How to get on, and stay on, a factory team.
Our sport of Motocross and Supercross is results orientated, so attracting the attention of factory teams can be tough. Therefore, a privateer (a self-funded rider without any direct support by a manufacturer) needs to stand-out from the rest. Differentiation from the group can be showcased through track speed, skill, attitude, results (at national level), and ultimately showing your potential!
Potential excites the teams. It is appealing because it demonstrates that, with the right program, you can become a front runner. This is where the willingness to approach team owners to express interest in joining their team is important. Indicating what you can do for the team, and what the team can do for you, creates a clear line of communication. It is important to ensure that your goals are aligned with the team because success on a team needs to be two directional.
Having the desire to constantly improve yourself on and off the bike is a big one. These never give up qualities are infectious and will be noticed. Reinvesting into yourself and hiring trainers for riding, strength and conditioning is required to be at the top of our spot. This self-motivated desire to improve instils confidence in you, by the team. They know you are willing to do the work and be accountable for your actions. Persistence and hard work are the pedigree to achieving individual and team goals and it is ultimately what teams are chasing.
Staying on a team can be a very challenging and cutthroat because there is always someone wanting to take your position. This is what makes being competitive at national events important so stacking-up the good results is a number one priority. However, being well presented and able to represent your team and associated brands positively on and off the bike is another pivotal aspect that helps maintain a factory seat. You will need to be able to talk to sponsors and fans to grow your name and the name or your team.
Personal connections, the cultivation of strong personal connections throughout the motocross community are critical for staying on a team. Developing secure and long-lasting relationships with individuals helps to highlight to the team that you are a respected member of the racing community.
This can be done by investing time in the younger riders and motocross fans. Providing autographed posters, stickers and handouts on race days will inspire the next generation and increase the visibility of your team.
Social media presence, offering more to sponsors than just results helps bring positive exposure to the team and organisations that support it. Adding additional value to the team is a massive bonus. Whether this be through interviews, pre and post-race, or in the meet and greet sessions with fans, it all adds up. The inclusion of sponsors and fans into updates during training and racing helps build interaction and should be done in an authentic way that highlights your personality. Unless you are winning every race, you need to keep promoting yourself and your team to keep the sponsors and fans watching you and encouraging you.
WILLINGNESS TO LEARN
Constant learning, helping those around you and becoming a team player. This includes getting to know and building individual relationships with mechanics, managers, owners and the truck drivers. Anyone who is willing to assist you to achieve your goals, you need to be willing to help them out also. This is important, because to win and achieve success, everyone needs to be working towards the same goal. It is essential to not just take but to also give. Being level-headed through the highs and the lows in this sport is tough, but it is important!
Maintaining a healthy level of communication across all team personnel allows for a fun and effective working environment. Transparency is key - Teamwork makes the dream work!
- Jai Constantinou #44, Empire Kawasaki, MX2 (KX250) Rider
Keep up with Jai's return to racing through social media: www.instagram.com/jaic44_/
Photo credit: Foremost Media & Kane O'Rourke Photography