RACING

OMG Championship Leading British Superbike Team Rich Energy Drops

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Rich energy OMG Racing's Kyle Ride at Brands Hatch in 2021.

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Rich energy OMG Racing’s Kyle Ride at Brands Hatch in 2021.
Photo: Ker Robertson (Getty Images)

Rich energythe energy drink sponsor who rose to prominence during his tenure as title sponsor of the Haas Formula 1 Team in 2019, is back. Earlier this week, Rich Energy HQ’s Twitter account announced that it would no longer be sponsoring OMG Racing, a British Superbike team that currently leads its championship. There’s just one problem: OMG Racing doesn’t really agree with this claim.

“Rich Energy would like to thank OMG Racing for their work over the past 2 years, but the entire deal is now complete,” reads Twitter. “Rich Energy is expanding its portfolio in many areas, including sports.”

If you click on this link to the Rich Energy website, you are redirected to a site under construction. To buy any product, you have to send an email.

According motorsport magazineOMG Racing team principal Paul Curran “said he was considering blocking reporters’ phone numbers” after a long morning of calls from reporters seeking clarification on the situation.

Earlier today, OMG Racing released a team statement on the question that read, in part:

Rich Energy OMG Racing is not and has never been sponsored by William Storey.

Rich Energy OMG Racing is not and has never been sponsored by the owners of the Rich Energy brand. Rich Energy OMG Racing is sponsored by RichOMG Limited, the worldwide beverage sales and distribution rights holder, Rich Energy (Classic) and Rich Energy Sugar Free.

This sponsorship deal was established in March 2020 ahead of the 2020 BSB season and remains firmly in place for now. The sponsorship has also extended to support the team when competing in the Northwest 200 and Isle of Man TT races in 2022.

So Rich Energy OMG Racing is apparently not sponsored by Rich Energy, it is sponsored by RichOMG Limited. Two completely different companies. Which is fine – except we’ve been through this weird divide before.

If you need a refresher on the Haas drama, here it is in a nutshell: Rich Energy has signed as Haas’ title partner for the 2019 F1 season. In the middle of this season, Rich Energy tweeted that he was no longer sponsoring Haas. Except that some parts of Rich Energy’s corporate organization disagreed. Haas himself disagreed. Then Rich Energy broke up; one part kept the Rich Energy name while the other became Lightning Volt. At the end of the day, however, Haas was left without a title sponsor in what was one of the most embarrassing fiascos in modern F1 history.

This poor track record hasn’t exactly stopped other racing teams, drivers or series from looking to Rich Energy as a potential sponsor. Since the falling out with Haas, Rich Energy has made deals with OMG Racing in British Superbikes and Rich Energy BTC Racing in the British Touring Car Championship. The first is currently collapsing; let’s see what happens with this one.

Perhaps most fascinating, however, is that Rich Energy let OMG down in a season of solid performance (something that was certainly lacking in the Haas era). Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha’s Bradley Ray currently leads the Superbikes championship with 216 points, 16 ahead of his closest title rival. The team’s other runner, Kyle Ryde, is in fifth place. I can’t say that now seems like the perfect time to cut ties.

Rich Energy has long been part of some frankly fascinating sponsorship strategies, but I have to say that the OMG model seems to be one of the most… complex, shall we say. If only someone wrote a book about it that could shed more light on the chaos.

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