Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Outside the box...Michael Leib.

Jeff Glass wanted to kick some ass! He brought Surf Detergent to moto. I was personally a little young to realize what he was trying to do for the sport, but as a kid it was Camel Supercross. Jeremy McGrath gave us Mazda, 1-800-Collect and Bud Light. Ricky Carmichael brought in Chevy Trucks and currently Chad Reed has Discount Tire making a push in our sport. 

In a day where it seems energy drinks are the main funding and sponsorship needs are at an all time high, Michael Leib has plans of his own. 

The 61 of Leib went in to the 2015 west coast 250 rounds with a lot of talk about his look. He was bringing an all new style to the sport. Solid white gear with an idea of unusual sponsorship opportunities. 

Photo: Aguirre Imaging

I had originally spotted Michael in all white about 2 years ago and chalked it up to testing, but when I got touch with him after his injuries sustained at Oakland, we got to talking and his take on the gear was pretty interesting. He had indeed had the plans of doing his own gear for 2014 but AXO stepped in and gave an offer worth taking at the time. "Little did we know, we would have made a lot more doing it our way with the white gear." 

"The white gear was a family idea." They estimate their season spendings around 100K. This effort has them as one of the top privateers in the pits and gives them the competitive edge they need to compete at the highest level. 

Michael looks to Nascar for his marketing ideas and in his opinion "advertising space is something they utilize in a much better way than we do in our sport." Logo placement being much more visible to TV viewers on a hood, than on a shroud or helmet visor does have to be much more attractable to outside sponsors. Makita and Jaegermeister where short lived on the shrouds of factory teams. 

"So if a gear sponsor isn't going to step up and pay the money I feel us riders deserve, then let's change the game!" The most visible part of a rider during the entire event and television coverage is his gear. Michael's approach allows any company to offer sponsorship on many levels. Another unique part is the option of sponsoring his program from one race to a full season.

"Underdog." That is Michael's definition of privateer. Racing is his dream. "I have failed, been knocked down, beat up and injured...but I'm still here." He is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. 

2015 started out good but not what he had expected. However, Michael did not disappoint the gear sponsors he's brought in so far, BW2W, Excelsure, Crown Limo, Autism MX, LCAT, Piston Bones and Bolt. Anaheim 1 he finished 10th and after some small issues in Phoenix, he just missed the top 10 in the main again. A2 was a little rougher, although the 61 was still in the main.

That took a turn at Oakland, where in 2014 he recorded a career best 6th. A crash left him with a broken tibia and fibula of the right leg. Surgery was done to insert a rod in the tibia. He also required pins in broken navicular and talus bones. To top it off his left foot had some dislocations. He is hopeful for an April return.

His Dad, Don Leib is the man behind Rocket Exhaust and Michael's racing. Deft Family, Gaerne, Shoei, On Track and EKS Brand Goggles support him and you could too! 

For information on sponsorship please email info@rocketexhaust.com. 
BELEIB apparel is also available at rocketexhaust.com. 
Follow Michael on Instagram @michaelleib61.

-Kyle Pesci


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