Last week it was announced by crash.net, that hip-hop artist Ludacris and his label DTP, would get involved in the world of motorcycles, specifically the ill-sponsored WCM team. I have to say that Iâ€™m on the fence on this and here is why.
Last week it was announced by crash.net, that hip-hop artist Ludacris and his label DTP, would get involved in the world of motorcycles, specifically the ill-sponsored WCM team.
I have to say that I’m on the fence on this and here is why. Whether we want to admit or not, racing has always had certain panache. Unlike ball-and-stick sports, racing costs money, lots of money. Which is the reason why in the early days, only the rich could afford to race.
There are many reasons why racing is expensive, the cost of the vehicle themselves being the main one. You can’t simply buy a competitive bike and expect to win; you also need a team behind you that will help you understand the motorcycle. This of course, does not take the rider’s salary into account, nor the R&D hours spent to crate a competitive bike.
The point is that you need money. As we know, money does not grow on trees, if you know otherwise please send me a seed. Unless you are a billionaire team owner, you are probably going to seek sponsorship.
In the early days of racing, most sponsorship money came from the tobacco industry. With all the laws around tobacco advertising, the racing industry has had to take a second look at their primary form of income and think about alternatives. Sure, in the currently MotoGP paddock we have a petroleum giant (Repsol), a media conglomerate (Telefonica Movistar) and an electronics manufacturer (Konica-Minolta) but all the other competitive teams are backed by tobacco companies (Both Yamaha teams, one Honda team and one Ducati team) or the factories themselves (Suzuki, Kawasaki and KR-KTM).
So the money must come from somewhere, even if it is dirty, cancer-giving, tobacco dollars.
This brings us to our initial discussion of our sport’s panache and whether or not the hip-hop world fits this.
I suppose that if you take panache on its face value, the hip-hop world fits this very well. After all, they are flamboyant with their stretch Hummers. They are stylish with their baggy and colorful clothing. And are certainly confident in their lyrics.
However, do we really want rap music, guns, and pimps at Laguna Seca? Let us be blunt, I am not the one that is stereotyping hip-hop, rather it is them that loudly and explicitly claim it on their records.
On the other hand, what are the current alternatives? Last time I checked, hip-hop records never killed anyone, at least not as many people as cigarettes do. And the petroleum industry is no different if you begin talking about the environment and the industry’s effects. What about the media you ask? Easy, they may not kill anyone nor damage the environment, but you cannot tell me they are much better than the other two.
So what are we to do? Allow our sport to fall the way of the dodo bird, or as we like to call it, Aprilia racing? Suzuki, Kawasaki, etc, are not going to be able to sustain their efforts much longer. Are we going to ask them to turn down fifty-cent’s sponsorship because it offends women? Or is this the new tobacco of the new millennium; we may not like it, but a racer has to race.
These are tough questions for the toughest sport in the world, the world of MotoGP. You’ve read my view, tell me yours…