14 Aug, 2015

Racing for business

Sponsoring a mountain bike event has given GalileoRisk the opportunity of regularly engaging with the public.
Well done! Hayden Simpson, who also rides every race, congratulates the winners of the fourth race of the GalileoRisk Over the Moon MTB Series.
Riding events like the FNB Wines2Whales, Hayden always wears his corporate kit which is often recognised for its involvement in mountain biking. Photograph supplied.
The team from GalileoRisk line up at the start of one of the night races.
Like many, Hayden has found that cycling has improved his health and fitness levels. So much so that he has completed a few tough events. Photograph supplied.
Hayden Simpson has put his money where his mouth is. Not only does he ride various mountain bike events, but his company sponsors a series of night races at Modderfontein. Photograph supplied.

Hayden Simpson, the managing director of GalileoRisk Insurance Solutions, has a story like many cyclists out there. He decided to do something about his health and took on the sport. He has since realised that cycling can actually help his business. We went to find out how.

“Look, I’ve always ridden a bike, in one way or another, but it was never serious.”

He did a bit of BMXing “as a kid”, rode a few “Argus’s” (now Cape Town Cycle Tour) during the late 1990s and even did a bit of mountain biking at that time too, but then work, family and all the usual “excuses” got in the way and his bicycles gathered dust in his storeroom.

“I woke up last year in April, realising I needed to do something about a whole host of things but primarily fitness and weight,” explained the 40-year-old Johannesburg resident, “and because I had done cycling before, I decided that was the place to go, so I kind of committed to that.”

Hayden, who considers himself a mountain biker, joined a friend of his, Ross Venter and took the cycling “bull” by the horns and started taking on events and races in a big way.

“It started in May last year, and the first event we rode was a ride. I did the Desert Nights, which is a very nice event managed by SANParks and the Namibian Wildlife Resorts. That was a fantastic way to start and I would suggest to any guy who is looking to get into multi-stage riding that they do a multi-day sage ride first.”

What was nice about this six-day event (which includes a day paddling on the Orange River), according to Hayden, was the relaxed attitude.

“If you decide that one day you don’t want to ride, they just put your bike onto the trailer. You get into the vehicle and they move you from one camp to the next,” he explained.

After that, the bug truly bit Hayden, and he and Ross rode the FNB Wines2Whales, the Fedgroup Berg and Bush, the Nedbank Sani2c and various other day events like the USN and Ashburton series.

“So it has become quite infectious,” he quipped.

Like many keen cyclists, Hayden then spoke about the shift many have made from golf to cycling.

“I feel I can go out onto the ‘Spruit, which is just a kilometre from my house, I can take my six-year-old daughter on her little bicycle and there are large sections of trail where she can ride quite comfortably,” he explained, “and so our whole family can go and ride for an hour or two on a Saturday morning and we can have a lot of enjoyable family time for no real expense.”

However, according to Hayden, you can’t really take your six-year-old and play 18 holes with her.

“It might not be as dramatic as I make it out to be, but it was certainly something that was in the forefront of my mind when I decided what hobby I wanted to get involved in,” he said.

So when it came to marketing his business, Hayden chose sport to get his company’s name out there.

“We did a strategic session last year with a consultant and one of the things he picked up was that we didn’t have much of a public profile. He said one of the things we needed to focus on was driving our name out into the public,” he explained, “so our decision was that we would use sport as a medium to do that.”

After sponsoring a school night cricket series, Hayden received an email from Two the Core Events, the organisers of the night mountain bike series at RideFree Bike Park at Central Park Trails, Modderfontein which said that Kia wasn’t sponsoring the event for the 2015 season and that it needed a sponsor to come on board.

“I dropped them a mail saying that we’d be interested in taking up the slack there and that is pretty much how it happened,” he said.

So Hayden’s company, GalileoRisk Insurance Solutions became the naming rights sponsor for the GalileoRisk Over the Moon Mountain Bike Night Series from the first race of the 2015 season earlier this year.

“It spoke to the people who we wanted to engage with,” he explained, “and the reality of the situation is that, from a brokerage situation, you are looking for those guys that have things to insure, and generally your average mountain biker has things to insure.”

GalileoRisk Insurance Solutions is a short-term insurance brokerage specialising in short term insurance covers, both personal and company commercial insurance. It also has a medical aid division.

The sponsorship of the night series, which takes place on the first Wednesday night of March, April, May, June, August, September, October and November every year, has already helped get GalileoRisk’s name “out there”.

“I’ve ridden other events like the USN series and the Ashburton series and almost every time I ride, and I always ride in our company’s corporate colours, I get a ‘hey, howzit Galileo, you guys do the night race’ so the reality of it is that our brand is getting traction. The fact is that people recognise the logo, they attach it to what we sponsor and that is exactly what we are looking for,” he explained.

Since taking up cycling just over a year ago, Hayden has not only lost a fair bit of weight and become healthier, he has also enhanced his company’s public profile because of the sport.

To take part in the GalileoRisk Over the Moon MTB series for free, send your current short term policy for an obligation-free quote to and you’ll get your entry. If not, it costs R80 and includes a hamburger or boerewors roll and a beer after the race. Find out more at and join in the night racing fun.

Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |