It’s not easy being a team manager in supercross and motocross. You have to deal with all the logistics of moving semi trucks full of motorcycles and racing equipment all around the country with a dozen or so people all looking to you for leadership. There’s also a rider or three on the team who need to focus on trying to do the best they can on the racetrack, and they’re looking at the manager to help them fulfill their potential.
In my experience (more than a decade) working for different teams, there are managers who work well in the day-to-day processes of running a team but can’t offer the riders much in terms of how to get better. The flip side is the former racer who can relate to the riders, but because they’ve just been racers their whole lives, dealing with team personalities, budgets, and scheduling is not their specialty.
Michael Byrne, however, has seemingly been able to balance both aspects of the job for the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM-WPS team, and it’s showing for his riders Blake Baggett (who got his first 450SX win this year), Justin Bogle, and Benny Bloss—the latter two showing steady improvement while the former racks up wins. Of course, Byrne had a successful career on the bike with two different factory teams and 13 career podiums. But like a lot of racers, after his career ended in 2014 (prematurely from complications of a broken lower leg suffered while leading at Unadilla in 2012), Byrner didn’t know exactly what his next step would be.