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From Modelling to Race Team Manager
By Eva Marina Mitchell
Wife of US TT Regular, Dwight Mitchell

The Team meets the Mayor   Eva and Dwight   Dwight in flight at Ballaugh Bridge

Three years ago I was modelling for an agency in Spain and going to the University, now I'm co-managing a professional race team and a mother.

It was Thursday of race qualification week and the day was sunny and warm. I had flown from Spain to England, then on to the Isle of Man a few hours earlier to catch up with the race team. As co-manager of Team USA I was quickly brought up to speed and given the statistics on qualifications so far. We were trying to qualify for the Senior race on this day at the famous Isle of Man TT and had finally got the Penske suspension working correctly.

There were 792 entries and only 80 of the fastest riders would qualify for this race. Of course my husband Dwight Mitchell was determined to be one of them as he put his leg across his motorcycle. After setting a blistering pace for the first lap, he was on his second lap or the flying lap. This is where you make time because you are doing over 150 mph when cross the start/finish line and pass the lap timer with no pit stop.

We were timing my husband when we noticed he was overdue. I began to worry, for the Isle of Man is no ordinary racecourse. Nestled on a quaint island in the middle of the Irish Sea lies the world's most treacherous racecourse. Conducted on a mountain circuit of ordinary roads, each 38-mile lap consists of 220 curves with jumps, telephone poles, stone walls, cliffs, and often no run off. The race is 226.5 miles in length and has claimed many lives over its 94-year history.

Only a handful of Americans attend each year. This is the world's greatest and oldest roadrace, which has taken place every year since 1907. I immediately went to the race office for any information and discovered that my husband had crashed halfway around the course. Fortunately he was up and okay thanks to his Vanson leathers, and Alpinestar protective gear. Welcome to the wonderful world of motorcycle roadracing.

I always watch my husband with a mixture of fear and excitement each time he's out on the track. I love to watch him racing in his colour co-ordinated leathers. Although I know he's an excellent racer, I never truly relax until he's back in the pits safe and sound. It's a love/hate sort of thing. Watching a race and having someone you love in a race are two entirely different things.

So how did I get here you ask? It seems like only yesterday that I met my husband while he was vacationing in Madrid. It was the winter of 1997. He had just completed his first year of racing and had won the AMA Amateur National Championship but had never mentioned it. In fact I had no idea my husband raced motorcycles or was turning Pro the following year until a few weeks later. I remember him telling me that if I had any reservations about him racing motorcycles I should stop dating him now before our relationship got to serious. He advised me that he thoroughly enjoyed racing and had no intentions of stopping. I also remember him making some off handed joke about motorcycles not getting headaches, to which I promptly laughed and hit him.

Like most Spaniards I loved motorcycle racing, and I even ride myself. I would travel to Jerez in the south of Spain in the spring to watch the Spanish round of the World Grand Prix championships. There are six in my family and we all ride and love to watch motorcycle racing. When they found out he raced motorcycles they immediately liked him. You know how people always say "when you meet the right person you'll know it." Well that happened to us. I had been to the United States many times for work but had never met anyone that interested me. I never imagined I would fall in love with an American in my own country. We were so perfect for each other. From motorcycles to Scuba Diving we had everything in common. It was so scary because we were moving very fast just like he races. After what some would consider a short courtship we were married, and these have been the best times of my life.

When I first moved to the US to be with my husband I was undecided on the continuation of my modelling career. Most people think it's a glamour job, but it's very hard work. Since I was very good with computers and liked motorcycles my husband suggested that I help him run and manage the new race team. I agreed, and he taught me what I needed to know and set me in motion.

So what does my job entail? Meeting with perspective sponsors, proposal preparation, press releases, preparing sales literature, public relations, trade shows, and website maintenance http://www.dm8.com/. Producing the team newsletter, spare parts procurement and inventory, arranging team photo shoots, scheduling interviews, and expenses tracking. Crew interviews, acquiring accommodations, licensing, insurance, videographer, and umbrella girl for my husband when he's on the starting line :-)

On any given day I spend a large portion of my time on the phone doing PR work and speaking with new perspective sponsors. We contacted over 200 companies last year and found out that a large majority was already in Motorsports advertising with NASCAR.

Like the majority of non-factory sponsored racers, (called privateer racers) my husband has a regular job. His company, Mitchell & Associates are an IBM AS/400 and JD Edwards consulting firm. This supports us and allows him to race with the aid of product sponsors but it's still very expensive. The work is hard, but fun and without the seeming limitless resources/money of factory backed teams we rely on volunteers like Wayne, Clark, Garett, Ted, Ben, Rita, Danielle, Troy and Steve who help us get the job done. They do it for the love of the sport and because they enjoy getting involved. We can't thank them enough for all their tireless efforts. We also formed the Team USA TT Supporters Club. It's a 400-member club whose membership fees and donations help defray the cost of racing in Europe. We also give out a yearly free trip to Europe and gifts with the various levels of membership.

It wouldn't be feasible to run a race team without sponsors. They help us financially, with product support, marketing, and give you a mechanism for growing your team. Hindle Exhaust, Elf Lubricants, and Factory Tuning help get the most out of the motors. Sharkskinz bodywork and Dietlemier Motorgraphics make the bikes light and beautiful, along with Race Tech, Penske Shocks, and EBC for suspension and braking.So we are constantly seeking additional sponsors. Further sponsorship is always being sought. When it comes to racing you never have too many sponsors or too much money. You are marketing your team so you need to perform, look good, have charisma, and above all be professional. The qualities I used in my modelling career apply here.

For 2001 MV Agusta have supplied the motorcycles and we are racing an F4 on Pirelli Dragon Evo tires. MV Agusta is the most successful name in motorcycle road racing and has won more championships than any other motorcycle brand. The name MV Agusta evokes memories of a bygone age where nearly every race winner, every world champion rode the same type of motorcycle - MV Augusta. No other manufacturer has equalled their record of 75 world championships, 270 Grand Prix victories and a total of 3027 victories in the various different biking disciplines.

Now we add a beautiful new baby boy named Bryce into the mix. Are you getting the picture yet? We were very busy a few winters ago when Bryce was born. The first race of the season at Daytona, FL was a mind-altering experience. Trying to work with the team and care for the baby was an exercise in organisational skills, and patience. I was fortunate to have fellow team member Garett's fiancee Danielle with us at the time. At home we have a part time babysitter that allows me to do my work, but she was not with us and we had no idea how much additional work it would be. Well I can say one thing, it was a learning experience and now years further on, we are still working on getting it right. Everyone loves seeing Bryce at the track, and the wives and girlfriends of the other racers are always volunteering to help.

Now that I am back to my normal size and modelling part time we have designed two new promotional efforts. The first includes some fellow models and myself making a swimsuit calendar with the team motorcycles as the props in the background. There will be a mixture of bikini shots and race shots on the calendar. The second is a behind the scenes video of our team's efforts during the season. It will include racing, pit shots, the modelling sessions, and footage from the motorcycle shows. We are always seeking new ways to promote the team and our sponsors.

In addition to racing we also try to give back to society. We visit elementary schools, Garett teaches motorcycle safety classes, and Dwight's a control rider and instructor for various motorcycle race schools and Sportbike associations. When we were last on the Isle of Man in June of 99 our US team was given a mayoral reception at city hall by The Mayor and his wife. Everyone was very excited to see an organised US presence.

The people at the Isle of Man are warm, wonderful, and very helpful. It was a very festive occasion and one I'm glad I was able to attend. But best of all our team won the ACU International team award. This is awarded is given to a 3 person team not affiliated with the ACU who complete the total distance of the race in the shortest aggregate time, and there were 792 entries from 20 countries at that year's races.

The past few years have been fun filled and exciting. I can't wait to see what the next few years has in store for me. Sign onto our website at http://www.dm8.com/ for full details.

See you at the racetrack!