It is no secret that times are tough out there; we all know it. Whether you are racing in the USA, Europe or the UK, teams and sponsors are very hard to come by. So, in recent years, some riders have taken matters into their own hands and formed their own team; this means they now have to deal with another job each day, as well as trying to achieve the best possible results.
Of course, Chad Reed was the rider that resurrected this approach when he created his own TwoTwo Motorsports squad at the end of 2010. At this point, the jury is out on whether this has benefitted or harmed him. But, Reed still seems confident in the situation; he could have backed out of the venture a couple of months ago when RCH Suzuki offered him a tempting deal. However, he believed in the TwoTwo Motorsports outfit and decided to move forward with his team.
Maybe you could argue that Chad is more involved than he has to be. However, that may be why his team has been so successful when it comes to pulling in outside sponsors. Evidently, Reed understands the business side of it all – he has managed to sign a title sponsor for next year, despite his disappointing results. In fact, his squad will be now be named Discount Tire Racing, because of this new deal. Some riders form a team, and then pass over all duties to the team manager that they hired. But, Reed has a say in every decision that goes on, despite the fact that he has a full time team manager onboard in the form of Dave Osterman.
Some would argue that this has distracted him for his racing, and hindered his results. We all know that his results were sub-par this year. However, he enjoyed a lot of success in the first two years with TwoTwo Motorsports. So, perhaps he uses the team as motivation to post good results? After all, when you have been a professional for as long as the Australian has, a new form of motivation cannot be a bad thing, right? But, one of the biggest issues with running your own team is that you cannot guarantee that you will have the best possible equipment all of the time.
However, this has not been an issue for TwoTwo Motorsports so far, as Honda provided him with a factory machine for most of the last three years. But, he has now changed to Kawasaki, so he has to negotiate a deal for some factory parts, again. Reports suggest that he will have access to the same parts that Ryan Villopoto does, which will really help him in his bid for success. If he had signed with the RCH Suzuki squad, he would have had a full factory bike ready and waiting for him. It is quite clear that this would have been the easiest option for the Australian. So, you have to admire his commitment to his venture, it seems like sticking with it was a good decision, as I would bet that he is going to rebound in a big way next year.
Interestingly, David Philippaerts is in a similar situation to what Reed was in three years ago, as he is getting ready to launch his new squad (DP Racing) next year. The Italian is the first of the current top tier MXGP riders to become a team owner and rider. So, this will be a very popular talking point heading into the 2014 season. Presumably, it is much harder for a rider to have their own team in the MXGP series, as they have to find the funds to ship their bikes to exotic places like Qatar and Brazil.
At the moment, there really is not a lot of information about his new squad. But, from what I have heard it seems that Philippaerts will have the resources in place to succeed. Already, he has secured support from Michele Rinaldi, as he will be given a YZ450f and also receive some technical support, which will massively help him. Intriguingly he also has a bonus structure in place from Yamaha. Undoubtedly, this is something that will help DP Racing in their first year – the extra funds will go quite far. David did have offers from some teams, but none of them were very tempting, so he opted to create a team that suited his needs, which is exactly what prompted Chad to start his team at the end of 2010!
Although Chad Reed and David Philippaerts race in completely different places, they are both in a very similar place heading into the 2014 season. 2013 was lackluster for them both, and they will both be attempting to rebound with their own team next year. It is going to be quite interesting to watch them attempt to claw their way back to where they once were. Who knows, these two riders could be a step ahead of their competition, as this approach is becoming more popular around the world. Over in Australia, Daniel McCoy has formed his own TM team for next season. So, you can expect to see more riders become team owners in the near future, I believe.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of Yamaha Racing