Loyalty

Frank Rant

Loyalty.  It has always been very important to me.  And loyalty  must be earned.  For almost 21 years I have promoted motocross races the very best way I know how.  I have poured my heart and soul and most of my 401K into REM.  I can name every sponsor we have ever had.  And every company that was a dick (supporting local racing was beneath them), they only supported “Athletes”.  Our very first sponsor was Life’s a Beach Surfgear.  Life’s a Beach supported our little motocross program which at the time was just down the street at Carlsbad Raceway.  Their sponsorship gave credibility when we had none.  They were just beginning to take off.  They had Rick Johnson who was arguably the most popular racer in the US at the time. The Simo brothers Mark and Brian, and Jeff Surwall took us under their wing.  They were all principle owners of Life’s a Beach.  It was Brian Simo’s idea to host the first Commotion by the Ocean.  A race REM would do for 10 years.  Speaking of Rick Johnson, I was taking photos for the local off road publication at the time and I had snapped a great picture of RJ completely flat on the ledge at Carlsbad.  He told me to use his image and name to promote the local races we were trying to do. That was unheard of then and very unheard of now.  His image and name were worth a lot of money.  There aren’t too many stars that would have done that, Rick and I remain friends to this day and I will forever be loyal to him.  And that image is still our logo to this day. The Simo brothers and Jeff Surwall would later leave Life’s a Beach behind and start No Fear.  No Fear has been a loyal supporter of REM since there was a No Fear.  They have done literally everything a sponsor could do for us at one time or another.  I have turned down many sponsorship offers over the years due in large part to my loyalty to No Fear. One of my very first sponsors was Knobby Shop, they at the time were the Renthal distributor and had their own line of race clothing under the KSI label.  It was run by Allen and Barb Greenwood, they eventually sold the distributorship to Jim Hale who owned AXO, and KSI was no more.  I still cherish my relationship with them.  And they were a big influence on me even starting REM.  Over the years we have had many different sponsors, sponsorship deals, offers, schemes and scams.  The schemes and scams leave you a bit jaded.  A lot of promises that are never kept.  Eventually you learn thru trial and error who you can trust.  I’ve been asked why I didn’t take REM in this or that direction many times. We could have easily had the “mega series”, or our “Nationals”, or what have you.  We could easily have become the biggest organization in SoCal.  Would it have lasted?  Absolutely not.  I would have quit many years ago.  All I have ever wanted was to put on the best weekly motocross program.  I would never be able to justify to myself some of the decisions I would have had to make to get to that place.  An example would be factory contingency.  A great idea, poorly handled.  We all know of the cheating, lying, backstabbing, and tomfoolery that has gone on in the name of factory contingency.  I have seen up it up close and personal.  When you have Vets and Seniors fighting over factory contingency there is something wrong with the system.  Many companies, many friends have come and gone over the years. Terry Boyd was our very first announcer.  Larry Brooks is still very much a player, and he was the first factory racer to ever race an REM event. Curtis Jablonski was the first REM number one.  Zapata Espinoza was the first magazine guy to pay attention to us-Commotion 1.  The late Wayne Cornelius was the first big industry guy that liked what we did. Willie Amaradio when he was at Yamaha was the first factory guy who helped.  Horst Lietner founder of AMP has supported REM for years. Mike Rigdon (aka the rock) helped us get hooked up with Honda of Troy, with DBDawg, with Jardine, with Cytomax he obviously has too much time on his hands.  And so many more I could fill up several pages just with names.  I consider them all my friends.  I have a group of loyal friends some that I have known for 20 years or more. They are REM racers.  Some like Dr. Fun, Gary Scott, Marc Crosby, Milano, and Big Dave, were racing REM at the start.  And some like Randy Skinner, Ken Ehlers, and Tim Norton did not race REM until our move to Glen Helen Raceway in 1998.  I consider every REM racer and every REM supporter my loyal friend. Loyalty to our racers –  that’s my reason for doing it the way we do.