Posts Tagged ‘Dungey’
An iconic relationship in the motocross world ended recently. James Stewart is no longer a Fox Sponsored rider, and will be wearing Answer gear, Aplinestars Boots, and Bell Helmets for the near future.
The recent end to their relationship took the motocross industry by surprise, as they had been together since Stewart's PW50 days. The break up is even more surpising considering the fact that the match was almost perfect. Both were fresh, edgy, hip and cool. Fox made flashy gear to match James' flashy riding style. Fox had been a long-term sponsor of the previous king of motocross, Ricky Carmichael, so it was only logical for them to sponsor the next big thing.
Despite the perfectness in their prior relationship, it is over. Stewart has moved on from his Fox Racing days and is ready to approach the 2009 season in his new kit. But what is the true story behind the end to this classic pair?
Pete Fox Talks Out
-Photo by Paul Buckley.
President and CEO of Fox Racing, Pete Fox recently talked with MXA regarding Stewart, and revealed a number of interesting facts.
It turns out that the truth behind Stewart's leaving was his desire for a Supercross only contract. Fox is dedicated to the sport as a whole, and clearly does not approve of the Supercross only craze. Stewart, along with his move to the San Manuel Yamaha team, decided to make a monumental decision in not riding the Motocross series. Whether this decision was fueled by laziness, money, or just personal desire, I believe that it is the wrong decision. Clearly, Fox Racing agrees with me on this issue, and feels strongly enough to let James Stewart and possible hundreds of thousands of dollars slip from their grasp.
Since our beginning, Fox has been totally committed to motocross and Supercross. We feel strongly that our sport and Industry need both series to be healthy, and Fox will always support both series. That is where Fox's priorities and path recently separated from James. We wish James luck with his Supercross career. Fox remains committed to the entire sport of both Supercross and motocross.
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.