A Chat with Coastal KTM’s Phil Bond

Author: Aaryn Minerds

Author: Aaryn Minerds


Like most people that go to the races it is easy to get caught up in the big teams, with the big trucks. They have the best looking bikes with all the latest trick bits on them, everything around their pit area is clean, the work space has plastic down on the floor and there is no sight of mud anywhere under the awning even on the muddiest of days. But next time you are at a national race meeting spend some time looking around at some of the smaller teams that are starting really step up. Teams like, AXIS Motorsports, SP Motorsports/Byrner's Motorcycles and Costal KTM and even the Raceline Suzuki team. Sure their trucks are not quite as big, and they don’t have all the big factory bling the big teams have but these teams are making a splash in the national circuit and are helping pave a way for the next wave of riders to come through. They might not have the big budget’s but they still turn out great looking bikes and have riders that are usually right on the cusp of breaking out and becoming front runners on the national circuit.

After the Raymond Terrace round of this year’s MX Nationals I was able to get hold of Phil Bond, owner and manager of the Costal KTM team for a chat over the phone. That chat turned out to be a great conversation about nearly every aspect of motocross and going racing, actually not just racing but also riding in general and where the sport is heading both on and off the race track.

After nearly an hour on the phone I realised I was going to have to try to edit it all and somehow cover it all in this interview, unfortunately there is lot that did not make it to this page, maybe in the future I will type the whole lot out or make some slight edits to the audio file, but for now sit back and get an insight on how the Costal KTM team came to existence, how the team is structured this year and find out why we are seeing Under 19s championship leader Josh Cachia’s bike spending time underneath both the Costal KTM truck and also the JDR factory KTM truck this year.

Fullnoise: The Costal KTM team is a team owned and managed by yourself and is run in conjunction with the KTM dealership you also own and operate, how long have you owned the shop and has the team been in existence from the time the shop opened?

Bondy: I have had the shop along with Deb for 9 years now and yeah the team has been there from the start. Well in the first year we had a bit of a transition as I still had another business I was running. At the end of that first year we had a junior team started and I took Tye Simmonds on as well as Dylan Gosling and my young bloke (Luke Bond), it was just the junior team back then.

We have always had junior teams since then, either junior or senior, we had our first senior rider in 04 when we had Nathan Brochtrup ride for us, we helped him out and done supercross and motocross with him. In 2005 and 2006 we just helped out a few riders via the shop, only junior riders those years including Kyle Nagal.

In 2007 we stepped it up a little and we took on Digs (Danny Anderson), that’s when we set up our trailer and the smaller truck we used to run. That season started out as Digs and a couple of juniors when they had the few junior events at the Nationals. 2008 was again Digs on the team and I also took around a few other bikes for some senior riders for the MX Nationals. It was also the first year of SuperX and along with Digs we took on Clinton Sheely.

Clinton came out from the United states through a deal with a guy in Western Australia, the guy over there lost interest after a couple of rounds, KTM owned the bike so Jeff got in contact with me and asked if we could help out, John Tisdale put some money in to help him out and a took him and the bikes around for the season.

That is pretty much what launched the team that we have today.

Fullnoise: Your team sat out the 2009 MX season, but you had a team back out there for the SuperX last year, what else did you have going through the winter while not running the Motocross.?

Bondy: Yeah last year we sat the nationals out, we had the off road team going at all the rounds of the Australian off road series with a three rider team. We came back for SuperX and really stepped things up; we had a full team with, Digs, Luke Bond, McCoy and Mitch Austin.

Fullnoise: You have also stepped it up again this year with the Nationals? You have at least 5 riders running out of your truck it is a pretty big set up.

Bondy: This year we have support from MXRAD and JDR and running a bigger truck, Only 3 of the riders are actually my riders, Well Luke and Digs are my riders, I have McCoy which is a bit of a funny deal this year, pretty much Dan and Benny Foster put this deal together with Hart and Huntington and were starting to put a team together with their own sponsors and were going to run as a privateer outfit. He already has a deal with me to ride a KTM, so that’s how that whole thing came about and why we run him out of the side of the teams set up with his own little set up, so he really still does have his own privateer setup. I am still his mechanic and help him out, but he does everything else himself.

Ralston and Cachia both run under the MXRAD banner along with Costal KTM, I am contracted to JDR to run those two riders for them.

Fullnoise: That would answer the question of why we occasionally see Cachia’s bike parked under the JDR KTM pit.

Bondy: Yeah with JDR taking over the factory team this year and still having their own team they ended up with too many riders, they pretty much ended up with six riders in total. They could not run them all out of one truck and out of the premises they had, they just didn’t have the room.

To set up another truck just to run two more riders would have been an expensive exercise, so I offered to run the two bikes and supply a race day mechanic for them, I actually have a standalone workshop now where we run just the race team out of, I have a good guy Timmo running that side of things for me. So we had the room and resources to run the two riders at a lot less cost than it would have cost JDR to fit out another operation. So that is how all that came about and do far it is working our really good.

Fullnoise: It really is a bit of a mixed bag of a team then, pretty much your team and then two other teams also running alongside you under your banner.

Bondy: Yeah exactly, we really just have pooled all our resources, things are getting tighter and it is harder to get sponsorship dollars, so you have to put everything together were you can, to go racing.

Fullnoise: It actually looks to be a smart thing to do, if you look at it KTM have ended up with nearly 10 riders out there every round running under the official KTM banner, looking professional with three or four smaller teams under one Pit area.

Bondy: Exactly and not with a huge financial input, If josh wins the under19s, That will cost KTM virtually nothing, Josh is riding my bikes, and he runs all my parts, I buy all my tyres although I do get them at a good price through Pirelli, The only things we get are oil, chains and sprockets and things like that, we pay for everything else. People would be surprised how much a privateer team like ours actually pay for, the Factory teams get most of the product and it does not leave much for the privateers or smaller teams.

The outlay for KTM to win the championship with Cachia if he goes on to do it is a very very small fraction of the cost outlaid to win with Simmonds. At the same time though it give the team some great publicity.

Fullnoise: Hopefully that will pay off in future years with more support for your team especially with SuperX and now the MX Nationals getting TV coverage.

Bondy: Yeah it already has, even with the SuperX stuff and the things we have done, the exposure we get just from people seeing our team on TV gives us more recognition, the Costal name starts to become known, and when people want to buy a KTM they think Costal, and ring us, It definitely does help with bike sales. Even this year over half the bikes we are selling are out of our area for sales, we have sold bikes to riders in Melbourne, Queensland and out to Dubbo and it is all because we race. People see the team and know we still look after junior riders, and we still run the off road team, we actually just had Jason Davies win the New Zealand championship on the weekend for us.

The TV coverage really does help, especially with SuperX, we have outside sponsors that are starting to come on board, I have Tattoo companies and other companies that don’t have anything to do with motocross now supporting us because they shop at our shop and see us on TV, we let them know the type of exposure they are getting and it all helps, it might only be $10,000 but with a few on board you end up with $30,000 and it helps. Without SuperX we would have never got attached to these people to start with, as soon as you can offer TV exposure peoples ears prick up. Now with the addition of the Nationals on TV it will keep the riders and teams names out there all year, not just for the two months of SuperX.

Fullnoise: As you mentioned you have your son Luke is racing in the team, how much of the reason you go racing revolves around Luke growing up racing and still racing today?

Bondy: I used to race myself but it got out of hand running the shop and the race team I was working 24/7 and had no time to ride or race myself anymore. Pretty much we did this around my young bloke, it was one of the reasons we bought he shop when he was about 7, the whole thing about the team evolved from him in a way.

Fullnoise: And he had a good round at Raymond Tce, well a good first moto anyway holding off riders who were and are favourites for the championship this year.

Bondy: Well his first race was good then he has a bit of shit run, he is doing about what I thought he would do this year, it is tough stepping into that class for any kid. This year, there is really only three riders that have come through from the Junior NSW state titles last year in Mitch Budd, Errol Willis and Luke. There was a strong group of riders that came through with Luke and also the older group with Tye Simmonds a couple of years ahead but most of the riders have disappeared. It just cost so much to go racing, with motocross and SuperX and then making the trip over to New Zealand to race, it cost over 100,000 a year for a rider to run around in 15th -20th place, and now one is going to do that for very long.

Fullnoise: How is the rest of the team going this year, as mentioned a little earlier Cachia is looking good in the Under19s, what about the rest of the guys how are they travelling?

Bondy: The team has been going pretty good, McCoy has been struggling a little bit, he has a bit of a different deal going on with his suspension, and may have gotten a little of the beaten track with that but DMC has headed over to America for the short break with PJ Larsen to do some work on that. Hopefully he will get that sorted and be back on track for next round.

Digs is driving my truck this year, I gave him a bike so he pretty much could just go out and race and ride around this year, he has had a couple of good race but digs It is just go out there and he does whatever he does.

Ralston is doing well, we have him back up and out of the doldrums and have a bit of consistency out of the kid, we just need to get some starts out of him now and I think we can get him up into that top five. We are actually real happy where he is, he was actually injured coming into the season, and he actually never got a bike until late February with us. He was doing well at Raymond Tce on the weekend until the last race when the shock fell out because his old man didn’t lock tight it in after they swapped it between races, so that was a bit of a family feud, (Laughs) Thought he was going to kill his old man he was shattered.

Luke is about where I thought he would be he has had some good race and some bad races. He has just been out to Tye’s for a few days riding with him. He just has to get the starts, he has got the speed. We did not expect too much this year, next year is his year, he can’t get out to train and practice as he does not yet have a licence, so next year he will be able to put more time in and get out and ride more, so next year is his year to do well and if he does not it is all over (laughs) Ill put someone else on my team.

Hopefully we can hold on to the red plate with Josh and keep him doing what he is doing. Hopefully we can get to the last round at Coolum with the points gap he has got now, but racing is racing and I won’t count my chickens just yet anything can still happen.

Fullnoise: Once the Nationals have finished you will turn your attention to SuperX, sounds like you will be running a full program with at SuperX as well?

Bondy: Yeah I will again be running two riders for MX Rad / JDR, I am not sure if it will still be those two riders (Cachia and Ralston), that is totally their decision which two riders I get, but I think it will be them, I will be doing the same deal we have for motocross with McCoy and I will have my young bloke Luke, so there will definitely be those four. We will probably leave it at that, if Digs wants to ride he will probably have to buy a bike, things are getting tight and we didn’t do a deal for SuperX this year, I am happy to take him around and take him to the races, but he will just have to put some stuff together and buy the bike. So still not 100% sure what we will be doing with Digs yet.

Fullnoise: How much longer can you see yourself going on with running this race team, is it a long term vision you have or is it just a year by year type thing?

Bondy: Yeah we are definitely in it for a least a few more years put it that way, at the end of the day it comes down to my young bloke to, I would like to see him in the top 5 of whatever class he ends up in, and we will keep rolling with this deal.

I have a couple of other things on the horizon for next year, and I think JDR want to keep going with this deal next year, they sort of want to use me as a bit of a stepping stone to go to the other team, I think it is probably a good thing as when a young rider goes straight to a big team there is way too much pressure and expectations on them. So a year or two in my team, and we don’t pull no punches, it is get in do your job or get lost, It gives them a bit of a hard road but with less pressure before they get the easier road with a factory team.

So hopefully they want to keep it going and If JDR keep it going I will keep running a couple or riders for them and a couple with my own deal, but I would keep it at four riders to make it more manageable and go from there.

Fullnoise: It would be good to see more of the manufactures support a team like yours and run a feeder team for their factory teams.

Bondy: I think they need to, and at the end of the day it is not much money out of their budget to help a decent privateer team run an extra rider or two for them, it is not a big deal and it also helps the privateer team step up to the next level. It would also help put some more rides out there for the upcoming kids, there is less team rides every year, you look around the pits and there are not to many factory rides out there, or even smaller team rides.

Fullnoise: Well thanks for your time Phil, we have been on the phone for nearly an hour so I am going to have fun editing and typing this one out! , good luck for the rest of the year and hopefully you can get another championship this year to go along with the NZ Enduro title. I’ll see you in Albury

Bondy: Thanks Cool mate see you there.

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