Ride Tribe Big Down Under
FXR Australia | November 4, 2016
By Dawn McClintock
Newly formed Australian company, Ride Tribe is shaking up the motocross world ‘Down Under’ where they have started outfitting riders and bringing FXR to the masses. We speak with owner and race support guy, Wesley Rose about his business and how things are shaping up for FXR Australia.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in the industry.
I used to race MX many years ago from when I was 4 years old to 17. I was a good state rider and even had some podiums at junior nationals. I was out of the sport from 17 till when I was 25 as the fast 50s took off which I started racing for around 3 years. I started a business then importing parts from companies in the USA. The scene died off so I gave it away. Fast forward another 10 years and my son Deegan decided he wanted to race MX at age 7. We slowly got back involved last year and this year competed at all the major state series and he is loving it! I have another business which sponsors another rider so we were flat out racing again and hooked!
That passion never completely leaves once you’re in it. Do you still race?
I did quite a few races last year as I was old enough to race the Vets class here (35 years). I was have a lot of fun doing so until the end of the year when I knocked myself out for a whole day and lost the week before hand with no memory reciliation. My wife Sophie and I decided it was time to give the racing away and let the young guys have their turn! Although I just did my first race in 12 months last weekend and came away with a 2nd overall after a win and a couple hole shots!
How did the whole FXR brand representation in Australia come together for you?
When myself and family were on vacation in the USA last October we took our son to Sean Lipanovich’s SLMX School for some coaching and became good friends. I kept in touch with Sean through the year and approached him about coming to Australia to do some coaching here. At the same time he became an ambassador for FXR in the USA. I saw pics of him on social media wearing this new FXR gear and asked him about it as I had never seen or heard of it before. He hooked me up with Andy White and the rest is history! Andy has been great helping me and my wife setting the brand up for FXR in Australia and helping with some rider support to get the name out there.
So tell us about the business you run.
Ride Tribe is a new business venture for my wife Sophie and I. When Andy was looking for shops to sell FXR here, no one was interested, so my wife said ‘Let’s start our own company and sell FXR ourselves’. She didn’t have to ask me twice. I was in! We saw there was market for another brand to compete with the big players here and loved the look of the FXR range. We want to get FXR on the map here and help out the rider that are giving MX a good go but not getting the help they deserve from the other brands. We are just trying to support the sport and help the MX industry grow.
Who do you have helping you out?
At the moment it’s just myself and my wife Sophie running the show with support from some great friends and family. We also have a good friend @ thea.taylor_ who is a photographer and media whiz lending a hand with pictures of riders and some media design work. As the brand grows here we will look at getting more people involved.
For those of us in North America who aren’t familiar with the climate in Australia, tell us about your riding season. Us Canadians have a very short window of opportunity for riding outdoors so I know people would be curious. How long does your typical outdoor series last?
Our racing season starts around March and finishes around November. We can ride all year round. The national outdoor series here last typically 5 months from April to August. We then have Supercross series which runs from August to November. This year’s SX series has been invaded with USA riders such as Faith, Decotis, Will Hahn, Justin Brayton, the 722, Hayden Mellrose come back, to name a few. It’s great for the sport to have these guys here racing to promote SX/MX in Australia.
Taking the FXR brand under your wing to market in Australia is like a whole new animal down there. What has been the reaction to the brand from the consumers?
So far the feedback has been great! People are excited to see a new brand here and are loving the bright colourways FXR has. We’re making good sales and trying hard to get it out there. The feedback from the riders is great also. We have club level to pro level riders wearing the gear and all are very happy with how it fits and how its lasting. The colours are not fading after washing also. More people are starting to see it out on the track so it’s only a matter of time until it takes off. Everyone is liking the 2017 gear pics so we are waiting for it to arrive and it will sell very well.
You have also started a race support program, somewhat similar to what we do here for amateur and pro athletes. How is your program going for you?
The program is going great. We have had around 40 people who have applied for support. We currently have around 15 riders with support at the moment ranging from good discounts to free gear. MX/SX racers, junior racers, dirt track racers, enduro riders, all both men and women. We are wanting to try and help as many people as possible with some kind of support.
You have a few prominent athletes who are helping you promote the brand now. Who do you have spreading the word?
On the pro level we have Geran Stapleton who is promoting and racing great in this year’s SX series. He placed 4th at Rd1 and 3rd at Rd2 so this is great publicity for FXR. We also have Ricky and Lochie Latimer who are from the TLR team on Yamahas in the Mx2 and MXD class this year. They have both had great results through the MX Nationals but also had some bike failures and injuries throughout the year. We have a new rider who is competing in the MX Nationals next year as a rookie to seniors Isaac Ferguson for the MXD class. In the juniors we have a couple fast kids Noah Ferguson on big wheel 85cc who placed 1st in state titles and 5th at junior nationals after a DNF, 3rd and 2nd place. Young Deegan Mancinelli on the 65cc and 85cc who is a multiple state/national champion and podium place getter. Also Cyshan Weale, the dirt track racer with multiple state championships and national podiums.
Do you find yourself at the races most weekends or are you kept pretty busy with other things?
The family and I are at most races as my son races. The season has now ended for us so time for a break and have a rest from racing until next year. My daughter does triathlon which season now starts so it’s her time now for her sport so we will be supporting her.
You’ve been doing a great job promoting your athletes on social media. Have you seen growth in your business through promotion on social media?
Yes social media is great and has helped us get the name out there for sure. Things are also different from 10 years ago when I was doing a similar business. You only had magazines to advertise in which came out once a month. Now you can post anything straight away as many times as you like. The your followers can share etc. to gain even more followers. For the short time we have been operating we have over 600 page likes on Facebook and nearly 400 followers on Instagram. I know it’s nothing compared to the big companies but its huge for us in a small industry here.
Are you seeing more Cross Country/Enduro/BMX/ATV riders showing interest in the brand or is it mainly motocross riders?
It’s mainly MX riders at the moment. A few BMX guys have approached us but no ATV guys as yet. I have tried different ATV sites and social media but nothing as yet. I will keep trying though to expand the brand into other disciplines.
What particular set of gear seems to be the most popular with the riders?
The blu/fuch/hi-vis and hi-vis/blk clutch gear. Man it’s bright! The kids love it here and it’s a great colour for the women too.
Do you see a demand for smaller sized gear for your mini riders?
Absolutely! This is where it all starts from. The kids all love the bright colours and when they see the big guys wearing it they want to as well. FXR defiantly needs a proper youth range!
Where do you see things headed for the brand?
Hopefully it continues to grow here and some retail MC stores will take it on board to sell. We are talking to some now and they are keen to stock the 2017 range once it arrives. Everyone likes the brands products so far so I can’t see why it wouldn’t sell well.
I have to ask. Are you a Chad Reed fan?
Yes for sure! He is an Aussie! I actually used to race him in juniors on 60 and 80cc at national and supercross events around the country. I placed 2nd to him at a SX event here many years ago also! He has done great and opened the doors for many aussies to compete around the world.
Thanks for taking time to talk with us Wesley and it’s really great to see the brand blossoming Down Under. Congrats on a great job!
Thanks guys! Thanks to everyone from FXR for helping us set this up here and giving my wife and I with Ride Tribe a go!
Give Ride Tribe a follow over on Instagram @ridetribe and you can check them out on Facebook too right here.