Photos & Musings: Miscellaneous

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Promotion and professionalism

Racing at the top level is a business. The rider is the product and corporate sponsors invest in that product in order to make commercial gain of one sort or another. No other reason.

Yes, of course there are always personal benefactor sponsors, like parents for example, but those aside, if you want to attract corporate sponsorship, whether that be cash from outside-the-industry investors, or free spark plugs, you have to focus on what you can do for them, not the other way around.

So many riders think that because they have achieved some results that they are somehow owed, or deserve sponsorship. That's not my viewpoint. To me, results are almost secondary to how you conduct yourself, how you promote both yourself and your public image, how you push and publicise the products or service of your backers, and your relationship with the press.

I always worked hard at this and worked closely with my sponsors. As a result I probably received far better backing than riders of equal calibre.

In 1988 I secured a deal with Peugeot UK and my nearest dealer, and received a 205 GTi. Even today I don't see riders looking in such directions for sponsorship and self-promotion.

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