Delnicki Unfiltered: How Is The Coronavirus Pandemic Being Handled By Privateers?

By Travis Delnicki (@TD248 on Instagram)

We are living in a strange time right now. It is impossible to avoid the Coronavirus. Even if you are an “essential” employee and continue to work, as usual, chances are this pandemic has influenced your life in some way. When it comes to supercross racers, it must seem as though your entire world has stopped. Everything you work for is uncertain, and for a privateer, so is your income. These guys rely on the weekly purse, contingency, and sponsor bonuses for income.Consequently, there is no income until there are races. I wanted to find out how some of these guys are handling this break in racing so; I hit up Ryan Breece, Josh Greco, Tevin Tapia, and Logan Karnow. These guys are all in different situations and can give a wide range of perspectives.

How has this extended break in racing from the Coronavirus affected your weekly routine? 

Ryan Breece: There are two ways to look at the extended break. It has given me time to heal my body from past injuries, but it has taken a toll on me financially. I do understand the reasoning for the break; it’s going to be a tough time to get through, but I can only do what is in my control and continue to train like normal. A lot of the supercross tracks are closed, so there hasn’t been much riding, but off the bike, training goes on at home!

Josh Greco: The obvious factor is I’m not able to race which with night show money and sponsors helping me to be at the rounds that’s hindering my weekly income, other than that my weekly routine hasn’t changed much other than me no longer being on the road traveling in the van I’m am now stationed in one spot.

  Tevin Tapia: Well, honesty a lot because the only place to ride supercross has closed due to the virus. But it has been raining nonstop so that place is underwater right now anyways. I have just taken some time off; let my shoulder heal a little bit more while we are in “quarantine.” (laughs)

Logan Karnow: This whole coronavirus outbreak just sucks... for everybody. I was about 3 hours from Indy when they officially announced it was canceled driving up from Florida. So, we drove right through Indy to my girlfriend’s house in Lake Geneva. Ever since then, I’ve just been at home riding occasionally, trying to stay in shape for when racing does come back. I will be going back to work for my dad in the time being until Feld releases a schedule, and we will go from there.

(Ryan Breece has been breaking through for the past year or so. After ending last season with three 14th place finishes riding for Rock River Yamaha, Breece went on to have a solid offseason, which includeed the German Supercross Championship. He was able to fill in for Max Anstie at HEP Suzuki at the eleventh hour and has asserted himself as a 450 main event lock. Pictured here at A1 when he almost holeshot his heat. Photo: @Twofoursocial)

How big of a stress has it put on you financially? 

RB: I have been managing the miscellaneous purchases and where I spend my money. It makes me excited to get the races back and going. During this time, you miss it that much more.

JG: It has cost me about $6000, which I was relying on at the end of the season so I can run several outdoors and buy some of my printing equipment. It stresses me out, but there is nothing we can do about it except move on and deal with it.

TT:  Well, I usually do not ride outdoors, so I pick up a side gig over summer, training kids and delivering for Amazon. So, we will see how things work out with the virus and go from there. Try not to stress too much and just keep the faith that the good lord will always provide me with opportunities to make money. 

LK: It’s stressful. As a privateer, you completely rely on the purse from the races and contingency from sponsors. Obviously, if the races are canceled, you have zero income. Luckily, I have been doing well on the West, and I have a little money saved up until the series figures out what’s going on. 

(Josh Greco is as hardcore privateer as it gets. For years, this dude has traveled to every race, living out of his van and is probably most famous for his mustache. Greco is a character and is one of those guys who makes the sport go around. Photo: LS2 Helmets)

Is this break and change in schedule going to influence future racingplans or business as usual once racing resumes?

RB: The schedule hasn’t been released yet, so I am not sure what kind of effect will come with that. I still plan on some racing over the summer and sticking to my program. I have spoken with the team, and it seems like they’re willing to keep me for the remainder of the Supercross series.

JG: As soon as racing comes back, we will be full throttle, ready to go again. 

TT: Maybe for overseas races, but supercross is (a) priority for me and my sponsors. I will just be happy to go back to racing and doing what I love, whenever that may be.

  LK: Nope, I don’t really have anything planned. It would be cool to do some Canadian races but, I am sure that will be shut down as well. I’m just going to try to make some money now and get back to the grind hopefully come September!

(Tevin Tapia is another long-time privateer, who has had some good results over the years. Tapia is one of those guys who has the potential to sneak into the 450 main any weekend. He is a new dad and after making the main at Monster Cup, it looked like he could have a resurgence in 2020. Unfortunately, he suffered a dislocated shoulder and was forced to miss the first five rounds of the year. Photo: SwapMotoLive)

Is there anything positive you can take from this time off?

RB: Yes, there has been a few positives! My body has time to heal and recover. Hopefully, this passes over and everyone stays healthy.

JG: For me, it has given me time to work on my moto van and make it more roadworthy and live-able. I have also had a chance to get my printing business back up and running. Other than that, I have just been spending my time with good friends and relaxing a bit.

  TT: Yes, I get to stay home and spend time with my son, Brooks, and watch him grow. He just took his first steps the other day, and I’m so happy I was home to see it. Also, my shoulder still was not feeling 100 percent, so I can give it the right time to heal.

  LK: I would say the only thing would be some time to get the bike a little better. The team has been working hard to get some more power out of the bike and we have a lot more time for suspension testing!

(Team PR-MX’s Logan Karnow is having this best season of his career and has become a main event lock in the 250 West series. Karnow has two top-15 finishes and was certainly looking forward to the west coast resuming to get closer to the top ten.)

There is a lot of uncertainty and waiting. This entire situation is so out our control and so much bigger than dirt bike racing there is not much else to you can do. These guys are all a little frustrated, not being able to make money, but in this case, everybody is being dealt the same cards, so all you can do is stay ready. No doubt, when we do get to drop the gate again, everybody is going to be excited and just grateful to be able to get back to making a living doing what they love. We will be in for some historic racing. In the meantime, I know I will be spending a lot of time on YouTube, reminiscing on some of my favorite races. Stay safe, and thanks for reading!

-@TD248 on Instagram

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