Interviews 25 Jul 2017

Industry Insight: Thor MX’s Josh Shorter

Thor MX global brand manager talks 2018 and more in Australian visit.

As global brand manager for Thor MX, Josh Shorter’s role within the company spans wide and covers multiple aspects of the extensive process in creating and marketing high-end motocross gear. Making his way from the Thor base in San Diego to Melbourne recently for the unveiling of the upcoming 2018 range, took the opportunity to chat with Shorter to touch on a range of topics including his role, what we can expect to see from Thor MX in the future and more.

Image: Adam Spence (Foremost Media).

Josh, it’s awesome to have you out to here in Melbourne to reveal the 2018 Thor MX range. Can you give us a bit of background on your role and the company and what we can expect to see rolling our for the brand’s 50th anniversary in 2018?

I’m the global brand manager for Thor MX and I’m based out of San Diego, California, the home of Thor. We’re coming up on our 50th anniversary in 2018, we’re the oldest standing gear brand around and it’s a pleasure, it’s great. On the day-to-day I’m working between the design staff, the product staff, the marketing staff, events, riders, there’s so much that goes into this brand and the exciting part is what we’re here talking about tonight. We’re talking about 2018, the product that’s coming along and all of the hard work that our crew has put in into it and introducing that globally. We’re making sure we time it right, making sure everyone’s on board, every body is aware and gets these previews, these sneak peeks and these opportunities to get ahead of it. There’s so much good stuff coming down the pipe and there’s so much that we can’t even show here yet as it’s not officially our birthday yet. So coming at the turn of the year, look for a bit more exciting stuff from Thor, absolutely.

Thor MX as a brand has really been pushing in recent years and we’re starting to see a very comprehensive line of race-wear from the entry-level all the way to the top with the addition of elite products such as Prime Fit, for example. But with all of this is it still a case of continuing to push the limits?

That is a great question, and as you pointed out, the line is thorough. We definitely cover things from top to bottom, from the performance end to the budget conscious and entry-level price points. That Prime Fit, as you mentioned, absolutely crushes it for us and the people that get into Prime Fit tend to not venture back out to anything because they really fall in love with it. But to answer your question more specifically, there’s always room to grow and always room to push, and we really challenge ourselves internally. Whenever the design crew or the development team come up with a banger, a total home run, we all stop for a second and say ask how much better could it be, how much further could we go? That’s what’s really exciting about this time at Thor. We’ve been doing wonderful for all of these years and it ebbs and flows, the business changes and the demands change with the customers, which we’ve been addressing with the new Sector line. The customers want this price point product and we’re going to make it the best we can and get the customers into it. However, going upward through the range and into everything we want to offer at the elite level – the sky’s the limit. That’s what we challenge ourselves with and it’s exciting as heck to be in that building at that time.

Source: Supplied.

In order to push the limits at an elite level you need top-tier racers in your product. With riders such as Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin in the US, Clement Desalle in Europe and the likes of Kade Mosig and MX2 series leader Wilson Todd here in Australia, how important is it for Thor to be right up there at the front of the field globally?

That’s a really good point, because Thor is a global brand and we need to be represented in all forms of racing from grass roots all the way through to US motocross and supercross, MXGP and obviously the Australian contingent is huge. We’ve got a huge fan base and a tonne of riders here, so having that international showing is extremely important to us, absolutely. Having those guys that can win and perform at those top levels is paramount. Having that proof out there week-in-week out is top notch, an absolute must-do.

Finally, making the trip out here to showcase the 2018 Thor range with GAS Imports is a substantial trip for someone like yourself and it’s something we’re pumped to see here in Australia. So for you, how important is the Australian market for a brand like Thor?

Australia is a huge market for us and it has been for many years. What I think is so cool, and something personally I’ve always identified with is the fact that Australia and the US kind of go hand-in-hand in a lot of ways culturally. It’s that cultural significance and the importance placed on riders and their passion for the sport, racers and what have you – so it was a big deal for me to come here. GAS Imports, these guys have been tremendous supporters for us since the 90s and they don’t just go and sell the brand into the market. They support all of these athletes as we’ve seen here tonight, they support the series, they really push it hard for Thor and we can’t get better partners than that. There’s no way to go better than that and so it’s uber-important for us to be here and to talk it out, meet with everybody and to show our dedication to our partners like GAS.