 laps so you are basically on the bike for almost 45 minutes each heat. I think to be successful in motocross you honestly have to eat, sleep, breathe and dream racing 24/7. You have to be in top mental condition, and absolutely in top physical condition. You really just have to have a good all around program and not have any outside distractions if you really want to make it. It’s a combination of surrounding yourself with good people, good sponsors and keeping yourself grounded. You really have to have a lot of self motivation to be able to get up on those days when you don’t feel like going and training or practicing on the bike. It’s a lot easier to talk yourself out of going and training or practicing especially when it is 95 outside and the humidity is about 2000.

I could not imagine the stories you must have from traveling the roads and hanging out at top level tracks. So what’s the funnies thing you recall happening to you or someone else? Yes there are a lot of road stories for sure. Most of the time it’s just trying to have fun as the miles wind down. You first have to like the people you are hanging out and traveling with. I think the funniest thing that happened although it was not so funny at the time, was about 5 years ago at the Budds Creek Outdoor National. My best friend and mechanic Mike and I decided for some stupid reason we were not going to pull his or my trailer to the race. So we were very much going to be privateers for the weekend. We loaded my bike, gear and equipment in the back of his truck and took off for Maryland. We got to the hotel we were staying at we both realized we had made a real bad decision not pulling the trailer. What really clued us in was the fact that we saw several bikes chained with what looked like logging chains. That was when I decided that we probably needed to bring the bike inside the hotel. The hotel had 4 floors and 1 elevator so we wheeled my bike into the hotel and realized the elevator was not much bigger than a coat closet. So the only way we could get the bike into the elevator was to stand the bike on the back wheel straight up and down. At about 12:30 that night the hotel manager knocked on our door, I went to the door and he asked me if we had a motorcycle inside of the hotel room. Really wasn’t much I could say or deny it seeing as how the bike was sitting there on the stand in plain view. So he proceeds to kick us out of the hotel at 12:30 at night and all of the other hotels in town were booked solid because of the race that weekend. Not really knowing what we were going to do, we didn’t have many options see as how we had to be at the track at 7:00 the next morning. We decided to go ahead and drive out to the track so that we would at least be at the track in time for sign up, practice, etc. We still were not sure how the 2 of us were going to sleep in the front of his pickup truck. Fortunately we ran into some friends and they had mercy on us and we slept on the floor of their motor home. Needless to say not the way that I’d hoped the weekend would have started out for me.

Is it even possible to explain what it feels like being lined up on the gate at an outdoor national? What’s going through your mind? What do you feel? I think I was just pin it and close my eyes and hope for the best. Yes, it can be a little overwhelming if you let it. Your lined up with 39 of the best riders in the world. But as much as it can be overwhelming when you are on the gate you are focused only on what you are going to do. As for me after the parade lap and I am back at the gate my mechanic and I have a routine, I get a couple of drinks of water, he hands me a fresh pair of goggles and sets the hole shot device and I know I’ve only got a minute left to go before the gate drops. I’m pretty much focused on trying to get a good start and going out and riding my best. As we all know in motocross the starting line is probably the most nerve racking part of the entire day, but over all it’s the coolest thing in the world to line up with the best riders in the world.

Tell me more about your motocross schools. What kind of techniques do you cover? Is there a specific age group that you work with and what locations do you prefer? I started as an instructor with the Gary Semics School of Motocross a few years back. I decided about 6 years ago to start my own motocross school. Certainly nothing against the Gary Semics School. I just felt like instead of teaching to the masses, I could teach as many students as I wanted or I could do one on one teaching. I pride myself on being able to give more one on one training because I think the bigger motocross schools a rider can get lost in the shuffle. It really depends on the skill and level of the rider. For a beginner rider I start with the basics from bike prep and maintenance, how to get and maintain sponsors, and obviously the teaching and techniques out on the track. As for what I cover with techniques I really concentrate on turns and cornering speed. As we all know in motocross a race is won or lost in a turn. I also teach proper body positioning, clutch and brake technique and proper line choice. For riders that are looking to qualify for Ponca City or Loretta Lynns I will set up a nutrition and training program and also work with those riders on a weekly basis. As for age groups I don’t have any set age, but the younger a rider is the less chance that he or she will have to learn bad habits. I usually try to teach a Bremen Motocross Park but I can and will go where ever someone wants me to, I have traveled all over the Southeast to different locations that people have requested. The Bremen Track is a very safe track for beginner riders and challenging enough for more experienced riders. If anyone is interested in my motocross schools the can contact me by email at MikeButlerracing@yahoo.com or contact me by phone at 678-372-3427. If anyone should need references for previous riders or inquires for my schools I can provide whatever you need.

Being a local here in Georgia, is there a favorite track nearby and what makes it your preferred track? I have several tracks that I enjoy racing or riding at, obviously Bremen MX Park located in Bremen, GA, AMP MX located in Heflin, AL. Both tracks are maintained very well and are equally safe for beginner riders to pro riders. Both tracks respect and care about all of their riders and both tracks certainly promote a fun, friendly, family atmosphere and ultimately that’s what motocross is all about.

Well it’s obvious after spending some time with you that you like those blue dirt bikes. Tell us why you choose to ride Yamaha and some details about your bikes? Yeah for sure I bleed Yamaha blue. I started out racing Yamahas when I was 9 years old, it was my first motorcycle. I’ve always had good performance out of the Yamaha motorcycles. As the change from 2 strokes to 4 strokes it’s obviously no secret that Yamaha was the first manufacturer to have a very competitive 4 stroke motocross bike. Yamaha has always had a very good rider contingency program for amateur and pro riders and even though the economy has effected the motorcycle industry Yamaha still has one of the best if not the best contingency programs still available and to me that is a big plus to get paid to race motorcycles. Along with the fact that Yamaha has always had proven reliable products. This year I am riding a 2011 YZ250-F. A few things that I have done to the bike is a DRD exhaust, Wiseco High Compression Piston, Hot Cam, Head flowed and suspension done by Race Tech/Mark Klein, that’s pretty much it for the 250. For the 450 what more can you say? Since Yamaha completely redesigned the YZ450-F, not a whole lot of changes… DRD exhaust, a longer, lower arm linkage for the rear suspension and just some other odds and ends to make the bike rideable for myself. Both of them topped off with VP Race Fuel. If I can I would like to give a shout out to some of my sponsors, Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, DRD, Decal Works, Works Connection, Pivot Works, Hot Cams, Twin Air, Boyesen, Renthal, MSR, Scott Goggles, Perilli Tires, Sun Line, Wiseco, Leatt, MXer’s For Jesus, My Lord God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thanks to:Yamaha Motor Corp.U.S.A.Dubach Racing,Cycra Racing,Decal Works,Works Connection,661/Sunline,Factory Connection,Tag Metals,NGK Spark Plugs,Pivot Works,Hot Cams,Wiseco Pistons,Cometic Gaskets,M.S.R.Riding Gear,Scott Goggles,HRP,E.V.S.Leatt Braces,One Industries,Bel-Ray Oil,VP Race Fuel,CV4 Racing,Pro-Gold,Twin Air,Boyesen,Renthal,Pirelli Tires,DNA Energy Drink,Mxers For Jesus/Rev.Kevin&Cassie,Action Sports Medicine/Christine/Doc Augustine,Asterisk/Doc Bodnar,Road2Recovery,Fairburn Road Chiropractic/Doc Hattaway,Massage Solutions/Kathleen,Bremen MX Park,Mark Klein,Mom,My Late Dad,Mike&Kim,Chase&Johnny Borders,Shane Mills,Presley,Most Importantly My Lord God And Savior Jesus Christ For Loving Me And Keeping Me Safe,Takin’Care Of Bizzness/Elvis PresleyTCB,Poison/Bret Michaels/Ride The Wind!!I Bleed Yamaha Factory Racing Blue

  • Mike is one of the few guys who I can confidently recommend as a good and *safe* instructor. He’s not one to “force” someone to attempt an obstacle they’re not comfortable with but rather show them how to overcome their fears to be able to do it safely. I keep his cards in my shop to hand out to anyone who is interested in some very good help. I have the utmost respect for Mike and his techniques.

    I consider it a priviledge to do Mike’s suspension and help him with any complications he encounters. I feel fortunate Mike recommends us for quality work from changing brake pads and tires to complete suspension set up’s to normal periodic engine maintenance to complete rebuilds and all levels of mods- from stock to those that may need rebuilds at a more frequent interval due to a higher state of tune.

    It’s been a pleasure working with Mike and helping him and his students. I hope to meet and work with more of you in the future!

    Mark Klein
    (a.k.a. MX Tuner)
    Hyperformance Cycles
    http://www.hyperformancecycles.net