Securing sponsorship for junior motocross riders is incredibly important for so many families in the sport, but it’s also incredibly difficult to navigate.
Junior sponsorship usually comes in the form of a donation sponsorship - meaning a brand or business will support your child with no intention of getting a return on their investment - the sponsor is doing it to simply provide assistance for your kid in getting to the races or by alleviating some of the costs.
Donation sponsorships are relatively common in motocross, but more so for junior riders, as kids themselves can’t necessarily provide a company with the value that an adult would.
Here are four ways junior motocross parents can secure support for their children.
USE YOUR STORY
When you’re approaching brands and businesses for sponsorship, whether it’s for a discount, free product, financial or donation sponsorship, use the story of your family or your child as a reason to receive support.
As I said, juniors can’t really provide companies value in comparison to the support they’re going to get, so you need to give businesses a reason to sponsor your kid.
Remember, the marketing manager or business owner who’s deciding on whether or not to support your kid is a human too - and humans like helping humans, especially those who have faced adversity or are putting in incredible amounts of effort to achieve their dreams.
Has your child overcome an illness? Has your child rapidly progressed in their riding through greater commitment? Has financial hardship prevented your kid from competing in the nationals or taking the next step in their racing?
These are just some storylines that families and children have gone through, and could potentially hit home for the decision-maker at the company.
It’s important to be honest and sincere when leveraging your family/child’s story, as deceiving companies could lead to damaging consequences for the remainder of your kid’s career.
REACH OUT TO YOUR EMPLOYER
Sometimes finding support for your child can be as simple as asking your employer. It obviously comes down to what the company does, your relationship with them and the people making the decisions.
If you feel you have the relationship with your employer, and maybe they’ve assisted junior athletes or sporting clubs before, then it’s worthwhile reaching out, sharing your child’s vision and goals in motocross and seeing if they would be willing to jump on board with some support.
This is something my dad did for my brother and I when we were junior racers, and we were able to get a number of items covered by the company.
STRIKE A CONTRA-DEAL
A contra-deal is where you, the parent, exchange goods or services with a company in return for support.
This is particularly handy if you own your business, but you may even be able to do this through the company your working for, although it will come down to your role, flexibility, and the type of business you work for (and your relationship with them!).
So this is where you can offer your expertise or services to a company - perhaps a bike shop, suspension technician or engine specialist - in return for them supporting your kid.
You could be a plumber, electrician, or even a plasterer, and the person or company your approaching might be in need of your services, and that’s where you can strike a contra-deal.
You may also work for a company the sells goods that a potential sponsor requires, which with the permission of your employer, you could arrange a significant discount for them in return for support of your child.
Now you might be thinking this is counterintuitive, especially if you’re a business owner, as maybe the goods or services your providing are worth more than the support you’re kid is getting.
The key thing here is that it’s a step to building a relationship with the brand - they may only need your services once, but if you build a strong relationship with them, the support your child gets could last for years to come.
APPLY FOR A GRANT
The last thing you as a parent can do to secure support for your junior motocross racer is by applying for a grant.
Now grants are available from the Australian government, state government, and local government.
Grants from the Australian and state governments are more difficult to obtain and are more catered towards those as the top of their sport, while grants through your local government can be obtained by almost anyone within reason.
Each local government is going to have different eligibility requirements and application processes, but this is something that every junior motocross parent should be enquiring about.
Again, this was something my parents did for my brother and I when we were juniors. One year when we were travelling to Queensland for the Australian Junior Motocross Championship, we were able to secure grants for both us, which significantly reduced our costs.
We weren’t even in the frame to do well there - we simply hoped to qualify - but in the eyes of the local government, a rider travelling to a national championship was worthy enough to get their backing.