It's a Guy Thing

Who ARE the RX Cartel?

You may be forgiven for not knowing who the RX Cartel is, but they’re about to become your new favorite motorsport team. This team is unlike any other, Liam Doran and Andreas Bakkerud, are taking motorsports and slamming the face of it into the next generation of sporting idols. Just like when Conor McGregor burst onto the scene in MMA, the RX Cartel are stamping their arrival on the World of Motorsport and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Acid tonged clap-backs, official warnings, creating memes and movies are only part of why the internet loves them and why the rest of the teams, really hate them!

Rallycross, for those who don’t subscribe to the motorsport scene, has been described as the MMA of Motorsport. Half a million-dollar race cars that accelerate faster than F1 cars, duel over four qualification races on the track and the drivers aren’t shy in keeping themselves on the racing line even if that means crunching their extremely expensive carbon or kevlar panels into one another as they bid for victory over a mixed surface circuit that normally includes a decent couple of jumps to sort the men from the boys. However, like many motorsport paddocks, the teams were like bad photocopies of one another – nothing stood out and despite the garish liveries, they all looked much alike. 

Liam Doran, a double X-Games Gold Medallist, a clean-cut choir boy of 4-wheel, he ain’t! As he has brought some great antics to fans over his career that also included slapping another driver after a race for a maneuver that wasn’t to the pleasing of the RX Cartel founder at the X Games Rallycross race in Germany. He isn’t the jockey cut figure of a lot of racing drivers, but once in a car can show pure brilliance in race craft – hailing from Rallycross Royalty, the door bashing racing was in his DNA. Liam is the marmite of drivers, always pictured with a stern face, aggressive driving style, people often pick up the bad guy image as who he is – but Liam has promised us there is another side. Andreas Bakkerud, his Norwegian teammate, totally the guy want your daughter to bring home (at least from the first impressions). But this cheeky chappie, fun-loving wheelman can also mix it up when he needs to and when it comes to racing he’s more Cartel than clown and has often been in the mix on controversial actions on the track. His record of achievements stars back in 2011 & 2012 where he became back to back European Champion and in 2014 he took the World Team Championships. They’re a Yang to each other’s Ying and the polar opposite combinations of each other are the strengths they use in the team’s social onslaught. 

Notoriously difficult to interview, the team shy away from traditional media exposure, which is odd as they play it so well, but FHM were granted special access by a fixer that managed to get both drivers to agree to this special interrogation. Already guarded by shady characters on the phone and pre-arranged calls, it felt as if we are doing an undercover piece on the actual Cartel, this might be some theater but feels as if it could be all too real. “We knew we wanted to win both on and off the track at the start of the season,” Andreas explains “I’d driven with Liam previously in 2013 and already then we rocked the boat and became the most successful team with the most amount of podiums finishes. I’d just jumped up into the Supercar class and it was about as Rock ‘n’ Roll team as you could get. I also got my first telling off for dropping the C-bomb on live TV, it was after a win and they asked me what Liam was telling me on the headset, so I told them the truth, he just yelled at me and was saying ‘C’mon you C*nt!’ However, we were both super young and opportunities came up for us both and we parted ways until the start of this year. I was so glad to get back and race with Liam, his reputation seems to go before him, but he is like a brother to me – we fight, we agree, we always have each other’s back and the team wouldn’t have had the same dynamic with anyone else – I’m sure he’ll call me a massive melt for even complimenting him.” Just scan the guys Instagram and you’ll see this isn’t the norm. The cars have been replaced with memes and the driving duo are the first to talk shit on themselves before their rivals could come close to using their own performances against them – however, it’s not as if the drivers are slow and back-marking using shock tactics to cover up an average performance at the business end of the racing.

The team is right in the mix for the World Championship and their track rivals are focusing on heading to the gym, getting to bed early, the RX Cartel are plotting their next move against the boredom of the industry. “I love that nobody knows our next move!” Liam stated. “They just don’t know how to react to what we’re doing and I’m all about that – I think they think we have this strategy and to an extent we do, we don’t want to be boring C*unts. I mean just look at the way everyone dresses, it’s the same old, cap, shades, flat peak, polo with partners all over it, well we thought f#ck that, we’re going to look so against that and we rocked up to our first press conference in full Peaky Blinder uniform. I loved it, I mean I’m a massive fan of the show anyway and there is a bit of me that thinks I’d be like that in days gone by (not the illegal bits just-in-case I’m incriminating myself).” Liam laughs. The banter is just as savage as the boy’s dress code. It doesn’t just stay in the team awning between the drivers but spills out onto the social media channels with the fans lapping up the comments that some racers would only dream of saying, let alone post for the World to see. One thing we did notice was the messages from other sporting stars and pop stars – not delivering the traditional ‘Good Luck’ video messages, but actually saying “f#ck the Cartel!”

“In the first race of the season, Abu Dhabi, I really misjudged my laps. I thought the race was over and kept our finishing line, this took me directly into the side of Timmy Hansen and writing off his weekend and landing me with a repair bill that was over 80k. We knew that all season the teams would use that mistake against me and the team – so we hit it right on in our own style. Petter Solberg, is so well known and I’ve been able to do a pretty good impression of him for some time, so we thought why not bring him into the team as a character, Peter Sulberg. “Andreas goes on “I mean at first we thought Petter might be pissed at us for Peter, but we don’t say anything he wouldn’t tell us and all we are doing is giving the critique our haters would say we have done wrong anyway. So, after round one all the teams tried to banter us back, but we had already beaten them to the punch with Peter and he has since become a star of his own. In Spa, we had Petter come along to the race, just because he and his team aren’t in the mix this season, we thought it would be cool to be the team that brought back one of the biggest names in the sport and then Petter got to meet Peter. Check out the Instagram to see what happened, I’m not going to give away the action and we also want the views, I’m not even going to lie!” Liam adds “With Bert at the center of the internet chat, everyone was speculating the cost of the damage, we had fans start Go-Fund me pages, but the other teams used that to give us some shit, so In Barcelona we dropped a video and dubbed it Mo Money, Mo Problems – it wasn’t’ about anything but a bit of Ain’t Care from our side. We had Money guns, Monster Girls, it was more like a Migo’s video than a race report. To be honest most of the videos we produce are trying to give people an insight into the racing.

However, If you want to see the results, watch the race. But if you want a storyline with the race results, then that’s what we want to bring to our fans.” After their first race of the season, the team produced a race report that was more Tarantino mini-movie that had Liam looking like some badass Desperado. At the next race, Andreas was called in and given an official warning for images from the shoot – the makeup artist had done a better job than expected and the cryptic social posts didn’t play well to the sporting Governing body. “It was a surprise to get the warning, I mean we thought we are doing something that is so unique and brings fresh fans to motorsport, but the sport still has a lot a traditional people in the mix and they don’t get it.” Explains Andreas “Our main partner, Monster Energy, even hosted the video, so really we didn’t even really push it, but you know when you try to be different you need to break down boundaries, we’re sorry, not sorry”. While the old guard of motorsport doesn’t love it, the new generation of Motorsport fans can’t get enough. The team has exploded on Instagram as their favored platform of choice and the fans are the key for the drivers and the hashtag #KeepItCartel is the digital war cry from the terraces of the new generation. Even sporting stars and pop stars have joined the chime of the Cartel, we noticed FMX riders such as, Nitro Games, Bilko drop video’s saying he wouldn’t mess with the Cartel, Boyzone’s, Shane Lynch claiming his bad influence was from the RX Cartel and UFC fighter Emil Meek saying “F#ck them boys.”

“The fans are awesome! Bert (Andreas) has always had a strong following and now we’re growing a new team base. We’ve had fans create our cars on Forza, wrap their cars like ours, dress like Peaky Blinders to replicate the team wear. They’re the most important people to help us keep going” chimes Liam “We like to joke that we’re the team your parents shouldn’t like. We’re more Motley Crue than Back Street Boys.” Andreas continues “It’s been so well received, we’re already looking to expand the Cartel as other athletes have been hitting us up and wanting to become #CartelAffilated so this isn’t now just a race team, but a lifestyle movement. When they wanted to get involved, we didn’t want any corny messages, so we got some them to tell us to F#ck off – this was weird for them more than it was for us. We just thought it was funny having these icons of sport dropping these messages as everyone ones would want the affirmation from them.” With the talks of syndication across other sports, the RX Cartel seems to be aiming high for the future. It’s an exciting new era and we’re buying into the hype, it oozes attitude and fun and where will this end up? No one knows but the two drivers are along for the ride and don’t plan on taking it easy on the production and fun. However, they’re unflinching in confirming that the racing is at the heart of their driven conquests for 2019. What will come beyond that is hazy, but one thing they say is that the RX Cartel is here and won’t be limited to just one motorsport definition.

If you want to get Cartel Affiliated then make sure you drop past their Instagram @TheRXCartel