You could say I’m just a motorcycle racing fan and, yes I am. Very much so. But I also have my own British Superbike news website, and to have one of those you need to know something about the sport to connect with the fans and racers.
But then I was asked about doing some PR work for a rider… I took it with both hands, not realising how hard it is. And in particular how hard it is to gain sponsorship for a motorcycle racer.
So I will take you through what it’s like for me as a fan, editor (if you like!) of Knee Down News and PR for a rider…
Experience as a fan
Heading to my local circuit, Snetterton 300 is always a pleasure. The racing is brilliant and being so close to the track in the spectator’s areas it just makes it even better!
But one thing you really don’t notice is what goes on behind the scenes of a motorcycle racer and what they have to do each year to get where they are – it is tough work in this current climate.
We all know, even as fans, motorcycle racing costs a lot of money, and I mean a lot. But then again, what doesn’t cost these days? But what we don’t know is how much time and effort they really put into their racing.
Experience as an editor
Being editor, tweeter and creator of a British Superbike news website is a brilliant way of getting to know the racers as well as engaging with the fans – people just like you and me!
But another thing the fans don’t see is how hard journalists, editors and the publishing teams around the sports work. Personally, with my news website, I’m the only one – I work independently. But come a race weekend and I have to have fourteen different arms, hands, eyes and ears! – I tweet live updates throughout the weekend from Friday to Sunday as well as writing race reports and updating the website with the latest goings-on. That’s three or four different things on the go all at the same time. But that isn’t half as hard as the next topic…
Experience being PR to a rider
After being asked to look, search and email appropriate companies to get in touch with regarding sponsorship. To cover the costs of entry fees, equipment, bike costs or even fuel. This may sound like a simple easy task but I can assure you, it’s not! I even emailed the WeBuyAnyBike.com guys! So after not short of 20 companies emailed, only a few replied and all with the same type of answer – something along the lines of: “We look at budgets at the end of the season for the next year, and at this time we haven’t got the budget.” Yes, there were a few very helpful individuals that recommended other companies, but they got back with the same reply too. It’s really not easy to be a motorcycle racer.
The worst thing about the sport, it must be!
It happens to the best of them
Tommy Hill is a prime example. Although him and his partner have had a child, the real reason we don’t have the Kent based rider on the grid this year is due to sponsorship to take his racing career to the next level. World Superbikes. But he’s British champion. He gained the championship in a race that has been labelled as the best last lap anyone has ever seen! So surely a company or individual would back his career?
It was also in doubt if Shaun Muir would field a team in the British Superbikes before the season started, this was also due to his main sponsor ‘Swan’ no longer being able to sponsor the team. This left Shaun and his squad with a task to find a company that would become their main sponsor. But it wasn’t until the latter stages of the pre-season they found and announced Milwaukee would be their sponsor for the season.
We thought the team that loves the sport wouldn’t be on the grid too. Padgett’s Honda. The reason – no sponsors. Luckily, Kuba Smrz no longer had a ride and came to the rescue! But the team now only fields one bike, instead of the two they did last season.
But the team are race winners in the British Superbikes, yet nobody would back them..