What Is Racer Support?
It's that time of year again, racer support season!
We’ve been doing this for 20+ years, we’re riders and racers ourselves, and we’ve seen a lot of consistencies that separate those that understand racer support from those that don’t. Since the ins and outs of sponsorship aren’t common knowledge, we thought we’d hit it head on to get you primed and ready to apply this season. Straight from the horse's mouth.
Let's start at the beginning. What is racer support? Racer support is a brand's way of giving back to the racing community while working to sell more products or services, and build valuable partnerships along the way.
Racer support is usually a discount on products in exchange for assistance with the growth of the brand. These discounts allow you to buy products at a discounted price so you can put that money into other areas of your racing program. In exchange for that discount, you act as an ambassador, increasing awareness and sales. The more direct (traceable) sales you’re responsible for, the more support you'll get, regardless of your skill level. If you're responsible for direct sales that the brand can keep track of, the amount of support you receive will undoubtedly reflect that.
For perspective, there are 3 possible tiers to racer support.
- Discounted product - Usually ranging from 20-50% off. Primarily reserved for the weekend warriors and hobby racers. You can obviously move up from here but it takes a big commitment to the brand and doesn’t happen overnight.
- Free product - Free product is a possibility for a select few who have proven race results as well as social media influence and a history of selling product for their sponsors. Free product comes with responsibility. When your reputation as a racer precedes your resume you’re on your way to earning product.
- Paid - This is so far and few between (at least in our case) it’s hardly worth addressing, but the fact is some (very few) riders do make money from brands to run certain products. We don’t pay anyone to run our products, they run our products because they trust and believe in them.
Some of you may still be asking “Wait, racer support season?!” Yes, most brands operate on a seasonal application period. Some brands are open year round, but most are only open for a small period, usually between September-November. For us at Fasst Company it’s September 1st to October 31st.
For 99.9% of us, racing is a hobby. An expensive one at that. It’s important to keep that in mind when seeking sponsorship, don’t ask for more than you realistically deserve, it’s off putting and not a great way to start a relationship. Contrary to popular belief most moto companies are not sitting on piles of product and cash. The reinvestment cost to develop, manufacture, and market products make this a difficult business. Some brands offer huge discounts to anyone who will run their product, those brands are not manufacturing their products in the US.
The hope is that you have enough influence locally, regionally, or nationally, that by running a product you persuade 5-10+ others to run that product too. If you’re running a product and other riders start contacting the company saying “Hey, Gerald Ghones told me these were the best goggles money could buy, I need a few pairs!” then your value to that company goes up exponentially, because you’re selling product and at the end of the day that’s the goal.
Throughout the next three blogs of this racer support series we’ll address the most important aspects of rider support and discuss some tangible things you can do to have your best foot forward. Each of these will offer unique insight to help you understand different areas of rider support so you’re building relationships and earning better deals.
Stay tuned for our next blog, a step by step guide to building your resume and pinpointing who you should send it to.
If you have any questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you. We encourage questions so don’t hesitate to reach out!
-The Fasst Family