When southern Scottsdale resident Ray Dal Soglio isn’t working full-time for his father’s company, A Always Open Garage Doors, he’s on his motocross bike racing all over the world.
Sometimes, he’s doing both simultaneously.
One year, while waiting to race in Mexico for the SCORE Baja 1000 race, Dal Soglio, 28, had his cell phone in hand, taking calls regarding his clients’ custom door projects back in Scottsdale.
“When I’m down for these races, I can be there for two weeks preparing for it,” he said. “I have my computer always with me, so I can be in some remote little town in Mexico, but as long they have Wi-Fi…”
His dad, Mark Dal Soglio, started the business in 2001 out of necessity. He needed a job, and he knew how to fix garage doors.
“My grandpa did garage doors for 40 years, so I always knew how to fix them,” Mark said. “Then when my mom lived in a retirement community in Mesa, it seemed like I started fixing everyone’s garage doors. So finally, I said, I’m going to start my own business.”
A Always Open Garage Doors, a family business, specializes in custom doors, emergency repairs and emergency door replacements.
Dal Soglio started working for his dad when he was 15, but motocross piqued his interest when he was 6.
“In the little plot in the driveway, he would do circles, and then I bought him a real motorcycle and it was just nonstop,” Mark said. “He always wanted to ride the thing.”
A major injury set Ray back, though. When he was 17, he fractured both of his legs, underwent two surgeries and was in a wheelchair for three months.
“It was probably almost eight months before I was back on my feet, comfortable doing things again,” Ray said.
Since then, Ray has competed in and placed in several SCORE races, including the Baja 500, Baja 1000 and the Imperial Valley 250, held on the Baja California Peninsula.
“In 2016, I finished second overall in the Baja 1000, which was my best finish for that race and is a big deal in the industry,” said Ray, who was sponsored by Honda at the time. “A documentary filmed me because I finished second overall in that one.”
Considered one of motocross’ biggest races, the off-road Baja 1000 race attracts competitors from all over the world who embark on a marathon ride for 1,000 miles and must tackle various terrains, from the beach and the mountains to open desert and forest.
“I enjoy the feeling of going fast and I can ride just about through anything,” Ray said. “With long-distance racing, really high-speed racing, you get over 100 mph down these desert stretches and it’s a rush. Out there for hours by myself, there's a whole adventure side to it.”
Due to Scottsdale’s lacking motocross community and training facilities, Ray trains in California. He’ll head out there once a month and stay for one week.
“[Scottsdale’s] not a motocross community at all, but we do have a pretty big off-road community,” he said. “We have a lot of good desert trails to ride, some of the best trails I’ve ridden in the world, but we don’t really have any good tracks to ride.”
In the last year, Ray has taken on a more challenging version of the sport: rally racing, or multi-day stage racing.
“Every day you race 200, 300, 400 miles,” Ray said. “You’ll have a camp set up, stop for camp, fix your bike and then you race multiple days.”
His goal is to race in both the Morocco Desert Challenge, the second-largest rally-raid in the world that takes place every April in Morocco, Africa, and the Dakar Rally, which Ray describes as the “Tour de France of motor sports.”
“The Morocco rally is like the step before Dakar Rally,” he said. “[Dakar Rally] is 14 days of racing… and that’s the big one that I hope to go to.”
“That one costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to participate and you need big-time sponsors to be able to go do that,” said Ray, who is currently seeking a title sponsor.
During the five-day race, competitors must navigate the race on their own.
“That’s the thing, it’s not marked,” he said. “You get a piece of paper, a scroll chart, and you have a thing on the bike that rolls the chart and that’s how you have to navigate the whole race. That’s the challenge. There’s a lot of strategy behind it.”
“That’s my favorite for him because it takes brains and skill,” Mark added.
It’s a skill that Mark instilled in his sons, Ray and his older brother, Mark, when they first started working for the family business as teens.
“I wouldn’t let them use GPS because I thought that was important that they knew how to read a map,” Mark said.
When Ray’s back in Scottsdale from his races, he’s working hard for the business, making up any hours he may have missed while he was away.
“I do everything. I go out to jobs, I install garage doors, I repair them. I help him with the business side of it,” Ray said.
While Mark said he doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon, his sons have a different plan for him.
“He doesn’t know this, but we’re going to make him retire here in a few years because we’re taking over,” Ray said. “We’ve got him not going to jobs anymore. He just answers the phone, so we’re slowly taking away from him.”
They’re even considering expanding the business to California, where Ray will oversee the second location – while also continuing to train and race.
“I can’t survive just off the racing, so we’ve talked about expanding the business, start a branch out in southern California,” Ray said. “So that’s what we're doing in 2019, looking at the logistics.”
In the meantime, you can follow Ray’s motocross journey on Instagram at @raydalsoglio.