10/12/2012 by Jimmy Shoe
Shawn Hess has had racing in his blood since he was a two-year-old riding PW50s during race intermissions. Since then, Shawn has raced Enduro, Cross Country and some MX. Even after 16 years of racing, the passion has not dimmed. Shawn, now 28, has raced in most of the 50 states and parts of Canada in the GNCC, OMA and the TORN series, and he isn’t about to slow down.
For inspiration, Shawn has looked up to some of the best in the industry such as Jeremy McGrath and Bill Ballance. As he was flying through the ranks of amateur racing, he would ask himself, “Am I good enough to get there?” He didn’t have to wait long to find out the answer. After winning six state championships in a row, Shawn jumped into the pro class during the GNCC in Gilmer, Texas, in 2004.
“It was a big confidence booster to know my ability,” said Shawn. “I grew up admiring the pros and I knew that getting a chance to race against them would be quite an accomplishment.”
After going pro in 2004, Shawn didn’t stop challenging himself in other areas. He started taking classes at Texas Christian University and pushed hard to succeed in classes during the week and on the track on the weekends. While driving from Texas in 2007, he finished in the Top 15 in the GNCC XC1 ATV Pro Class and won the ATVCCS Pro State Championship in both pro and utility classes. During the same year, Shawn was the runner up for the GNCC Sportsmanship Award, voted in by other riders, and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human relations and a minor in business.
Shawn is now putting that degree to work as the owner of a performance race shop. In his shop, Shawn and his team design and develop new products for the powersports industry. Shawn’s standpoint as a racer and a shop owner have given him the ability to be influential with input and advice to companies, including Pivot Works, Cylinder Works, Vertex Pistons, Hot Rods and Hot Cams. Shawn enjoys working on projects with the companies and relies on them every time he rides.
“I run everything they make,” said Shawn. “They build quality performance parts that you don’t have to question; you know they are going to get you to the finish line.”
Shawn still races in then ATV pro class, and he recently returned from Montreal in hopes to add to his podium finishes in his next challenge — UTVs. Shawn is the current UTV points leader in the TORN series. With two races left in the season, things are looking good for Shawn’s newest adventure.
Along with Hot Cams, Hot Rods, Pivot Works, Cylinder Works, Vertex Pistons, Shawn would like to thank his fiancé, Meghan, and his parents. He’d also like to thank Hess Motorsports, Elka, Houser, Hiper, Maxxis, Fasst, Powermadd, Maier, Quadtech, RPM, Blingstar, FMF, UNI, CV4, Tire Balls, Streamline, Hinson, Maxima, ProFilter, Decal Works, Answer and Tsubaki Chains.
“Without my family and sponsors, none of this would be possible,” said Rider of the Month Shawn Hess.
Photo Credit: Harlen Foley