Rockit West Motorsports Rockets to Victory!

Rockit West Motorsports Rockets to Victory!缩略图

RockitWest_AVH Photo: Rockit West Motorsports, Media & Design

Sometimes, the best way to leverage all your skills and passions is by starting your own business. After gaining valuable experience in graphic design, printing, photography, video production, and website design, Nick Cress took the bold step of establishing his own enterprise, Rockit West Motorsports, Media & Design, in the vibrant city of Santa Barbara, California. His goal was to offer a one-stop shop for all these creative services.

The journey of Rockit West Motorsports has been nothing short of remarkable, transitioning from simply adding area codes to motorcycles to becoming a recognized name in the industry, wrapping vehicles for renowned brands like Hoonigan and Nissan. Such success led to the expansion of the business, with a second location in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Nick Cress’s passion for automobiles and graphics was evident from a young age. His high school lunch breaks were often spent immersed in decal books at the local motorcycle shop. He fondly recalls, “I’d inevitably spend too much time doing so and end up racing back to school, late for my photography class.”

This deep-rooted interest ultimately fueled his aspiration to become an automotive photographer. Cress took the initiative to explore his career options by reaching out to experts in the field, receiving guidance from the editor in chief at Motor Trend. Following this advice, he decided to pursue his dreams at the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, where he was accepted and made the life-changing move to this coastal city.

RockitWest_blkcar_inspire Photo: Rockit West Motorsports, Media & Design

While enrolled at the Brooks Institute of Photography, Cress found himself working at a motorcycle shop to cover his living expenses. He recalls, “Our shop was lacking a sticker book, which left me quite disappointed. That’s when I decided we needed a plotter, and I took it upon myself to start crafting our decals. I began creating a wide array of designs for the shop and capturing the excitement of our weekly bike nights through my photography.”

Before long, local motorcycle clubs began to take notice and started placing orders for decals, in addition to requesting his photography services. This trend quickly extended beyond the realm of motorcycles, as a local clothing company, a winery, several nightclubs, and offroad racing enthusiasts all sought Cress’s expertise for their decal and image needs.

Today, Cress is a multimedia virtuoso, catering to some of the racing world’s foremost competitors while concurrently producing an eclectic array of graphics for a diverse range of commercial clients. His shop relies on a Roland DG SOLJET printer to create everything from heat transfers to promotional merchandise. “We offer a comprehensive suite of services, including photography, video production, web development, vehicle graphics, signs, event coverage, and tradeshow exhibits,” Cress explains. “We specialize in window and wall graphics, banners, posters, decals, heat transfer prints, and fleet graphics.”

His wrapped vehicles have also become integral to the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, an event steeped in history as the second-oldest race in the country, set to celebrate its 101st running this year.

RockitWest_blue_gr_jeep Photo: Rockit West Motorsports, Media & Design

“When I initially opened my shop in Colorado back in 2012, serendipity played a hand in my foray into the world of hill climbing,” Cress reminisces. “One of the fellow renters in the same complex happened to be sponsoring a participant in a hill climb event. I was already producing signage for him, and he inquired if I could work on the graphics for a quad he was sponsoring, set to race up the peak. I enthusiastically agreed and, on top of that, offered to document the quad’s transformation with my camera. Little did I know, this gesture would prove to be a game-changer. They introduced me as their official photographer during tech inspection, granting me media credentials and access to the mountain with my camera. From that moment, I was captivated.”

The opportunity to photograph the vehicles he had wrapped as they raced up the Peak opened up a realm of possibilities. Cress explains, “This experience facilitated my acquisition of credentials for prestigious events like the Mint 400 and King of the Hammers. It eventually led to more fascinating projects, such as wrapping trophy trucks and even helicopters for Bell Helicopter.”

Given the distinct seasons and schedules associated with each race series, Cress is always planning well in advance, typically nine months to a year before each event.

Cress elaborates, “Certain aspects of the preparation, such as creating number plates, windshield banners, and promotional decals, follow a fairly standardized procedure. We dedicate several months to producing these materials at a comfortable pace and ensure that our schedule is clear of other commercial commitments approximately two weeks prior to each event. This allows us to focus on the intricate process of installing liveries, ensuring that everything is perfect for race day.”

RockitWest_Helicopter Photo: Rockit West Motorsports, Media & Design

Cress often finds himself in the unique position of being the last person to lay hands on the cars, primarily because professional race teams follow a rigorous routine of disassembling and rebuilding their vehicles before every race.

“As the finishing touch,” he explains, “I come in after all the other essential work on the vehicle has taken place. The entire team is dedicated to ensuring the car is in pristine condition, and that often means I don’t get to start my work until the very last minute.”

Compounding the challenge of race livery is the fact that the owners don’t leave their vehicles with him. “I typically have to visit their shop to apply the wrap, where they’re usually in the midst of fine-tuning the vehicle while simultaneously preparing it for transport on the trailer,” Cress adds. “In nine out of ten cases, it becomes a race against the clock to get everything ready. But somehow, we always manage to pull it off.”

RockitWest_redbull_atv Photo: Rockit West Motorsports, Media & Design

In the current year, Rockit West Motorsports has unveiled an exciting addition to their arsenal: a brand-new mobile production unit, featuring a Peterbilt 389 truck paired with a 48-foot reefer trailer. What sets this mobile production unit apart is its ability to bring the power of their Roland printer and a laminator directly to motorsports events and SEMA, opening up a world of possibilities.

Cress proudly shares, “The trailer boasts an impressive five kilowatts of solar panels on its roof, coupled with a 460v 3-phase clean diesel generator for overcast days. I like to tell people that we can regularly print wraps even when the sun isn’t shining.”

Notably, Rockit West Motorsports recently completed a box truck wrap for Blue Star Recycling, a company specializing in electronics recycling. What sets this project apart is the eco-conscious approach adopted. The wrap was produced using 100 percent solar power, utilizing a Roland DG eco-solvent printer, and was executed on recycled PVC vinyl, showcasing a commitment to sustainability and innovation in their work.

RockitWest_TredWear_truck SEMA photo: Rockit West Motorsports

“We are continually seeking ways to reduce our environmental impact and leave a lighter carbon footprint,” Cress affirms. “The remarkable versatility of our Roland eco-solvent printer, essentially functioning as two machines in one, not only conserves valuable space in our workshop but also enhances the efficiency of our mobile operations.”

Offering insights and guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs, Cress advises, “Persist in pursuing your passions, put in the hard work, and invest in top-quality equipment. In the end, your dedication will yield rewards.”