The latest Rich Energy saga amid Superbikes team sponsorship
Controversial energy drinks company Rich Energy and owner William Storey is once again at the centre of a motorsport storm, this time with British Superbike squad OMG Racing.
On Sunday 17 July, a Rich Energy statement from Storey was released onto social media announcing the sudden termination of its title sponsorship deal with OMG Racing.
This came as a shock as OMG – a Yamaha squad in BSB – currently leads the standings with Bradley Ray, while this year it expanded its racing project to include the Isle of Man TT with James Hillier and David Johnson (though the latter was forced to miss the event due to injury).
Issued on the Rich Energy HQ twitter feed, the statement read: “Rich Energy would like to thank OMGRacingUK for their work in the last two years, but the whole agreement is now at an end. Rich Energy is expanding its portfolio in many spheres including sport.”
This is one of several Rich Energy accounts active on social media, but it is unclear who is the admin behind the user who posted this statement.
The social media kickback on this announcement was large, with OMG Racing electing to remain quiet while it drafted its own statement on the matter.
The deal between Rich Energy and OMG came to fruition back in February of 2020, when the squad announced a “multi-million-pound” deal with the brand to be its title sponsor in BSB and for its expansion into road racing.
This came about half a year after the split between Rich Energy and the Haas Formula 1 team, which began in June of 2019 ahead of the British Grand Prix.
A tweet from the firm’s official Twitter account by what was described as a “rogue individual” and was thought to be Storey himself, claimed the deal with Haas was terminated due to poor results.
Rich Energy’s shareholders attempted to keep the deal in place and the company moved to clarify its positions, before Storey once again used the firm’s official account to claim a coup was being staged against him.
Come September of 2019, Haas’ deal with Rich Energy had been completely terminated, while the firm itself had lost a copyright infringement case to bicycle company Whyte Bikes over the plagiarism of the latter’s logo.
An OMG team representative in February of 2020 told Motorsport.com that the outfit had done its due diligence over Rich Energy when the “long-term” deal was announced, following the Haas debacle.
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-19
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
At the time, team owner Alan Gardner said: "We are well aware of the previous controversy linked to Rich Energy.
"However, William Storey and the team at Rich Energy have been very transparent in their business dealings, to give us full confidence in our partnership to move ahead.”
While that seemed to ring true in the ensuing year and a half since the deal was announced, Storey once again has become the centre of controversy.
Following the initial announcement on Twitter that Rich Energy had ended its deal with OMG Racing, Storey told Superbike.com that claims Rich Energy’s own due diligence on the team “throw up some rather worrying facts” following apparent renegotiation talks last November.
He went on to claim that OMG was informed that the deal was coming to an end but would continue until the end of the BSB season in October and alleged the team “repeatedly acted in bad faith”.
OMG Racing says Storey’s comments on Superbike.com’s interview were wholly incorrect and issued its own statement on Wednesday 20 July clarifying its deal with Rich Energy.
Storey and Rich Energy’s brand owners, in fact, have never actually sponsored OMG Racing, with the money coming instead from RichOMG Limited – which is the global rights holder for the sales and distribution of the energy drink.
In the statement, OMG Racing says it has assurances from RichOMG Ltd that its current sponsorship deals “remain firmly intact”.
James Hillier, Rich Energy OMG Racing
The full statement reads: “Following certain social media posts, press interviews, and publications over the last few days, the Rich Energy OMG Racing team would like to make a statement of facts regarding the sponsorship of the team in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship (BSB).
“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 Rich Energy brand owners.
“Rich Energy OMG Racing is sponsored by RichOMG Limited, the global sales and distribution rights holder for the drinks, Rich Energy (classic) and Rich Energy Sugar-Free.
“This sponsorship agreement was established in March 2020 ahead of the 2020 BSB season and remains firmly in place at this time.
“The sponsorship also extended to support the team when contesting the Northwest 200 and the Isle of Man TT Races in 2022.
“Following discussions with RichOMG Limited earlier this week, the Rich Energy OMG Racing team has been assured that all other existing sponsorships that have been undertaken by RichOMG Limited also remain firmly intact and paid for.
“These include the British Mini Bikes (BMB) Championship, True Heroes Racing, Tim Reeves, Billy McConnell, Dom Herbertson, as well as Chasin’ the Racin’ and Off Track Podcasts.”
Storey claims he is pursuing ventures inside top level single-seater racing (numerous F1 returns have been wildly rumoured over the past couple of years) and in MotoGP, though these all seem unlikely.
Rich Energy sponsors BTC Racing in the British Touring Car Championship in 2022, with the deal directly with Storey.
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