The CAB Screens Honda Racing team have become one of the most popular teams in the paddock, thanks to their professional operation and passion for the sport. They represent the hardcore fans. So, with that in mind, now seemed like an ideal time to catch up with Ian and Lee Webber to discuss the squad, their riders and the current season.
MX Vice: You guys have been around the pits now for a few years now, but when did it all start?
CAB Screens: 2012 we started, with a rider called George Clarke.
How did you guys get into it in the first place?
We both (Lee and Ian Webber) retired from motocross, but we had an huge interest in it still. We both got to a point in our life where we thought we could sort of financially support someone and from that point it has snowballed massively out of control! Here we are, talking to you with knackered knees.
I think that we can all agree that motocross is very addictive.
Yeah, there are those days when you sort of go home and you wonder why you do it. Then you look back to see what the guys did in the first race and you know why you do it. It is addictive and you just keep trying to get better results and better results. You do wonder why you do it, as there is no financial reward in motocross, but nothing comes close to the feeling that motocross gives you, especially on the good days.
I have always thought that it is hard for anybody who is outside of the sport to relate to that.
Every year Lee says he is not going to go any bigger or do any more, then here we are! We have thrown a couple of Grand Prix in in the past and all sorts. It is a crazy journey. I’m sure in ten years time we’ll look back and go, wow, that was the best time of our lives.
Well, you cannot take it with you! So, how did you go from helping one person to racing in Europe and at MXGP?
I think it is to do with the riders. If you look at someone like Dan [Thornhill], who was our first real potential rider that could go all the way, he improved every year, so we have had to improve. That is what kind of happened every year since, it is the way it is gone. So, next thing you know, you are competing in the British top ten and it becomes a whole new ballgame operating the team with resources, products and finances.
You have had a some headline sponsors in the past, who is it this year?
This year it is me (CAB Screens).
For those that are not familiar with the company, what do CAB Screens do?
There are two companies. There is CAB Screens limited, which fits vehicle glass and construction glass covering the whole of the south of England. Then there is also a company called Leydene, which is UPVC windows and bespoke glass. There are two aspects to the company. That has gotten bigger and it has enabled the team to get bigger. We now have a group of people that put money into the team financially and also product sponsors that have just got bigger and bigger each year. So as we got bigger, they helped us out.
We try and give back to them as much as we can. We have got some great people involved in the team now and this year Paul Hobbs has come on board, who ran Hobbs Racing for many years. Paul has been brilliant, he is so passionate about the sport and everyone knows what he puts into motocross. Every year there is another step up and hopefully another sponsor can help us out.
One thing we see from you as a team is your emphasis on social media.
That is all Ian. He works really hard at doing the social media. It is such an important thing now. Ian realises that and I realise that. It is just about being grateful, really. That is all it is. Lee and I have always been grateful for sponsors giving us whatever it is. We are grateful for it, because it is something they could have sold to someone else. We are grateful for the fans and we can talk and engage with them on social media.
You’ll see people at every round picking up the giveaways, goodie bags with stickers and key rings from our sponsors. For us it has always been an important part and something we both like doing. We both update the Facebook page and its important to put good content on social media, especially when Dan gets the holeshot.
We are not a rich team. There are some teams in the paddock who can throw thousands and thousands of budget at it and probably not have to worry as much about pleasing sponsors, but we have to and we want to. We want to make sure that the sponsors are so happy with us so that they want us next year. We need them to keep driving this team forward.
How good is it running the world’s greatest wheels from Talon Engineering?
Absolutely brilliant. There was four of them at the front today, did you see them? They have been with us since the start. Rob and Dave do a great job and their support is important, so it is great we can give something back to them.
How important is the rider’s family to you? From the outside looking in, it seems like a team effort between the team and families.
Yeah, absolutely. We have such hard-working and honest families around the riders. I have a great relationship with Dan and always have. We have a close relationship. We always work together. We speak most days on the phone. He is so hard on himself sometimes. It is unbelievable! We have to calm him down a little bit.
It is the same with James as well. James and his family have been here three years now. Dan, this is his fourth year. They are a great family. This is the reason why we started it because financially to give something to Dan, we could see that there was something there. He is starting to reap rewards now. He works for Dave Watson now and that’s starting to pay off. He is a great kid and comes from a great family.
Interview: James Burfield | Lead Image: MPS Images