ARMA Energy/Motosport.com/Yamaha | The New Deal
The start of each Monster Energy Supercross season includes an influx of new teams to the pit area, and the trend continues this year with the addition of ARMA Energy/Motosport.com/Yamaha to the paddock. Formed by a Southern California businessman Jimmy Sloan and a fan-favorite racer Jimmy Albertson, the start-up effort has earned backing from an OEM and a long list of industry brands that will carry the team's two riders through the seventeen round series.
Albertson started the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross series under the awning of Motosport.com/Crossland Racing, a first-year project he had a hand in creating. A unique marketing campaign by the retailer partner documented the team's through weekly video updates and gave fans a look at what goes into running a race team. Unfortunately, it also showed Albertson struggle to run the pace of the pack, due in part to injuries suffered in the early moments of the championship. To make matters worse, the Crossland team only planned to contest the Supercross series and left Albertson without much of the infrastructure for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Determined to stay on the track, Jimmy and brother Gregg planned to follow the series on their own in a Sprinter van.
Over the road travel and technical difficulties during the summer months put an extreme amount of stress on the racer and impacted his performance. First came a mechanical catastrophe with Sprinter van, which left the brothers stranded in Colorado for a considerable length of time, followed by a switch to KTM bikes midway through the summer. "The outdoor season was for sure from being on the road, and I'm not driving to the races anymore. When you are on the road you eat bad and don't train much, if at all, and you get worn out driving everywhere," he states. Towards the end of the year, it became apparent that Albertson would not return to the Crossland team for another run. "At the end of last year, right before Monster Cup, I was trying to figure out what direction I was going to go. I put a lot of work into the Crossland program last year and I thought it turned out really good," Albertson says. "I wanted to have a little more of an ownership role in what I am doing. And the Crossland guys did an awesome job with me last year, but I think they wanted to take it over their way and I wanted to do things a little different."
With that came the quest for a new team in 2015. Luckily enough, Albertson's search came at the same time Jimmy Sloan looked to push his latest acquisition, ARMA Energy. The drink has been a part of motocross since its launch and Sloan had plans to increase brand awareness with sponsorship and distribution. "We got to talking and had similar goals in what we wanted to accomplish and it ended up working out great. Jimmy is the guy at ARMA now. He runs it and is doing a great job with it. I think everyone knew what ARMA was in the past, but you couldn't get it anywhere," says Albertson. "Jimmy has been hitting distribution super-hard and I've tried to help him out the best ways possible to promote, even trying to get it bigger back where I am from in Oklahoma."
Albertson is motivated to make sure every sponsor, many of which have supported him for years, get the most return possible for their investment in the program. "When we have sponsorships we want to make sure it is a benefit for the company, not just for us," he says. "That way at the end of the year they want to put more money into this program the next year." FLY Racing, Rekluse, and FMF pledged continued support of Albertson at the new operation, while new sponsors dot the side of the bikes and transporter.
An important part of the program comes from Yamaha, with the Japanese OEM offering bikes and technical support to Albertson in the 450 class and Mitchell Oldenberg for the 250 East Coast championship. Close relationships continue with the team’s staff: Albertson’s wife Georgia will act as Team Manager, brother Gregg remains his mechanic, and Taylor Knight will wrench for Oldenberg. To perfect the performance of the powerful blue bikes, the team opted to work with Albertson's longtime engine and suspension tuner Jim Lewis at Merge Racing. "I've gelled with the bike well, and I grew up on Yamaha so it was like coming home for me," say Albertson. "It's good to stare at that blue front fender and I think that will be a big factor in my program."
Although Albertson has only been on the circuit for a handful of years, he's already looking towards the future and the ARMA Energy/Motosport.com/Yamaha team is a major part of his plan. "In five years we want to look back and say, 'Remember the first year we started this and how small it was?' Hopefully one day we will be like a GEICO or PC."