Catching Up with Brock Hoyer
By Allison Kennedy | September 29, 2016
There was some big news this week in the world of snow biking: This unique winter sport has been added to the lineup for this year’s Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. This is exciting news for one of FXR’s most diverse athletes: William’s Lake BC’s Brock Hoyer. Hoyer got his start in Canadian motocross, first teaming up with FXR when he was riding the Pro Nationals back in 2006 and then returning to the brand in 2013. Hoyer has always had great style and speed on a dirt bike. During his career he’s earned a top ten national number, clinched several arenacross championships, qualified for an AMA Supercross and ridden for factory teams. But as the winter of 2016/17 approaches, his focus is squarely on the rising sport of snow biking. So how did this talented two-wheel guy become one of the most high-profile snow bike athletes today? Read on to find out.
Can you tell us a bit about how you got started in motocross?
I got started like most kids. Lots of kids have dirt bikes; it just depends on who’s around you to push you to take that next step. That usually determines whether you become a racer or a trail rider or you just ride around the farm. My uncle who I looked up to a lot was a bush racer/motocross racer. So that’s how I got started. He saw something in me when we were out riding for run and he suggested to my mom that she take me to the next race, which is about an hour north of us, to see what would happen. Sure enough, I podiumed my first race and I never looked back.
I started racing Nationals at an amateur level in 2004, I did my first pro national as an intermediate. Then I bumped up to pro in 2005. I did two rounds as an amateur in 2004 and then in my first year pro I didn’t race any nationals due to graduation and school. I just raced local stuff my first year pro. It wasn’t until my second year pro that I got hooked up with RTR Performance and I did the whole series out West on a Honda. That was in 2006 and that was when I first started working with FXR.
What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of in motocross?
Of course I was really proud of that 2006 year, getting picked up by a team. In any motorsport, it’s do or die and everyone is hoping for a ride or support and it came last minute. If I’d never had that door opened, I might not be where I am today. I am very thankful for that. It really got me exposure back then when it was Racer X Canada and I met people like you and James Lissimore and built those roots in the motocross industry. I feel very blessed for those years. After that being able to ride for a Factory Yamaha team as their rider when someone got hurt that season—that really sticks out for me. The next big thing that stands out was riding for Factory Leading Edge Kawasaki and being able to do the full Canadian circuit was awesome. The next thing would be when I started back with FXR in 2013 and went to all nine rounds, coast to coast as a privateer and picked up National #8 for that season: That was another big highlight. Also racing in Europe was an amazing experience—I went over twice and raced in England in the Future West arenacross series. It’s pretty cool that a sport that you love—that you started in your hometown—can take you around the world.
You raced a lot of BC Arenacross over the years too?
Yes, I always say I was a better indoor rider. I’m more technical. I have more championships indoors than outdoors. The industry and the people in the BC AX series, that’s where my heart always was and then it all changed when the snowbike stuff came out…
Tell us how that first got started on a snow bike?
At the time, I was stoked to be back on a Yamaha. I grew up my whole life on a Yamaha and I was pretty excited to be back on one. I bleed blue and it’s cool to be working with the same people who gave me support as an amateur. They have a great product. We were getting ready for outdoors and I was also training for indoors and I had a spare bike that was going to be my race bike for the next season. So I asked my Yamaha sponsor—Bryan Hudgin—if he’d mind if I put a track kit on a bike and rode it for fun and cross training. He said yes, I can’t see a problem as long as you take care of the bike. That opened up so many doors with filming and racing. Originally it was just a cross-training tool. I live in Canada, in Northern BC, and we get winter for about 7 months of the year. Not everyone can afford to go to California for 3 months. I’ve worked full time since I’ve been in high school pretty much—so I’ve never had that opportunity to travel much. I am always trying to find that fine line for cross training. I bought a race sled for a season and tried to do that—it just wasn’t quite the same. When the snow bike thing came out and I threw it on my Yamaha and it went from being a cross-training tool to a full-time thing for me.
How much of your focus is on the snow bike now?
I would say I’m 80% on my snowbike and 20% moto now. It completely reversed its role. Now snow bike is what I dedicate myself to and the moto stuff is just cross training is for winter now. I wouldn’t change it for anything. It just took the support from a couple of sponsors to make it happen. I was working with FXR and I asked if I could have some snow gear. I know I’m a moto-supported guy…but can I have some snowgear for snowboarding and this new snowbike thing. They were really supportive. That helped open things up. All these sponsors who helped with moto were willing to keep supporting me. FXR, Yamaha and now Timbersled have all helped me achieve the goals I’ve set and have gotten me to where I am today.
So what does riding snow bikes full time include?
I do a lot of stuff for Timbersled, FXR and Yamaha with media. I start in the middle of October with snowshoes, representing my sponsors and then it goes into filming, dealer shows, we have a three round snowbike series in Western Canada now, we have a hillcross series that has two snow bike classes, and I am also racing down in the states. Last year I raced more down in the states on snow bikes than I ever had in my pro motocross career. They have a national circuit down there and I did two rounds and some more filming down there with Red Bull (like the videos with Ronnie Renner and Regan Sieg in the Idaho backcountry). It’s been pretty crazy—the opportunities. Before I never travelled in the US, except when I did AMA Supercross which is another milestone in my MX career when I made a night show, I’ve been racing more on snow bikes down there than I ever did in moto.
For this upcoming winter, what’s on your plate?
It seems like my winters are getting busier and busier. As of right now I ride snowmobile and snow bikes for Yamaha. I do dual sport through the winter so that keeps me busy. We have the Hillcross Series in Western Canada, The Western Canada Snow Bike Series put on by Stu McQueen, I’ll attend a bunch of the U.S. Rounds down in the states although I dont know how many I’ll attend with filming and stuff. Now the newest addition to the snow bike industry is X Games for this year. So that should be a pretty cool thing. Unofficially, I hope I’ll get the call but you still never know until your name is on the list. I really hope that it all goes through and I get to see my name on that list. I’ve always wanted to watch X Games live let alone have the chance to possibly be invited—it’s pretty life changing.
When you first turned pro in Canadian moto, did you ever imagine you’d end up here?
The moto industry really let me build the grassroots I needed to get here. I’ve had lots of times where I’ve wondered if I’m going down the right path. For half of my motocross career I was living paycheck to paycheck, buying bike parts and getting race fuel to make it to the next round, sleeping in my truck. That’s what we did to make it happen. I look back and I wouldn’t change a thing because all of that paved the way to where I am now. I’ve met some great people and I have some great sponsors that I’ve aligned myself with. At the end of the day I’ve always said that if you surround yourself with good people, good things happen. The sponsors I have right now I wouldn’t change for anything.
You have a wife, a son and a new baby on the way in William’s Lake. It must be busy?
It is busy but it’s great. My wife has been around since my third year pro, she’s been here since day one at the races. That’s all we’ve ever done. Of course it gets tough with young kids so that’s part of why I’ve stepped back from moto a bit to focus on snow bikes. I literally have four weeks to get ready for Canadian Nationals each year and it gets tough. It’s a fine line to find enough time to spend with family. My game plan is to focus more on the winter stuff and then work more in the summer. I am also self-employed as a heavy-duty mechanic.
Well congratulations on it all and I hope you get the call for Winter X.
Thanks. It’s been a busy journey but I think it’s all pretty cool. If you look back on the whole thing and how many people have been there with you for the ride. So many guys were just as fast or faster than me and I’m lucky to have found a place in the industry. Everyone you meet along the way makes a difference—me meeting you and James and the FXR crew, you’d never meet those people if you weren’t in this industry. I think that’s why we all do it. You go to the races on the weekends and everyone is stoked to see each other and race. It’s awesome. I’ve aligned myself with a lot of great people and great sponsors so hopefully they put in a good word for me and I get the call for Winter X.
FXR has been working on a line of snow bike gear that you had a hand in developing. Tell us about that?
Yes, FXR is releasing snow bike gear in 2017 and I had a hand in the development of that. We had lots of samples to try and we went back and forth with little changes here and there. When I first started riding we used the dual sport pants and I said if we could build something like this just a little more insulated, and it went from there and it kind of snowballed. Milt gave it the green light and we worked hard on it. I really hope we can move some product. I currently use the snow stuff all the time but I think some snow bike specific stuff will go over really well. It’s cool to see. With X Games establishing the class, it kind of validates our sport and says we are here to stay.
MX photos by Allison Kennedy and Snow Bike photos by Steven Marlenee