Too often this time of year we hear about teams folding and solid riders unable to line up rides. Fortunately it’s not all doom and gloom, and MAD Racing, backed by Dirt Candy/Suzuki/Yoshimura, has taken a big step forward in the signing of Daniel Baker and Matt Bisceglia to two-year deals last week. This is the long-awaited return to the 250 class for Suzuki. But what exactly is MAD Racing? We caught up with team manager Robert Lind, a former pro himself, to learn more about this amplified effort.
Racer X: Last we checked you were a racer. How’d you end up as a team manager?
Robert Lind: Yeah, I still feel like I’m a racer! The plan, even just in August, was to race supercross and motocross, so this decision was made pretty late. But I’m pretty happy about it so far! I’ve been with Dirt Candy for the last two seasons, and I’d been having a lot of injuries. It was a big bummer for me because I feel like I’ve spent more time being injured than I have racing. The plan for next year was just to be healthy and come in ready to race Anaheim. So this is really fresh.
Do you think you’ll return to racing in the future?
We’ll see about that. I don’t feel like I’m done racing, and I’m definitely not done riding. It’s not like I’m tossing my gloves on the shelf and quitting. I’ll keep riding as much as possible, but right now I’m happy with my new role. With all the injuries, and the level I’m at, it just makes sense and I’m looking forward to the challenge. So far everything is really good. I’m really organized and I like to have a plan for everything, which is one of the reasons I got to where I am. I think the managing role will suit me pretty well.
[Film: Chase Stallo]
Who’s on the team?
Matt Bisceglia and Daniel Baker will be our riders. Bisceglia will race West, Baker will do East, and they’ll both race 250s outdoors. Bisceglia will probably do a few East Coast rounds on a 450 too.
Will there be a fulltime 450 rider in the future?
We’ll just have to wait and see how everything turns out. The team is always building, and 2016 will be a big step for us with these two guys and this program. Bisceglia is a proven rider for sure [note: Baker will be a supercross rookie in 2016] and he’s looking really good. He was looking really comfortable even before we started doing all the testing. We’re in testing now, and we’ll continue to do that with both riders all the way up to Anaheim, and in January we’ll come out swinging. Bisceglia looks awesome on the Suzuki.
What kind of support are you receiving from Suzuki?
We have direct support from Suzuki, and we’re powered by Yoshimura, who is a big part of our program—they build our engines. WP has helped big time too. It’s a solid program, and I feel we have everything we need to make our bikes as good, or even better, than the other teams’.
Speaking of WP suspension, how’d that happen? That’s not what comes stock on those bikes.
When we had Ronnie Stewart and Brett Metcalfe we had an obligation to supply them with whatever they felt most comfortable on. I have a friend over at WP, they helped out, and we developed a good relationship with them. The riders liked it right away, and from there on the relationship just got stronger and stronger. It’s a very good product.
[Film: Austin White]
What exactly is MAD Racing?
The team is owned by Mad Racing, and MAD stands for Mike Andrew Davignon, who owns the team. The official name is Dirt Candy Suzuki, powered by Yoshimura.
Talk about some of the unexpected challenges you’ve encountered so far as a team manager.
It’s definitely different. Now my focus is just to make sure the only thing the riders have to do is just ride the bike and be happy. I address any issues they might have, too. Say for example, if they want to do suspension testing, I’ll schedule a day with WP. It’s my job to solve any problems as quickly as possible, and to make sure we have everything we need in the shop so the mechanics can focus on the bikes. It sure is different than what I used to do, and even though a part of me wishes I was still out racing, I’m looking forward to managing this team and helping everyone on it as much as I possibly can.