Believe it or not, racing is all about teamwork. Whether it’s off-road, on-road, drag or drift; when you see a racecar scream over the finish line and take the win, it’s a culmination of countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears from more than just the driver.
At this year’s Monza Rally Show, hosted at the “Temple of Speed” – the legendary venue from which the show takes its name - we caught up with drift racer Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni to get the low down on his pit crew, and find out how his behind-the-scenes back-up keeps the wheels on his 600bhp ride rolling.
Monster Energy: Tell us a little about your team; you run a close-knit crew normally, who does what?
Baggsy: “My team consists of three main guys this weekend: Scott Brandon, who is my program manager; Rikki who is in charge of social media and event management; and my number one mechanic, Corbin. Here in Italy this weekend we also have a truck driver who looks after logistics to and from the event.
“Scott’s job is really important, he works with the brands, and sponsors such as our main three: Monster Energy, Westlake Tyres, and Acorn Insurance. He communicates our schedule with them, so they really understand what we’re doing; what media output we’re getting; who is at the event; and most importantly making sure that everybody knows how successful the team is when we do well.
“Rikki’s role is similar but related to media and to the public. He puts social media content out live; he makes sure that our media presence is strong, and that our fans and public and friends can see what we’re doing throughout the weekend.
“Corbin’s job is all on the car! Safety, performance, and making sure it runs smoothly is all him!
“And then... I suppose my job, is just to drive, and try to do the best for these guys. They put so much hard work in the team, from my point of view is just really make sure I do the best I can, their dedication to this team is amazing.”
Monster Energy: Great to meet you Scott, how long have you been looking after the business side of the team, and what does that involve?
Scott Brandon – Program Manager: “I’ve been looking after Steve for a number of years now, I take care of his whole race program; which includes sponsorships, meetings, some organization of events and stuff like that. I am kind of the business side of the team, so I do everything behind the scenes. He [Baggsy] does all the interesting and sexy stuff, and I do the boring work.
“Monza is an event I look forward to every year, really chilled, the crowd is very welcoming. It’s a non-competitive event for us but obviously it’s quite prestigious. It’s a nice way to connect with the fans after a long season of racing. This year has been really successful for us, after the wins in Abu Dhabi and Hungary; we’re having a lot of fun now. Of course we are preparing for next season now too, which will be bigger and better.”
Monster Energy: Hi Rikki, tell us a bit more about your role in the team…
Rikki Doughty – Event Manager / Social Media Manager: “I’m the event and social media manager for Baggsy’s team. As well as shooting, gathering and posting the content for Baggsy’s online channels during an event, I make sure Baggsy knows where he has to be and when. I also look after the overall team schedule. Monza is a crazy event; this is our third year here. We got here a couple of days earlier; to chill out and get everything ready and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s a really good event; the whole team loves coming here. The drivers and the cars are what the whole event is about, and it’s amazing.”
Monster Energy: Corbin - you’ve arguably got one of the most important jobs, it get’s pretty busy, right?
Corbin Darke – No.1 Mechanic: “Yes definitely. I get the car ready before the event, and am in charge of making sure it runs smoothly over a race weekend. Providing nothing breaks or is smashed up, it’s a process of checking and re-checking the car, before and after runs. As soon as Baggsy comes back to the pits, I re-check everything, refuel it, check the tyres, and make sure it’s ready and safe again. It’s quite an important role. Like in any type of racing things can go wrong pretty quickly, and it’s my responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen.
“Here at Monza we have one more mechanic because it’s a very busy event. On a full competition weekend, I can have three to four other mechanics supporting me too. We are just running demos and passenger rides here at Monza though - so we’re not in a rush. Monza Rally is amazing, is a very good event for us, a lot of people out there... we have fun!”
Got all that? Now check our behind the scenes gallery with Baggsy from the 2016 Monza Rally Show.