Thursday, August 24, 2017

Off the Track...Zach Eller

When the gate drops the entire race is put into the hands of the rider. No excuses, no second chances. There becomes only one form of communication. Whether it be a 20 minute Main Event or a 30 plus 2  moto, a rider only gets a quick glance at any encouragement, motivation or strategy. A rider forms a special bond with their mechanic who becomes their lifeline to anything outside of the tunnel vision it takes to perform at the professional level.

A kid growing up in Washington, New Jersey who raced quads until the age of 18 doesn't really seem like your typical moto fanatic. A love of the sport at the highest level meant Zach Eller may have to do whatever it took to be involved, even if he wouldn't be the one piloting the machine. "I figured I wouldn't be able to race on that level, so why not work on the bikes at that level." Eller would turn to the life of a professional mechanic in 2015 after always being his friends go to wrench for everything from cars to moto. 

Photo: Kyle Pesci

You'll find Zach under the MicroBilt / PRBC / Yoshimura / Suzuki rig, turning the wrenches for Ronnie Stewart. The two have formed a bond and a trust. They've had their lows but have shared many highs, including earning national numbers and a first career 450 Supercross Main Event. A feat that Eller considers a career highlight in his book.

The hectic schedule means less time to personally swing a leg over the bike however, Zach still has his 2014 Yamaha YZ250 two stroke. You won't see him twisting the throttle though, the 62 machine is equipped with a thumb throttle. It all started during his first attempt at two wheels. The lifelong ATV rider would grab to much and find out the real meaning of whiskey throttle and be sidelined with a broken collarbone. "I said screw this, I'm putting a thumb throttle on. Everyone loves the thumb throttle!"

Photo provided by Zach Eller

The now 22 year old has had another season of what dreams are made of. Supercross main events, 450 outdoor top 20's and traveling the country. Along with Nathan McNair, Zach also gets the rig from round to round. No real place to call home although he does plan on buying a camper and moving to Florida for the off season. Zach has been able to familiarize himself with The Sunshine State as Ronnie trains at the El Chupacabra Ranch of Blake Baggett. "They welcomed us with open arms." It's been a program beneficial to not just Ronnie. Having Blakes mechanic Nate around has been a great learning experience for Eller as well. 

Eller has also been treated to a season of things only a mechanic would say they look forward to. He claims there's nothing better than building a bike from scratch after a muddy outdoor race. He's had his share of rain this season! The season will also wrap up at his personal favorite track, Ironman in Indiana. 

A down to earth guy who really loves coffee and dirt bikes is Zach Eller. When you're at the races, stop by the rig and say hello. I continually learn that these mechanics are some of the nicest guys around. They've also got a lot on their plate and are for sure overlooked in the pits. Zach is one of the best but you can still make fun of his thumb throttle.

Follow Zach on Instagram: @zacheller62

-Kyle Pesci 

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