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In The Champ’s Corner, Part 4: The Sponsor

1 year ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Wade Lewis, Made Social, DPH/M33 Productions, Andy Wigan

From the outside, motocross might appear to be an individual sport. But any motocross rider who’s won at the elite level will tell you that having the right people in their corner is an absolute prerequisite for success. We spoke with the key people in Todd Waters’ corner; those who proudly witnessed the likeable 28-year-old clinch his long-overdue maiden Australian MX1 Championship title.

“Todd is a straight-up solid character. Totally down to earth. He knows how to have a laugh and how to be professional, and when each is appropriate. There’s no pretense with Toddy.”

JOHNNY McLEAN, LUSTY INDUSTRIES

TM: The early days…
JM: “I got to know Toddy and his dad, Steve, during the last few years of his time on KTM’s Junior program, back around 2006. And because he’s such a good dude, we reconnected around 2011-’12 and have had some sort of sponsorship arrangement with him ever since. Y’know, even if the team’s deal meant Todd couldn’t wear our riding gear, we’d support him where we could with brands that didn’t conflict. He’s a straight-up solid character. Totally down to earth. He knows how to have a laugh and how to be professional, and when each is appropriate. There’s no pretense with Toddy. Every time he drives past Newcastle, he’ll make the effort to swing by the office and say hey to the Lusty team. Or hassle us to come riding. Or just come hang out at my home. He always makes the time.”

The opportunity for TLD to sponsor the DPH Motorsport team in 2019…
“After TLD sponsored KTM’s official motocross team for a few years, there was no opportunity to extend that with the new Raceline KTM team this year (as they had a gear deal in place with Thor), so I basically decided to park going racing with a factory team effort for 2019. We’d initially looked to help Todd out with a standalone gear deal for his plans to race in America, but we just couldn’t get the funding together at the time. Late last year, racing in America was still Todd’s plan. But in early December last year, I got a call from the DPH guys, saying they’d signed Todd Waters, Wilson Todd and Bailey Malkiewicz. We didn’t have an MX team deal in place, but we didn’t have any money to spend either. So it was a matter of having to beg, borrow and steal [laughs] because a gear deal at that level amounts to a six-figure sum. We ended up getting some help from Troy Lee in America with product, but Lusty fronted up all the cash. It was really late in the year to be scrambling to put a deal together, but I’m pumped we did. The DPH Motorsport team was a really good fit for us and our brands, and it’s awesome to be part of Toddy’s, and Wilson Todd’s, title wins. And how good was it that the underdog DPH outfit was the first team to ever win both MX1 and MX2 titles in the one season?!”

“I think that Todd has absolutely changed the game in the last year or two. Obviously he knows how to ride a dirt bike fast. But off the bike, he’s become so aware of what it means to be the total package.”

Coolum Celebrations?…
“I was still absolutely f@#ked for much of the week after Coolum. It’s fair to say that me, Todd and Matty Macalpine got absolutely wankered and ran amok on some Coolum dancefloor. We got home about 5am and I missed my flight. From what I hear, Todd bounced out of bed shortly after daybreak and went surfing. Seriously, dude’s unstoppable!”

Todd, as an athlete and character…
“I think that Todd has absolutely changed the game in the last year or two. Obviously he knows how to ride a dirt bike fast. But off the bike, he’s become so aware of what it means to be the total package. No other rider in motocross is looking to grow their profile and offer value for sponsors anywhere near as much as Todd. I mean, he’s paying to get his own video edits done, and doing them in a way that benefits everyone involved in supporting him, rather than simply seeing himself as a brand. He’s got a great sense of humour and he’s become very good at building profile – both for himself and personal sponsors. The audience reach and levels of engagement he’s got right now are just off the charts. That’s not to disrespect other riders. I’m just saying that they’re so focused of winning that they forget about all those other elements where they can add value for sponsors. Todd’s become so good at creating content, we’re tipping in some money for him to create TLD’s 2020 gear range launch video, rather than do what we traditionally do and use the US-generated content. When you’ve got local riders who are winning and motivated to create content, why wouldn’t we use them? And when it comes to winning this year’s title … well, every rider deserves it. But Todd actually earned it!”

“When it comes to winning this year’s title … well, every rider deserves it. But Todd actually earned it!”


Related Content

IN THE CHAMP’S CORNER, PART 1: THE CHAMP

RED PLATES IN SIBERIA

IN THE CHAMP’S CORNER, PART 2: THE RACE TEAM

IN THE CHAMP’S CORNER, PART 3: THE ‘OLD MAN’

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