After years of standing trackside and traveling the highways around this country one of the worlds’ most respected mechanics and crew chiefs has been at the top and stayed at the top. Mark Baldwin has seen fads and racers come and go while he has held on through hard times and good times and helped a special few of the racers that will become legends in the history of this sport. We’ve come to know Mark over the past couple years while watching him perform miracles in the dust filled pits of the nationals and recently visited his shop on a trip through Ohio.
Many of you know mark via Tim Farr. What many people don’t know is just how many of the top racers Mark helps out either by building their engines, maintaining or building their suspension or just offering his knowledge of the industry. Mark’s shop, Baldwin Motorsports houses several employees, tons of parts and a miniature PEP suspension factory. In fact, Mark’s shop builds most of the PEP shocks on this side of the country. We talked with Mark about racing, building ATVs and the just of our sport.
Let’s get on with the interview:
R450: Everyone knows the story about you and Tim so let’s talk about how you got started, both with the shop and with Tim.
Mark: Ok, Tim and I got started in 1988; I helped his brother prior to that. I raced three wheelers in the early 80s up until about 87 when the four wheelers came out. I started helping his brother until he got hurt. Tim had an old 250X, I helped put it together for him in 1988 and we went out and tied for the championship in the 4 stroke pro-am class and ended up getting second because the person we tied with had been to more races that year and that’s how they determined it. Then in 89’ we went back in the same class and won. In 90’ started competing in the pro class. In the first year he was 7th and then he was in the top 5 from pretty much then on. In 95’ he won his first pro championship.
I was in college working on a mechanical engineering degree at the time. Wayne from PEP and Tom from Pro Design told me that I was lucky to have Tim and a lot of people would pay big money to have someone like him riding for them. About a week into school, about a year away from my degree, I realized I needed to make a change. I quit school and started my business in 95 and my dad and I put a little addition on his garage and just started from there. It’s been very successful.
R450: So how did you get hooked up with Wayne?
Mark: Gosh, I forget what year. We had actually been running Ohlin shocks on Tim’s bike in the early 90’s and we had been having some problems. Everybody said “you’ve got to go see Wayne”. So I went up to him at Loretta Lynn’s and introduced myself and he let us take an extra set of shocks he had for a sponsored rider and he said here try these. I just had a real interest in suspension work started servicing my own stuff and our relationship grew from there. Now we build a lot of the PEP shocks out there.