Racer X: What got Cycle Trader interested in sponsoring a motocross and supercross team?
Paige Bouma: Well, I could be biased because our whole family is involved in motocross, but I truly believe that motocross is the most action-packed, adrenaline-pumping sport on this planet. Our whole family loves it and is involved in it. There’s the intense racing aspect of it, and even more importantly, there’s the family side of it. Our employees, users and dealers are all very active in the power sports community, and we knew all along that we wanted to sponsor some type of race team. Motocross and supercross just seemed like the right place to be.
Here's the new look for Rock River in 2014.
Photo courtesy Cycle Trader
How did you end up with Rock River Yamaha?
In looking at different teams, Rock River seemed to have it all. They’ve got a great pro team, which is a huge plus, and with our corporate backing we think we’ll be able to help take them to the next level. But the pro team is only half of the picture. What’s possibly even more important is the amateur side, and Rock River Yamaha supports all sorts of riders, from kids on PWs who are just starting out to 450 riders who are trying to earn their pro cards. That’s what made them stand out from some of the other teams and made us really want to be a part of the Rock River vision. I’m thrilled to be part of this team, and I can’t wait to see what CycleTrader.com Rock River Yamaha will bring to supercross and motocross this year.
Is this a one-year trial, or is this something you’d like to be involved in for a long time?
We’ve included this in our future plans. We want to stay part of this sport. When I first sat down with Mike DuClos (owner of Rock River Yamaha) and Christina Denney (team manager) and started talking about this, it became clear that we all envisioned this as a long-term partnership. It’s not something that we just want to do for one year, we are committing to it. It took us a long time to get to this point because when we do something, we do it 100 percent.
I understand you’re also building an app around the team, as well as incorporating it into the CycleTrader.com homepage.
Like I said, we’re 100 percent all in. If we’re going to be sponsoring a team, we’re going to be a big part of it. So we’re creating what we’re going to call our Pro Pit Corner, which will be right on our homepage, the first place people land when they go to our site. Users will be able to interact with team personnel and riders, and it’ll have a Tech Talk section where people can get tips from pro mechanics. There will also be an events calendar, which, in addition to pro races, will include all of the things that Rock River Yamaha does on the amateur side. We’re even looking at putting a section up that will give people the opportunity to buy the pro’s bikes. You’ll be able to purchase the actual bike of Ben LaMay, Alex Martin or whoever else happens to be on the team. We’ll have twenty to twenty-five bikes throughout the year. How cool is it to be able to have an actual pro bike in your garage? We’ll also have what we’re calling rider-grams, which should encourage some really good interaction. Let’s say you’re at the track and you walk by the truck or get an autograph from one of the team riders at a dealer signing. We’ll have a section in the Pro Pit Corner where we are going to post pictures that people take of themselves doing that stuff.
It’s all part of our plan to help people build cool moto-memories with the team and our business, and we’ll take that a step further with the app we’re building. We’ll hold weekly drawings where people can win jerseys, graphics and other cool items from the races. The main thing with the app is we’re looking to build something for the VIP fan. The details aren’t finalized, but app users will be able to earn points from all of the interactions they have with the team at the races, dealer signings or through our site. Then you’ll be able to win cool team items through the VIP app.
CycleTrader.com GM Paige Bouma has big plans for fan interaction with the team.
Photo courtesy Cycle Trader
From a business standpoint, the benefit to Rock River Yamaha here is obvious. What’s the benefit to CycleTrader.com?
Being out there in front of the younger generation who may not be quite as familiar with us. We’ve been in this space for a very long time, and we want to be a household name in this industry. We want to be the first place people go when they think about buying or selling a bike. We have a great product, we have over 300,000 bikes on our site, and everything can be accessed through your smartphone, tablet or computer. We’ve got a great app too. People can take a picture with their phone and post it for free from their own driveway, and we want to get that message out.
Talk about competing with other competitors in the digital age, like Craigslist.
Craigslist and what we do is like apples and oranges. Craigslist is great for certain things, but when I’m making a big purchase, something as important as a motorcycle, it’s important to be sure you’re using the right resource to do it. You’re not going to find random items mixed in with our listings. We also have a dedicated team based in Seattle that monitors our ads and makes sure we don’t have any kind of fraud going on. We make sure our users have a great experience by protecting both the buyer and the seller. We’ve created a superior product to search for and quickly find what you’re looking for. The bottom line is that we want our product to help more people get out there on the track and riding.