WE CATCH UP WITH THE BERRY SWEET LUCAS OIL YAMAHA RACE TEAM AS IT ANNOUNCES ITS BIGGEST SIGNING TO DATE
STORY DAMIEN ASHENHURST
PHOTOGRAPHY DAMIEN ASHENHURST
As the motocross season came to a close, emotions were mixed in the Anderson camp. On one hand, Craig was facing a future that no longer held another motocross season for him as a rider. On the other hand, he could now turn his attention to the running of the team, something he knows he needs and wants to do.
Before the boots were hung up, though, there was one final supercross season to run. The usual lead-up processes had to take shape with the building and testing of SX bikes and also the recruitment of a Lites rider, given Luke Arbon is still out with injury. Ando found Arbon’s replacement in young Mitch Norris who lives relatively close to the team facilities and is eager to learn all he can from the veteran.
As for Ando’s frame of mind heading into his final SX season, we hear he’s a little grumpy. A new path is laid out ahead and all the familiar steps are being repaved. It’s a huge moment and impossible to put to the back of your mind.
MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND
Also on the cards is the start of the hunt for sponsors for 2013. This is in some ways a never-ending process but, for any team to continue to grow, money has to come in and the pool is getting crowded.
In the past, Craig has looked to predominantly outside industry sources and is doing the same this time around. “John Titman Racing and Yamaha are our biggest dirtbike industry supporters and JTR has been with us from the start,” said Ando. “I like to stay loyal whenever possible so of course the first guys I rang in regard to 2013 were JTR and they’re keen to stay on board.”
Which brings us to the biggest development that will make the team that much more attractive to sponsors. In mid-October, Craig announced that he’d signed Tye Simmonds as the team’s Opens rider for 2013. The immediate rise in profile for the team has two major effects. As mentioned, it makes it more appealing to sponsors when a rider of that stature is up front battling for wins, but it also puts the pressure on to go get those top results.
Ando sums that pressure up simply: “I want to win. That’s all I want this team to do: win. I’ve been talking to Tye for a while now and we have a lot in common. He wanted to find the best fit for him and then he wanted to go win races and titles and it turns out what we do and the way we do it suits him.
“He rode my bike and was fast straight away — and I mean real fast. He’ll spend a lot of time away from Bourke and here with the team and using all we have to test and race. I’ll work with him 24/7 to see him get up front.”
We know that a lot of riders had approached Craig towards the end of the 2012 motocross season looking for a ride. A lot of them liked what they saw and Craig had tough choices to make when it came to signing the right rider. It eventually came down to two or three high-profile guys and Tye won out, although at the time of writing another title-winning rider is also looking to find a spot and has approached Ando.
“It’s good to see that guys are recognising what we do here and what I and the team can offer them,” he says. “We’re not a factory team with the finances that go along with all that but there isn’t much I haven’t seen in this sport, so my knowledge and our drive to win is what we offer.”
Tye will make his debut in blue at the conclusion of the 2012 supercross season and a lot of people will be watching closely to see if Ando can turn Tye’s career around and cement his team as a title contender.