Monthly Archives: October 2017

The BMX and Motocross Pyramid Challenge

The future of extreme BMX and Motocross Pyramid Challenges considered. Over the course of my studies into human sports, extreme sports, and adrenal rushes I’ve come up with many potential scenarios for new extreme sporting death defying feats which would wow crowds, and cause a cheer of thunder throughout any pavilion or stadium. Man and machine versus the impossible dream jump is what I’m talking about.

Now then, let me explain my latest scheme, one which will one day be performed and is sure to make headlines on ESPN, or draw in sponsors such as Red Bull to host. I’ve decided to call this the BMX or Free Style Motocross Challenge. Here is how it will work, but first let me help you visualize what I am talking about by jogging your memory a little bit. Do you remember seeing the motorcycle ramps which send the bike and rider straight up in the air.

Generally these are used so the rider can do multiple back flips and then land on the other side of the same ramp going basically straight down. The ramps are set up like hyperbolic curves back to back, kind of like the stock market and economy prior to the global economic crash of 2008. Okay, you get the picture right? Well, now picture a pyramid scheme, four-sided with each side with hyperbolic curved ramps.

Now picture many of these peaks with four sides, so as soon as the rider goes up one and comes back down he/she or “it” can choose another to take (“it” being an Artificially Intelligent motocross robotic android – don’t worry I’ll leave that for another article).

Every other four-sided pyramid ramp will be diagonal at that base, so as the ride comes all the way back down to the flat, he’ll have to slightly turn at an angle to plot the correct trajectory to the next vertical launching point, in his/her/it aerial dance for the crowd. Are you beginning to see why this will become the ultimate in extreme sports, after all one screw up and you are done for, again to the roar of the crowds, and the next viral YouTube video, where the rider with all his/her broken bones can watch from their iPad 4G tablet in the hospital.

Okay too dramatic for you? Too dangerous, yes, indeed, it is, but realize extreme sports of this type are not for the weak, we don’t have to do it, we can watch from the stands and our large screen 3D holographic living room entertainment centers. Please consider all this.

An Interview With Sauber Red Bull Racing’s Brook Johnston

As many of us grow up wanting to be champions throughout life, we can only wonder what it may take to get there. Being raised as an avid race fan growing up, I found myself thinking what it must be like to be a championship race car driver. What kind of life style does this require? How emotional and physical is the sport to the human body? Most importantly, how do you become a champion? Thanks to a wonderful opportunity given to me by Team Sauber Red Bull Racing of the Formula BMW International series, I was able to interview young American racing prodigy Brook Johnston from Laguna Beach, California. Johnston has continued his career in the sport by battling through much success including two International Karting Federation Championships, a World Karting Association Championship, a strong second place season finish with Team Ferrari of North America in the GT class, and a current championship lead in the Formula BMW International series. Running on much more than just pure adrenaline, I interviewed the twenty year old racing driver on his continued success in auto racing.

Tom Dorris: So Brook, I would firstly like to ask you about your experience growing up in Southern California. Can you tell me a little bit about what growing up in Southern California was like for you and tell me a little bit about your motivation in sports as a kid?

Brook Johnston: Um well I would definitely have to say that growing up in Southern California was awesome. I was very lucky to grow up where I did and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was pretty into the beach, sports and cars growing up and have continued to pretty much like all those things ever since.

Tom Dorris: Tell me a little bit about your involvement in those sports and why you picked and enjoyed the activities you participated in?

Brook Johnston: Well lets see… I was really into the normal beach stuff like skating and surfing. But I also started playing soccer and baseball when I was really little. I started racing karts when I was like 12 and got hooked on it ever since. I also ran cross country and track in high school, while I continued to race karts and branch out in racing.

Tom Dorris: What was your spark and enthusiasm like when you first started racing? Did you know right from the start that you would end up being a professional and engage more deeply into the sport?

Brook Johnston: Actually I wasn’t even sure at all. (he laughs). I just thought it was fun and addicting. I just loved to go fast and was always so competitive in everything that I wanted to win more than anybody else did. I didn’t really start taking it seriously until I got my first few sponsors and won my first IKF championship.

Tom Dorris: Brook, so tell me, how did you achieve your first two karting championships and what in your mind made you a winner when you started in the sport?

Brook Johnston: Well my first two karting championships were no breeze and there was so much tough competition at the time. I remember being in Stars of Tomorrow races in Las Vegas karting against guys like Marco Andretti and Alex Barron. But I think that my success and wins have to be attributed to my extremely strong headed and fearless personality. (he laughs). I would take corners faster than everybody else just because I wasn’t really afraid of anything. You can’t be afraid in this sport and you really have to want to win if you want to make it to the top.

Tom Dorris: So describe to me how exactly you made it to the top and the path you took to get here?

Brook Johnston: Basically lots of practice and coming to the tracks everyday. After karting I got involved in teaching a driving school for celebrities for a little while. Then I was asked to compete for a half season in a Barber Dodge Pro car and then went to the American Le Mans Style class with Ferrari of North America. It was a busy first couple of years starting out and when I was asked to be apart of the Formula BMW International program I was so stoked. I just have to say that it takes a lot of desire and hard work to reach the high goals that I have.

Tom Dorris: Not to go off on the beaten path here Brook, but I understand you are currently enrolled in College up in Northern California and manage your racing career at the same time? How does that play out for you?

Brook Johnston: Oh man… its pretty tough! (he sighs) Yeah I have been attending UC Santa Cruz and just been loving it. I’ve always wanted to get my college degree and have had so many other interests in life. I love racing and have been continuing on with my career, but I would like to think that I might be able to mellow down into another interest that involves me getting my degree. Right now that interest is in architecture, but who knows it could change. I just like to stay busy and keep my goals high.

Tom Dorris: So while you balance your high intensity career and schooling, do you find yourself having any free time or fun with any other interests? I take it you are currently residing in Santa Cruz then?

Brook Johnston: Yeah I am actually living in a small beach town called Capitola. I love it there its pretty cool. Um… well I don’t really have too much free time on my hands but I will say that I have some great friends who support me, an amazing girlfriend and my family. But when I do have some time I just like to hang out with everyone and relax at the beach.

Tom Dorris: I find that amazing that you can balance all aspects of your life to fit in perfectly. So would you say that these balances and goals since going to college in Santa Cruz have helped your current career in the Formula BMW International series?

Brook Johnston: Well I like to think they do. I think I just have a lot of pressure and stress taken off of me by living in Santa Cruz. It is a major pain though when I have to fly out for a weekend to attend a practice or race, and then come back to turn in a homework assignment or something. But I kind of put myself into that position and I plan on graduating next year.

Tom Dorris: Great! Well what can you say thus far about the Formula BMW International series and the team at Sauber Red Bull Racing? Tell me a little bit about your accomplishments so far this season with Sauber Red Bull Racing.

Brook Johnston: I have to say Im pretty darn stoked to be here and be in the position that Im in. Although this series is in it’s first year and hasn’t had much public attention quite yet, It’s been an awesome experience and just the whole program has been great. Traveling to world famous F1 tracks and racing on them has been so neat to do. When Mark and Red Bull first came to me and asked me to drive for their team I was so stoked. Sauber Red Bull has been so great to me this season and I really have to thank them for such a perfect opportunity. Im currently in first place in the championship thanks to a great team and sponsors, and have won two races so far. My goal is to bring home a championship for Sauber Red Bull and to help promote American open wheel racing internationally.

Tom Dorris: I have heard that you’ve endured much tension regarding your American background throughout the series. Is this true? Also there is speculation that you might be testing for a Formula One team next season. Is that a possibility for you?

Brook Johnston: Yes the series is very competitive regarding each driver’s home country. Our team is entirely American based and a lot of the fans and public seem to criticize the American F1 movement. Its not the greatest thing you want to hear as a driver, but we do have a very large fan base and much support compared to most teams in the series. It actually kind of fuels me to work harder and show everyone that an American can do it.

Tom Dorris: Are truly being considered for testing for next season by Formula One? And if so then by which team?

Brook Johnston: Let’s just say that I’m just trying to focus on my season here (Formula BMW International). I’m not too sure about my future quite yet but I have a lot of things to think about.

Red Bull Founder and Marketing Master

Since its founding in 1984 by an Austrian entrepreneur named Dietrich Mateschitz, along with his partner Chaleo Yoovihya, Red Bull has become a dominant force in today’s network of global commerce. They have become a brand that is as far reaching as it is dynamic; a premium product, a powerful force of entertainment, and use of effective marketing have all allowed Red Bull to become the wildly popular brand that it is today. Marketing lessons from Red Bull are numerous; this article will introduce and analyze some of these lessons.

One of the main ways that Red Bull has become such a marketing phenomenon is by sponsoring, and thereby associating themselves, with a wide range of extreme sports events and other spectator entertainment outlets. In this way they’ve been able to literally integrate themselves, as a brand, into the very fabric of a certain number of different spectator/extreme/action sports. Fundamentally, this is one of the most important marketing lessons from Red Bull; if you can manage to make consumers automatically associate your brand with a certain mainstay of their entertainment preferences, then you will have created a consumer-product bond that is far stronger than more typical or simpler forms of brand loyalty. Some of the sports and events that Red Bull has sponsored and associated with include:

  1. Red Bull Stratos:

Red Bull Stratos was a project whose mission was to send a man floating up into the atmosphere attached to a helium balloon, before allowing him to plummet back down to earth. The man who actually carried out this feat was an Austrian skydiver named Felix Baumgartner; on October 14th, 2012, this brave soul was elevated to 127,851 feet above the earth and then allowed to free-fall out of his capsule. Felix Baumgartner became the first human being to ever break the sound barrier on descent without an engine to power them or a specialized craft to encapsulate them as they fell. The successful mission launched out of Roswell International Air Center in Roswell, New Mexico, and was also referred to by some during its conception as the “mission to the edge of space.”

This project was a prime example of Red Bull’s marketing genius; by associating their brand with this incredible feat of human bravery, potential, and spectacle, they were able to create a massive promotional event out of this whole project. People all over the world are aware of this event because of how incredibly daring it was, and because of how sophisticated and impressive the engineering behind the technology was. It was such an impressive embodiment of human capability and possibility, that its hard to believe at the end of the day it was basically a giant endorsement of Red Bull and all of the amazing things that it is capable of doing for its consumer.

  1. Red Bull Crashed Ice:

“Crashed Ice” is a Red Bull sponsored world tour featuring the winter extreme sport known as downhill ice cross. It is a downhill ice skating sport that uses giant courses that have dauntingly steep vertical drops as well as difficult turns that must be negotiated by some of the world’s foremost ice skating athletes (typically amateur and professional ice hockey players). These courses are technically advanced, featuring state-of-the-art freezing systems that circulate an extremely cold chemical solution through piping beneath the track. In this way, the track’s designers and builders are able to freeze water at a uniform thickness even on very steep sections of the course.

“Crashed Ice” is a great example of the way this company sponsors only the most fun to watch and extreme events, so that its brand recognition and validity stay high. This event is such an incredible sight to see because of the intense speeds, and high risk of navigating down one of these dangerous tracks, and it is for these reasons that Red Bull would seek to use this event for a promotional capacity.

  1. Red Bull Air Race World Championship:

The first official annual season of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship debuted in 2003, and has occurred every year since. This wildly popular event features airplane pilots from around the world, all competing for the title of World Champion race pilot. These fearless pilots use high-grade performance aerobatic airplanes, some of which include the MXS-R, the Corvus Racer 540, and the Zivko Edge 540. These high-tech planes can travel at top speeds of about 260 mph, and all of them have a wingspan of less than 25 feet across. During a racing trial, an individual racer will navigate their way through an airborn course of pylons (vertical columns that determine the path a racer must follow), in an attempt to achieve the fastest time possible.

The Red Bull Air Race may be the most important component of this company’s extreme sports marketing campaign, due to the fact that this Air Race World Championship is an annual event, and so it is a continuously functioning marketing tool that Red Bull can depend on for years to come. This event has gained so much notoriety internationally, due in large part to the fact that it airs on television in many parts of the world. This gives the Air Race World Championship a huge advantage in terms of its ability to actually generate hype for the product, and demand for it as well.

In addition to the huge amount of money and resources this company invests in this kind of extreme sports marketing, they also invest in their more mainstream advertising as well. They are responsible for one of the most memorable ad-campaigns of recent times; the “Red Bull gives you wings” ad slogan. With this combination of effective mainstream advertising along with more niche oriented marketing, Red Bull has transformed itself into more than just a brand. It has become a corporate powerhouse, with interests that over the years have become far broader than the relatively simple energy drink which started their whole rise to success. Marketing lessons from this company are many in their numbers, and highly substantive with regard to what they can teach advertising professionals and businesses about being truly effective when it comes to creating an image for their brand.

Sauber Red Bull’s Confidence Trickster Brook Johnston

A young Ernest Hemingway couldn’t have put it best when he said he was “fraid o’ nothin.” The 20 year old American Brook Johnston can probably express similar sentiments. Team Sauber Red Bull Racing’s newest addition has not only wowed the likes of the Albert II in Monaco, but has begun to turn the public face from hysteria to utter seriousness. The Sauber Red Bull driver has completely ravaged the streets of Monaco with a tremendous win and has recently taken the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring pushing him ahead six points further into the championship lead.

Now we can say that everything wasn’t peachy for the so called “American racing prodigy,” of which he has begun to be called. Just a few weeks ago the American’s luck began to turn sour as the Sauber Red Bull F2008 BMW chassis spun off the track at Monza’s turn four, turning mere prowess into severity. Spending a total of three days in the Milan’s Azienda Ospedaliera Ospitale Nigurada Ca’ Granda hospital, Johnston endured critical bone fractures to his arms and rib cage as well as undergoing serious head trauma from the accident. At a speed of over 130 miles per hour, silence began to fall upon the American driver’s faded championship hopes. Two weeks later, the Formula BMW International series was in complete awe as Johnston returned to Nurburg, Germany and hoped back into the car without any hesitation. ” I’ve gotten this far why stop now,” Johnston says. ” This is my passion. If you can’t step back into the race car after an accident like that, then your probably in the wrong sport.” With that kind of confidence and pride, it’s no wonder the young American took the win at the German Grand Prix last Sunday. I can definitely say I have never seen fire in the wits of a drivers eyes like that before.

With that, I think you get the feeling that Brook isn’t the sort of guy who sits there waiting for his turn. Brook likes to go after it! Talking to him isn’t a particularly easy task as well. The Sauber Red Bull driver prefers that he sticks to what he knows. Racing! Even obtaining a simple interview with him was a very difficult chore in itself, constantly turned down by Sauber Red Bull Racing’s public relations. Noticing his avid racing background and very minimal publicity, I might say that Sauber Red Bull has themselves one of the best public relations committees i’ve ever seen. And to think they would keep a young man with this much talent under-wraps and out of the scene. Well not exactly! With much luck and constant boasting, myself and Racer Magazine managed to get a few words in with the championship driver and confidence trickster himself.

Up close and personal, we thought we were talking to the wrong guy! I mean, here he is, the championship leading driver that we have longed to interview, sitting directly in front of us with his trendy Red Bull hat backwards and his stylish sunglasses glaring at us. We were half expecting an over confident attitude and a Hugo Boss suit. What made us think that? Besides the hours upon hours of phone calls into Sauber Red Bull Racing and nature of going about to get this interview, I must say we were completely wrong. Johnston was the type of guy that was extremely down to earth and was probably one of the best driver interviewees I’ve ever had. His calm, bright and very collective personality brought out the Michael Schumacher type of charm inside this young man. After knowing this, we wanted to start off the conversation with a much more interesting subject. We asked the young Sauber Red Bull driver about his clothing and stylish appearance. With a huge smile he laughed right back at us and said, ” Well if you call this trendy then I guess Im on the right track then hugh.” Bravo, indeed you are Brook!

While he has been racing here on the European tour, his growth and support for his himself and the team have been enormous. I mean this was a guy who started as a great driver but relatively unknown, and has been turned into a superstar and ESPN Extreme Athlete of 2008 award winner. What can he say about these achievements? ” Yeah I think I was just as surprised as anybody to be honored with that award. Im just a regular guy who loves to race cars.” I think regular is hardly the word to describe him. More like Superman in a driving suit! After all, Johnston’s nickname is “Tiger.” However, his very real nature and cheerful tone have put this extraordinary young man as the favorite among the Formula BMW International series crowd and has even put him into consideration for much larger forms of auto racing. ” Yes, I will be testing for the Torro Rosso program in August and it has been a wonderful ride to get to this point. I’ve wanted to get to Formula One since I was about 5 years old. I would be stoked (excited) to reach that level and compete.” Could this be America’s next Formula One star? Well I hope so! Red Bull Torro Rosso’s team has announced several names for their program for the 2009 season, yet it will not be clear until late August as to whom makes the cut.

Well as many of us have wanted to know, what do you think the Formula BMW International series represents for you now going into something as prestigious as Formula One? What does it mean to get to that playing field? ” The International series has been one of the greatest experiences ever for me. What could be better than traveling to world famous tracks and getting to race on them. Our series is known to be a huge stepping stone to Formula One, but I think we all know F1 is on a completely different level in comparison to anything. It will take some adjusting for me, but I will just have to get out there and show them what I got.” Confidence indeed, the wise words of a championship leading driver! Johnston’s presence in the series has formulated some 45,000 participants or so throughout the European crowds, while he battles his way towards the top mark.

So focused and so adept to his participation on the track, what is Brook like off the track? Sauber Red Bull Racing has concentrated the young drivers efforts towards public events of charitable presence and to bring forth a rise in the youth involvement in motorsports. ” Yeah we (Sauber Red Bull Racing) just went to the Jugendlich Partei in Berlin which was a ton of fun and supported Germany’s Teen Cancer Foundation. I felt great to make those kids smile and see them having fun. I think I made a difference to them and that’s what’s important.” With a heart of gold and smile on his face, Johnston helped out in charitable presence at Berlin’s premier teen dance event with over 3,000 teenagers in attendance and guest appearance by country pop singer Taylor Swift, actor David Hasselhoff, and Championship Formula One driver Michael Schumacher. Johnston not only made just an appearance at the event, but we asked him if there was anything special he contributed to that night. He laughs, ” Well, everyone’s (VIPS) names were entered in a hat and picked at random to be in a dance contest against each other. I had to go against Taylor. Of course she won! (He chuckles) She is a much better dancer than I am, but what do you expect. I was just glad to be involved.” Johnston’s laughter and smile at the question only made us pry even deeper. So we asked, what do you think about being on stage with Taylor Swift? With a calm and collective face Brook replied, ” Yeah it was great, she is a very sweet girl and was a ton of fun to talk to. I think we were both having fun and happy to help support the foundation.” Well not exactly the Romeo and Juliet answer we were looking for, but the couple did look a little too good together on stage. Or so we thought at least! Johnston has been known to catch the younger girls eyes, as he has done several interviews for young rising star and teenage magazines. ” I am just glad to help out and spread my confidence to other teens whether it be in auto racing or any other sport.” So modest! Well, we can’t say that he was going to give us the mushy gushy answers we always hope for, but the smart and talented Johnston does have a very activity based personal life and enjoys the beach environment. Long walks on the sand ladies?

Well surely everyone was interested in his outside life, but what about his driving style and how he performs the way he does on the track? Who is Brook’s favorite driver of all time? Non other than legend and seven time championship winning Formula One driver Michael Schumacher. Now we know where he gets that smile and charm. ” I would say that Schumi has been a big inspiration to me on and off the track. I used to watch him with my dad growing up and when I finally saw him race in Indianapolis I knew he was unbeatable. And thats what I aspire to be.” So does Johnston race like Schumacher on the track? He laughs, ” Not exactly, I try to be my own person and I like my own style of racing. Schumi is amazing, but he has merely been my influence in racing. My talent lies in my fearlessness. You can’t be fearful or else you will never push the car to the edge and that’s what it takes to be a winner.” Brook Johnston’s confidence is right among those of Ernest Hemingway and the great Michael Schumacher. He will be racing in Brasil’s Rio de Janeiro region for Round 8 of the Formula BMW International series next, and will be heading to several events and charities over his bye week period over the coming week. With great talent and motive, the young American is doing it his way and will be followed as a ro-model to many throughout auto racing.