T-Dog’s Takes: Three Privateers/Three Different Business Models

Notice that this column now has a sponsor? That’s right! Troy Dog joined the Blu Cru and you should too! Have you seen the new 2024 models with the special livery? Go look right now! It’s amazing.

As you all know, I have a huge soft spot when it comes to privateers. I really respect their grind when it comes to their racing efforts. Being a successful privateer isn’t something that is brand new in this sport, we’ve seen generations of riders who were able to make a good living at racing throughout the years. It’s not easy. These guys are doing every aspect of their program by themselves whether it’s bike work, sales, ordering parts, travel, signup, ect. These guys put in the time and effort, that’s for sure. 

In the past couple of seasons, we’ve seen three 450SX riders really come into their own and have built their programs from the ground up. In 2024 Logan Karnow, Kevin Moranz, and Justin Starling are embarking on another journey through the SuperMotocross Championship, and they’re going bigger than ever before. What stands out the most through each of their programs is that they all have different business models to make the dream a reality.

Karnow has made quite the name for himself in the past two seasons. In 2022 he had a title sponsor back out on him in the middle of the series, so Karnow went on social media to explain the situation. He wasn’t crying about it, or asking for handouts, he just made an announcement. That led to companies and people reaching out to him that wanted to support him. In those sponsorship requests came a new form of revenue with OnlyFans creators printing money to throw at Karnow. Not only were fans digging the new sponsorship options that Karnow had, but he rebranded himself and became a people’s champion with his social media content. He’s grown his audience in the past two years and he’s very active in responses to fans. Karnow became sponsored by OnlyFans last year and extended his agreement for 2024. He’s able to make a good living off of the sport because of this sponsorship. He’s also a trailblazer in the fact that he was the first athlete to dip into that market. You can find Karnow in the pits in 2024 with a big meet and greet line no matter what city he goes to.

Kevin Moranz has spent his entire career building his program to what it is today. Moranz’s fans are called the “Moranz Mafia” and they are the backbone to his program. The people pay a certain amount to get their name on his helmet, bike, or wherever. We think for a certain price that Moranz will get your name tatted on his body, but we will have to ask him to confirm. Moranz has even auctioned off his special helmets and things like that to keep his dream alive. This year with the help of Champion Tool Storage, Moranz’s program is hitting another layer of success. The new rig is wrapped and quite impressive. It’s going to provide an awesome pit presence with the ability to do activation as well. I told Moranz that I’m coming to his rig and putting my fit up all while eating all of his snacks. He told me that as long as I keep providing information about his team and talking about him then I could do that…I wasn’t really asking him for snacks though, I was TELLING him that I’m GETTING snacks no matter what. Another cool deal for Kevin Moranz Racing in 2024 is that Kevin’s dad Frank gets to take a leave of absence from his job to be the Assistant Team Manager/Transport Driver for the program. Kevin told me growing up that his parents don’t run their own companies and have 9-5 jobs to support their family. So, when it came to a certain point in his racing he had to start figuring out how to make money for himself in the sport. The 2024 season is set to be Kevin’s most profitable yet. 

Then you have T-Dog Squad ELITE Athlete Justin Starling and his JSR Motorsports team. This team has grown organically over the last three seasons, but really found new life for 2024. Starling has spent the last two season’s aboard the same GASGAS bikes and without the OEM even paying attention to him. Well, that’s all changing for 2024 because Honda is stepping up to be the official manufacturer of the team! Starling had big success on red as an amateur and was a big part of American Honda’s AM team for a couple of years. Star Dog knows just about everyone there is to know in this sport and he knows what he likes when it comes to parts that he wants to use. He’s not going to just use a sponsor because they paid him. He’s going to pick what he wants to run so he’s comfortable and set up for success on race day. He’s also invested in a new race trailer/rig so that I can have a place to grab snacks and coffee on race day. An entire rig just for me. What a guy. We’ve got great vibes heading into the new season with the Starling fam. He is going to surprise some people. 

As you can see here we have three top privateers set up for their best success in 2024. Each of them have different ways to get the job done. All of them work 24/7 to cover every aspect of their programs. It just goes to show you that you still don’t need a factory bike to make main events and run with the factory boys. 

📸 @nicstarling_

Written by Troy Dog

Faster than Slaw Dog. Editor-in-Chief

Triumph 250E Team Finally Announced!

Power Rankings: Best Christmas Movies