FOCUS – Coolskunk Uses Racing to Provide Youth Values

INDIANAPOLIS — Philip Rispoli is founder of Coolskunk KyDs, a sports promotion organization and racing team he says is dedicated to “learning life’s values while competing in youth motor sports.”
Rispoli was at the Dealer Expo here discussing Coolskunk. He says the idea for the organization came to him while attending his son’s flat-track events.
“I saw a lot of parents and kids looking for direction – looking for riding and training tips, tuning tips and the correct parts and supplies -while trying to keep a positive mindset,” he told Powersports Business. “I thought someone should offer, or design, an organization that addresses all of those concerns, and does it in a youth-friendly atmosphere.
“Our vision includes nurturing the passion and excitement that motorcycling can bring to our youth. On the same token, we want to instill the flexibility, humility and graciousness that competitors must possess. We’re a blueprint for team-building, and we’re hoping to send a positive message through what we do and how we do it.”

A visit to Coolskunk’s Web site, www.coolskunk.com, offers more clues to Rispoli’s service to young motorcyclists. There, the Coolskunk mascot, Sideways Simon, extols what Rispoli says are some of the main the virtues of racing: “Winning is a habit”; “Champions train and losers complain”; and “Knowledge is power, those who get it are winners both on and off the track.”
A link-rich site, Coolskunk.com highlights Coolskunk Kyds race winners and team members, gives children easy-to-understand descriptions of engine parts and their functions, offers information on motorcycle books for children, updates on “race weather”, and connects to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).
One section – sponsored by Ask Jeeves KIDS – serves as a sort of encyclopedia for young people. Another section, the KYDS ZONE, sponsored in conjunction with Amateur-Sports.Com, features links to other topics young people may be interested in: hobbies, teen life, games, computers, kids health, nutrition, and a variety of other sports.
“What these kids are doing is a way of life for many of them,” Rispoli said. “If they want to get better at something, to be the best they can be, they have to arm themselves with the appropriate knowledge. And that’s our bottom line – we’re turning young racers into young winners both on and off the track.”
Keith Jacobsen was recently named race director of Coolskunk KyDs Racing Team. With Jacobsen taking over race team operations, Risploi says he will be able to concentrate on the marketing side of the Coolskunk program.
Jacobsen, a former GNC national rider, has been promoting flat track racing throughout the Northeast since retiring and produces approximately 60-70 races per season both indoors and outdoors. Jacobsen will have responsibility for equipment, rider and race logistics.
“Having Keith join our team is a significant step toward our goal of creating a world class junior platform in preparation of the pro ranks,” Rispoli said. “Keith’s 25 years of race experience, industry contacts and his passion for detail will bring a wealth of benefits to those young riders who are part of our development programs. It’s a very exciting time for our team as we see the flat track market building at the grass roots level again.”
“I am thrilled to be a part of the team and to be able to help so many young riders achieve their goals,” Jacobsen said. “I have watched Philip bring the Coolskunk philosophy to the market the last five years, and he has been consistent and has significantly made a difference in the sport and the people around him.”

For 2005, Coolskunk plans to continue its focus on the youth Flat Track market, but also intends to expand to supermoto and 80cc and 125cc youth road racing programs.
How will Coolskunk, an organization funded entirely by Rispoli, float the cost of such an expanding enterprise? “We’ll do it by continuing strategic alliance programs and our partnerships with distribution sources, and through our joint marketing programs on the east and west coasts and with our Canadian affiliates.”
Coolskunk sponsors include IMS, PSI Performance, Wiseco Pistons, Gaerne USA, Scott USA, Regina, Vortex, Moto Tassinari, Big Gun, Carbon Fiber Works, Dynoport, Nutec lubricants, Atomic 22, LightShoe, and A1 Part and Accessories of Massachusetts.
Other sponsors include DLT Motor Works and Concord Motorcycle Shop of New Hampshire, Southland Racing Products, Fallbrook, Calif., R&D Cycles, Petrolia, Ontario, Bettencourt Honda in Massachusetts, Bay City Cycles in Michigan, and Vital Air Design in Ohio.
A hook-up with well-known figures in the industry helps funding, too. Rispoli said. Six-time AMA Grand National Dirt Track Champion Chris Carr recently announced that his Quality Checked Certified Pre-owned Ford Racing team added Coolskunk KyDs Racing as a new associate sponsor.
“I’ve been impressed with the approach that Coolskunk’s program has made in bringing younger riders up, specifically flat trackers – and they’re starting to get into the road racing arena as well,” Carr said. “They’re bringing kids up who are going to be more prepared to be professionals, and be more professional when they turn pro, and that’s a program that I think all motor sports needs. I think baseball, football and basketball could benefit from something like this as well.”
As an associate sponsor of Carr’s team, Coolskunk KyDs will provide a complete, Kenny Tolbert-prepared Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle for Carr and Texan Willie McCoy to use. The bike will feature a Coolskunk KyDs paint package and will be at the team’s disposal throughout the year and on display in the paddock area at each race.

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