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#32 TJ Jackson

Mesa, AZ

1929 Scott Flying Squirrel

I started riding motorcycles when I was 16 in strict violation of my parents rules who forbade me to be
near one. In 1976 when I was 21 and attending engineering college at Arizona State University I took a
summer job in a local Mom and Pop Kawasaki dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona (Kactus Kawasaki) and
never looked back. I dropped out of college (maybe not the smartest thing I ever did)I worked there
several years and became service manager, then moving on to work at a Honda Dealership as a line
In 1981 I opened my own motorcycle service shop EastSide Performance Motorcycles in Tempe
Arizona. We serviced primarily Japanese superbikes of the era and the shop was full of KZ, CB and GS
four cylinder bikes getting performance upgrades. At the same time I became quite involved in
motorcycle drag racing which complimented the shop service image.
In 1988 I achieved a US National #1 plate in Pro-Gas in the Dragbike USA series and then went on to
race Pro Mod bikes in to the 1990’s. When I stopped racing in 1993 my naturally aspirated air cooled
Kawasakis were running mid seven second quarter mile times with near 180 mph trap speeds. Yee-Hah!
Family life (two great children) replaced drag racing and for several years I was not involved in
competition. The shop moved to Mesa Arizona and in the mid 1990’s I became involved with some of
my clients who participated in the annual Brute Horsepower Shootout during bike week in Daytona
Beach. They were avid Harley fanatics so I began to build high output Harley street bikes for those
clients which turned my shop into a high performance Harley shop. Our specialty was Turbo/Nitrous V-
Twin engines and we built several street legal 275 plus horsepower bikes that were perennial winners.
The economic downturn in 2008 shut down a great deal of the hot rod work so I returned to my roots
working on older street bikes simply because I had been doing it since the seventies. Dealerships
shunned older machines so EastSide Performance became the “go to” shop for many local vintage
riders. Along the way I had acquired several vintage bikes such as a Brough Superior, Ariel Four, Indian
Four and many others. Soon the shop was full of dinosaur motorcycles.
In 2014 my wife and I sold the business to pursue other interests. One of those interests was the
Motorcycle Cannonball of which both my wife Pam and I are tickled to be a part of in 2020. Pam will be
driving the support truck and taking care of logistics while I concentrate on the riding and wrenching. I
continue to restore motorcycles both for myself and private clients.