Ohio’s Jeff Eckman moves on to world event in Japan
Jeff Eckman of Yamaha-Honda East in Maumee, Ohio, won the 2013 U.S. Technician Grand Prix and will represent the United States at Yamaha’s 2014 World Technician Grand Prix, a head-to-head competition of international Yamaha-trained technicians to be held next year at Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. world headquarters in Iwata, Japan.
Eckman and five other Yamaha Technical Academy Gold Level Training graduates earned invitations to this year’s U.S. competition by finishing tops among the 160 dealership technicians who received YTA Gold Level Training in the past year.
Finishing second and third, respectively, were David Speeks of Houston Motorsports and Matt Russell of Wild West Motorsports in Greeley, Colo. The remaining three contestants were Tony Rice of Coleman Powersports in Falls Church, Va., Jeremiah Thibeau of Davis Service Center in Montrose, Colo., and Travers Wise from Grand Mesa Motorsports in Delta, Colo.
“Yamaha is extremely proud of how well each 2013 USTGP contestant performed under extreme pressure and the watchful eyes of our expert judges,” said Frank Pittman, general manager of Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A.’s Customer Support Group. “Their years of Yamaha training provided the solid footing needed to quickly diagnose and address the competition’s technical challenges. Their participation live at the dealer meeting also prepares them to handle every day customer issues, which is the most important test of all.”
The 2013 USTGP took place during Yamaha’s 2014 National Motorsports Dealer Meeting in June in Las Vegas. Yamaha created a complete dealership workshop on the show floor, and each contestant had one hour to complete each individual test.
The six tests included Service Reception using a 2014 Bolt from Star Motorcycles, Routine Service with a 2013 YZF-R6, Head Gasket Replacement with a 2013 YZ450F, No Start with a 2013 Super Ténéré, Hard Steering using a 2013 Grizzly 450 and Electrical Troubleshooting on a 2013 Star Raider SCL.
Next stop, Japan
Eckman has roughly a year to prepare for the 2014 WTGP where he will face international technicians who also are the best in their respective markets. But he has two WTGP veterans to call on for advice. Mark Sagers from South Valley Motorsports in Draper, Utah, and Eric Romanowicz from Mondus Motorsports in Hudson, Wis., finished second and third overall in the 2012 WTGP and served as judges in Las Vegas.
Today, there are more than 30,000 YTA-trained technicians worldwide.