Video: Behind The Bike - John Hall, YT Mob Mechanic

May 15, 2018
by The YT Mob  


John Hall is the meticulous mechanic ensuring Aaron Gwin’s bike is set up for yet another unstoppable season. The man from The Black Hills of South Dakota has been winning races alongside Gwin since Pietermaritzburg in 2014, so his ability to wrench for the best is carved into rock. He spent four years in the United States Marine Corp as a Humvee mechanic with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines. He completed one combat tour to Fallujah, Iraq maintaining convoy vehicles and serving as a machine gunner on the same convoys in his down time. His next deployment sent him to numerous countries around the South Pacific training with foreign militaries. His experience in the military certainly prepared him to handle stressful situations with the calmness needed to get the job done efficiently and correctly. It was while he was stationed in California that he found his love for The Golden State and decided to take up roots in Temecula.


It’s not easy to get to the top, and Hall is certainly a testament to that. Life after the military started off working a concrete job for minimum wage and then by grafting non-stop in a low-key repair shop and eventually a high-end bike shop. His diligence and work ethic didn’t go unnoticed and eventually he was offered work at a few races, mostly for free or his own hotel room. However, he kept on doing his thing and eventually networked his way with grit and determination into the Aaron Gwin pit:

bigquotesOn one hand everything did work out for me and I did get lucky, but on the other hand, I put myself in every position I possibly could for me to get lucky, looking back, everything I did just lined me up perfectly.


Hall has now provided the sturdy framework for 11 of Gwin’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup wins, so it's safe to say he and his compatriot have formed a close bond:

bigquotesThe longer I do it the more appreciative I become to wrench for a rider like Aaron.


The son of a rodeo professional, Hall knows what it means to follow a dream. Much like him, his father would spend long spells of time away from home doing what he loved chasing the rodeo circuit. Excellence at a high level obviously runs in Hall’s veins and his dad was no amateur, making it to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) twice in his career. When it comes down to it keeping his rider safe on a beautifully running YT Tues CF Pro Race - Mob Edition, Hall is in his element. The actual winning is up to Gwin, but we all know the talent that guy has on a bike.


Being a World Cup mechanic is tough work for sure, but Hall has never struggled in that department, as he revealed:

bigquotesThere is no secret, I just try to outwork people. I work a bit harder, a little bit longer, pay more attention to detail, and that in the end eventually just hopefully looks like success.

Video: Knowmad Development
Photos: Isac Paddock
Words: Robert Gill


74 Comments

  • + 101
 Didn't know about his service in the military! RESPECT!!! and THANKS, John!!!
  • + 41
 He looks like Dan Bilzerian... the difference between them is that John is not a dick
  • + 5
 ^^This^^ Thank you John!!!
  • + 4
 Respect for having to work a shitty job at minimum wage after military ... Guess that's a way if saying thanks for risking your life serving your country.
  • + 7
 no doubt...the unsung hero finally has a song.
  • + 0
 @RedBurn: Bilzerians cats the real stars.
  • + 5
 @Burnhardx: Don’t know why you get downvoted for this ... the way veterans are treated after serving seems to be a touchy subject.
  • + 5
 Great article. I didn't really have an opinion about him before, but now I know his history I think he's a boss. Respect to any man who fights overseas to protect our way of life. You deserve a solid job back home, yo.
  • + 52
 Great vid for anyone who's entitled and likes to belly-ache about their current situation. This guy paid his dues, always showed up and busted his ass (sometimes for free!) to get where he is.

It takes serious commitment to "be in the right place at the right time" and get the dream gig!
  • + 4
 Sounds like him and gwin are like soul mates or something like birds of a feather flocking like peas in a pod
  • + 23
 Semper fi Brother! You’re an inspiration to us all! It’s nice to see hard work paying off.
  • + 21
 John, thank you for your service to our country. Mad respect, bro! Keep it wrenching.
  • + 18
 "I work a bit harder, a little bit longer, pay more attention to detail, and that in the end eventually just hopefully looks like success."
Top quote , it's a pity more people don't have this ethic.
  • + 3
 I wonder if he dares to walk into the pits and say this to the other mechanics.

"Hi there, I'm John Hall. I work harder and longer than you do and I do my job better. Cheers."
  • + 3
 @vinay: I dont think thats what hes conveying. But trust me John is the baddest mech in the game. Any team would be lucky to have him.
  • + 2
 @atrokz: Yeah I don't question John is a great mechanic. I'd just say so are others who wrench at top level. Greg had a crash when practicing for the WC finals last season, which made his bike unrideable. His mechanic had a fresh bike waiting for him when he came back down. Now, that was impressive too. Better than all the others? I'm not going to say that. He just did a great job. And I trust so does John.
  • + 1
 @vinay: a lot are very good. Im partial though..... I have my reasons. Go Mob!
  • + 1
 @atrokz: Alright, I get that. John deserves all respect for his hard work.
  • + 10
 Gerat Vid! I think what stuck out most to me in such a short clip is his point/s about his work ethic. It is easy to watch riders and supporting folks as they celebrate in the limelight but there isn't a big push to show the process of getting there. It could have been his natural personality or what he was taught while in the service but positioning yourself on a constant basis to reach whatever goal you have....is critical. I served as well and while the military lays out a plan for you per say, it is up to each and everyone to make the most of it. If you want to get to a specific location/job/etc.....don't wait until the wind blows you in that direction...make the right moves and strategically insert yourself when/where needed. Hats off to this guy and his team! Winning and results are what most hang their hats on but for me, appreciating the process and the purposeful moves to get there is something of more interest.
  • + 3
 Exactly. To a degree, you are the architect of your own success.
  • + 1
 Not to downplay any of the above, but I didn't get the idea he had a specific goal in mind when he got out of the Corps. He may not have been hoping to wrench for a top tier DH team, but positive thinking and strong work ethic led him to a form of success.

There is always a bit of chance in a story. Had he been stationed somewhere else other than Camp Pendleton or had he moved back to SD after his service, I doubt he would have bumped into Houseman or Carter. Nevertheless, I believe his strong work ethic would have led to him success of a different form, (e.g. owning his own badass bike shop in SD, etc).

Yes, if you want a specific goal, you must pursue it relentlessly and be willing to work harder than everyone else who may want that coveted job, but also remaining positive and working hard at whatever you have in front of you, I believe, can also lead to some success no matter what.
  • + 2
 As much as I don't think pinkbike would appreciate the link, this was a great interview. John definitely being a bit modest though. sounded like he just got lucky over and over again but we all know if you can work for a detail oriented rider like Gwin you gotta be a hell of a mechanic.
  • + 1
 @Tinga: I've known John since he was 13. This man works his ass off and deserves the fruits of his labor. He's been busting his ass since jump. Do work John boy!!
  • + 8
 Love articles like this one. A bit behind the scenes. I knew John was a solid guy. However, this puts a great light on him and further nod to his skills and partnership with Gwin
  • + 9
 Semper Fi John! I did not know that...perhaps you may have given me a lift out at 29 palms during a CAX. Mad respect from this 0331!
  • + 10
 Shoot I WISH i got to give rides at CAX. Not in 3/5 man, everyone got the shaft there haha. Put my time in at range 400 along with everyone else haha. Guns up!
  • + 2
 @johnboy33: I listened to your podcast on VitalMtb. Great stuff.. but stop lying..

You guys gonna debut the 29" Tues at Ft. William?

P"
  • + 1
 You know what's up. @misledyouth21:
  • + 7
 The son of a traveling rodeo star from South Dakota, Keeping marines safe by keeping the Humvee's running to keeping the no.1 downhiller on the planet safe by fixing his bike. Now that right there is an American hero.
  • + 2
 Fuck yeah
  • + 7
 Pretty cool story. He's always struck me as being a bit serious but with his past in the military it makes sense. Good luck to the YT team!
  • - 38
flag fecalmaster (May 16, 2018 at 7:20) (Below Threshold)
 Get a room
  • - 12
flag CaliCol (May 16, 2018 at 8:09) (Below Threshold)
 So all of us prior service blokes are a bit serious?
  • - 7
flag mtemp (May 16, 2018 at 8:49) (Below Threshold)
 @CaliCol: ease up mate, he's canadian, they don't really have a military and their cops ride mules and they belong to the Queen of England.
  • + 6
 @mtemp: Really? Gotta perpetuate the 'd-bag' American stereotype? Canada is rad. Most folks there are laid back (at least in BC). Very welcoming, great MTB riding and Whistler is Meca. @Mwmg15 not all of us are a-holes
  • - 31
flag mtemp (May 16, 2018 at 9:12) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: Make America Great Again bro. Really? Gotta perpetuate the 'snowflake' apologizing for everything American millennial safespace stereotype? Dude your sociology professor is so proud of you right now!
  • - 30
flag mtemp (May 16, 2018 at 9:16) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: Also, on behalf of Muslims everywhere shouldn't you be offended by your own cultural appropriation of the word Mecca and equally offended by your misspelling it? Hope I didn't just mansplain that too much for you.
  • - 2
 @bman33: that was actually somewhat factual
  • + 7
 @mtemp: Wow, lots of keyboard courage man. Look me up if you ever come to Denver, we can ride, have a beer and you can explain 'snowflake' to me in person. That's if you ever leave your little bubble of Cali. Your parents must be proud. Oh, and I am 44. You are the the millennial category according to your profile.
  • - 18
flag mtemp (May 16, 2018 at 9:40) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: bro why so serious? lol! Also, why you telling me your ASL? This isn't Grindr.
  • + 2
 Have a good one man. I wouldn't know much about Grinder but I wish you luck on it.
  • - 18
flag mtemp (May 16, 2018 at 9:46) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: I take it back, checked out your profile... you sessy
  • + 6
 Great article & video. Any Marine has my respect! Thank you for your service.
  • + 6
 God Bless the United States Marine Corps.
  • + 5
 It’s pleasing that all shots of John Hall in this article have him standing behind the bike.
  • - 1
 except for the one next to gwin
  • - 1
 @adrennan: people like you are why we can’t have nice things Wink
  • + 1
 This guys a class act. I remember meeting him in the pits at Windham and he was carting around Gwins bike. I stopped and talked with him, and he let me bounce the suspension around and grab the brakes and what not. Answered all the questions that my buddy and I had for him, and was gracious as can be. Big ups for John Hall.
  • + 1
 Great article. Always liked his personality in the Mob vids.

But I see sandals while wrenching in pits and cringe! Must be a brave and/or tough mofo... a wrench to the toes is no fun! haha
  • + 4
 Marines eat pain and shit excellence.
  • + 2
 And hes got an AFisher like you do....
  • + 4
 Man this is my dream, to someday be wrenching in a WC pit!
  • + 2
 Yeah John boy! Making us proud my man! Thanks again for your service brother!!!!
  • + 4
 Good guy.
  • + 3
 Mad respect for this dude.
  • + 2
 I am so stoked you are a Marine!! Semper Fi, @johnboy33!!
  • + 1
 there is a secret mechanic knowledge the pros use to ride that fast, they don't hire mechanical engineers for nothing.
  • + 2
 Thanks for showcasing someone that truly deserves it! Great write up!
  • + 1
 So if John hall was a diesel mechanic, that may explain why Aaron Gwins' so damn fast on his hidden motor DIESELbike
  • + 2
 Most insane travel toolbox ever. #want
  • + 3
 Amazing video!
  • + 2
 Awesome!
  • + 0
 Love the "serving as a machine gunner in his down time" touch! Wish I could say the same about my down time...
  • + 2
 Semper Fi brother!
  • + 2
 Rah Gunny!
  • + 2
 JUANTON
  • + 1
 Cool seeing John rep the Black Hills of SoDak!
  • + 2
 Best in the Biz!
  • + 1
 What a legend...
  • + 1
 FUCK YEAH!
  • + 1
 Salute.....Respect

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