Direct Link (with images)......http://www.lyndonposkittracing.com/2012/05/24/support-crew-decision-made/
Well, after weeks of thinking about this I have finally made my decision. There are lots of things to consider when thinking about support, the first of which whether you want it at all or not. I considered doing the RallyMoto or Marathon class but to be honest, as much as I’d love to do this and feel that I could manage it technically, I don’t see much in way of recognition from doing such and it is fraught with complications. Doing the event solo is fine while everything is going well and all you need is an oil and tyre change every night but when things start going away from ideal, this is when the trouble starts. There’s only so many hours in the day and when there’s a problem with the bike, the time of day can diminish rapidly leaving little time for road book prep, nutrition and sleep. This is where it all starts going horribly wrong. I feel you just limit your chances to finish even more; and as I’ve said before, my goal is to finish. So, with the decision made that I would like to go supported, the question was who with.
One option was to try and arrange my own support, hire vehicles and get friends and family to drive them and support the race. The problem with this is the money it would cost and also I would have to procure and transport all of my own spares, something which is very costly indeed. I ruled this option out on cost and logistics alone. I’ve got enough to deal with, with a full year of racing and preparing my own bike, without organising all the logistics of the event and arranging the support crews too.
The most commonly used and probably the most experienced support team in the UK is Desert Rose Racing. Not only is Patsy Quick (owner) a Dakar veteran but she is a great person and has oodles of experience that goes with it. I have raced the UK series with Patsy so have had some time to see how she operates.
Typically, patsy has supported many a privateer on a shoestring budget and is determined to get them to the finish. She will support any make of bike and the individual is responsible for make sure they have the correct amount of spares (although if you are riding an RFS KTM, she has plenty!). Her crew is already solid, made up of Clive (her Husband), Zippy and others who regularly make up the team. It looks likely that Desert Rose would wind up supporting a number of riders with different machinery, something I feel makes the logistics and spares situation more complex and complexity is something you really need to limit if you can. I’m not saying it’s not achievable, it’s just not as ideas as all the riders being on the same machines. Recently Desert Rose have not been running Factory bikes at the Dakar due to riders choice but that does not mean they couldn’t going forwards. The option of taking my own mechanic was not explored but this is definitely something I would want to do.
Desert Rose has typically been one of the most economical options in the past although Patsy has made it clear that the model was going to change this coming Dakar. Lets face it, she has been somewhat of a ‘mother’ to her riders in the past, doing it because she loves to do so and not for the money. Speaking to her of late, I think the time has come where she has to put her business head on and make it viable. At the end of the day, she is running a business and there is only so much charity one can give, fully understandable.
Another option I had been pursuing was the opportunity to race with Team Frontrow GB, managed and run by Stan Watt. Stan has many solid race results, latest of which was 34th on this year’s Dakar. His support model is really nice in terms of vehicles and a support crew with two or three years of experience on the Dakar. I’d been watching them for a while and the way that the team operate at Enduro’s and Rallies is something that I would definitely want to be part of. The problem is, he does not offer support packages so if you want in, you have really ‘get in’!
After a few initial discussions with Stan, it was clear that it was and never will be his intention to support others on the Dakar. The only way he was willing to let people in the team was if he eels they will fit, are capable and willing to be an equal member of it; being part of the decisions making, organisational elements and everything else for that matter, including financials. He made it clear that the deal would be non-profit making and all the costs would be split equally between the riders. Another positive is that Stan would only entertain Factory 450 RR bikes on the team (works for me) and he already has a huge spares pool from the previous year’s racing so there’s already a financial benefit there. Oh and an Ivan power shower too…..
After the initial discussions I sure felt like this approach was going to be the most robust option for my style of thinking, my logistical focus and flexibility required. Being part of the decision making on the support and logistics as well as the bike would be great but without having to do everything myself, a true team effort.
Last week, I travelled down to Frontrow headquarters to meet the full team and support crew and iron out a good few questions I had before committing to the team. One of the big questions was whether or not I could choose my own mechanic for the race. It was agreed that this could be worked into the whole package. In addition to this, something I was really keen on was to get the entire team to a couple of other events throughout the year. This needed the buy in from all team members to do it as a full team and as it turns out, we were all as committed. The decision was made to race Sardinia and Morocco FIM rounds as well a number of other events as a team, with the same support vehicles and set-up. This way, we could perfect our team work and logistical operations throughout the year and not at the Dakar.
After a lot of question asking, food eating, debate, discussion and trying to make numbers look smaller by moving them around the page, the decision was made to…………..have a beer and talk some more.
Eventually, late that night or was it the early hours of the morning, all the i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed. The decision was made, I’d be riding under the package of team Frontrow GB for all the support aspects but riding as Lyndon Poskitt Racing in my own livery. Excited is an understatement!
With the agreement that I can choose my own mechanic, the next decision will be who, but I’ll save that for my next post……