Industry Insight: Carlton Dry Honda’s Yarrive Konsky //
POSTED: 12 Apr 2012 | SECTION: Industry Insight | POSTED BY:Alex Gobert
MotoOnline.com.au speaks all things moto with the boss of Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing.
Yarrive Konsky has one plan for Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing in 2012: win at all costs. The team has stepped up big time on track this season, with Brad Anderson and Ford Dale leading the team’s charge for a Monster Energy MX Nationals title.
But it’s been the arrival of world champion Ben Townley – at least for the opening two MXN rounds – that has stolen much of the limelight, winning Conondale with relative ease and proving that Konsky’s team has what it takes to compete at the top.
MotoOnline.com.au conducted this interview with the Victorian-based team owner to speak about Townley, Anderson, Dale and the current state of the sport in Australia.
BT was dominant at Conondale’s opening round for Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing, plus Brad and Ford were also right there as the fastest of the series regulars. What was your take on the weekend?
For the Carlton Dry Honda Thor team it highlighted that our program is strong, and we have the ability to build winning motorcycles and provide an environment to win from.
It was important for everyone involved as we have had inconsistent results the past few years and doubters had started to rear the heads. Most importantly, my team needed to feel like winners and thanks to Ben, Brad and Ford they did.
They are a selfless team who commit their all and this was an important step for us. It also highlighted that the changes we have made have been instrumental in our end result. I know it’s only round one, but overall this was a huge step forward for the team.
With regards to the event, I must say with Monster Energy getting behind the championship a shift in brand awareness has resulted in greater hype and widespread interest. WEM and Monster did a great job and I hope they continue down the same path.
Ben has since been confirmed for Coonabarabran before heading to the U.S, but for you working alongside him, what is it that makes him so much better than the rest in Australia? Is there anything that clearly stands out?
First and foremost he loves riding. Since his signing I have learned a lot by listening. He really loves riding his motorcycle, he loves a team that believes in him and listens to him, and he loves his family – in other words, he is happy.
Besides being happy, he is organised. I have said it before and I will continue to say it – an organised athlete is a prepared athlete. Ben has a routine and he invests in himself.
He has the right people around him. Trainers, intellectual sport educators, riding coach, nutritionists, practice bike mechanic, and a supportive family. All of this ensures that Ben gives himself the ultimate chance to be the best he can be.
He is fast because he trains himself to be the best and uses the right tools to be the best. Everything has purpose and quality.
What are your predictions for the AMA opener at Hangtown next month? Can Ben battle for victory with TwoTwo?
Ben will win races in America. I am a realist, winning the championship will take everything he has. I know he will commit his all and in the end the most prepared racer will win the championship.
Ben is prepared to win, but he will be going to America with minimal time on their bike and in that environment, therefore round one is hard to predict. Anyone who counts him out is foolish.
TwoTwo is the best place for Ben to go after this. They have the equipment and resources to give Ben what he needs. He is a knowledgeable rider and can work out a bike quickly. He will race for the championship – that’s my predication.
Your team has a lot of support, both outside and within the industry, so did Ben’s departure affect those deals at all?
To be honest, no. I arranged all of the sponsorship prior to Ben’s signing. We had a strong team signed with Brad and Ford. I personally took Ben on without hesitation when he finally made his mind up to race in Australia. I knew he was a sound investment that would provide a lifetime of knowledge.
I rang Tony Hinton, general manager of Honda, and asked him if Honda could extend their support and he said yes. He is a fan of Ben and respects him as a rider and a person.
After we signed Ben, we went to our sponsors for some additional support and they all stepped up. When we went back to our sponsors they were all happy for Ben and supportive of his goals and ambitions.
Ben is an honorable person and before he agreed to race for TwoTwo he ensured that all of the team sponsors were okay. He literally told me to ring them before we spoke about his release.
What are your thoughts on the current state of motocross? Is the support base from sponsors about right where it’s at, or do teams need to work harder to gain more backing?
The industry extends itself; they haven’t got much more to give. Outside sponsorship is out there. However outside sponsorship requires professionals selling teams and the championship to the masses. The cost to do that is expensive.
Monster, Carlton United Breweries, Rockstar, Volkswagen, Caterpillar are companies who are leveraging motocross. They do this because they see value. They do extensive research before positioning their brands in something.
Motocross is in a good position. Of course I would like to see TV coverage, I would like to see more prize money, and I would like to see a greater corporate involvement.
What most don’t consider is that all of the above would take over million dollars more in turnover. TV alone for a 10-round championship would cost half a million dollars.
In time we will build on the sounding platform WEM has created, however it will take a collective effort. The onus can’t be on the promoter only. In V8 supercars teams pay a million dollars for their license in motocross they pay $300.
In V8, MotoGP and WSBK fines are issued if teams don’t turn up to race, don’t turn up to promotional days, etc. As a whole we need to work forward. It’s always improving, but we as teams and privateers can do more to help.
V8 Supercars is built around professional teams investing heavily in a program they all have ownership of. The rest is self-explanatory. Motocross is in a great position and it is gaining momentum. With Monsters involvement we will see widespread marketing that will reach new audiences.
Is the series popular enough to sustain these deals that we see teams like yours have in place?
Yes, so long as we continue to evolve. Traditional sports are heavily occupied and provide minimal leveraging opportunities. Motocross hits a wide demographic that geographically hits targeted audiences that outside of industry companies identify as important markets.
Anderson was no doubt second best in MX1 behind Townley at round one. What happened in the third and final moto when he was forced out? He was impressive!
He came up short on a jump and the radiator dug in and sliced a wire. It was enough to cut out the engine. We have never had this problem and will ensure that it will never happen again.
I was devastated. Brad works hard, his ethics and loyalties are admired in our team. He has the heart of a lion and there is no doubt he is capable of winning the championship.
He did nothing wrong at round one and second overall was robbed from him. He did nothing wrong and it was a bitter pill to swallow after such a successful start. He will bring it to round two and I really hope that he can regain lost points.
And Ford, we know he’s one of the fastest guys on track. What’s it going to take for him to piece the puzzle together and win this title?
Ford is one of the fastest guys on the planet. He doesn’t know how fast he is and continues to better himself. That’s not a problem, it’s a special gift. It’s because of this he has had an up and down career. He has spent the past two weeks with Ben in New Zealand and they have worked on his technique and approach to racing.
In motocross when you learn to go faster you are going to make mistakes, inevitably this translates into falling. Ford wants to be better and that’s admirable. Ford just needed to hear that there is a time to be fast and there is a time to be smart. Ben has been a great influence and I can’t thank him enough.
Thanks for your time! See you this weekend.