Privateers Need Not Apply - Dirt Rider Magazine

Guest Editorial
Hey everybody, this is Ryan Rozinski. I've been racing as a National pro with the AMA in the motocross class for the past three years. My bike is not a fully anodized tricked-out piece of dirt-throwin' fury, I don't have a mechanic to wipe my butt, and yes, I actually have to fill my weekdays with work at an everyday job, not riding! Lately, I've become quite frustrated with the tactics of the AMA and where its racing program is headed. Don't get me wrong, I obviously like the idea of the AMA and what it has done in the past, but it seems like not only the Outdoor program but more so the supercross program is heading downhill.From a privateer's standpoint the AMA has a glass ceiling, meaning that even though we can see the top, we'll never be able to reach it. The main reason our advancement is so difficult is because the opportunities provided by the AMA to the privateers are dwindling each year. In order to obtain a supercross endorsement for your AMA Pro License you have to attend a very rigid set of races and conquer a point system that I don't think proves much. Yeah, yeah, I know I could go to Loretta's and qualify in the top 10, or possibly chase around the scary arenacross series and risk my life every weekend, but does that really prove that I have the ability to race AMA supercross? And how the hell am I going to afford to do either of those? Should a few events really set the standard for who gets into the big show? Why not provide us with some sort of weekend tryout at the beginning of the season to really prove ourselves, rather than making us cart our butts around the country all season to qualifying events, only to end up so broke that we can't even afford to think about going to the supercross?If we ever do make it into the supercross series, the next thing we get to deal with is the double-sided rule book! It's funny how the rules get bent by overwhelming amounts of money when a factory rider is in need, but where's the love for the back lot racers better known as the privateers? It seems that we tend to get the shaft and get swept under the carpet whenever we're in a predicament. In addition to the limited pit passes for family and friends (who are often our mechanics, team managers and truck drivers), the AMA failing to fill a supercross starting gate, the sloppy seconds we get to ride on and the three-mile walks to the starting line, we often receive no reward and zero publicity even when we do manage to accomplish something cool like making a main event.All of this came to me as I sat in the stands at a recent supercross and watched a supercross qualifier heat take off from the line about six guys short of a full gate. I could've been in that qualifier getting exposure for my sponsors and gaining real-world experience that would hopefully take me to the next level.I'm obviously a bit jealous of the life the factory riders lead, and maybe this is the reason for my bitterness, but what's the point of working my tail off through all these obstacles if I, and all the other real privateers, never get the chance to taste the glory?In the end, this is my life and choice and I wouldn't want it any other way. I've worked hard to get where I'm at in my racing career, and while it would be nice to have that factory ride that I've always dreamed of with those millions of dollars coming out my pipe and the head of the AMA prepping my gate, for now I'll stick to writing columns for Dirt Rider highlighting the flaws of our racing industry. Hopefully the AMA will lend an ear and maybe we can look forward to some changes in the future to give us privateers a little more love. Until then, you know where I'll be: packing my own gate, working on my cardio to sustain those long walks to the gate and, oh yeah, at work!