Posts Tagged ‘amateur’
A few months ago, Suzuki announced that they were going to cut their amateur team. When the news was announced, I was extremely upset by the news and greatly felt that it would have an extremely negative impact on the future of Suzuki’s motocross program. Thankfully, Suzuki has now officially announced their 2009 amateur racing plans, and I am proud to present them to you.
Rockstar Suzuki Amateur Team
After initially announcing that their support of their amateur team would be eliminated, it appears as if Suzuki has backed off. They have announced that they will once again be funding a Rockstar Amateur team to support some of their fastest riders. Some of the riders on the team will be:
- Ian Trettel
- Justin Weeks
- Jarek Blakovic
- Jeremy Martin
To see the full list visit Vital MX.
This is an absolutely incredible move for American Suzuki to make. By planning to eliminating their amateur team, they were effectively cutting off their flow of fresh talent to their pro team and ultimately were reducing the number of pros, amateurs, and the number of general citizens riding Suzuki bikes.
By reinstating their amateur program, Suzuki has invigorated the youth perception of their brand and revitalized their potential both on the amateur, consumer and professional motocross levels.
When Suzuki announced to cut its amateur support program, there were also a plethora of rumors swirling around the internet that t
hey would be cancelling their contingency program. Surprisingly, I nearly believed them. It made sense, if they were in a dire enough situation to cut their entire amateur team, then cutting contingency was the next logical step.
Thankfully, this is not the case, at all. A few weeks ago, American Suzuki announced their contingency schedule, with hundreds of amateur races throughout the country on the list. While the full details of the program have not yet been announced, it is nice to know that they will be offering contingency in 2009 and (hopefully) beyond.
Contingency is a crucial part of any manufacturer’s marketing scheme. Contingency is important in order to get more people on your brand, ultimately maximizing your brand recognition and the effect you have on the market. Without contingency, many serious local racers would choose other brands as the idea of up to $1000 (for multiple classes) can be intriguing for many riders hit by the current economic crisis.
That being said, it is apparent that Suzuki has cut down their contingency program for 2009. For this, I 100% forgive them. If this is something which needs to be cut in order for Suzuki to survive the recession, I definitely understand, as I would much rather see limited contingency than to see them go out of business.
In addition, it also seems as if the biggest single amateur race in America, Loretta Lynn’s is not on the contingency list. This is definitely sad to see, especially for the elite riders who have the ability to make it to Loretta’s, however, most of these riders will spend the majority of their season at other races and Suzuki’s current schedule will cover almost every amateur racer over the course of the 2009 season.
If you want to see this entire schedule, check out the PDF provided by Suzuki
It is great to see Suzuki stepping up to the plate in 2009 and retaining their amateur program. I believe that it will help thousands of kids throughout the country and help to further push the Suzuki brand in our rough economy. While taking reasonable measures to cut back the costs of running an amateur team, as a whole they are doing some great things for the sport of amateur motocross and hopefully we will not see any more manufacturers even considering cutting their amateur programs.
January 7th, 2009 • Comments Breaking Into the Mainstream, My Thoughts
Tags: advertisements, amateur, Breaking Into the Mainstream, James Stewart, John Dowd, My Thoughts, Paul Buckley, Phil Nicoletti, Supercross Motocross
In the previous post in this series, I outlined the reasons why Supercross would allow our sport the growth it needs in order to go mainstream. In this post, I will talk about whether or not Supercross is right for our sport.
Supercross is the fancier, more dramatic, and “fluffier” version of Motocross. It wasn't invented until years after motocross, and the truth is that it has become more of a show in recent years. The format is better suited to television, and it makes the industry much more money than Motocross does.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
However, regardless of money, Motocross is the sport for the hard core fans. Professional Motocross events happen on the same tracks as amateur ones, and the events resemble the same one that hardcore fans participate in week in and week out. This allows amateur riders to personally connect with Motocross riders and events which is why Motocross races are a favorite among hard core fans of the sport.
Supercross Abandons the Fans
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
Supercross abandons the fans. I'm sure some of you right now are wondering what I am talking about. I listed several reasons in Part 2 why Supercross was better for the fans. The difference, however, is that Supercross is not friendly for the hard core fans who actually ride motocross. Supercross is a great way to bring new fans to the sport, but Motocross keeps them interested in the long term.
What keeps fans interested in outdoor Motocross in the long term? As I previously mentioned, it is the connection with which the fans can make to their favorite pros which keeps them loving the outdoor Motocross Nationals. Just like any good piece of literature, Motocross fans can identify with the struggles, triumphs, tragedies and emotions felt by pros while riding on an outdoor motocross track. This deep personal connection leaves them craving more races and is what leads them to battle the elements year in and year out to watch outdoor Motocross races.
Supercross simply cannot match this connection to the fans. Sure, there are some local Supercross tracks, and amateur Arenacross events allow riders to ride almost the same tracks which are used in Supercross. But, the truth is that most riders will never ride a professional caliber Supercross track, and if they do, they will not be able to carry any type of speed and rhythm. By nature, fans simply cannot connect with Supercross as well as they do with Motocross.
Amateur Motocross is full of talented, hard working riders. Even so, every once in a while a rider comes around who is a clear standout in the large motocross community. Daniel Corbin is one of these riders. He has recently begun working with Coach Seiji and Tim Cryster in order to improve his performance in motocross. In addition, he has a steady job, a good education and looks to have a bright future ahead of him. I first heard about him on the Racer X Trainer Talk Blog. His story sounded interesting, so I caught up with him recently to bring more of his story to the Mikemartinracing.com readers, enjoy!
MikeMartinRacing.com: Tell us a little background information about yourself.
Daniel Corbin: I live in Frederick MD, on top of a mountain, to pay the bills I work for a small company called Harta Instruments building electronic devices, I like playing paintball, and above all that, motocross.
When did you start riding motocross?
I started riding when I was three on a little DS 80, and started racing when I was five.
When did you start doing the larger amateur nationals?
My first amateur national was Loretta Lynn’s when I was fifteen. It was a late start, but I guess it’s better late than never. That’s when I realized how much work it would take to accomplish my goals.
As a younger amateur, what type of support did you receive?
My parents didn’t let me become sponsored until I was almost fifteen because they didn’t want me to have a lot of pressure and think that I had to do well, and have that take all the fun out of riding. They saw a lot of my friends pick up sponsors and feel really pressured and get burned out.
As a teenager, were you homeschooled, or did you remain in public school as you worked your way up the mx ladder?
I have been homeschooled for most of my life.
Was that your choice or your parents?
It was kind of both of our decisions. I wanted to have more time to ride and they didn’t want me in the public school system. My mom was a teacher before, and a little after I was born, and she didn’t like the way the school system worked and decided that it would be better to teach us herself.
A few weeks ago, I posted about the current state of the motocross economy. In the post, I talked about how I felt the motocross economy would crumble from the bottom up. However, it appears as if I may have been incorrect in this thought.
…Suzuki has dropped their amateur program. In the current economic climate they just couldn't justify the expense of continuing with their current business model. Basically, no more free or discounted bike deals and no more factory trackside support in the fashion they were providing it. And no more factory amateur team.
Suzuki is clearly being strongly affected by the current economy situation throughout the world, and is starting to cut expenses to survive, however, I believe that they are cutting the wrong expenses.
Amateur Riders are the Backbone of the Motocross Community
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
What Suzuki is failing to realize with this move is that the amateur riders are the backbone of the motocross community, and of their motocross business as a whole. Granted, the amateur racing team only supported a small number of elite amateur racers, the results of this decision will have a ripple effect throughout the industry. There is no denying that Ryan Villopoto has greatly affected Kawasaki's popularity, even before he turned pro. Similarly, Suzuki's upcoming amateur riders, such as Eli Tolmac, Nico Izzi, and the Trettle brothers could have potentially made Suzuki “cool” again. By completely cutting out their amateur team, these riders will almost certainly be forced to another amateur team (Kawasaki's prospering Team Green program, for example), in order to continue racing at the elite level. This, in return, will bring their present and future publicity and fan base to another manufacturer.
The transition from amateur to pro is difficult for even the most talented 16 year old amateur stars. Kawasaki Team Green has managed to make this transition easier by supporting their riders throughout the transition, so they are free of worrying about what team they will ride for. This method has worked really well for Kawasaki as it provides them with a steady stream of talented incoming ri
ders and it benefits their riders by providing them with a solid ride in one of the biggest transitions of their career. Because Suzuki has canceled their amateur racing team, they will be void of this luxury, and will have an extremely difficult time convincing amateur riders to switch from a bike they know and personnel they are friends with, to a new team with a new bike and a new group of people around them. This decision by Suzuki could potentially cost them thousands of dollars, and hundreds of wins by cutting off their steady supply of fresh pro riders.