Yes! It’s been a few months, but our Client Spotlight series is back featuring Iain Grae from realMotocross. Iain shares how his community unites motocross fans, riders and racers, both online and off (you know, where the dirt is!). Members can find sponsors, create race resumes, review motocross tracks and products, receive discounts on merchandise, and share racing videos and pictures!
SocialEngine: So why start a motocross community?
Iain Grae: It was primarily designed because the decline in the economy, increase in motorcycle costs, and lack of places to ride severely stunted the growth of the sport. I wanted to create a forum where riders, track owners, motocross schools, and companies that design products for mx riders would be able to come together to help grow motocross, supercross and off road riding.
The main goal originally was to help riders and industry people unite. It has since grown as a way to make the sport more affordable, bring new people in, and now has become a place for entertainment for those who ride. realMotocross.com will continue to evolve as the riders and members make it their own.
SE: realMotocross is more than just entertainment though, right?
Iain: Yes, there has been increased legislation that closed many places riders used to frequent – many are inaccessible without a vehicle that goes off road. Imagine a 50,000 acre wild life park that is closed to off road vehicles – now think about how much of that park can be enjoyed by foot – not a whole lot. With the right controls people can enjoy that same area in its near entirety with the use of an off road vehicle. realMotocross helps make riders aware of this type of threatening legislation, and gives them tools to help protect their right to ride.
At the same time, many racing parks have been forced to shut down due to rezoning laws and other reasons by new neighbors. These are legitimate businesses that have often been in operation for over 50 years forced to close because they do not have a forum to unite riders. realMotocross makes it easy for track owners to talk to the community and create the power in numbers that is needed to keep tracks open.
SE: Is there a typical age for realMotocross members, or skill level? The sponsorship section encourages riders to apply.
Iain: realMotocross is place to bring all riders of all skill levels together. The point is so you always have someone to ride with so you don’t have to ride alone, which is pretty dangerous. The more experienced riders can interact with the newcomers which help shorten the learning curve and progress the sport as a whole.
As for sponsorship, companies that utilize realMotocross to find riders are definitely looking at skill level and results. However the format of a social network allow companies to see into the personality of the rider and therefore knows how much impact that rider has on the entire community. Someone that my be a Novice rider might get more support than another person who is an Expert because they are more active, have more friends, a larger following on the site and people are looking, asking them questions and that gives their sponsors more exposure. The site directly gives riders back what they put in so it is very unique in that respect.
SE: How active are members with attending these real life events? Are you active at races to promote the site?
Iain: I actually just got an email from Davo at Stimilon who’s holding an event in Southwick, MA in May. A few people from Tennessee just signed up for an event that is over 1000 miles away and not for another three months – that’s unheard of in this industry. Pro racers don’t even sign up until a week or two before big events, and amateur racing usually gets sign ups the day of their event, so we are definitely making headway. At just over a year old, I am very excited at how far we’ve come.
We try to get to a race every week, but it’s not always feasible. Last year, we visited about 3 tracks a week on average, and gave out coupons, t-shirts, stickers etc. This year, we are focusing on doing pro events on the weekends and casual riding during the week, so we have a little more time to build the business. If someone wants to find us, they can just check where we will be right on the realmotocross.com home page. We post announcements weekly.
SE: What can we expect from realMotocross in a few years? Any new features in the works?
Iain: Haha, well that’s a good question. realMotocross started as a plan to go from Miami to SoCal for The Day in The Dirt – it was supposed to be a six week trip. 18 months later, I’m still living in a 40′ RV and have yet to make it to that race. Now with a social network of just under 40,000 motocross riders, a Pro Race team, and some awesome contacts in the industry, the sky is the limit.
My plan is to continue building the member base and increasing usability on the site. As for new site features, we’ve got a handful in the works that will give riders rewards, badges and other perks, but most of all, we are focusing on making the community interactive. I would also like to build the Pro Race Team to have 6 racers instead of three, and have the same size amateur effort – but that whole world of running a race team is new to me, and I am paying out of pocket for everything right now as I learn the ropes.
The only other major initiative over the next 36 months will be to partner with a few places to bring new people into the sport. Buying a new bike, gear, and transportation is a big commitment. Spending lots of money is intimidating for people that don’t really know how much they will enjoy the sport, so we are looking at ways to get fans and non-riders a chance to try it out before spending thousands of dollars.
SE: Awesome goals! So, how did you hear about us? Why use SocialEngine for realMotocross?
Iain: Lots of research. Actually, I tried a few open source programs first which turned out to be very costly in time and money for customization. SocialEngine was a platform that is inexpensive, stable and had a great deal of the features already built in. Customization became easy now that I found the right team, so after some testing it was clearly the best choice.
I see SE as a tool for creating niche communities. I don’t think anyone should dream of replacing Facebook anytime soon, but there are audiences that Facebook does not serve. Also, Facebook cannot tap into the specific reach of these niche communities. SocialEngine is the platform that allows anyone with a little or a lot of technical experience to have a social network at a low cost.
SE: Personally, what’s your interest in motocross?
Iain: For me personally, racing motocross taught me discipline, how to focus on string goals, and how to sacrifice a little of today’s fun for the rewards that come with hard work and dedication. I was able to take that into the business world and become very successful. Racing motocross taught me how to work with others and how to work hard on my own. I want other people to learn those same attributes allowing them to become successful adults. I still ride & race, and I love it maybe even more than ever, but now it’s a way for me to give back to a sport that has given me so much.
SE: Thanks, Iain!
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