Features 18 Nov 2014

Industry Insight: Full Throttle Sports’ Yarrive Konsky

Supercross organiser looks back on season 2014 and more.

The 2014 Penrite Australian Supercross Championship has been hailed a success this season, under the organisation of Full Throttle Sports with Yarrive Konsky at the helm. MotoOline.com.au spoke to Konsky following Brisbane’s indoor season finale to get his take on the series just finished.

Image: Marc Jones.

Image: Marc Jones.

From a promoter’s perspective, how would you rate the 2014 season?

I am genuinely a perfectionist. I look at everything and want to improve it. I know what we can do better to improve the event as an entertaining program and I hope that some of these elements can be implemented next year. I can’t fault my staff and their selfless efforts, from that perspective they were working vigorously to provide a great and worthy championship – they are there for all of the riders and it shows. I’m appreciative their continued efforts and faith.

Between Bathurst, Phillip Island and Brisbane we witnessed a very unique event at each. How was the feedback between the three?

The feedback has been overwhelming. I accept constructive criticism, without it there wouldn’t be progress, but this year there was little to no criticism and I was waiting for it following every event. There are definitely areas we can improve on. At the Brisbane indoor we needed to provide an area for families and friends who had travelled with riders and teams and we hadn’t. I had overlooked it and that’s not good enough.

How important is it to take the sport to the fans indoors; even if the circuit is ultra tight for racing?

The best riders won in and out doors this year so the size of the track didn’t determine results. There where triples, doubles, rhythm sections, turns and stutters. The indoor venues are a necessity. Society expects certain creature comforts. If you go to the cinemas, football, swimming, cricket, concerts and soccer, etc… You are provided with decent food, comfortable seating and utilities. We are competing with all forms of entertainment for crowd and sponsorship interests so we need to adapt or die.

Competitor numbers were consistent across the season, but there’s still room for more especially at the outdoor events. What’s an ideal number to attract per class in the current climate?

This is simply a numbers question that needs to be relative to our market. We are 90 percent smaller than America… 90 percent! That is a huge number and the expectation of unobtainable grid numbers is unfair in motocross and supercross. I think the numbers are strong. I am not afraid of criticism so I suggest we abolish the Under 19 program. If we do that it will encourage growth in the MX1 and MX2 classes. If we can get 30 in each class I believe we will be doing well. There aren’t 30 people in the men’s 100m at the Olympics; there aren’t 30 people in swimming races. It’s not about the number of athletes that are competing it’s about the quality of the competition and if we make the fields more competitive the racing will improve, we need fearless 16-year-olds taking it to the veterans of our sport.

We’ve seen arenacross races hosted alongside supercross this year on what’s essentially a tamed-down track, plus clubman level categories in supercross itself. Can that work as a development-type feeder platform?

Definitely! What I witnessed this year was priceless. We didn’t just encourage participation we encouraged integration. Matt Moss, along with other riders, were able to engage with their core fans – amateur racers, families and friends of families. It genuinely was the most important factor to improving the gap between pro riders and amateurs which is imperative to encourage desire. We made heroes out of the riders this year and the arenacross really helped that.

Image: Marc Jones.

Image: Marc Jones.

Was the series viable for Full Throttle Sports in 2014? It’s no secret that the last couple of years has been very difficult financially when it comes to promoting supercross.

Previous supercross events weren’t the primary issue there were other obvious factors…

Commercially, were the sponsors pleased with what was delivered this year?

I believe so.

As the current organiser, how stable is the series as it stands?

I genuinely believe supercross has never been unstable. When Philip Christensen promoted supercross, certain people endeavoured to work against him in an effort to suit themselves. Those same people aligned themselves with SEL and again with GAS. All of these promoters were amazing in their own right. The primary inconsistencies were the same influential industry leaders working against what was best for the sport and thinking only of themselves. This year was the most sustainable year because those racing wanted to race and wanted to see the sport progress and were happy to be there. The fans haven’t gone anywhere and I believe we proved that yet again this year.

Do we need more events on the supercross calendar, considering there’s also an existing 10-round motocross series to budget for as well?

This is the issue in Australia. We are pooling from the same industry money currently to go racing. The manufactures have a multiple of ways of endorsing and marketing their products. There are the off-road championships, A4DE, the desert race events, the road race championships, MotoGP, WSBK, MX Nationals, SX nationals and Enduro-X. Can a market that hasn’t seen significant growth afford to be competing across a multiple of disciplines? I don’t know. There are arguments for and against. Australian Supercross is important, so are the enduro events and the road racing championship. It genuinely depends on strategies and objectives. Do riders want to race more often? Some do, some don’t, some can afford it and some can’t. MA has a responsibility to ensure that they are considering all factors when deciding on the number of events in a calendar year for or country.

What will Full Throttle Sports’ involvement be for 2015?

I can’t confirm conclusively, however I will be involved. Whether it’s as a consultant, promoter or team owner I will be at supercross in 2015. I love it, I am a fan and I want to see it work.

Thank you for your time as always, it was a fantastic series and one that we’re certainly hopeful will enable the sport to gain momentum into the future.

Thanks MotoOnline; your continued contribution to motorcycle sport in Australia has aided in the global reach we achieved this year.