How the owner’s passion for motorcycle racing brought the film company to a new level
Buying my first sports bike some five years ago, I could not imagine that I would play in the World Superbike World Championships. Moreover, I will become a pilot of the first Russian professional team.
At first I watched the races in the MotoGP and WSBK classes on TV, I really liked the beautiful bright motorcycles, and the stands clogged with public, and adrenaline. Soon I wanted to join this sport myself. I got a license, bought a Honda CBR-600RR sports bike and drove into town; I almost immediately realized that I risk my health and life every second – sports motorcycles are not designed to drive around the city. Then I decided to practice at the training ground in Dmitrov. There are no departure zones allowing the rider to slide along gravel when falling. Instead, some cliffs, one of which I immediately flew into. Bottom line: a fracture of the collarbone and … the realization that I want to continue to engage in motor sports. I have the Institute of Physical Education behind me, and I have an idea of what professional immersion in sports means.
After recovering, I decided to go to Europe, to the track in Brno, where you can open full throttle in all gears and brake hard without risking flying into a ditch. But here new discoveries awaited me.
In highway-ring motorcycling, a sloppy approach to business is life-threatening. Once I drove onto the track with an loose wheel – the mechanic just forgot to fasten it. I was very lucky that it jumped out not at a speed of 270 km / h, but in a slow corner. It became clear that it is safer to rely only on yourself and if you continue, you need to create a team of professional mechanics and engineers.
Our maturity team
My two friends and I, also businessmen, passionate about motorsport, decided to create a team. We had the opportunity to start everything from scratch with the Riva team, which had previously performed in karting. The team was renamed Riva Moto. Our mentor and trainer was Jeremy McVilliams, an ex-MotoGP pilot who has his own racing school. All Riva Moto technical staff came from karting. And now we can proudly state that our team is the first Russian professional team in the highway-ring discipline.
We dreamed of getting to the World Cup – after all, this is a serious challenge from both a sports and psychological point of view. MotoGP Championship, of course, was not part of our plans – in this category, top-level riders compete on prototypes. At WSBK, the level of pilots is also very high, but we had a ghostly opportunity to perform in the middle class Supersport, because by the rules motorcycles are almost the same as they go on sale.
We were very lucky: there was an economic crisis, the financing of motorsport was reduced, and we were able to put our team out. A year before the crisis, there were more than 30 riders at the starting position, and when we started to perform, they became much less. I can’t say that the cost of participation in our Supersport class is prohibitive: € 12,000 per person – entry fee. The main and quite tangible expenses are the operation of the team: new spare parts for bikes, logistics (motorcycles, equipment we ship in a large trailer), payment for the work of mechanics and the head of the team.
At the same time, Riva Moto began performing in the Italian Championship, which is traditionally considered one of the strongest in Europe. We did not pursue prizes – it was quite obvious that for this you need to engage in motor sports from early childhood. My comrades and I started training when we were over thirty.
Business on Wheels
Oleg Pozdnev is a co-owner of the Etalon-Film film company and the pilot of the Kiva Moto team. A little about my business. The production film company “Etalon-film” has been on the market for more than 20 years, during which time we have released 34 films. I think that it was thanks to my passion for racing that the company was able to reach a new level. Firstly, by distributing the affairs among the leaders in the field, I found out how well all the departments work together. I had to carry out appropriate work with the heads of departments and with employees. Overall efficiency has improved. Of course, I am always available for my employees, but they themselves are able to solve many problems. If I’m at the stage, then they call me only in the most extreme case. Secondly, thanks to motorcycling, the quality of my life has changed. If before everything was monotonous and even success in work was already taken for granted, now I feel everything more acutely. I make decisions faster and more accurately.
Last season I drove 12 WSBK stages, with the exception of the Australian race. It is too far, a round trip with acclimatization would take too much time, which I already practically do not have. My race weekend starts on Wednesday when I arrive at the venue. On Thursday, we work with the team, and also conduct a small training on the track – not on a motorcycle, which is strictly prohibited, but on a moped. Friday and Saturday are dedicated to the free and qualifying races.