Enduro Stars Trust Him: Ahmet “Giovanni” Aktas
From the very first year of Red Bull Sea to Sky, riders have been constantly visiting a secret hero. His name is: Ahmet “Giovanni” Aktaş. Giovanni provides technical support to riders during the event and there is always a long line of Enduro stars at his door. Almost every rider here needs his support somehow. We visited himat his place and asked him where his nickname “Giovanni” comes from and why all riders prefer him and how he started his job.
First of all, let’s start with your nickname Giovanni. Where is it come from?
I started working in this field in 1996 and one day I had Italian customers one day. They said there was a famous TV show and there was a guy named Giovanni and he was a thief. They thought I looked like him. They laughed and told me not to steal their belongings like Giovanni does while they were leaving their belongings to me. It was the day that I got my nickname as Giovanni. Everybody calls me Giovanni instead of my real name Ahmet.
Could you please tell your story from the beginning? Why are you so popular among Enduro riders? Why are the best endure riders form long lines at your door by the time they come to Antalya?
When riders come here for Red Bull Sea to Sky, they are not able to bring everything here even though they got factory support. I provided service to the most famous rider in Enduro world, Graham Jarvis. His first day was not good but then he had good race and congratulate me for my service. I also provided service to Jarvis once again. Afterwards riders coming from all over the world began to visit me.
I can be responsible from five or six motorcycle during the race and they come straight to me even they only have a screw missing. We help them the most because we know what we have a good command of what we are doing and know a lot of people around. I went to Erzbergrodeo and Red Bull Romaniacs with riders from Turkey as well. I watched the races there. I worked with other mechanics and gained experience.
You said you could be responsible from five or six motorcycles at the same time. Is there a chaos? For an instance when a couple of riders come to you at once, is someone come forward and demand you to fix his problem first?
No, there are no such incidents. We provide service only to the ones we know before and have contacts. But we provice service to the ones who have an emergency during the race as well, of course. Because we are from Kemer. We feel like this race is our race and we consider the riders as our guests. Therefore, we never turn down anyone comes to our place. Yok, öyle pek olay olmuyor.
How did you start repairing motorcycles?
I used to stay in my uncle’s house. He had an automobile repair shop. I went to work with him when I was 6 years old. And then I worked at a bicycle repair shop. Eventually I started working as motorcycle mechanic. I worked there for 3 years before I started working for large companies.
I met real motorcycles there. We were going to almost all Enduro races and helping them with technical issues. That’s how we started and people started to know our names, frankly. Nowadays everybody thinks “Giovanni can fix everything” when it comes to motorcycles. I went to Austria once. I met Graham Jarvis’ mechanic. He introduced me to everyone as “King of the Red Bull Sea to Sky”. Such things make me happy for sure. They brought a motorcycle yesterday. It broke down during Enduro tour. They couldn’t provide service here. I saw that its started motor was broken. I took a piece of a motorcycle which belongs to someone competes as an amateur and used the piece on the rider’s motor and we solved the problem. The rider and his friends became so happy. They would tell my story better than I do actually.
Do you ride a motorcycle?
Yes, I ride a scooter. I ride motorcycles in here only for testing. You have to be in a good shape to be able ride these motorcycles and I don’t. That’s why only repair them. I also go to local events hosted by TMS as a technical control specialist.
So you are saying that you watch all the races, fix motorcycles’ technical problems but you would never stop riding scooter?
Yes, it is the only thing I can never give up on. It is very practical. I can use it for all I do. I am happy with my scooter I mean (Laughs). I have a memory related with it. Riders were practicing one day during Red Bull Sea to Sky once again. Photographers from Red Bull took a picture. I was riding my scooter in the front and then Graham Jarvis and other riders were riding their motorcycles behind me in the picture. It was really interesting.