Injuries and absences are an unfortunate part of all sports. During a four-year span, from 2010 through 2013, only 12 times has a rider qualified for every
Supercross and National in a single year. More surprising
is that in 2012, only Mike Alessi qualified for all 29 races.
Because of the threat of injuries, race teams sign fill-in
riders during the middle of the season while their original
choices are on the disabled list.
Why don’t they just wait for their injured heroes to heal?
Sponsorship obligations often mandate that a certain
number of riders line up to the gate in order to fulfill the
terms of the contract (and receive full funding). We don’t
blame the sponsors for putting these clauses in their sponsorship deals, because there have been high-profile situations where a team didn’t race an entire series but cashed
the sponsorship checks. These clauses and the desire for
the team to be at the races are why every year a select
few riders get called up to the big show. A fill-in ride at a
good team is a privateer’s dream come true.
Meet the four lucky men who answered the phone call
to race a factory bike during the 2014 AMA 450 Nationals.