Does the old adage “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” still apply to motorcycle racing? Freelance journalist Evan Williams answers that question in a story that will appear in the July issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine, which is focused on the motorcycle racing industry. The following is an excerpt from that story:
By Evan Williams
Before Yamaha was on top of the sport bike sales heap and the championship fights, Suzuki held the crown in America. A big part of that was domination of AMA Pro Superbike racing. Win 10 of 11 crowns and people will notice.
Is it a simple correlation between success on the track and success on the showroom floor? Yamaha Motor Corp. of America’s Communications Manager of Motorsports Bob Starr says it’s more than that. It’s a way to show what a company can do to many different levels of consumers.
“To the more casual person who doesn’t follow racing, it might make a decision easier knowing a bike is a winner on the track,” Starr continued. “For the fans that go to a race, they can hear the sound of Josh Hayes and Josh Herrin and Larry Pegram’s bikes and hear how they sound different than anything else and think, ‘I gotta have one of those.’”
For Yamaha, it’s about creating a larger strategy than just running some bikes out there for a few good riders. It’s a wider plan, one with the focus on sponsoring events as well. Yamaha helped finance the improvements to Laguna Seca to get the track up to FIM standard and has sponsored the race since it switched to a MotoGP event.
“Laguna Seca for us is like a home race for both MotoGP and AMA Pro,” Starr said. “We believe in more than just fielding riders, we want to be a part of the whole thing — the entire event in the case of Laguna Seca. We want all the fans to come out and have a good time. Racing is a part of the foundation of our company so we want to see racing in general do well. We believe in supporting racing.”
It’s not just the road racing, either, as Yamaha is involved with snowmobile racing, motocross and ATV competition, too.
“Racing really sells everything we do,” said Starr.