Royal Enfield's Bree Poland
Bree Poland, Marketing Lead for the Americas Region and Global Brand Manager for the Continental GT Platform with Royal Enfield, discusses the all-female initiative Build Train Race Program, and how more women have been getting involved. She also talks to us about Royal Enfield’s involvement in the Build Moto Program, her epic rides, and the most memorable moments since joining the company.
MotoAmerica is the OFFICIAL Sponsor of Pit Pass Moto!
Coming off another record attendance event at Road America the 2022 MotoAmerica season now heads to the west coast. First up is The Ridge Motorsports Park near Seattle June 24th – 26th. 6 classes of racing will take the track including 190 MPH Superbikes.
After this event, the MotoAmerica series heads south to the world-Famous Laguna Seca raceway July 8th – 10th. Laguna is the pinnacle of the MotoAmerica season, and this year will be no exception! Record crowds, vendors and race entries add up to an amazing event.
Tickets, info and complete schedule at motoamerica.com
Pit Pass Moto is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Producer Leah Longbrake and Audio Engineer Eric Koltnow.
This transcript is AI generated and may contain misspellings
[00:00:15.430] - Dave Sulecki
Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you. I'm Dave Sulecki.
[00:00:23.990] - Dale Spangler
I'm Dale Spangler, and this week's guest is the A global brand manager for Royal Enfield North America Briann Poland. Moto America is the official sponsor of Pit pass Moto. Coming on off another record attendance event at Road America, the 2022 Moto America season now heads to the West Coast. First up is the Ridge Motorsports Park near Seattle on June 24 through June 26, where six classes of racing will take to the track, including 190 mile per Superbikes. After the Ridge, the Moto America series heads south to the world famous Laguna Saka Raceway, July 8 through the 10th. Laguna is the pinnacle of the Moto America season and this year will be no exception. Record crowds, vendors and race entries add up to an amazing event. Tickets, info and a complete schedule can be [email protected] Follow Moto America on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
[00:01:18.540] - Dave Sulecki
This week's race recap is AMA pro motocross round three, which was in Lakewood, Colorado, and after three rounds, it's looking like Team Honda has taken command of both the 250 and 450 class, while some of the other brands continue to struggle a little bit. But notable for me was Eli. Somak on his home track goes one three on the day wins. A motto which was pretty interesting because he was heard to say that this might be his last Lakewood National. He really wanted to win it, which really kind of solidifies the rumors that Eli is going to be racing super. Cross only in 2023 rounds in Dave.
[00:01:56.170] - Dale Spangler
And three different winners. Ken Roxon snatches the overall win away from Chase Sexton with two one boto scores with a last lap pass when Chase Sexton tipped over with about three turns to go, handed Rockson the overall win. If Sexton would have won, that would have given Eli Tomato the overall. As you said, he was trying to win that last time potentially. There. Ken Rockson gets the overall win. I think it was a pretty popular win for him. He's still pretty popular with the fans. Notable ride for me though was Marshall Walton taking a fill in ride with the Twisted T. Hep Suzuki squad finished 13th place just ahead of his teammate Brandon Hart Raff. Looks like Walton will be filling in for Justin Bogle for the rest of the summer. Great finish for him for sure.
[00:02:39.790] - Dave Sulecki
In 250 action. How about second year pro Levi Kitchen takes the whole shot in the first Moto, disappears. Absolutely dust of the crowd and it was good to see. And I really like what Stars done. Bringing these exciting young riders back into the 250 class and really trying to seed the field and put something up against these Honda riders. And Hunter Lawrence and Jet Lawrence. Hunter takes the Moto two win, but Jet Laurence and Consistency takes the overall.
[00:03:09.180] - Dale Spangler
Yeah, it seems like the Lawrence brothers clearly separated themselves from the field. And from what I'm hearing, too, it seems like they both are fighting through some adversity right now with some sickness, which if that's how they ride when they're sick, I can't imagine what's going to happen when they're back healthy, because these guys have definitely stepped up their game and separated themselves from the rest of the field. Some other notable rides as you mentioned, Dave, the Star Yamaha team bringing in some of their young guns. Levi's Kitchen. I think it was just a matter of time before he got a win. The kid just had so much skill on the bike and so smooth and effortless. Jet Lawrence made a run at him in the second mode, or actually in the first mode, he made a run at them, but Kitchen stepped it up and pulled it back out for a nine second win. So very impressive. And again, go back to the Star Yahoo. I feel like they're onto something here. Future looks bright for them with all these young guns that they brought up from amateur ranks and having four riders in the top ten.
[00:04:00.490] - Dale Spangler
Pretty impressive showing for them. This week's industry spotlight focuses on Ride to Work Day, an informal grassroots event that began in 1992 as an annual day where everyone who owns a motorcycle uses it to ride to work each year. The third Monday in June is a designated National Ride to Work Day, which means that this year's event will take place on Monday, June 20. Those participating this year will help demonstrate to the general public and politicians the sheer number of people who identify as motorcycles from all occupations and walks of life. It is a day to show that motorcycles are a viable form of transportation that can help reduce traffic congestion and overall fuel consumption while simultaneously providing an enjoyable, stress relieving form of personal recreation. For more information about this year's Ride to Work Day, visit ridetowork.org. We'd like to welcome to Pit pass Moto, the global brand manager for the Continental Royal Enfield program and the Women's Build Train Race series. Brie Polling. Brie, welcome to Pit Pass moto. How are you today?
[00:05:36.980] - Bree Poland
I'm doing good. Just getting back from racing the crazy Laconia short track races.
[00:05:42.650] - Dale Spangler
So tell us about your role at Royal Enfield as Global Brand manager. What is your day to day look like there?
[00:05:49.500] - Bree Poland
Well, I have two roles at Royal Enfield. One of them is the head of Marketing communications for Royal Field America. So everything from a marketing event, communication, advertising, every standpoint for North, south and Central America falls under me from a global perspective. I am the global brand manager for the Continental GT 650 platform, which is what the ladies of Built Train Race road Race actually use as their stock bike and build into a racer. So my day to day, I guess it varies what day of the week. So today I'm doing a lot of follow up from the marketing and communication side, but tomorrow I'll revert back to the race programs and getting things set for the next round of racing.
[00:06:33.320] - Dale Spangler
One of the things that we really wanted to talk to you about that stands out, that royal enfield has been doing is the build train race program, and it's been described as, quote, the first all women initiative that teaches women to build and race their own motorcycle. So where did this idea come from? Have you been surprised by the response to the program? Because it seems like it's been really well accepted.
[00:06:52.760] - Bree Poland
So the idea, I guess you could go back 20 years, and being one of the only women involved in road racing at the time, it kind of sparked some ideas in my head. And then I kind of put it to rest when I joined royal enfield and really focused on the regrowth and the reintroduction of the brand. And about three and a half years ago, my partner that I work with in UK, adrian sellers, and I were discussing, okay, is now the right time to do some women's initiatives? What are we thinking? And I said, hey, give me a couple of weeks. I really want to come up with something that's not just a racing program, but I do want to get more women into racing. So we came up with bill train race. We worked on the branding for a little bit, kind of where we wanted to start from, how we wanted to grow over the years. And we figured flat track was an easier platform to get into in terms of building a stock bike into a race ready motorcycle. The first year, we identified four women. And the way we went about it the first year was to choose women that we thought were influential in the community that could get other women really excited about that.
[00:07:59.690] - Bree Poland
So first we chose Melissa Paris. From a road racing perspective, we thought it would be cool to get her into a new field of racing, so we asked her to come aboard lana McNaughton, who really started photographing the women's motorcycle movement about a decade ago. He thought she did a really good job at empowering women as riders. Andrea lord from Canada, she owned her own DIY service shop with her partner, and we thought that was a great thing. And then we decided to bring someone that had some flat track experience that we'd like to see refine their skills and put them into a professional platform. And that was Jillian. That shows me out of Minnesota. So the first year, I was really trying to figure out how things would operate for years to come and then covet through a wrench and everything. But the build aspect, I think, is one of the it's extremely important. So that's why it's still training races. We give these women a stock motorcycle we identify certain parts that they need to use that are gifted to us by our partners, such as SNS and their To One exhaust system.
[00:09:01.690] - Bree Poland
We worked with Dunlop to provide tires for the program maxima even down to the lubricants. So the first year was really, I would say, building the framework for the years to come and it worked out really well. And then we decided the following year not only to expand the flat track side, but to introduce rotating, which from a build perspective, the requirements go a lot or the requirements are a lot broader in terms of changing pretty much almost everything except for the chassis and the motor on the motorcycle. So that was quite a learning experience. Something that we learned from last year from a road race perspective is a field of seven wasn't enough. These road race tracks are pretty big from 2 miles to 4 miles. And it's really hard to see racing action when you have seven women basically out there on their own. So both road racing and flat tracks this year have 15 women apiece. We've also had some incredible sponsors that have seen a lot of value in this program and have stepped up. Parts Unlimited came on board this year and each lady gets a pretty sizable parts allotment from them, allowance from them, where they're allowed to pretty much order anything that would go towards their build or even their gear.
[00:10:11.540] - Bree Poland
Parts Unlimited is even giving each woman a set of Alpine Stars boots and three sets of gloves. It's pretty amazing the response that we've received from not only race fans, but from Royal Enfield dealers to partners and vendors that we never thought we would be able to get on board for this program. So it's been overwhelming, but in a good way.
[00:10:31.500] - Dave Sulecki
It seems like that approach to meeting with customers one on one and making a live interaction with the end users and the customers kind of dovetails in with that BTR program. Do you see that as your own personal marketing approach that got spun into the company or is now the company using it companywide and other brands kind of tagging on to that type of experience for the end users?
[00:10:57.050] - Bree Poland
From a customer perspective, our customers are our best advocates. They're the best thing we have out there in terms of marketing. I think if you have a happy customer or if you make your brand accessible to a customer, that's going to go the world over. So everything that we try to do, I would say we always look at it from a customer perspective. Do they enjoy the experience? Do they feel like they connected with the brand? I think sometimes bigger brands don't necessarily have the day to day interact with customers, but I feel that Royal Info gives and maybe it's because we're a small brand and we're still growing, but we definitely take our customers into consideration for everything that we do. And even from this built train race series, it's engaging customers or we're reaching new customers that we probably wouldn't have gotten before. It puts us into two very different audiences from a flat track and road racing perspective, and just seeing the amount of traffic we get at these race tracks from people that have never heard of the brand before, that are so excited to see, like, a brand out there supporting a race series like this.
[00:12:03.450] - Dave Sulecki
Being that the BTR program is spread across the Americas, how much time do you get to spend outside of the US. Promoting the program, say, in South America and such?
[00:12:13.300] - Bree Poland
So we launched last year, we launched BTR Brazil, and Flattrack Racing is relatively new to Brazil as a whole, so it's not just BTR. So the founders of Flattrack Brazil were really excited that Royal Enfield named BTR program was interested in bringing that program to the market. So last year we started with four. It's an easy number to manage, and it took off and it was fantastic. And this year we're going into season two. We should be announcing the riders or the racers this year, but we'll have six. It's continuing to grow. We are looking at other markets such as Australia, France, Germany and even India to expand the program. When we do open up applications, it's really interesting to see how many women apply that are not located in the countries that we have the applications open for. So it really showed a need to support other markets and the growth of women in motor sports as a whole.
[00:13:03.330] - Dale Spangler
So you really have some grand plans for this program, it sounds like. For sure. So kind of changing gears a little bit. Another aspect of what I noticed about the Royal Enfield brand and to kind of build on what you were talking about with Dave, it's very experiential. One of those is you have this event coming up. Let's see, I think it's called the Himalayan Odyssey 2022. Coming up from June 30 to the 18th. That's like 18 or 19 days of riding in the Himalayas. Tell us about that experience. How do people sign up for this and what else is involved? It sounds amazing.
[00:13:36.770] - Bree Poland
The Odyssey is great. I don't manage that part of the program that the global manager for Rising Community, as well as the Adventure Platform, which includes the Himalayan, manages that. But customers that are interested can either rent a bike or sign up. I think there's maybe even ten or twelve different rides through the Himalayas. It's depending on where you're from. We were planning on bringing some journalists to the one that's coming up, but unfortunately, there's a specific path that we are not able to get over. As foreigners, we unfortunately aren't allowed to bring media to that one. So we're having to relook at the schedule and see if there's another Himalayan experience that we can bring people over. But there's multiple experiences we have Royal and Field offer. Whether if you're a customer in India and you want to bring your own motorcycle, or if you're a foreigner wanting to go over there and renting or even paying for the entire experience, there's more to come. I think that's the only one that's listed on the website right now, but there's plenty. So the purpose behind the Himalayan when they first built it is they wanted to have a purpose built motorcycle for the Himalayas, and that was the birth of the Himalayan.
[00:14:42.620] - Bree Poland
And it's taken off so well in other markets that we will actually offer opportunities in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, North America to have a similar experience. Obviously, it's not the Himalayas, but what are the crazy passes? What are the experiences that we want to provide for the Himalayan across all markets?
[00:14:59.540] - Dale Spangler
Definitely sounds epic. And speaking of epic, you have this series called Epic Rides one being where you personally, I know, went along with, I think it was Johnny Lewis to Alaska, did some filming up there for the Himalayan. That had to be an absolutely fun trip. But what are some other memorable we're going to put air quotes around these work trips that you've made for Royal Enfield.
[00:15:19.250] - Bree Poland
I've made so many. I think riding in Brazil for the first time was pretty epic, and that was actually just with a bunch of coworkers. We were planning out our route for when we launched the Twins, riding through every type of weather within two days, riding on cobblestone roads in complete fog and rain coming down at you, and then arriving at a beautiful beach in Parachute. I've been able to ride all over India with our team. We have an event every year in November called Ride Armenia. So usually I fly in a couple of days early, get up with some of the crew, and then we ride from either Chennai or Delhi in to Go. One year I took a mountain route, and that was just insane. I had monkeys flying past my face. I was dodging cows that were laying in the middle of the road. I always tell people that if you can survive riding a motorcycle in India, you can survive riding anywhere.
[00:16:12.290] - Dave Sulecki
I'm curious to ask, and we've talked about this on our program several times, about bringing stem back to young people in the market, and Royal Enfield has partnered with the Build Motor Mentor Program. What can you tell us about your involvement in Royal Enfield's involvement with that program?
[00:16:27.600] - Bree Poland
That program is so amazing. It came about around twelve years ago, and it started off really small in Milwaukee County schools, and actually one of our brand ambassadors, Chris Steele, was one of the first mentors for that program, and my boyfriend was one of the first students in the program. So I've had first hand knowledge and experience of learning why this program is beneficial, especially in the inner cities and keeping children out of trouble and giving them some skills and some encouragement to even join the vocational fields. I first found out about it seven and a half years ago when Royal Enfield opened, and I was just paying close attention to it and the opportunity came up for Royal Enfield to be a sponsor. So we provide the motorcycles some parts, money, and obviously from a marketing promotion standpoint, we're there behind them 100%. And I think I would love to see this program grow into more cities across the US. Maybe take a little bit of a smaller approach at first, expanding it to all of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois, getting some traction there and then making it a program coast to coast. And as an OEM or working for an OEM, we have to start getting motorcycles into the mindset of our youth.
[00:17:42.160] - Bree Poland
And I think this is just a really creative approach while providing them skills necessary to go into the job force. So it's a double whammy. You get people excited about motorcycles, and then you also provide them skills that they can graduate from high school from and either hone or go right into the job fields.
[00:17:59.510] - Dale Spangler
So one last question before we start wrapping up. What are some of your favorite projects that you've worked on during the time that you've been at Royal Enfield? Seems like you've been able to just do some really exciting, fun things, travel to great places, be involved in just super fun events. So, yes. What are a few memorable ones that stand out the most?
[00:18:17.140] - Bree Poland
I think the first one, and it's not something individually, but I've been at the forefront of reintroducing an iconic brand into the North American market. So really leading it from an in person programs and initiatives standpoint. So anything that we've done under that, I'm extremely proud of. And I think a lot of people say that Brian Poland or Royal Enfield really pushes the women approach, but that is one of our core demographics. Women are one of the fastest growing segments of motorcyclists. They're also an underserved segment. So I'm extremely proud of the Build Train race program, but also proud of what Johnny's doing with Moto anatomy. From a performance standpoint, he's able to battle up front with motorcycles that have been developed for years and have a lot of data behind them, and he's able to finish in the top five almost every single weekend. So I'm extremely proud of Johnny and that initiative. Overall, it's reintroducing an iconic brand to a very hard market and helping reestablish that middleweight segment that was long forgotten.
[00:19:19.720] - Dale Spangler
Well, it's certainly been fun to see what you and the rest of the Royal Enfield team have been doing. Whether it's the Build Train Race or the Build mobile mentor programs, it's just really great stuff that you're doing. It seems like the brand is very approachable and inclusive. These last few minutes, though, we'd like to just give you the opportunity. If there's anything else you would like to share with our listeners and where people can find out more about things like the Build train race program.
[00:19:45.360] - Bree Poland
So really excited to have launched a couple of weeks ago, the 2022 Royal Enfield Demo Tour. So if you're someone out there that's interested or just wants to see what the brand is like, I encourage you to head to our website royal Infill.com. Click on that events tab and find out where there's event nearest to you when you throw your leg over Royal Enfield. You really, truly appreciate what this brand is doing and the motorcycles that we're producing and provide to the customer segment. But that's also the same place if you just want to check out our motorcycle lineup, Royalindfill.com. If you're interested in BCR, whether it's as a sponsor or rider in the future, head of Tobitaltrainrace.com, you can check out their current schedule. A little bio on each one of the ladies and where we recap all of our episodes. Brother and Field is going places. We have a really great introduction of models coming out over the next two or three years. Even more to come. Next up will be the spring launch for us at the end of July, early August.
[00:20:42.020] - Dale Spangler
Well, thank you again for your time Brie. We really appreciate it. Have a great rest of the year.
[00:20:47.340] - Bree Poland
Thanks for having me on, guys.
[00:21:03.590] - Dave Sulecki
Thanks again to our guests for being with us today and thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate and review us. We really appreciate it. Make sure you're also following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit Pitpassmoto.com where you can check out our blog and our brand new store where you can get your pitpass swag.
[00:21:28.140] - Dale Spangler
This has been a production of Evergreens Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, producer Leah Longbrake, and audio engineer Eric Koltnow. I'm Dale Spangler.
[00:21:39.630] - Dave Sulecki
And I'm Dave Sulecki. See you next week on Pit Pass Moto.