What is a privateer?

Jul 21, 2020

If you follow any form of racing, chances are you have heard the term "privateer". In the racing world, there are many levels of racers. The difference typically comes down to the level of support that driver or rider is receiving.

According to Wikipedia, "a privateer is usually an person or race team that enters a race on their own. They are not directly supported by an automobile manufacturer. Privateer teams often build and maintain their own vehicles."  This means that everything from the racing machine, to the gas to fire it up, is all coming out of the privateer pocket.

This certainly applies to the motorcycle racing world. Both on and off road race teams typically have a mix of everything from low budget, grass roots race teams, all the way up to full factory backed teams. If you visit the paddock or parking lot of almost any race, you will see semi trucks fully wrapped with logos, right next to a pickup truck with a gas can, and a bike in the back.

When you consider the massive financial needs of a race team, a privateer earns a special type of respect. Driven by the passion for the sport, and the need to compete, privateers have to do whatever they can to get lined up on the grid. The life of a privateer typically includes multiple jobs, supportive family members, local sponsors, etc.

Most privateers dream of full factory support. A regular paycheck, the best parts available, travel expenses covered, and even medical coverage! When you consider that a privateer Moto racer is putting themselves in danger, only to be personally responsible for any medical bills that incur, you really begin to have an increased level of respect for the men and women that suit up and line up at the track.

Being a privateer doesn't always mean the rider isn't paid, or receiving support. Sometimes it is a fine line between factory supported riders and privateers. Many privateers receive high levels of support from outside sources.

Motovation provides both financial and parts support for privateers all over the country. We feel that we owe it to the industry, to give back, and provide support to the individual riders that keep pushing the sport. We encourage you to find a way to support your local race teams.