Rider Spotlight: Willie McCoy
NEWS May 24, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
AMAP: Where are you from?
WM: I’m originally from Garland, Texas, but not I live in Keller Texas. This year, the weather’s been really nice, so I’ve been riding my motocross bike and tried testing my 750s to get ready for Springfield. It’s been a mild winter for riding and getting ready to go racing, so that’s really nice.
AMAP: How’d you get into riding motorcycles?
WM: My dad, Eddie McCoy, was a class C racer back in the day. He did a few of the nationals, but did mainly the Class C races. Back in the day, Class C was just as big as the nationals. That’s what I’ve always done. I was kind of born and raised in it.
AMAP: How did you progress as a rider through the rankings in the Flat Track community?
WM: Going up through the amateur rankings, I did pretty decent. In my novice year of 1986, I did really well in Daytona and earned all my junior points. I was a junior the following year of 1987, but after that, Harley-Davidson of Dallas started helping me out and has been my sponsor since. I rode the national circuit for a couple years trying to make a living, and did ok. I was fortunate enough to win the 883cc championship in ’99 and 2000. I was the first two-time winner and the only back to back winner. Six years ago, I got a great job working for Tucker Rocky Distributing. I have a wife and two girls, so I’ve slowed down my racing to only the fun races I like going to. I’ve always been fairly close in finishes at Springfield. I’ve gotten fourth there a lot of times, and last year’s Labor Day, it was my day to finally claim a win. It was pretty awesome to win that race on my Harley-Davidson.
AMAP: As a flat track rider, you know how big of a win that is. What did it mean for you?
WM: It’s unbelievable how much that win at Springfield meant to me. Some people were like, “What a surprise.” But, many of the people that are involved in the sport knew how close I’ve been to winning in the past, so it’s not as big a surprise. It was a dream come true to win Springfield. If you could win one race your whole life, that’s the one to win. The problem is that it’s made me hungrier to get back and win it again.
AMAP: We literally caught up with you as your packing to leave for Springfield.. What are your goals heading into the event?
WM: My goal is to have fun. I don’t want it to turn into a long and stressful weekend. I won’t be riding the TT. I don’t care for the smaller bikes as much, and don’t enjoy them like I do my Harley-Davidson XR-750. I’d rather focus my attention on the mile. I do all the work on my bikes and build the engines. That’s a lot of work to get it all done. To add a 450cc singles bike with a wife and kids is too much for me.
AMAP: You’ll be going on a reduced race schedule for the 2012 season. Tell us what your expectations are for the rest of the year…
WM: My expectations are always to win the race. I think that if you’re serious about racing, and whether you’ve won before or not, your ultimate goal should be to win. I’ve always gone to the races with that attitude, and now that I’ve gotten a win, I want to do it at Springfield and the Indy Mile. Is it possible? I think anything’s possible, and I’m going to give it 200% to come out with another win. Hopefully I can make that happen.
AMAP: Out of all the tracks you’ve been to, what’s your favorite?
WM: Springfield by far. They do such a great job there. Very seldom do you see it rough at all. When they have the time and good weather, the track’s usually pool table smooth.. I like it because it’s not a follow the leader racetrack. You can go around or below somebody. I’ve been very fortunate that Kenny Tolbert and Phil Darcy showed me how to build these Harley motors. I do well at the track and it’s one of those places where lots of horsepower is a good thing.
AMAP: What would you say draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
WM: I think for me, it’s a few things: Growing up around it puts it in my blood. Once it’s in you, it’s almost impossible to get out. I have a lot of respect for Johnny Murphy. He raced so much and then was done. It has to be very hard to just walk away from it. I still have fun and get around the track well, so it’s still exciting. There are days where I’ll struggle because I’m having little issues, but I’ll still pull it together and have a good time. I’d like to have that same feeling I had last year from Springfield. Unfortunately, my wife and girls couldn’t watch me win my first national last year, so I’m hoping they’ll be able to stand with me in the winner’s circle this year.
AMAP: What are your thoughts of the riders in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles class moving up to the Harley-Davidson Insurance Expert class?
WM: I think they are very fast and talented riders. With the economy making it hard to find sponsorship and race, I hope it doesn’t discourage any of these kids, because they have so much talent. You watch them at Springfield, and it’s something to see. It’s almost kind of scary and exciting how close and aggressive they are. With all the various brands getting into the series, I hope to see these kids on some cool/fast bikes to compete on.
AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
WM: My racing hero is Ricky Graham and Terry Poovey. I’ve known Terry forever. I believe him and his brother were at the hospital when I was born. They’ve helped me out a lot growing up. Ricky Graham was very friendly each time I got to meet him when I was younger. I remember the season opener at the Houston Astro Dome, he was standing on the line about to go to practice when I approached him to get a picture. He was like, “Here, give your dad the camera.” He let me sit on his motorcycle with the #1 plate on it. I thought he was so cool. Since then, I’ve always looked up to him. It’s just really nice when your heroes are nice to you and help you out. I would go to them with questions about the track, bike setup and stuff, and they’d talk to me about it.