ASK THE MXPERTS: How Much Money Can A National Privateer Make Per Weekend? How About $53,000? With The Glen Helen Opener Less Than Two Months Away, MXA Revisits The AMA National Purse. You Will Be Surprised

March 30, 2009
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(This Ask The MXperts ran before, but many people requested the facts again)

Dear MXA,
   I know that the Europeans do not pay any kind of purse at all, but how much does a rider make to win, place or show in an AMA National? I hear that it is not worth the effort.

   Please note that this payout schedule is for 2009 (and contingency programs change, disappear and shrink with each new model year. The recession has cut the payouts drastically since then).

   Wrong! Unless you feel that a privateer’s ability to make as much as $53,000 a week is bad pay!

   The AMA National purse is the subject of major misconceptions. Here is the answer to your question (and hopefully the last time anyone every misquotes how much the Nationals pay). You decide whether or not it is a good day’s pay.

   (1) On average an AMA National pays the exact same total purse as an AMA Supercross. The posted National purse is $66,140 per event. This money comes directly from the event promoter each weekend. That purse money is also supplemented by guaranteed bonus money (money that is posted through the AMA system and paid out to the riders based on results per event).

   (2) Although there are Supercross races that pay more and stand-alone events like the U.S. Open that pay a lot more. The major difference between the pay out (per rider) at a Supercross and an AMA National is that the National purse is divided by 160 checks (every rider in every moto gets paid–even the last place guy, who went 40-40, would get $440 from the $66,000). On the good note, most people think that the money should be paid as far back as possible to help the privateers. On the bad note, the more checks you write, the smaller they have to be. The entry fee to an AMA National is $200, so even the last place rider gets double his entry fee back.

   (3) What can a privateer make if he wins an AMA National? Let’s use any Honda CRF450 privateer as an example. If a CRF-mounted privateer (or support team rider) went 1-1 at an AMA National, he would receive $53,050 for his days work. That includes the promoter’s purse money and his AMA-guaranteed Honda contingency money (the contingency money is part of the AMA payout structure). No matter how you parse it, winning an AMA National does wonders for your bank account.

   If a privateer won a Kawasaki KX450F, he would also get $53,050 (but he would only get $28,050 on a KX250F or CRF250). On a Yamaha or Suzuki first place would be $23,050 (because they offer a $20,000 contingency pay out compared to Honda’s $50,000 bonus).

   (4) Second place. If a Honda privateer went 2-2 for second overall on his Honda CRF450 or KX450, he would take home $27,150 and a 3-3 would earn him $16,800. On a Yamaha he would get $17,150 for second. A Suzuki rider would earn $12,150 for second.

   (5) Full-factory riders do not sign-up for the AMA’s guaranteed contingency plan (instead they have their own, much larger, private deals). If Ferry, Short, Millsaps or Villopoto go 1-1, they makes $103,050 a week (winning all 12 Nationals, like James Stewart did in 2008, would put at least $1,236,600 in purse-related money in the rider’s pocket–plus the factory riders get $1,000,000 Championship bonus–which makes a totally successfuly National campaign worth a minimum of $2,236,600). It’s amazing that James Stewart wants to race Supercross-only in 2009. He must not need the two-and-a-quarter million dollars, at least not now.

   (6) How much an individual rider makes from the AMA National purse depends on how much bonus money each factory puts into the pot (and what class the rider is in–the 250 class pays less bonus money if you are on a Honda or Kawasaki). Honda pays the most for the top four spots, while Suzuki and Kawasaki pay the most places back.

   Here are some examples:

   Fifth place: A fifth place rider who went 5-5 would make $6290 for the day (if he rode a KX450F), $5290 if he raced a YZ-F, KX250F or RM-Z, $4290 if he raced a CRF450 and $3290 on a CRF250.

   20th place: A rider who earned one point in each moto by finishing 20-20 would make $1460 on a Suzuki, $1010 on a KX-F or YZ-F and $860 on a CRF.

   (7) The European GP promoters pay their riders nothing. Zero! Amazing, but true. Even more outlandish is that Youthstream claims that they don’t have to pay purse money because just holding the races is good enough to get a European rider a factory contract and sponsors. That is stupid! American riders start with bigger factory contracts and more sponsorship money, but still get paid for their results. In MXA’s opinion, the European GP riders are being taken advantage of by a sanctioning body and promoting group that are lining their own pockets, but not sharing the wealth with the actual talent. What is wrong with the people involved in European motocross? Why do they allow this system to exist? They should protest. They should stand up for the riders who, in our opinion, are getting a raw deal. No wonder the young champions leave Europe. The Euro riders, their teams, team managers and agents should be ashamed of themselves for allowing the GP riders to be used by greedy promoters. They should stand up for what is right.


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