Meet Thousand Oaks Powersports! They will be joining us this year at Babes in the Dirt III. Check out what they are all a bout and why they wanted to get involved this year.
When was Thousand Oaks Powersports started?How long has it been open?
TOPS started in 1969. back then we were known only as Thousand Oaks Yamaha, after the sole line that we carried. After years of watching the industry boom, we picked up Kawasaki in 1984. In 1988, we were hand-picked to be the only KTM dealer in all of Ventura County. We have always had a strong involvement in amateur motocross, and with the additions of Kawasaki and KTM, our amateur teams rose to championships and our shop started to grow. A new chapter in our history was opened with the addition of Triumph, the legendary British marque, in 2014. In 2015 we purchased the Piaggio dealership down the street where we carry Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, and Vespa.
Who started Thousand Oaks Powersports?
It all started for the love of motorcycles, motorcycle racing and the various motorcycle lifestyles.
TOPS, previously known as Thousand Oaks Yamaha Kawasaki KTM, was founded over 30 years ago in the heart of Thousand Oaks by Jef Harriott. Jef was a professional racer and his vision was to develop a unique business fueled by his passion for racing. The business spent twenty-four years in a three thousand square foot building. It was here that Jef built tremendous customer loyalty and received national recognition for his amateur race team.
In 2006, two of Jef’s long time customers joined him as partners to expand his success and market share. These new partners brought decades of retail and business experience. The company successfully brought on more brands and expanded into a fifteen thousand square foot building that it currently occupies. During this time a customer database in the region was created and it currently has over forty thousand customers. While pursuing our goal of becoming an elite destination over the past few years, we received many awards from our brands for top performances. In 2006, Michael Thomas joined the company. Michael has been instrumental in implementing many of the initiatives that have made TOPS so successful. He serves as president and general manager today.
What services do you offer?
TOPS provides Motorcycles, Scooters, Side x Sides, ATV’s, Personal Watercraft, parts, garments, accessories and repair services to the community. We separate ourselves from competitors by paying intense personal attention to customers, and by educating customers about the products they need or desire before, during and after the sale. We offer creative programs to reward customer loyalty and provide on site repair services for the items sold. We consider our staff our partners and insist that they prosper equitably with the growth and success of the company. It is the vision of the company to offer quality products and exceptional service in a warm, family-oriented and friendly sales environment.
Tell us about some of the other events you participate in.
We love to be involved with our community, whether it's through sponsoring local motorcycle clubs, working at fairs, or raising money for charity. We support our local racers too, so no matter what level you ride at, we want to help you achieve your goals. Our commitment to amateur motocross has made our team a winning force that can proudly name alumni like Mike and Jeff Alessi, Josh Hansen, Josh and Justin Hill, Cole Seely, Andrew Short, and even former Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto. We also sponsor several amateur speedway and flat track racers. We’re excited and proud to include Babes Ride Out and Babes in the Dirt to our community.
What is the most fun part of working there?
The motorcycles and the people who love them! The catalyst that brings it all together is our staff. I work with a fun bunch of people and we all love to ride. We make it our mission to pass on that passion to our customers. We strive to be purveyors of a lifestyle instead of just another motorcycle shop.
What do you think about Motorcycle culture these days? Is riding more popular than ever in your opinion?
Motorcycle culture is more popular than ever. Each of the disciplines of motorcycling are growing as well. One great thing about social media is people are being introduced to new interests all the time. Motocross is growing. Speedway and flat track racing is making a big comeback, Adventure riding is seeing a lot of growth. There are so many schools and events popping up for different riding disciplines that are helping people become better riders and that translates to more fun. The one thing that never goes out of style is the road trip. We see more and more people coming in to speak with us about what to bring and where to go. The interesting shift is the expansion and blending of different categories. Before riders would fall into one category such as sport, touring, or cruiser. Now we’re seeing a lateral expansion of these categories and many different types of riders are blending styles.
What trends are you seeing in motorcycles and riders?
We are seeing a lot more women getting into motorcycles and we are seeing a growth in the modern classic market. We’ve carried Triumph motorcycles for a few years now and we have seen a bigger interest in the new bonnevilles and thruxtons. Again we are seeing people blend different styles of riding. motocross riders taking up street riding or touring riders getting into track riding.
Do you sell a lot of bikes to women?
We do sell a lot of bikes to women but we need more women to start riding. Being more involved with Babes Ride Out and Babes in the Dirt has given us a chance to understand the needs and desires of women riders so we can be better at providing solutions to our customers. Motorcycles don’t know gender. It’s been refreshing and inspiring to see more and more women break through the stigma that riding motorcycles is only for men. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We want to help create the independence and empowerment we’ve seen in so many women motorcycle enthusiasts. The increase in the number of women getting into riding has breathed a new passion and life into our sport.
How did you hear about Babes Ride Out?
I have a couple of friends who have attended Babes Ride Out so I started following on Instagram. I was blown away by the positivity and camaraderie surrounding the event and I realized that positivity needs to grow. That’s what inspired us to get involved in trying to grow the women’s motorcycle community any way we can.
What made you interested in participating in Babes in the Dirt?
Motocross racing is at the core of our history so off road riding is in our roots. Being a grassroots shop is how we started and even though the shop has grown in size we still believe in the grassroots of our sport. We sponsor an amateur motocross race team and have for decades and our passion is to inspire people to have fun on any kind of motorcycle. Participating in Babes in the Dirt was an easy decision for us.
What do you have in store for Babes in the dirt 3?
We will be bringing out our trackside support van to help make sure riders can keep riding all weekend. If your bike breaks down we’re going to try to get you back on track as soon as possible. We’re also going to bring decades of motorcycle knowledge so we can be a resource to help stimulate the positive vibe of this event. The basic idea of Babes in the Dirt is the same reason why our shop exists today; to turn a throttle and have some laughs with our friends!