GS: I grew up in Colorado Springs, CO, but was born in Miami, FL. I try to spend as time in Colorado as I can in the off-season. I like to ride my mini flat track bike and my mountain bike when I’m not racing.
AMAP: So you try to stay as fit as possible then?
GS: I usually try to get in as best shape as I can in the off-season, because my fitness dwindles when I’m traveling all the time during the season.
AMAP: How did you get into riding motorcycles?
GS: My buddies and I liked streetbikes in highschool. When I got one, I started riding in the mountains of Colorado. I kept trying to get better and better, but decided the best place to do that would be on the racetrack.
AMAP: How do you feel like you’ve progressed as a rider in AMA Pro Road Racing?
GS: I feel very happy about this year. Last year was much more challenging. We had a few interesting circumstances, and I had a lot to go throw the first year, but it’s all past us now.
AMAP: Do you like riding in a spec-class like the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series?
GS: Actually, I really enjoy that aspect of it, because it puts a lot on you as a rider. When you’re behind, it’s helped narrow down what the problem could be. You can’t say, “Oh, they have so much more horsepower than me.” Instead, you need to ride the bike harder, faster, change your setup or something else. The guys in the class are really easy going and fun to be around. Even though it’s hectic up front, it’s a lot of fun.
AMAP: Tell us what it means have Racing for a Wish as your sponsor, and what it means having them onboard in the series.
GS: Racing For a Wish is a program that I started back when I was club racing. I wasn’t a rider growing up. As a national team level gymnast, I trained at the United States Olympic Training Center and was recruited by the University of Michigan with a full-ride scholarship. I represented the Wolverines and earned my undergraduate degree in Economics and Mathematics. On top of that, we used to visit the children’s hospital there. We did some volunteering for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When I graduated, I got into motorcycle racing. That’s how Racing for a Wish came about. We donate money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and help create awareness for their cause. Hopefully with AMA Pro, we can continue building awareness in the series and keep putting cash in the charity’s hands, which is for children all around.
AMAP: You placed in the top-five at Miller Motorsports Park. What are your goals for the rest of the season?
GS: It was very important, and was one of the big breakthrough moments we were hoping for. Placing in the top-five builds your confidence and makes your ride better and better, because you feel like you belong there as a rider. For the rest of the season, we’re really focused on being in the points chase and building up to those last five rounds. We’re looking for podiums now. It’ll be tough because the guys in the front are riding really hard, but I’m confident we can do it.
AMAP: What do you think about riding in such a various class like the XR1200 class?
GS: I like it. I feel that there’s something to be learned each time I throw a leg over the bike. Being around riders like that is great. Riders with a lot of experience can do things you’d only learn about through time, and the younger guys are super aggressive. So, you kind of learn many things when riding with both of them.
AMAP: Do you think having a gymnastics background helps your riding capabilities?
GS: I think it did. On the national level, we got to represent the USA around the world. Just the experience alone on how to train and focus on goals was a big part. Of course, the fitness gave me a lot of awareness in body and positioning with control that I think helped immensely.
AMAP: You’d consider yourself a privateer in the sport, correct?
GS: We have really great funding by Kuryakyn and my other strong sponsors, but it’s a privateer effort. I handle all the roles from riding, to driving, to marketing, accounting and everything else. I’m a one-man show.
AMAP: What is the biggest challenge when you’re a privateer effort?
GS: The biggest challenge is knowing you have to make compromises, because there’s not enough time in the day. You have to shift your focus from mechanic to marketing. Then you have to manage your time from doing one thing to another while making the program the best it can be.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
GS: Like a lot of people, Valentino Rossi is awesome. I also really like Troy Bayliss and Noriyuki Haga. They just seemed incredibly mentally tough, and I just admire them so much, because I know how challenging and tough it is to get to that level. Those three guys always seem to have the talent, preparation and mind games.
Gerry hopes to continue raising awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and would like to thank his sponsors: Kuryakyn, California Superbike School, Held gloves, GMDATL, Suomy Helmets, EBC Brakes, Motorex and Sprinter of Littleton, Fast Bike Industries and Pikes Peak Harley-Davidson