Last week, we talked about setting goals for your motorcycle racing season and identifying certain milestones.This week, we’re going to take a closer look at the importance of teamwork and the people involved in achieving your racing goals.
If you have ever attended a MotoGP , World Superbike, AMA or Canadian Superbike event, one thing you have probably noticed is the army of mechanics, managers and miscellaneous staff it takes to run a motorcycle racing team. It seems that the top riders almost always have a team of people working with them to ensure the race weekend goes as smoothly as possible.
How the Pro Teams Work
The top racers will be sure to bring their managers and crew chiefs with them from one season to the next. It’s no coincidence that Ben Spies’ crew chief Tom Houseworth has been alongside Ben from his early AMA days, to World Superbike and now MotoGP. The same holds true for Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jeremy Burgess, who has stood alongside Rossi since the year 2000. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, Burgess has contributed to multiple world championships for the Italian rider. Together, Rossi and Burgess have a proven track record and a relationship built on trust and commitment that helps win championships. Of course, in addition to a crew chief, top riders also surround themselves with mechanics, data experts, suspension technicians, managers and a wide array of extra helpers—all who work together to ensure the motorcycle is working as efficiently as possible so the rider can focus on getting the bike across the finish line as quickly as possible.
How Your Team Can Work
Alright, I know what you’re thinking, “It’s all well and fine that Valentino Rossi and Ben Spies have their entourage of crew, but I can’t compete with that budget.” You’re not alone. Most of us are not professional racers and we don’t have big budgets to hire crew chiefs, suspension technicians and data acquisition specialists. In fact, most of us can’t even afford expensive data acquisition! In the absence of professional crew, start to think about inviting some of your friends or family to the racetrack to assist you on race weekends. Even if they are not mechanically inclined, it never hurts to have an extra pair of hands when it comes to setting up and tearing down your pit area, putting on tire warmers, checking tire pressures and ensuring the fuel in your motorcycle is topped up. Heck, even if someone helps cook a meal and ensure your cooler is stocked with ice and cold water, every little bit helps. If you do happen to have a friend who has mechanical experience that’s even better. It’s one less thing for you to worry about on race day. The more your team can help you, the easier it will be for you to focus on achieving your goals on the racetrack.
Tire Vendors Offer Support
The teamwork also doesn’t stop at friends and family. Often you will find the tire vendors at the racetrack have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to motorcycle set-up. While you have to remember that your tire vendor is there primarily to sell and install tires, a good tire vendor will be more than happy to answer any of your questions about set-up. If you give them some notice, they might even wander over to your pits to help. It’s in their best interest to ensure riders are happy with their brand or product and it also never hurts to give you good service, as you’ll probably be inclined to purchase more tires from them, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
If you have a little more room in your budget, some racetracks also have suspension technicians on hand that, for a small fee, will offer guidance and technical support throughout the weekend. Otherwise, buy one of your friends the book Sportbike Suspension Tuning by our very own Andrew Trevitt and ask them to make it their bedtime reading!
As you prepare for your upcoming racing season, start to give some thought to what your team might look like. Talk to your friends about their interest in travelling to races all summer long; ask your tire vendor what support is available at the racetrack; determine what paid options are available for support and whether or not you can afford them.
At the end of the day, motorcycle racing is very much a team effort and consistent, reliable support is key to enjoying a successful season. Whether you go with a big budget crew or convince some friends and family to come along for the ride, one thing is for certain, there is no “I” in TEAM!