As a result two veteran promoters are joining forces to create the new Regional Motocross Association (RMA). One is Tim O’Brien, who runs the Exit 28 track, while the other is Stead MX track promoter Ty Erquiaga.
“Right now in this economy, whether you like each other or not, which Ty and I do and sometimes don’t, business is business and the only way we’re going to get through this thing is if we team up with people. That means promoters, that means track owners, that means dealers and anybody involved with two-wheels or selling gas for it.”
Then Erquiaga added, “Or the motocross community here in Northern Nevada. And Tim said it best, regardless if we might disagree at times on some philosophies at the end of the day we have a mutual goal to grow the sport in this area.”
He also mentioned something hopeful in that certain members of other organizations share this philosophy and he as well as O’Brien will invite them to join them in their effort.
Their focus is the amateur ranks as they want to help the younger riders improve their skills as well as offering quality opportunities for competition.
Erquiaga said, “We really want this to be a premier amateur racing event with really top shelf venues and guys that know how to run races.”
“By doing that we’ll elevate the sport of motocross, attract new sponsors, bigger sponsors and we’ve done that already with the Livfast Cup,” O’Brien said. “We’ve brought in Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Monster, Budweiser, people that you don’t normally get involved on a local level.”
He emphasized the program is always about local tracks, promoters and dealers like the upcoming Dealer’s Cup series, which was run last year.
“RMA, our sanctioning body is going to sanction local promoters, who are doing things, trying to gather more people into the sport and trying to create more rider base.”
Another factor is that some families like traveling to other destinations where they and their racer children can compete at other venues.
“I realize these families do want to travel, it is a fun thing to go away to a destination, so we just thought it would be more fun to go over the hill,” he said. “It would be less mileage, by about 100-miles. But I don’t think it’s the closeness but the fact these kids are going to be able to race with a high caliber racer and the only reason why they are higher caliber is that we’re not organized over here.”
Currently they are also searching for a third track in the Marysville, California area that might join the association and be part of any series they sanction.
O’Brien feels the rising price of fuel, especially diesel, will force some families and riders choose how far they can or will travel to races.
Years ago, in better times, rider counts at local events were from 400 to 500 plus. Now, while it’s still below 300 that number seems to be rising. As a result both men feel it’s a good time to start this new organization as there appears to be renewed interest in the sport, which is probably one of the most economical ways to race.
And both realize there are people that share their views on growing the sport, both here and in Northern California. Those are the exact people both want to work with and help grow the sport.
Both also feel there is work to be done.
Underscoring this Erquiaga said, “It’s pretty sad that when Arenacross comes to town and we don’t have one local kid riding in the pro class.”
O’Brien hopes to make racing more personal for those competing in the this spring’s Dealer’s Cup Challenge at Exit 28. Winners from last year will run with a red plate on their bikes, trophies all will have the individual’s name on it and there will be contingencies that allow them to receive discounts from local shops.
Erquiaga complemented O’Brien on the good things he’s done at Exit 28 as well as the new, fun ideas he’s bringing to the facility.
“And that kind of momentum and energy needs to be carried out in all the local race tracks,” he said.
For the spring both tracks will operate separately. The four-race Dealer’s Cup series begins the weekend of April 1 while Stead has the stand along Silver State Classic the final weekend of the month.
Looking toward the future Erquiaga said, “The bottom line is that I hope to see the Stead track involved in the Dealer’s Challenge going forward.”
O’Brien is also looking ahead, the economics of running a track and what he feels has to be done.
“If we can get dealers and spectators excited about the racing and to see a cool looking track, then it’s going to be win-win,” O’Brien said. “The rider count is going to be what it is right now in the economy no matter what you do. We’ve got to change the game, the rules aren’t the same and the bottom line is that need to get more money to the track without getting it from the riders.”
He feels that spectators and sponsors are key to making a track more profitable.
Then Erquiaga said, “There’s a lot to be gained by the local businesses in this community and in any community where there is a race. This is a great demographic that comes to these races. And it’s a loyal demo too as the people that come and see a particular brand at an event, they go to those businesses.”
O’Brien cited Anderson Meat Company as a new and larger sponsor for the Dealer’s Cup, that really has no connection other than enthusiasm for the sport.
“NASCAR and Supercross have proved that motorsport fans are brand loyal,” Erquiaga said.
Currently there are eight shops involved with the Dealer’s Cup including Testa Motorsports, a small shop in Gardnerville that sponsors 32 young riders.
Another local shop is Moto Source owned by Rich Thorwaldson. This shop won last year’s Dealer’s Cup and has a loyal following of riders.
With this in mind, both men are opening the doors to more business people and in the long run hope to create a stronger sanctioning group and opportunity for new and different sponsors.
And they are looking at hosting different events like last week’s Sand Box Grand Prix where motocross riders and desert riders from MRANN held a joint event.
We’re doing this already, we’ve just not unified from an association level and really made a better community out of all the relevant race tracks. And that is what this is about.
Asked about the future Erquiaga said, “When you see a full gate of 50’s or 65’s then you know you’re doing it right.”
Asked if he’s optimistic about the future of motocross in our area, O’Brien said, “You have to be.”
OTHER RACING NEWS
•No area racing this weekend but Friday through Sunday Al Lockett has his big Outdoor Recreation Expo at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, which includes motorsports. Race fans can find several series represented including the new Northern Nevada Outlaw Karts, Northern Nevada Kart Club, the SCCA and maybe the Cal-Neva Extreme series, which are the rock crawlers.
•NASCAR’s Nevada Quartet spent the weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway. In Saturday’s Nationwide event Kyle Busch started eighth and ended up 17th while a cut tire put T.J. Bell behind but he was able to finish 34th after starting 33rd.
In Sunday’s Cup event Kurt Busch finished 22nd while Brendan Gaughan came from 32nd to finish 22nd and Kyle wound up 32nd after starting 12th.