Just brainstorming here for fun.
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter
This could make financial sense if you could attract clients at the Pro level.
Maybe try to appeal to established Pros and interest their sponsors/agents in getting on board with doing rallies? ... then getting the Dakar specific training that is essential to win. Dakar recognition is growing in the USA ... slowly, but it's getting bigger.
The most likely candidates for Dakar training would come from our own AMA Enduro, GNCC, Hare & Hound, ISDE and other Desert Series. All pros with the proper fitness, youth and skills to win the event.
Recruiting top riders seems like a really good idea. It won't help much making the class a financially viable thing, but starting with the Jonahs and Quinns is obviously the best strategy to find elite competitors. And since they already have sponsors it might be easier to persuade them to support a rally effort than approaching a company from scratch.
Over The Hill casual or X racers are out, IMO. No real chance. Rich guys can pay their way but no chance of finishing ... let alone winning it. We need guys at the top of their racing careers ... not at the end. As in every sport ... Youth will prevail.
That's fine for the objective of developing elite riders, but why not let the pretenders help pay the bills? (And I mean "pretenders" in the best possible way--I'm a pretender and damned if I'm not handsome as a boar in a barnyard.)
Sure, if having both groups created a worse experience for the best riders then it would be a problem, but if the class was structured in a way that those with real potential still learned what they came to learn (without the other's feeling ignored or slighted) then why not? Depending on what his groups were like, Charlie would have an informed opinion as to whether or to what degree this would be a problem for Jimmy.
Problem is few major sponsors, including the Big Four Japanese OEM's have any interest in Dakar or international rallies. Much more interest in Europe. It's a zero gain for most US based sponsors ... but maybe their perceptions could be shifted?
How can you "sell" them on a new way of looking at this?
I'm guessing anyone trying to do this should be talking with Rally PanAm since they've put so much effort into it in the last decade.
This is directed at RPA and Jimmy both:
In terms of getting sponsors for serious racers, Maverick (gas stations) might be a company to start cultivating a relationship with. Did you hear about the guy who won a Lamborghini and wrecked it the first day he had it? He won that from Maverick. They have the Maverick Center in Salt Lake & frequently have things like Monster Truck events there. They've worked hard to be "Adventure's First Stop." (If you don't have a Maverick by where you live I bet you've been to the one in Moab.)
More ideas for bikes:
Maybe some people could "pay" for the class by donating a street legal 450 (used, but in working order). Depending on the working condition of the bike it might be worth the admittance of 2 or more riders.
I have one neighbor that runs a residential eating disorder treatment center and says that the insurance he pays for having his own river rafting equipment and equine program is ridiculously high, but another neighbor that has been a river guide for years told me that the insurance for taking people on trips in his equipment is surprisingly reasonable (in part because companies will let you insure clients for a given week, so you don't have to buy a year-long policy).
Or, you could just have your guys walk behind the no-motorcycle attendees making VROOM sounds.