In my rant last December about the Canadian Superbike series, I mention that I had tried to reach out to influentials before I ever considered writing a blog story. But nobody wanted to talk to me about it. I get that a lot.
So, when I did set about to ‘rant’ about Canadian Superbike, I can honestly say that my goal was that one or two people of influence would actually reach out to me, and that we’d get together to talk about the current state of professional motorcycle road racing in Canada.
I had set my goal too high… well, not just too high, but out of sight.
Apparently, just about everyone involved believes that the current state is “just fine… thank you very much”. Certainly, everyone involved who has the power to make change believes that. Of course, there is every possibility that right this minute, behind the scenes, major positive changes are being crafted.
Here is a summary of the feedback that I did receive. And let me preface this by saying that I do know that the original blog story was sent (not by me) to most, if not all, of the stakeholders in motorcycle road racing in Canada. OEs, sponsors, suppliers, riders, media, etc. I cannot confirm that they all read it, but the few I spoke with sure had. I am not going to name names here, but here’s a summary;
1. I got a phone call from a vendor to the series. This well-known gentleman was really disappointed with my approach and felt that if I would have reached out to the series organizers in advance, that they would have listened to me. I can tell you that my conscious is very clear on this point. I attempted to do exactly that, at least five times in 2010, and never got the call. But imagine if I did speak to them… “Hey I believe that the responsibility of the CSBK series is to generate CONTENT. This content is to be used as an AUDIENCE AGGRAGATOR for its STAKEHOLDERS.“ Can you imagine the reaction that I would have got? This well-known gentleman who provides services to the CSBK series – maybe for a fee, I do not know – felt that the series was very well run. I guess the takeaway was that I don’t know what I am talking about. I get that a lot. That was in December and I have never heard from him again.
2. I spoke to a rider in the series. One of my points in the rant was that if the series does not provide enough value for the motorcycle industry to support it, don’t even think about going outside the industry for sponsors. This rider felt this is a valid point. I do not get validation very much. I have stayed in touch with this rider and have offered to be a sounding board for sponsorship ideas and brainstorming and we do that from time to time.
3. I spoke with someone who works for the Canadian head office of a motorcycle company. He admitted to reading my blog story, but you could see immediately that he was thinking; “Why did I admit that??” It was a very awkward moment for sure. He definitely did not want to talk about it, but he did say one thing that I found incredible. He said something like: “You know Jim, the motorcycle companies here in Canada are just not big enough to put money into racing.” I asked him to please consider what he had just said. I told him that “no motorcycle company in Canada should EVER put money INTO racing. None. Ever.” I suggested to him that “Canadian motorcycle companies should be investing in targeted marketing communication programs. These programs should use racing as proof-of-concept for their quality, service and performance messages. These programs should be designed to sell motorcycles, be trackable and sustainable, and there should always be a positive return on investment so that these programs never go away – even in the toughest of times.” He didn’t want to talk about it. I get that a lot.
4. I spoke to another individual who responded with this: “You seem angry….”. I confirmed this – “Hell yes, I’m angry. Motorcycle road racing is fantastic and I am angry that nothing is being done to stop its decline”. I agree that I need to chill out.
5. While at the Toronto Motorcycle Supershow out at the airport, another gentleman who is known and respected in the industry approached me and told me that one of the series organizers was at the show, and that he wanted to talk to me. “Super…. anytime…” was my response. This series official was 30 metres away from me at the time and that was as close as we got. I get that a lot.
6. And finally there was this from someone who has been around the Canadian motorcycle road racing scene for 30 years; “I hate to say it but the WHOLE thing needs to end and be reborn or it’s just going to be a further decline.”
That’s about it.
I readily admit that I need stop pissing and moaning OR do something about it. Well, what can I do? I now have 11 pages of notes with ideas and concepts, designed to not only resurrect motorcycle road racing in Canada, but globally. This is not a Canada-only problem. All motorcycle road racing worldwide could use more audience, more value for sponsors and increased return on investment right? While everyone is thinking about “cutting costs”, I am thinking about “increasing value.”
I am not suggesting that I am going to start a new, competing – for now – Superbike series here in Canada. To do that, I’d need the entire industry to come together to share new ideas and a fresh perspective, and certainly, they’d need to have open minds. They would have to leave “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”… at the door.
But… they’re not going to listen to me. I get that a lot.
And, In case you missed it, here is my original rant.