The Carl Cox Motorsport story, in Carl Cox’s own words.
“Carl Cox Motorsport, the whole thing, started in New Zealand in 2013 with a friend of mine called Gavin Sokolic. I had an idea of getting into motorsport via a grassroots racing team called Smith and Shorter Sidecar Racing Team. They needed financial backing to support them in their sidecar racing efforts for the New Zealand Superbike series. I thought, “You know what, I’ve got a bit a money I can chuck there it over and help them go round.”
The thing is with sidecars, is that years and years ago when I was a young lad, I’d watch sidecars go round at Brands Hatch in the early 80’s. And I loved them. I liked seeing the bikes go round, but the sidecars had two guys, one’s hanging off and the other is tucked in and on the throttle. I just loved the sidecar racing. I kind of followed the racing as much as I could. And then of course racing at the Isle of Man TT was always intriguing because they are always on full chat, going down Bray Hill and whooshing past… But I really enjoyed sitting there and watching that.
I’ve always been into motorsport racing. I remember Saturday mornings watching The World of Sport, watching Rallycross and Rallying, Drag Cars, Santa Pod Raceway, all that sort of stuff. And then I started Drag Racing myself. So, I’ve always been in to two, three and four-wheel racing
My situation was that my head was always music, and music first. I had two jobs. I was in the building trade, working and earning money for the records and I was spending any cash I was making in the building trade on the music and then a bit of money on racing my cars. But one of them had to break. And it was my racing efforts. So, I left that on the side. Kept watching it on the TV. I missed a lot of motorbike racing until Barry Sheene came off and then he’d be on the TV. And then seeing Kenny Roberts and all these kinds of superstars getting headlines and then Formula 1 racing of course back in the day.
“I was always into the music so I kind of missed a lot of racing, and actually being there physically. Carl Cox Motorsport helps me capture some of what I’ve missed in my life all the way up to 2013 when I started taking an avid interest in racing based on my sidecar team.”
Sidecar success at the Isle of Man TT
I never really set out to have a motorsport team as such. It’s just something that happened and came up. Everything I put my hand to, based on the support with the riders, and sidecar drivers and passengers and everything, has seemed to work out quite well. I feel I have a really good sense of the talent that I can put my hand on to get them on to move on up and help their belief to do really well. But that was always grassroots, or most of it until the Isle of Man TT.
In 2013 - 2014, Smith and Shorter were the sidecar team that I had an opportunity to take to the Isle of Man TT. So, I spent my money and got them over to there from New Zealand and out of 45 teams our team came 11th place for 2 years, which was amazing. People were like, who’s this Carl Cox Motorsport team? We had to have a name for our team, but there was no real structure for it, we had no website or anything. We just turned up with no money, got results, took pictures and that kind of thing. I said to myself that I’m not going to get into supporting solo riders, I was happy supporting the sidecar rounds and the Isle of Man TT.
Making the move into motorcycle racing
But of course, I did start supporting solo riders. Michael Neeves was out first solo rider. I met Michael completely by association. He was road testing a Suzuki GSX-R 750 at the time and took it to Ibiza. A friend of mine said that Michael wanted to meet me so and was going to ride down to a restaurant we had at the time called Sands. So, we met up for a meal and beer and talked motorbikes and we just gelled. I explained that we were setting up a tour group to ride from Ibiza and back from London and asked if he wanted to join us. He said he’d love to and I thought that it was cool that he’d want to ride along with us, and he’d also get a bigger story for his job at Motorcycle News. It was brilliant and we got to know Michael really well throughout the ‘Destination Ibiza’ journey, and of course his brother Ben down the line.
Meanwhile I’m running this motorcycle shop in Melbourne, TT Motorcycles, with Brian Brown, a real Honda fanatic. That is my shop business with Brian making café racers and bespoke retro motorcycles, and it’s doing quite well after 9 years. It’s fantastic to have that behind me as the historic side of motorcycle racing and the motorcycle world.
I thought I had the sidecars, and I love Phillip Island, so it would be really cool to represent TT Motorcycles, to get Brian to build a race bike to go down to the Phillip Island Classic. But we needed to get a rider with the ability to ride really well, which we know Michael does and he wanted to come to Australia too. So, I thought let’s kill two birds with one stone. I get Michael to come to Australia and he rides our race bike.
I remember going through the middle of France and pulling over and saying to Michael, ‘do you want to race one of our bikes at Philip Island and come over for a bit of a holiday?’ He didn’t know what he would be riding but said yes straightaway. Meanwhile I thought I better get a bike! I called Brian and said we needed a race bike for Michael. We found a great race bike at the time, I think it was either 1994 or 1995 Suzuki GSX-R, all in race trim. We got it in the best shape we could for him to throw a leg over and painted it in Carl Cox Motorsport colours.
“We had the bike and Michael was our first solo rider. So much went wrong that weekend, but Michael managed to get on the third step of the podium on our first outing at the Classic”
Locking out the top step in Sidecars at BSB
As things moved along, I found myself in this scenario and thinking what do I do next because I’ve set myself up as what is a pretty good standard of what’s going on. I bought a new sidecar for Tim Reeves Racing in 2017 and they ran that outfit at British Superbikes and won all their races, every race at every round, everything! For me that was one of the biggest accolades we could have with Team Reeves Racing. We then went to the Isle of Man TT with the team and got on the third step of the podium with Tim there. We were showing our prowess with Tim at that time. But then he moved onto another team and I was only running a couple of sidecar entries supporting some smaller grassroots efforts, keeping my hand in. We’ve kept going on three wheels with the Team Drugsadvies Sidecarshop, a Dutch team running in the World Sidecar Championships.
Teaming up with the Dunlop dynasty
Meanwhile Michael Dunlop showed interest in our sidecars. He had an idea of running a sidecar at the Isle of Man TT alongside his racing efforts on two wheels. It never happened unfortunately, but it was kind of an honour for him to think of doing that. What did happen, was that I got on really well with him and got an opportunity to support him. And when I did do that Michael was winning even more races. I thought, ‘this is good, I’m getting a taste of the good life here!’ We were talking about the Dunlop dynasty, and our name in the racing industry started going up and up.
That was really, really good and then Clive Padgett got behind Connor Cummins, Davey Todd and Bruce Anstey, so we had Carl Cox Motorsport going over to that team as well. In the paddock I had all these teams racing, with smaller teams as well.
Keeping it Kiwi
We’ve continued to support the Kiwi racing scene with our grassroots race series for youngsters; the Carl Cox Motorsport Cup, the famous Suzuki Tri-Series which runs over Xmas each year and involvement with the excellent Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.
We support two great competitors in the NZ F2 (Supersport series) Toby Summers and Avalon Biddle plus our dual effort sidecar pairings of Tracey Bryan-Jo Mickleson and Barry Smith-Stu Dawe.
We also have two Kiwis on walkabout; Damo Rees and Shane Richardson, big buddies and rivals, racing in the prestigious British Superbike Championship, Superstock 1000 class. We’re really excited to see them up there in 2021.
We also got involved with our local pro car race team Tickford Racing and what an operation they run. Tickford are one of the top teams in the Aussie Supercars Championship and we’ve extended support to their exciting young racer, Cameron Waters. Cam really ended the 2020 series on a high, taking his first ever solo Supercars race win!
Building speed and a global racing brand
These were the teams that I’ve been getting involved in, all the while looking to get faster and faster with my own efforts in my professional drag racing heading through the speed traps at 235mph, and historic muscle car racing in New Zealand.
“We’re ready to race, full gas!”
Drag racing, hill climb, historic racing on the track. That’s me doing all of that. But Carl Cox Motorsport allows me to help support some really talented riders and crews. Going forward I’m looking to partner with a global brand and really take things to the next level.”
Northern Irish racer Michael Dunlop is part of a motorcycle racing dynasty. 19 times a TT winner, Michael was the first rider to ever lap the 37-mile course in under 17 minutes.
Conor's career started in the British Championship and the Virgin Mobile Yamaha R6 Cup but it wasn't long before this Manx racer made the switch to road racing and going on to win the Fastest Newcomer at the North West 200, the Southern 100 and the Isle of Man TT. When not racing bikes for the Padgett’s Racing Team, you’ll most likely find Conor with a cup of coffee in his hand.
As a youngster Davey Todd's first award was in 2003 when he became 50cc Motocross Regional Club Champion. Since then his racing career has progressed through enduro to supermoto to superstock, with Davey currently holding a personal best Isle of Man TT lap of 131.491mph. Davey joins Conor at Padgett’s Racing Team and is tipped for great success.
SHANE RICHARDSON & DAMON REES
Astro-JJR Racing 's New Zealand teammates Shane Richardson and Damon Rees will both be racing in the UK for the first time in 2020 where they will be competing in the fiercely-contested Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship onboard BMW S 1000 R bikes.
For 2020 Carl Cox racer Tom Bramich (2018 Australian 300 Supersport and 2015 Australian Moto3 Champion) is riding for the Carl Cox - RT Motorsports by SKM - Kawasaki Team on a Ninja 400.
Avalon Biddle hails from from New Zealand, where she has competed in the World Supersport 300 Championship. She also races a MTF Vehicle Finance backed Kawasaki ZX6R in the New Zealand Supersport 600cc Championship.
In 2014 Avalon won New Zealand's 2014 Motorcycling Female Contribution to Sport award and in 2016 was crowned New Zealand Female rider of the year.
Brit Toby Summers races for the Carl Cox Motorsport team in New Zealand on a Kawasaki ZX600R
THREE WHEELS - SIDECARS
TRACEY BRYAN & JO MICKLESON
BARRY SMITH & STU DAWE
Tracey races the F2 LCR 600 with passenger Jo Mickleson. Tracey and Jo will have teamed up again having raced together in the past on the former 1995 IOM TT DMR of Dave Molyneux, affectionately known in NZ as ‘Pinky’. The pair competed in both NZ and Australia and at that time and were one of the first all women sidecar teams to compete. Their years of experience will make them a team to watch in the NZ Suzuki Series F2 Championship.
Barry Smith pilots the powerful Carl Cox Motorsport F1 LCR 1000 along with the experienced Stu Dawe. Stu has been a passenger for top New Zealand Riders in the past and is a multiple winner at the Famous Wanganui Cemetery Circuit so they will make a formidable team going into the Suzuki Series.
The team is supported by their exceptional and ever faithful pit crew Steve Bryan and Sheldon Reynolds.
"As always a massive thank you to Superstar DJ Carl Cox for the ongoing support and for continuing to support Motorsport in NZ and around the world!"
FOUR WHEELS - SUPERCARS
Cameron Waters is a young Australian race driver who holds the record for the youngest racer to compete in the Bathurst 1000. Cameron races for the legendary Aussie Supercar Team Tickford Racing who are based out of Melbourne, Australia. He won the Shannons Supercar Showdown reality TV show in 2011 and more recently finished 2nd in the 2020 Supercars Championship.
Obviously, there are numerous options for commercial opportunities with this team, as well as individual athletes.