You likely won’t find a harder working group of people at a MotoAmerica event than the Dunlop tire fitters. Michael Sneed gets down to business. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.

Next time you’re strolling through the MotoAmerica paddock, make sure to stop by the black-and-yellow Dunlop truck, and watch what happens under the canopy. It doesn’t matter what time of the day you visit, and it matters not whether it’s pouring rain or blazingly hot, the pace of work will always be the same: wide open. Michael Sneed is one of the Dunlop tire fitters mounting tires as quickly as possible while also making sure an important job is done correctly.

What was your introduction to the motorcycle world?

My introduction to the motorcycle world began at a young age, around 10 years old, when my uncle gifted me and my brothers a dirt bike. From that moment on, I was hooked. Riding those dirt bikes, and the feeling of thrill it gave me, ignited a lifelong passion for two wheels.

What led to you working in the MotoAmerica paddock?

It was a combination of curiosity, conversation, and seizing opportunities. I had a friend, Steven Daughhetee, whom I worked with in the CMRA (Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association), and he happened to work as a tire fitter for MotoAmerica, specifically with Dunlop. During our conversations, Steven shared his experiences of working at MotoAmerica events, fitting tires and being part of the action. Hearing about his role and the excitement of being involved in professional motorcycle racing piqued my interest.

Having attended a MotoAmerica round as a spectator before, I knew I wanted to be more than just a spectator. So, I started asking Steven questions about what it takes to work with Dunlop at a MotoAmerica event. Through those conversations and Steven’s guidance, I gained insights into the requirements and steps needed to become involved. With determination and a desire to be part of the MotoAmerica world, I took the initiative to pursue opportunities to work with Dunlop at MotoAmerica rounds.

And that’s how I found my way into the MotoAmerica paddock – through the guidance of a friend, fueled by curiosity, and driven by a passion for motorcycles and racing.

What part of the job do you enjoy the most?

What I enjoy most about my job in the MotoAmerica paddock is the electrifying atmosphere and the sense of camaraderie among everyone involved. Being surrounded by passionate individuals who share the same love for motorcycles and racing creates an incredible energy that is truly infectious.

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of being up close to the action, witnessing the speed and skill of the riders as they push themselves and their bikes to the limit. Whether it’s the adrenaline rush of pit stops, the strategic planning behind the scenes, or the exhilaration of seeing the results on the track, every aspect of the job is filled with excitement.

Moreover, working with Dunlop and being directly involved in the performance and handling of the bikes adds another layer of satisfaction. Knowing that my contribution helps ensure the safety and performance of the riders is incredibly rewarding.

Overall, what I enjoy most is being part of a community that shares a passion for motorcycles and racing and having the opportunity to contribute to the success of the teams and riders in the MotoAmerica series.

What part of the job is the most difficult?

The most challenging aspect of my job in the MotoAmerica paddock is undoubtedly the pressure and fast-paced nature of the environment. With the high stakes involved in professional motorcycle racing, every decision and action carries significant weight, and there’s little room for error.

Balancing the demands of fitting tires efficiently while ensuring precision and accuracy can be quite demanding, especially during intense race weekends where time is of the essence. The unpredictable nature of racing, including sudden changes in weather conditions or unexpected mechanical issues, adds another layer of complexity to the job.

Additionally, working long hours in sometimes harsh conditions, such as extreme heat or inclement weather, can take its toll both physically and mentally. It requires resilience, adaptability, and a strong work ethic to perform consistently at the highest level amidst these challenges.

Despite the difficulties, the satisfaction of overcoming obstacles and contributing to the success of the teams and riders ultimately makes it all worthwhile.

What do you like to do when you’re not at the racetrack?

When I’m not at the racetrack, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. Family is incredibly important to me, and I cherish every moment I get to share with them. I have two amazing children who bring so much joy and fulfillment to my life.

My daughter Brianna is embarking on an exciting journey as she starts vet school, and I couldn’t be prouder of her dedication and passion for her studies. Supporting her as she pursues her dreams is a top priority for me, and I always look forward to hearing about her latest achievements and experiences.

Meanwhile, my son Aiden has followed in my footsteps and has become a motorcycle enthusiast. Watching him pursue his passion for motorcycle racing fills me with pride and excitement. Whether he’s out on the track or we’re discussing race strategies together, sharing this passion for motorcycles and racing with him is truly special.

Overall, family remains the cornerstone of my life, and I cherish the moments we share together, both at home and at the racetrack.

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