We’d all love the opportunity to have a major off road manufacturer offer their latest model free of charge along with support in the form of riding gear and aftermarket parts from all the popular racing brands.
Only until you’ve proven yourself at the top level of racing with hard work and podium results do the offers start coming your way. But like everyone else looking for support, those highly sought after pros had to apply, justify themselves and scrape together a resume to get the attention from industry companies simply for a discount on purchases, or maybe just a gift card.
Racing is like an investment. You dig into your own bank account to keep the dream alive until the handful of dollars trickling in turns into a substantial check or that discount turns into free product. Eventually, the hard work and dedication pays off and you won’t have to rely on only your own money to support your racing passion.
So how exactly do you get support?
Local dirt bike shops, companies like RaceFace Graphics and industry standards like Fox Racing and Fly offer sponsorship programs that require an application, your riding resume and proof of racing and results.
When writing to these companies be personal and include specifics. Do not under any circumstances send the exact same letter to every company you can find any address for and simply change the name and address. Trust us – we’ll know.
Pick only those companies you want to work with and promote. If you grew up riding Gaerne boots and you win arguments with friends that they make the better boot then apply to Gaerne, not one of their competitors. Tell them why you love the company and their products along with your history of wearing their gear.
If you live in racing country, non-industry related companies might jump at the chance to have their company logo emblazoned across your fender for all to see. Much like banners at the Little League field, don’t forget the local dentist, insurance company or hardware store. You’ll need to market yourself and show you mean business, if you want their business.
Have a realistic expectation of support. Whether it’s the industry name brand or a local supporting business don’t presume a $1000 check once a month. Likely you’ll get a discount on products, gift cards or in the case of non-Moto related companies, a small donation.
Lastly, send all sponsoring companies race reports including photos and results. Because next year when you reapply and they haven’t heard from you but have heard all about the rising star from the town next to you, guess who gets the sponsorship. And don’t forget to tag the companies on social media!
Soon you’ll adorn your machine with stickers from sponsors.
You’re not the only one seeking fame and fortune racing. Industry heavyweights get hit up throughout the year and those that have a specific period to apply, imagine the number of applications mailed. Most places have an actual rider or former or current pro reviewing the applications because they know who they want to represent their brand. It might not be you. Take no offense and try again next time.
Be a Good Sport
Are you the local hothead or a well-known dirty rider? People talk and as big as racing feels it’s actually a pretty small town and everyone eventually knows your name. If word gets around that you’re difficult to work with or you ride cheap and below the belt, don’t expect the sponsors to come running, at least not in your direction. Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of sponsorship and pretty soon you’ll have stickers all over your machine.
Winning isn’t Everything
Guess what? Sponsors care about winning but it’s not a deal breaker. Consistent Top 10 results go a lot further than the once-in-a-blue-moon podium celebration. Consistency shows you’re practicing in-between races, you’re not a fluke rider and you’re in it to eventually win it.
You’ve probably raced against someone who made the podium once and you never saw them again. Sponsors expect you to represent them in front of lots of people regardless of results. If you don’t race regularly then you won’t get sponsors and you’ll never prove yourself. Enter local and regional race events and if you’re hitting up qualifiers to bigger programs like Loretta Lynn’s you’re going a long ways to build your resume and show sponsors they better get in now before you’re a household name.
Getting sponsors is time consuming, but if you want help with your racing endeavors it’s a must. Once you get a handful of sponsors, the process gets easier and more sponsors usually follow. Remember, keep racing, keep applying and just like on the track if you fail, get up and try again.
Interested in riding for Team RaceFace? Click here!