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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was talking with a bank manager (long story) and we got into talking about motorcycles.. He said he used to live 2 doors down from Jake Zemke and his son is a sponsored motocrosser... He used to have a gsxr 750 (I've got a friend in him
)
Well, we were talking about some of my transactions and he noticed I bought some boots from motonation.. He told me I need to get sponsored. Durr, wouldant that be great.


I havent been to a track yet (dont jump to conclusions just yet).. After buying the new 600 (NOT my first bike) this year, my finaces are pretty strapped and It will be very difficult for me to afford a track day this season.
Im signed up for the free Nesba track day tho,
and I know ill love it. I plan on doing as many trackdays as I can possibly afford (might not be very many..) and hopefully get into some racing!


So my question is; whats the deal with sponsorship? I know I cant be sponsored untill im in the racing scene.. But how does it all work? Are you approached by sponsors? Do you have to market yourself? What kind of experience do you need to be considered? What benefits do you get (free/discounted trackdays, tires, gear)?


I realise that hoping to get sponsored to afford more tracktime is ass-backwards, and im not expecting it to work that way at all. But I know im going to love the track, and I know its gonna burn a hole in my wallet something fierce...
Any insight on sponsorship or how to keep trackdays/racing more affordable would be awsome!

Thanks guys
 

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Racing is a giant pyramid scheme. As an unproven racer you have to have something that sponsors want besides your interest in racing or questionable skill. In the beginning unless you already have media or industry connections, all they'll want is your money. You'll be racing for a discount which supports their racing. Bike industry sponsors are done.......they blow their wad on a few fast guys, and people in the bike industry. Making your start cheapert is important and you should build a relationship with some of the vendors in the industry but it's not the important focus. Work outside the industry. You need to take a while and think of what you have to offer. Handouts are hard to come by. There needs to be something that you can do for them whether it be media exposure, exposure of their products/services to the racing audience, or by your own connections. It has the make sense for them to help you. Large companies are tough unless you can get them on TV and the paper regularly or can get together a VERY good proposal. Small independent businesses are your bread and butter. Good luck.
 

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I should also add that service sponsors that do graphics/signs and paint for your bike (free of course or very cheap) are pure gold.
 

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well said, very well said indeed. just do your first track day and tthen you can be like the rest of us and not care if you can afford it or not, just do that shit.... and yeah, ya gotta market yourself, they will use you, they use us all. its a give and take for sure, you have to show them what you can give them
 

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more so than sponsorship you will get racer support. which is discounts on things. get your race license and then sign up with lockhart phillips team privateer. you dont have to be a front runner to get hooked up with them and you cant beat their prices on the stuff they carry unless someone else will give it to you for free.

then you have to build relationships with vendors, shops, etc.. they dont even have to be bike related. if you know how to market yourself go to local shops in your town and see if they would like to be a part of racing. you can give them photos to hang on the wall, and even offer to have a bike night where you park your race bike in front of their establishment to draw people in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the great info guys, this clears up alot for me. Im really excited about starting to ride some trackdays... But like I said, i know im going to love it, and I just dont have the money... Ive been working as a machinist for a while now, and im 3rd in command at a small CNC shop. They just gave me a raise (to 8.50... god damnit), but its still not enough. They just dont have the money. They wouldant even have had the funds to give me a raise if I wouldant have worked as hard as I am for 7.50 (even 2 weeks for FREE). I really hope the company gets somewhere, because im on the ground floor, and ill be makin a bundle if the company takes off.

Does anyone think I can use my connections in cnc machining to get some tracktime somehow?

Oh well, time to get out the cardboard and make a "will work for track time" sign... spare a little change sir?
 

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Many people start small businesses to help finance their racing. Racers are tough customers so you'll either need to be cheaper than everyone else or innovative. Bikes are a pain in the ass to manufacture for from my second had experience (luckily). It depends a lot on how good you are with programming and how much time you have at work
 

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let me just mention.

sposorship = someone who gives you something or pays for things

support = someone who gives you a discount or contengency.

im sorry to tell you its 90 percent timming and 10 percent how you present your self.

the guys at joes storage normally doesnt know the differance betwwe an lightweight class where you ride and ex500 or a superbike class where you are on a full bore race bike.

try to figure a way you can show him a return, what can you really do for him. Im sorry but its hard to promote a non motorcycle sponsor at club races. so you have to try to set up promotions around his bussiness in some way. keeping a sponsor should be your #1 goal once you get it. I dislay my bike at local bike night. thats the closest thing joes storage is going to get as far as local advertisement. you have to be creative.
 

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spectra600, ill set you up with a free nesba trackday if your up for it.. your in pa so we have available events for you. all you need to do is sign up to be a nesba member which is like 75 bucks. and then pick one of the available dates that i have listed in the general bike talk forum. its a sticky post at the top of the page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey, again thanks guys for the great info!
bmfgsxr ill shoot you a PM.
Well, seems like using my machine shop connections might be a good way to make a little bit of extra $$ that can go towards tracktime. My boss is interested in just about anything in terms of manufacturing parts.. He was talking with some guys about making rear view camera mount (for a rear view 'mirror' system).. but they never followed through. He was also thinking about making frame sliders, but I asked around at dealerships and they said they really only sell 1-2 sets a year! Otherwise they wouldave bought them (I told them we could make them CUSTOM for much less than factory sliders). He is really open to any new ideas. He keeps asking me if I found anything talking with guys in this forum!

Is there anything you guys would like to have a machine shop connection for? Is there anything that doesent exist in the motorcycle market that you would like to see? (that you wouldant mind sharing the idea for...)

I think I get the basic idea. Im going to have to really get into the racing scene before I even start to thing about sponsorship or support. But you guys have been very helpfull, and made it that much easier! For now im just going to try and find affordable ways to get my broke ass to the track. I saw another rider go down yesturday (someone i just met, its the 'Tails of squidlyness' post in the 04/05 gsxr forum), and it kindof solidified my urge to get to a track..

It would be nice to go fast and not worry about 2 tons of cellphone wielding, makup applying, radio blaring suv madness barreling towards me in the other lane!
 

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We have a couple of local machinist/racers. Arrow Machine Works makes everything, rearsets, exhaust baffles (local DB restrictions) and I'm pretty sure he's done some clip ons, custom damper mounts and fork braces. Another, Pazzo Racing makes billett levers a lot like CRG's. His money comes from street guys mostly but it's definitely enough to allow him to race. There's a guy on the WERA board that cuts rear rotors. Anyone with a programmable lazer cutter can do it......maybe with other tools as well. Motobits makes modular rearsets that are basically just a few different parts to cover every bike. Very neat product. Camera mounts are nice but a very small market and sliders are so easy that everyone makes them and competition is pretty tough. Another local guy makes rear sprockets on a CNC and gets them hard anodized. Not big money either but always a product with some demand. Case covers are a nightmare and that's why few make them.....but another possibility depending on your skill. Over The Top makes subframes and fairing stays.......and there's bodywork manufacture Flexi Glass. Take a look at what everyone else is doing around your local scene and see where you can fit in. Good luck.
 
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