Let me start by defining what a privateer is (and this is just my perception). A privateer is a Pro AMA Racer who does not receive significant financial support from sponsors. A privateer is a “beginning” professional racer who is usually just getting started in the pro ranks and doesn’t have the benefit of a full time paid mechanic, trainer, truck driver or chef. A privateer is a young man, or woman, who is so passionate about the sport of professional MX racing that they have “bet the farm” on making professional racing their career of choice and forsaken everything else to chase their dream of becoming a “full blown factory rider”. A privateer is a struggling young athlete, usually under the age of 25, who lives, breathes, eats and sleeps MX racing. Ryan Dungey is NOT a privateer. Tony Archer, a local MD racer who rides for Trader’s Racing, is a privateer (although a well supported privateer). The definition of what a privateer is and isn’t is arguable; some would argue that Chad Reed of 22 Motorsports is a privateer because he doesn’t have full “factory” support from Kawasaki.
Regardless, SMDR’s definition of a privateer, for the purposes of the Privateer Award, is a pro racer who attempts to qualify for all of the National Races leading up to the Budds Race, and qualifies for the National at Budds Creek. By monitoring the race results prior to Budds Creek, SMDR makes a “short list” of the racers we feel are eligible for the award. Prior to the race at Budds, usually on the Friday before the race, SMDR rides through the pro pits and interviews each of the potential award recipients; based on our observations, and after qualifying practice on Saturday, we determine who is the most deserving rider in the 250 class and the 450 class. The awards, a plaque and $1,000.00 cash, are presented to each of the riders on the winner’s podium after the first moto is completed.
The Privateer Award was started in 2004; and in 2006, after the untimely death of a popular pro local racer Kevin Crine (# 574), the award has been made in his honor. The award was the “brain-child” of long time SMDR members and AMA District 7 racers Karen and Mike Acton who diligently followed the race results of the struggling privateers and did all of the interviews themselves until they “retired” last year. The club owes them a great debt of gratitude for their loving hard work and passion for the sport of MX ! SMDR is the ONLY club who does an award of this type on the National MX circuit ! John Crine, Kevin’s father, also helps us present the award to the lucky racers on the podium. All of the past award recipients have expressed their extreme gratitude for receiving this award; it has made the difference between them getting to the next race and getting a hot shower, or buying a fresh set of tires. It’s just one way that SMDR can give back to THE SPORT WE LOVE !
So there you have it; SMDR flags the MX National at Budds Creek and gives out the Privateer Awards each year because this is the recreational sport we all love the most ! And what good is it to love what you do and not return that love in some way ????
Chip “2 Slow” Jowett (2015 SMDR President)