In a recent interview with our CEO John Downing, we learned that he loves motocross. I mean, what’s not to love, right? In fact, he’s taken his love of the sport one step further by creating the Thunder Funding Race Team where he gets to support young, talented motocross hopefuls tear up the dirt, make it to the pros, and realize their dreams.
What is it about Motocross that you love so much?
“I’ve always loved motorcycles ever since I was little. I love being out on bike. I love the adrenaline rush and the feeling of freedom. I’ve always enjoyed jumping on the bike and riding deep into the Sierras with a collapsible fishing pole and a daypack. I’ve also got a huge appreciation for the amount of skill is takes to navigate and control a bike. The margin of error is so fine and these riders have gotten so good. It’s a thrill to be around the track on race day!”
How did Thunder Funding first get involved in Motocross?
“It actually all started with a customer of ours named John Newby, who happens to be Levi’s father. We formed a friendship several years ago, got to talking about our families, one thing led to another, and that’s how we found out about Levi and his love of bikes. We learned that for 3 years Levi was tearing up the Montana circuit on bikes that his father had pieced together. We wanted to help Levi, John, and the rest of his family out so we put together some funding, assisted him in finding more sponsors, and moved him down to Georgia where he started training with Ricky Carmichael, who’s one of the best in the sport. Levi went on to win the amateur national championship that year and we just knew we had a star on our hands.
We increased our support, made sure he had what he needed to succeed, and he’s now known as one of the hottest riders to come out of the amateur ranks. In fact, Levi is being compared to Ryan Dungey who’s a legend in this sport. Levi is a superstar and we’re just so proud of him. I can’t tell you how much satisfaction we feel knowing we can help young kids and their families make it to the big leagues.
Just like any other sport, motocross requires a huge amount of resources to make it to the pro level. From bikes to engines to gear to fuel and practice time, it all really adds up and can be a huge financial burden to families. It’s almost impossible for any rider and his or her family to chase the dream alone. That’s why sponsors are so important to helping riders get to the top. This is why we do what we do for him.”
Tell Us About Levi Newby! Have you ever seen him race?
“He’s amazing to watch. And, he’s such a great kid. He’s so humble and down to earth. He’s so polite, appreciative, and helpful and you really see it in the way he interacts with kids in the neighborhood. He wins a championship and the next day he’s helping the kids down the street learn how to ride a bicycle. It’s been a real honor and a pleasure to watch him grow as a rider and be a positive role model of the sport.
You know, when we see someone like him who just has so much potential and such a big heart, we can’t help but want to get involved in any way we can. Knowing that we had a hand in helping him move from small town racing in Montana to winning the amateur national championship in the same year… Well, it’s just so satisfying. He’s stayed humble through it all. He’ll be joining the pro ranks next year and we can’t wait to help him get there.”
Are you hoping to add more people to the Thunder Funding Race Team?
“We’ve got one other young rider, Cameron Horner, who is tearing up his local races and will make his national impact in years to come!”
What is your vision for Thunder’s continued role in Motocross?
“I just want to see more kids with talent and heart succeed in this sport. I also encourage other companies out there to support up and coming superstars whether they’re in sports, academics, music, you name it. It’s the best feeling in the world knowing you had a hand in helping a young kid and his or her family realize their dreams.”
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