Most of the time you're not racing for some big purse either. It's usually a $15 trophy and some bragging rights for a podium finish.
The good news is, there's a way to cut the costs associated with racing. Once you get the up front costs out of the way, like buying the gear you need and setting up the bike correctly, you can stop spending money in those areas. At least, you can stop spending as much. However, the ongoing maintenance of the bike and keeping your gear fresh and functional can still empty your wallet if your not careful. To help offset these costs, you'll want to look into getting some sponsors to help back you up. Here's some info on getting started....
SPONSORSHIP vs. RIDER SUPPORT
Ok, let's clear this up. There is a difference between Sponsorship and Rider Support (I looked it up). When you think of an athlete being "sponsored", what do you think of? Free stuff right? Well, that's exactly what it is. Pro athletes usually get stuff for free because the company wants them to use their product or wear their brand. They're famous and it's recognition for the company. Therefore, free stuff for the athlete.
Rider Support is a little different and it is most likely what you're going to be looking at as far as a "sponsorship" goes. Rider Support programs allow you to receive support from companies, but not too many people are going to consider you to be full on "sponsored" in the traditional sense. So what is Rider Support? Companies in the motocross industry offer various levels of support for riders of all ages and all skill levels.
SERIOUSLY, ALL AGES and ALL SKILL LEVELS.
In simple terms, you get discounts on their gear and parts as long as you use their stuff and put their name on your bike, vehicle, trailer, mention them on race forms, etc. There is a contract involved and they will hold you to the terms of the contract.
Rider Support programs are the first step toward your sponsorship goals and can provide deep discounts. I have been fortunate enough to get on some of these programs and my discounts range from 20% off to 55% off. These aren't knockoff brands either. Some of my biggest rider support deals are from top brands in the industry. I'm not telling you this to boast. I'm telling you this, because I'm a Vet Intermediate Rider who races 2 times a month on average during the season. So if I can get support, you can too!
Even though "Sponsorship" and "Rider Support" are two different things, the terms are used synonymously. Even most of the companies you apply with will call it a sponsorship. But be forewarned, someone at some point is going to remind you that they are two different things. You know, just so you don't go thinking you're a pro and all. It's stupid really, and doesn't matter. YOU'RE GETTING SUPPORT SO WHO CARES!
WHERE TO START
You'll want to have a few races under your belt before you start hunting for support. Doesn't have to be a whole heap (although that helps). Three to four races will be fine. I know this doesn't seem like a lot, but it's a starting point. There are some exceptions to this, but if you plan on contacting companies directly, then you'll want to have some results to show your potential supporters. For what you lack in racing experience, you can fill in with future scheduled events. This at least shows your intention to continue racing and that you will be participating in organized competition regularly.
# 1: ONLINE SPONSORSHIP SITES
This is probably the easiest way to start getting support. Sites like MX SPONSOR and HOOKIT allow you to create an account and start getting in touch with companies using their platform. They make it super easy to start applying for support. Remember when I said there were exceptions to having races under your belt? Well, this is where that comes in to play. After you create your account, you will find that some companies send you offers right off the bat. Some companies monitor your stats closely and some don't. Either way, these two sites are an awesome way to get started. Also, with a premium account, HOOKIT will provide you with a resume to submit to companies outside their network based off of the info on your profile.
There are some differences between the two sites, including what companies they are contracted with, but we'll cover that in a different article.
Related: MXSponsor VS. Hookit.
# 2: CONTACT THE COMPANY DIRECTLY
Another way you can get on rider support programs is to contact the company directly. Most companies will have a sponsorship page somewhere on their website. You can usually find it at the very bottom of the home page by the footer of the site.
You'll need to put together a resume. Yes, just like applying for a job, you need to show potential supporters what you're all about. You are going to be representing their company, so show them why they should pick you! Companies not only want to know about your riding and racing, but they also want to know about YOU. So make sure to put that in your bio. Remember, these companies receive THOUSANDS of applications, so do your best to make yours stand out, but still keep it brief, to the point and full of relevant content.
Not sure where to start with a resume? Download these free templates:
(Be sure to replace photo and the red lettering with your own info and change the font color back to black.)
# 3: APPLY TO YOUR LOCAL MOTORCYCLE SHOP
It's never a bad idea to contact your local motorcycle shop and apply for their support programs. Of course, you'll want to approach the shop who is the dealer for the brand of bike you ride. Most shops have a support program in place and depending on their requirements you may qualify for discounts on parts, gear, service, etc. It is common for support programs to come in Tiers. The higher the Tier, the better the discounts and support.
Having the support of a local shop is a great option. They may even have some graphics for you to throw on your bike to support the shop. Most will have some requirements that you race a bike that is fairly new. I'm talking no more than 3 years old or so. They're a dealer, they want to move bikes, and they're not in the business of selling early 2000's two strokes. So keep this in mind when you apply.
It doesn't matter what type of rider you are, how old you are or what your skill level is. If you are competing, then you are eligible to apply for rider support/sponsorship programs. Don't think that just because you don't compete enough or you don't place very well that you won't get support. That is not true at all! Results are good, but exposure and a good ambassador for a brand is what companies want. So when you land those sponsorship deals, hold up your end of the bargain and rep that brand!
Good luck and GET SPONSORED!!
AFFILIATE PROGRAMS DISCLOSURE
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