Sponsors want to know that when the going gets tough, you get tougher.
Motivation and drive need to come from within. Whatever your reason for winning, it better be good enough to pull you through whatever kind of horrors the track can throw at you, because all of the sponsors and team managers I spoke to agreed: They want a rider that is self motivated.
Now, this isn't to say they aren't willing to give pep talks, or have team pow wows to get riders pumped, but they want someone who has the inner drive and strength to get to the top of the box.
"Shane (Cuthbertson) and Ben (Rego) have got to where they are very much on their own efforts..." says Fryberger, both Husaberg riders are a good example of dedication and hard work. "My work ethic is a little intense, but I think that is what has got me to where I am. Work hard; play hard kind of deal... Work first, ask after."
Guy Giroux says: "A good rider will motivate himself. I choose my riders because of their desire. I will try to help them improve and give them the tools they need to succeed based on my experience, but I can only offer so much."
It's a good point. Most sponsors aren't hands on. A lot of time that job falls to a team manager, like Giroux or Fryberger, or if you're privateer, it falls on you.
It can be a lot of pressure, I know, but if this sport was easy, everyone would do it. The drive to get up and keep going after you case a double and eject over the bars, or the strength to pull your bike out of the mud or force it over a log is what divides a good rider from a great one, and the drive to continue, to finish at all costs, is something sponsors are looking for.
Come back tomorrow for part four in our series, and learn what other traits sponsors are looking for in their riders.