There’s an unwritten rule in bike racing that you don’t steal someone else’s sponsor. It’s like shagging another bloke’s wife; it’s just really bad form. That said, I’m sure both of those things do go on in equal measure, in most racing paddocks. They certainly do in any racing paddock I’ve been in, anyway.
I’m not married (yet), so I’ve never had to deal with anyone sleeping with my wife, but I have had to deal with people trying (and sometimes succeeding) to steal my sponsors. I’m not going to name any names, but there was one lad who decided that rather than put in the graft to find his own sponsor, he’d take the easy route and groom one of mine instead.
I probably would have got over it had I not heard that his pitch to my sponsor was largely based on the fact that he’s better than me, and stands a better chance than I ever will of giving said sponsor the exposure they want. I don’t know why the prick didn’t just leave me out of it. Completely unnecessary.
Pissed off and pissed.
It really pissed me off and I don’t think I said one word to the kid for the rest of the season. Or ever, come to think of it. But what I did at the last round of the season did cheer me up a bit.
I’d never hurt anyone, I’m not a vandal and I’d never intentionally do any criminal damage to anything. But, after a load of beers during the party at the last round of the year, I decided to let all five (we even climbed underneath to get to the spare) tyres down on his van. There was no slashing or anything like that, I literally just let the air out of them because I’m not a complete twat. And I expect he had a compressor in the back of his van anyway, so it’ll have only inconvenienced him, rather than costing him a load of money. But it still made me feel a lot better.
And if you’re reading this, Mr Sponsor Stealer (you know who you are… and now you know who I am), I’m not sorry. It served you right.
You can read the back catalogue of Confessions of a Motorcycle Racer, Part one ‘What I really think when I see a yellow flag’, Part two ‘Cheating’ and Part three Cheating again, by clicking on these links.