John wrings out the 60-horsepower Pro Circuit Honda CRF450 (22) that was on the cover a few months ago at REM.
HOW DID YOU BECOME AN MXA TEST RIDER?
It was part luck, part happenstance and a whole lot of hard work. I joined the MXA crew fresh out of college in 2004 after punching a one-way ticket across the country. I earned my stripes through tenacity and being open-minded. I’ll ride anything with two wheels and an engine. More importantly, I don’t whine about what I’m riding. Jody Weisel admires those qualities in a test rider.
Basher rode Ricky Carmichael's Suzuki RM-Z450 a day after the Budds Creek MXDN in 2007. It wasn't an easy bike to ride.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MXA MEMORY?
It’s so hard to pick one specific memory. I’ve been fortunate to throw a leg over factory bikes–James Stewart’s KX450F, Grant Langston’s title-winning YZ450F, and Ricky Carmichael’s RM-Z450 stand out–as well as a plethora of project bikes. However, it’s the people, and not the bikes, that stand out. Being a member of the MXA wrecking crew is like a brotherhood and a fellowship. Discussing all things dirt has created memories that will last a lifetime.
The 2012 MXA 250 Four-Stroke Shootout crew of (from left) Jeff Pestana, Austin Politelli, Sean Kranyak, John Basher, Dennis Stapleton and Shane Smith.
WHO WAS TESTING BIKES AT MXA WITH YOU?
A number of high-profile riders have gone through the MXA turnstyle since I started. Cole Seely, Sean Collier, Austin Politelli, and Trent Pugmire have donned the orange helmet many times. Others, such as Mike LaRocco, Larry Ward, Doug Dubach, Kyle Lewis and Ryan Hughes have helped with testing. The regular crew through my tenure at MXA has been Dennis Stapleton, Jody Weisel, Willy Musgrave, Billy Musgrave, and Daryl Ecklund.
John testing Clark Stiles' YZ450F a few years ago on MXA's super secret test track. He didn't save it.
WHY DID YOU STOP BEING A TEST RIDER?
I haven’t stopped, and I have no intentions of hanging up my leathers until I can no longer physically do it–in which case I’ll still be at the track, walking around as a senile old man bending someone’s ear about my glory days as an MXA test rider.