The privateer’s life in Supercross racing


Supercross racing is hard, it’s very hard. It is both physically and mentally difficult, and you need a good bike to go fast, you need a factory bike, a bike that will keep you on top of a whoops section and not drop your front wheel in between 2 whoops, a bike that won’t bog on the face of a gnarly triple or half way through a rhythm section, you need a bike with suspensions that won’t throw you over the bars when coming up short on a steep landing. In Motocross, you can get away with it, but not in Supercross. Most people will never ride a race-like Supercross track in their life, so they will never truly appreciate how hard it can be. I am writing this because I want to mention privateer riders that race Supercross. I was lucky enough to ride for a great team (Honda of Troy, which became Yamaha of Troy in 1999) during my first year racing the US circuit back in 1997, so I myself cannot truly appreciate how much work it is for them and what they have to go through each race, but I have a good idea and wanted to share it with you.

You see, many of those guys ride on stock bikes, with stock suspensions and engines. Many of them also ride with aftermarket parts, better suspensions and faster engines, but trust me when I say this; it just doesn’t cut it for Supercross! I would never ride Supercross on a bike that wasn’t completely dialed in, I would always be afraid to get hurt, if I came short on a triple or got off in the whoops for example. Those guys have to race with bikes that aren’t good enough, or even safe enough for Supercross. I wouldn’t even put my butt on one to practice during the week. When I rode for Pro Circuit, my bike was amazing. One day I was practicing on the Yamaha sx track (another racer I knew pretty good rode for a Yamaha satellite team and had access to the track, so we both went there to practice), and he asked me if I would try his bike because he had a hard time in the whoops, so I said yes. I didn’t make it through the whoops fast once; I almost crashed every time I tried! When I went back to my bike, I was flying through them, because I had great suspensions. My friend’s bike wasn’t stock, far from it. So imagine how much harder it would have been on a Privateer’s bike!?!

The point I’m trying to make is, Privateers have everything working against them. This is especially true for Supercross. The tracks are twice as hard for them, not because of their lack of skills, but because of the lack of parts and bikes that aren’t good enough for . Racing is expensive, tiring and very un-rewarding sometimes. And yet those guys are there, race after race, trying to make it to the main event and get noticed. They’re not making any money; they’re probably losing a bunch though! But they keep coming back race after race, with the help of their family and friends, to do what they love.
I want to help them get noticed more often, so this year I started taking lots of photos of Privateers riders at the races, and posting all the best ones on my site at www.sr21photography.com, where everyone can view and download any images they like, and use them on their personal websites or press-book and such. You never really see good photography of Privateer riders, and I would like to help change that and get them the exposure they deserve.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this article! Please feel free to post your comments at the bottom of the page to share your thoughts.

Stephane Roncada | AKA Ronron

  • bullwishes

    i agree they need more exposure and even alittle help, could you imagine only having the 2 factory kawi riders the 2 yoshi suzuki riders no yamahas 2 ktms and 2 honda on the track man that would ruin the sport. without the privateers supercross is nothing and they are the ones that give people like me faith that i could do it some day and not be a vp or stewart or dungey or reed

  • I agree…I know a few good photos isn’t gonna help them much, but it’s a start, and who doesn’t like a cool pic of themselves? 🙂

  • Derek Egbert

    Great post. I agree, we need more exposure of the privateer riders, they are hardly mentioned or noticed at the races but they are an important part of our sport!