Davey Coombs is the owner of Racer X, located in Morgantown, West Virginia. Racer X Illustrated, which got its start as an underground newspaper in 1988, is now the largest and most influential magazine in motocross and off-road industry. Every month, Coombs and his cast of columnists put out the best magazine in the business, which details colorful images, in-depth race coverage, cutting edge design and the ultimate insider’s knowledge of the world of supercross and motocross.
Coombs talked with Jim Matuga, host of The Positively West Virginia Podcast, about how he got started in the business, what he is most excited about for his company and his advice to young entrepreneurs.
How did you get started in this business?
“My dad was from Booth National and my mom was from Brockway Avenue, and they both went to Morgantown High. They didn’t start dating until they started working at the Morgantown bookstore and they hit it off. My dad was sort of a jack of all trades at that point. He
painted houses. He coal mined,” Coombs said. “Primarily, he was known for playing music, but what was the life-changing moment was the introduction to a movie in 1972 called “On Any Sunday.” It was a seminal motorcycle film with Steve McQueen. It was an ode to motorcycles and he decided two days later to go to a motocross race. He started trying his hand in motorcycle racing and decided that he was a little too old at that point, but what he did have was his wife, Rita, and three little kids that could a little support staff. So he started organizing and promoting his own motorcycle races. We went along and picked up trash after the race, parked cars and flew caution flags down the race track. He transitioned everything and started opening motocross tracks.”
“The first one was in Bruceton Mills in Appalachian Lake, the second one was in Keysers Ridge, Maryland and the third was, and remains till this day, is in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania. It’s called High Point Raceway,” Coombs said. “That’s where the family aspect comes in. High Point opened in 1976 and is still going strong. It’s one of the biggest motocross racing facilities in the country. Our big race is Father’s Day weekend.”
What is something you are most excited about for your company right now?
“I mentioned that the High Point National is a couple of weeks away,” Coombs said. “Today, my 17-year-old son, Vance, and 15-year-old niece, Chloe, took a Coombs family right of passage in that my mom, Rita, loaded them up with event posters, gave them $20 in gas and sent them around Monongalia County to put up posters.”
What is one piece of advice you would give an entrepreneur?
“First, rely on your community. You can think big, think outside of the box and outside of the city limits, but there are a lot of resources for people to keep it local and to grow efficiently and manage it,” Coombs advised. “On a real and truly beneficial piece of advice to anyone under 25 years old, make sure you know what and why you are putting on your social media.”
Coombs was a guest on The Positively West Virginia podcast. Listen to his full podcast here: https://positivelywv.com/podcast/
PWV QUICK BITS
- RECOMMENDED BOOK: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
- PIECE OF ADVICE: “First, rely on your community. You can think big, think outside of the box and outside of the city limits, but there are a lot of resources for people to keep it local and to grow efficiently and manage it,” Coombs advised.
- CONTRIBUTION TO SUCCESS: “I show up ready for work and I do what I love and love what I do,” Coombs said.