“With all this said, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that racing is cool and offers one of the most incredible outlets in our industry,” Beldock explains. “Racing is also responsible for much of the development in the equipment that we all take such great advantage of. If not for racing, our sport would be bland at best. My suggestion is to race your heart out but don’t expect it to pay for itself!”
However, we also talked with Michael Stanfield, owner of Freedom Cycles (Grandview, Mo.). Freedom Cycles (a Top 100 Dealer) not only supports racers, but much of the staff is involved in various forms of two-wheeled competition.
“We are very proud of our staff,” Stanfield says. “Not only are we a place that sponsors riders, but we ride ourselves and can share our product experiences with our customers. In addition, we have recently begun Freedom Rally Racing, which focuses on supporting international and domestic riders at the Dakar Rally.”
Freedom Cycles uses a variety of techniques to market itself and support the local racing community. These include sponsored track days, demo days (featuring ex-Dakar race bikes, no less) and parts and service discounts. Supported racers are expected to represent the dealership in local and regional events as well as run Freedom Cycles Racing graphics on their machines.
The challenge in determining a specific return on investment (ROI) dollar amount is always a challenge. According to Stanfield, “we have not tried to determine actual dollar returns. It is very difficult to calculate. Our approach is that either you are in the racing business or you are not. Our feel for return is based on going to the racetrack and seeing how many bikes have our decals on them compared to our competition. If we stand out as having a high percentage of the exposure, we feel like we have been doing some of the right things.
“Our racers are also very loyal to our dealership,” Stanfield adds. “Just four of the many riders we support have purchased six new units and spent approximately $25,000 in parts and accessories in 2012. It goes without saying, not all our riders invest that much in their racing, but we pride ourselves on helping each and every racer we can that is willing to represent Freedom Cycles on the track.”
Clearly, the miles may vary when it comes to more direct involvement with your local racers. If you aren’t able to commit resources to supporting racers through the traditional channels, you need to change how you approach the sport. You can either maximize your impact to increase the results your racing participation can deliver, or you need to minimize the cost involved while still guaranteeing some level of return.
Two California Ducati dealers managed to show both approaches. And interestingly, thanks in part to Ducati’s strong national marketing, both dealers found these results working with the same racing event: the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb. (Continued)