The Story of No Fear

DonM
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5167
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4/1/2008
Location
US
5/10/2019 9:13pm Edited Date/Time 5/17/2019 3:26pm
https://racerxonline.com/2019/05/10/the-rise-fall-of-no-fear

I grew up with these guys, met them in FL in late 70's early 80's remember the whole story from the beginning...called Surwall Screwball...Mark and Brian were really just a couple of goofballs that wouldn't take no for an answer...was a great time to be part of moto...years later was at a Trans Am car race and ran into to Brian who invited me into his motorhome and we benchraced like it was yesterday...oh the stories we could tell!!...few know that Mark & Brian's last name was really Simonitus...
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5/10/2019 9:25pm
Spent the last couple hours of my workday reading that. Great read. Gotta respect the guys for not taking the nike deal and going down with the sinking ship
1
Maestro
Posts
43
Joined
3/2/2018
Location
GB
5/11/2019 3:18am
I just read the article. It was awesome. Thanks.

Talking to the protagonists, getting the facts. Completely real. We need more stuff like this. Great journalism.
6
Tarz483
Posts
5849
Joined
2/25/2009
Location
Mankato, MN US
5/11/2019 6:22am
I just Read it , great job Mathes
I wonder what he means at the end of the story
The very last paragraph when he says the industry is gone?

What we got to really realize, stepping back, the entire industry that we were party to is gone. It’s not a little gone. It’s gone. If you look at the legacy and the country club of people we sat with—the Quicksilvers, the Billabongs—we brought the gears and oil to the action-sports industry. Although industries change and move on, the industry is gone. So no matter what we would have done, our ride was coming to an end.
1
H4L
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2419
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3/18/2016
Location
CA US
5/11/2019 7:02am
...

The Shop

500 Mike
Posts
745
Joined
4/1/2008
Location
Kingwood, TX US
5/11/2019 9:19am
That was a great read. A fantastic time in the industry. I am afraid the last paragraph is very telling..... if the industry is not gone, it is changing radically and not for the better IMO.
1
robkinuk
Posts
3665
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5/16/2007
Location
Ashbourne GB
5/11/2019 9:33am
Great read, I've met many of the contributors, good to hear their candid observations. Makes you wonder how successful they could have been with a good accountant on board? Crazy times..........
1
5/11/2019 9:41am
Great reading that is. I think I enjoyed that one more than the twotwo motorsports one!
mxman
Posts
167
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8/21/2006
Location
Armpit, TX US
5/11/2019 9:56am
Mark and Brian were awesome. I lived down the street and was also close with Toni there sister and Paul the younger brother. Lots of memories racing with them and hanging out in our garages. My brother also bought one of Surwall's LOP 125's from him. Loved hanging out at LOP back in the day.
Sierra Ranger
Posts
792
Joined
12/30/2018
Location
Sacramento, CA US
5/11/2019 11:13am Edited Date/Time 5/11/2019 11:15am
Tarz483 wrote:
I just Read it , great job Mathes I wonder what he means at the end of the story The very last paragraph when he says...
I just Read it , great job Mathes
I wonder what he means at the end of the story
The very last paragraph when he says the industry is gone?

What we got to really realize, stepping back, the entire industry that we were party to is gone. It’s not a little gone. It’s gone. If you look at the legacy and the country club of people we sat with—the Quicksilvers, the Billabongs—we brought the gears and oil to the action-sports industry. Although industries change and move on, the industry is gone. So no matter what we would have done, our ride was coming to an end.
Maybe this? (see below) The gear side alone sold $4 million in gear in four months. That surprised me. I was into moto back then and had no idea they were making this kind of money. The moto industry was a huge moneypot in the 90s, I guess. My personal belief is kids today are filled with so much environmentalism that dirt bikes aren't cool anymore.
Plus, and this is a big one- people don't want to be Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb or Marvin Musquin the way they wanted to be RJ, Lechien, Bailey, Ward and McGrath and Pastrana. Those guys were cool and seemed to be having fun (Ward was the most serious). Guys today don't seem to be having fun at all! Especially Tomac. Moto in the 90s was a lifestyle, but something happened.
No Fear also hit people over the head because the name alone reflected a mentality and a way of life that people could instantly connect with.

"The gear came out in September, and in four months we did $4 million in gear. When I sold it, we were about just over $20 million in sales. We didn’t have the rights for casual clothing. That was the main brand. We had a helmet and boots and a chest protector, simple stuff. The gear part of it grew quick."
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1
Boomslang
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Cape Town ZA
5/11/2019 11:27am
Just finished...Awesome read.
2
mpy
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567
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Here or there... FR
5/11/2019 11:44am
Absolutely awesome article. Growth can be hard in any industry. Thanks Steve!
1
motogrady
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3850
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1/27/2008
Location
WV US
5/11/2019 12:02pm
That was one hell of a ride.

I wonder how they got the money out of it.
Did they pay themselves hefty salaries?
Did they take big bonuses?
Bankruptcy is mentioned, and even tho it sounds like the kind where you reorganize, I have a feeling that ship did not sail for long after that.
FWYT
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2933
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5/25/2014
Location
San Diego, CA US
5/11/2019 12:24pm
Awesome article! Thank you for putting that together!
Spooner
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1614
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Location
Kansas City, MO US
5/11/2019 4:39pm
Very interesting story! I graduated high school in 98 so I was right in the middle of the t-shirt fad. Honestly I always thought the shirts were lame but everyone was wearing them. I was out of the moto scene for about 10 years after high school and more into sportbikes and roadracing so I missed all the gear stuff for the most part.

I was big into skateboarding in the late 80’s so it was cool hearing about all the life’s a beach and bad boy club stuff.
1
crowe176
Posts
6342
Joined
9/8/2006
Location
Spring Lake, MI US
5/11/2019 6:00pm
I wouldn't have been caught dead on a No Fear shirt, or find one of their stickers on my stuff. But, I always wanted to run their gear. MC, KW14 and TP199, how could you go wrong?
Adam43
Posts
3083
Joined
8/16/2006
Location
WF
5/11/2019 6:42pm
It's a good story and there are some great pull quotes from the players.

But the "oral history" style is a poor fit for what is essentially a business story. We could have used more narrative to better show the facts and timeline - it's still quite muddy on what actually happened and this is a giant article.
4
4
Kelz87
Posts
909
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7/21/2018
Location
Phoenix, AZ US
5/11/2019 9:22pm
Tarz483 wrote:
I just Read it , great job Mathes I wonder what he means at the end of the story The very last paragraph when he says...
I just Read it , great job Mathes
I wonder what he means at the end of the story
The very last paragraph when he says the industry is gone?

What we got to really realize, stepping back, the entire industry that we were party to is gone. It’s not a little gone. It’s gone. If you look at the legacy and the country club of people we sat with—the Quicksilvers, the Billabongs—we brought the gears and oil to the action-sports industry. Although industries change and move on, the industry is gone. So no matter what we would have done, our ride was coming to an end.
Maybe this? (see below) The gear side alone sold $4 million in gear in four months. That surprised me. I was into moto back then and...
Maybe this? (see below) The gear side alone sold $4 million in gear in four months. That surprised me. I was into moto back then and had no idea they were making this kind of money. The moto industry was a huge moneypot in the 90s, I guess. My personal belief is kids today are filled with so much environmentalism that dirt bikes aren't cool anymore.
Plus, and this is a big one- people don't want to be Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb or Marvin Musquin the way they wanted to be RJ, Lechien, Bailey, Ward and McGrath and Pastrana. Those guys were cool and seemed to be having fun (Ward was the most serious). Guys today don't seem to be having fun at all! Especially Tomac. Moto in the 90s was a lifestyle, but something happened.
No Fear also hit people over the head because the name alone reflected a mentality and a way of life that people could instantly connect with.

"The gear came out in September, and in four months we did $4 million in gear. When I sold it, we were about just over $20 million in sales. We didn’t have the rights for casual clothing. That was the main brand. We had a helmet and boots and a chest protector, simple stuff. The gear part of it grew quick."
Interesting. Growing up I wanted to be like MC and Pastrana, and I’d think about that when I’m riding. I never think of being anyone else when I ride, although it’s most likely because I don’t have that young imagination anymore.

But those guys DID look like they were having fun! I don’t get that vibe from modern racing—the bar is so high in so many ways. You don’t see guys partying together like MC and Fro after the races
Sierra Ranger
Posts
792
Joined
12/30/2018
Location
Sacramento, CA US
5/11/2019 10:44pm
Tarz483 wrote:
I just Read it , great job Mathes I wonder what he means at the end of the story The very last paragraph when he says...
I just Read it , great job Mathes
I wonder what he means at the end of the story
The very last paragraph when he says the industry is gone?

What we got to really realize, stepping back, the entire industry that we were party to is gone. It’s not a little gone. It’s gone. If you look at the legacy and the country club of people we sat with—the Quicksilvers, the Billabongs—we brought the gears and oil to the action-sports industry. Although industries change and move on, the industry is gone. So no matter what we would have done, our ride was coming to an end.
Maybe this? (see below) The gear side alone sold $4 million in gear in four months. That surprised me. I was into moto back then and...
Maybe this? (see below) The gear side alone sold $4 million in gear in four months. That surprised me. I was into moto back then and had no idea they were making this kind of money. The moto industry was a huge moneypot in the 90s, I guess. My personal belief is kids today are filled with so much environmentalism that dirt bikes aren't cool anymore.
Plus, and this is a big one- people don't want to be Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb or Marvin Musquin the way they wanted to be RJ, Lechien, Bailey, Ward and McGrath and Pastrana. Those guys were cool and seemed to be having fun (Ward was the most serious). Guys today don't seem to be having fun at all! Especially Tomac. Moto in the 90s was a lifestyle, but something happened.
No Fear also hit people over the head because the name alone reflected a mentality and a way of life that people could instantly connect with.

"The gear came out in September, and in four months we did $4 million in gear. When I sold it, we were about just over $20 million in sales. We didn’t have the rights for casual clothing. That was the main brand. We had a helmet and boots and a chest protector, simple stuff. The gear part of it grew quick."
Kelz87 wrote:
Interesting. Growing up I wanted to be like MC and Pastrana, and I’d think about that when I’m riding. I never think of being anyone else...
Interesting. Growing up I wanted to be like MC and Pastrana, and I’d think about that when I’m riding. I never think of being anyone else when I ride, although it’s most likely because I don’t have that young imagination anymore.

But those guys DID look like they were having fun! I don’t get that vibe from modern racing—the bar is so high in so many ways. You don’t see guys partying together like MC and Fro after the races
The other factor is Crusty Demons came out around '95 or so and the freestyle movement was born. It showed more of the party side of things. I was living with some buddies in a big house, selling bikes in a multi-line dealership, riding an RM125 whenever I could and ripping berms and bongs a lot. We watched all those freestyle vids and basically tried to live that rock and roll life to the hilt.
2
scott_nz
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4636
Joined
4/1/2008
Location
NZ
5/12/2019 12:37am
Adam43 wrote:
It's a good story and there are some great pull quotes from the players. But the "oral history" style is a poor fit for what is...
It's a good story and there are some great pull quotes from the players.

But the "oral history" style is a poor fit for what is essentially a business story. We could have used more narrative to better show the facts and timeline - it's still quite muddy on what actually happened and this is a giant article.
i doubt you could get that type of info to do a true investigative story, its cool hearing different perspectives on what was going on from different people,
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AJ565
Posts
1826
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3/12/2012
Location
San Antonio, TX US
5/12/2019 4:55pm
I have 3 sets of No Fear gear. It’s heavy compared to the new gear, but it’s almost 20 years old and is still in great shape.
1
MXD
Posts
2481
Joined
4/1/2008
Location
MA US
5/12/2019 6:53pm Edited Date/Time 5/12/2019 6:56pm
So Is Grondahl (sp?) the most recent owner of Alias? How did he come into the picture?
chuck356
Posts
58
Joined
1/27/2019
Location
Danville, IL US
5/13/2019 6:38am
That was a fantastic story by Mattes. I sold No Fear in my shop back in the '90's, it didn't make me rich, but it did ok. I used to get pissed off because they never sent what you ordered, you got what you got. I thought the story had some cloudy parts as well towards the end, but still a great read.

And as a 40 year veteran of this industry, we are in trouble.
6
gt80rider
Posts
6224
Joined
4/19/2008
Location
Boulder, CO US
5/13/2019 7:30am
And definitely, that era is long gone... the big money, the crazy marketing campaigns........ now all we have is companies struggling to make it another year..................
1
Talisker
Posts
831
Joined
10/25/2018
Location
Houston, TX US
5/13/2019 7:44am
Great story!!!! Seems like they had too many cooks in the kitchen. Too many owners, to many people coming in with money, to many people going in different directions. Too many chiefs and not enough indians. Its sad that they passed up that Nike deal and thought they could compete on that level.
This is only my opinion. Great read... i always wanted to know a little more of the back story.
Red Crawford
Posts
311
Joined
12/28/2018
Location
Huntington Beach, CA US
5/13/2019 9:27am Edited Date/Time 5/13/2019 9:27am
Great journalism. I couldn't put it down.
Would still love to hear the "drill down" on what exactly went down with Laurens....
Somebody should make this story into a short documentary (here's looking at you Motocross Files dude)!
lumpy790
Posts
7679
Joined
9/18/2007
Location
York, SC US
5/13/2019 10:01am
No Fear made amazing quality MX gear and unique T shirts!
5/13/2019 10:02am
Travis passing up a band new corvette and huge salary from Fox to sign with no fear was pretty cool.
4
2stmark
Posts
94
Joined
2/15/2017
Location
Waterford, MI US
5/13/2019 8:08pm
Travis passing up a band new corvette and huge salary from Fox to sign with no fear was pretty cool.
It was his Dad
1
themrtoad
Posts
1139
Joined
5/29/2009
Location
SE
5/14/2019 1:25am
Great story. Would love to read more things like this.
Myrz
Posts
67
Joined
6/18/2017
Location
IL US
5/14/2019 2:33am
Wow! good story!...really sad actually! thanks for sharing!

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