Racer 450 set down with Wayne Hinson after the race at Red Bud. Wayne is currently heading up Team Suzuki’s recording setting team but his history of involvement with ATV racing goes way beyond what you see. Wayne has been around since the beginning of this sport and it’s probably safe to say that 99% of the pro field is using one of his clutch baskets.
To start things off Wayne, just give us a brief history of why people see the Hinson name on so many things.
We started off in 1987 helping Gary Denton. It was a part time deal and then in 88’ we started helping more. In 89’ we became a full time sponsor for Gary and then we had clutch problems so we started building special clutches just for him. We started making the clutch baskets for sale in 1992. It was just a hobby and it went from there.
Did motorcycle teams start using the clutch baskets at that time?
We our first baskets for motorcycles in 93’ for a guy in Europe to raise 125cc go-carts but he never bought any. Bill Savera (Bill’s Pipes) called me up and he said I understand you’ve got clutch baskets and I want Mike (Metzger) to try your baskets. He put them in there and he was working with Steve Lamson and Team Honda, so he put them in there and Lamson was riding them. Then, Cliff White at Honda called me and said “these baskets are really neat” can you make these for Jeremy McGrath? I said “heck yeah”. The motorcycle thing took off from there.
It took two years for Honda to started using them. They took it to Japan for testing and played with them. At the time it was the first American Made aftermarket part used by Team Honda.
Now back to ATVs…
I worked with Gary from 87’ to 95’ when he retired. Then Darren Naccarato brought this guy out of retirement (Doug Gust walks in).
The factory involvement has been really good. All my kids are working in the business. My oldest boy takes care of the marketing and my youngest boy is doing all the buying and rider support. My wife works there, her mother works there.
Have the baskets changed much since the beginning?
They’ve changed some – the oiling and things like that, to be easier on the clutch plates. They are hard parts (clutch plates), we can’t save them but we can reduce the heat that they make. It makes everything last longer.
How about the side case mods?
I started doing that in 88’. We were at a TT race and lost a clutch. We almost didn’t make the race because we were changing a clutch. When we got home we made a clutch cover. We didn’t make for sale until about 91’. We never got real series about that business.
How about the new Hinson Oil?
The oil came about last year. We’ve been working on it for a couple years. In the oil business, there are a lot of really, really good oils. The synthetic oils are terrific oils. Our oil takes away some of the heat. In a wet clutch, synthetic oil can make the clutch slip. When the clutch slips it puts all kinds of crap in your oil. Then that oil goes through your hole engine. Then you don’t have the best oil anymore. Our clutch oil will reduce the amount of contaminants that get in your oil.
Do you plan on going any further in the oil department?
Not really, this oil just complimented our line. We’re not trying to compete with companies like Maxima.
Do you make the oil in house?
Yes, everything but akidizing is done in house.
/ It looks like we’ve run out of time Wayne. Maybe next time we can talk about the team. (laughs) /
Wayne’s interview was taking place just after the race at Red Bud. About the middle of the interview it started raining and the team franticly began loading anything and everything in Suzuki’s trackside rig. Since our interview Wayne’s team (Suzuki) has won the ATVA Motocross Championship. We would like to congratulate Wayne, the Suzuki Team and Doug Gust. We’ll see if we can’t get another interview soon under some better weather conditions.