Why Do I Continue to Promote Motocross Races?

Frank Rant

REM began 25 years ago this coming weekend. I was about as unlikely a prospect to become a motocross promoter as there ever was. I never intended to become a promoter, never really wanted to do something as crazy as promote motocross races. I was very uncomfortable speaking in front of people in my own work group, let alone hundreds of racers. I was never a salesman, never managed people, never had aspirations of running let alone owning something as complicated, time consuming, controversial, or down right unorthodox as promoting motocross. When I began REM I was just a lineman for the phone company. Yes, I was a racer. Mostly CMC races all over, but Carlsbad was what I considered my home track. I began racing somewhere around 1971, I would have started earlier if I could have. Back then there were the 125, 250 and open classes with Novice, Intermediate, and Pro. That was pretty much it. It was a much simpler time. Bikes were relatively cheap to buy, maintain, and race. A 16 year old kid working part time could afford to race a couple of times a month if he watched his money. Over the years I raced Carlsbad, Saddleback, Southbay, OCIR, Indian Dunes, Gorman, Ascot, Barona, and some that I can’t remember their names. I raced all over the Texas panhandle, Lubbock, Amarillo, Hereford, Plainview, and Anton. I raced nights, days, GPs, but mostly daytime motocross is what I enjoyed. I pinched and saved, pieced together parts, and did everything that I could to race. There were a couple of years when there was no money to race. No money for anything new for the scooter or racing. But, whenever I had a chance I was racing. Just like most of you, I never made money racing. I had a very short lived and unsuccessful career as a pro racer, I realized that to feed my young family I better get a job very quickly because racing wasn’t going to do it.

Promoting literally fell into my lap. In the summer of 86 I was approached to run races at Carlsbad. No one else wanted to do it. The program that was there had fallen apart, after the GP in 86 the track was supposed to close. I had been racing pretty much every weekend for 10 years. But I was there every time there was a race at Carlsbad. I had been doing photos and stories for San Diego Off Roader Magazine for a couple of years when I was asked to take over. I figured why not, it can’t be that difficult. I can ride whenever I want to, race with my buddies, hang out. After all, the track was going to close in a couple of months anyway. It started out as a partnership with 3 of us, after the first race the partnership quickly became me, myself, and I.

I have a love hate relationship with being a promoter. I love our racers, I have met and become friends with so many great people that I never would have had an opportunity to meet otherwise. Quite literally all of my good friends are REM racers. And I consider everyone that races with REM part of out family. But I hate the politics, I hate the injuries, I hate the backstabbing, I have come to hate those who think MX is just a quick way to get rich. If I could, I would let every racer race for free. Unfortunately I have not found a sponsor yet that would pay the bills so that we could do that. I realized years ago, that because I never made money racing that I am conflicted taking money from racers. I remember what it was like to spend money that I didn’t have to race. I remember all too well trying to balance my personal life and my racing life, and trying to justify going to the races. If you try to explain to someone who doesn’t race or who does not love a racer why we do what we do, they won’t understand. My lovely wife who has put up with me for all these years understands. Of course I was racing when we were dating in high school. But, she hit it on the head when she said that nearly all racers are addicted to the sport. And not to belittle anyone that rides dirt bikes for fun, but until you line up for a race you are just a dirt bike rider not a racer. There is a difference that only racers understand.

Why do I continue to promote motocross races? I don’t have a really good reason. Some have said that I am pretty good at it; some have said I am just an asshole. I have always tried to put on the safest races possible, that pro or beginner can enjoy, that racers want to come to every weekend. That fathers sons and daughters can enjoy together. I think in a way that I am still looking for that perfect set of motos that every racer goes to the track for. After all these years I still consider myself a racer before promoter. Hello, my name is Frank and I’m an addict.