Monday, November 22, 2010

Doug Chandler Talks AMA Road Racing and Racing Bicycles With's Mark Gardiner

3-Time AMA Superbike Champion Doug Chandler gets on the throttle coming out of the turn eight area at Road America during qualifying in the AMA Superbike class for the Coca Cola Super Cycle Classic round at Elkhart Lake, WI. in June of '98. Riding the #1 Muzzy Kawasaki/Bel-Ray/SBS/Dunlop-sponsored ZX-7R, Chandler was the defending AMA Superbike Champion, having won the series crown in '97 to add to his other two AMA Superbike Championships from '90 and '96. Doug rode for Muzzy starting in the '89 season and through the end of the '90 championship-winning season before moving over to the GP wars in Europe for the next four seasons.
In most fan's eyes, he is more well-known for his #10 plate that he carried
starting with the '84 season while racing for Team Honda's AMA Flat Track team before crossing over into the AMA Road Racing Series on a full-time basis in the '88 season, and winning his first AMA Superbike race aboard one of Muzzy's Kaws at Mid Ohio in the summer of '89. After returning from Europe to ride the ill-fated Harley-Davidson VR1000 in the '95 season, he spent the better part of that year nursing injuries. Re-teaming with Muzzy for the '96 season, he must have felt right back at home, going on to win his second AMA Superbike Championship, and following it up with his third premier class crown for the 1997 season. Chandler is only one of four men in the history of the series to win multiple championships, behind 7-Time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin, and Fred Merkel and Reg Pridmore, both former 3-Time AMA Superbike Champions.
Chandler won the '83 AMA Rookie of the Year Award after winning the third race he qualified for that year at the Sante Fe Short Track round in Hinsdale, IL. He was also one of the youngest riders, at age 17, to win an AMA National in the days when the AMA Grand National Championship was comprised of the four different types of flat track racing as well as road racing. Chandler also holds a distinction that is still to this day only held by three other men-Grand Slam Champion. Chandler is the fourth man amongst the elite group, including Dick Mann, Kenny Roberts and Bubba Shobert, to have won races on all four types of dirt tracks (half mile, mile, short track and TT) as well as winning a road race National. Nicky Hayden is the closest currently-active rider in any form of racing to be close to joining that group, only short a mile win in AMA Flat Track.
Always one of the nice guys on and off the track, Chandler had a steely-eyed intensity on the bike that also helped him in his well-known racing development skills. After Kawasaki took their AMA Superbike team back in-house for the 2000 season, Chandler continued to ride for Team Green through the end of the 2001 season. He also campaigned Ducatis in the premier series during the 2002 season for the HMC Ducati squad out of Wisconsin. One of Chandler's last appearances in the AMA Superbike Championship Series was in '07 aboard the No Factory Support Honda team. He was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 2006.
If you're a long-time fan of AMA Road Racing and AMA Flat Track like I am, the name Doug Chandler should bring up great memories of a true champion who came through the ranks to win the prestigious AMA Superbike Championship. Chandler actually won it three times, and all of those coming on Rob Muzzy Kawasakis in the '90s. One of the best set-up men in the business, Chandler was adept at balancing out his machine with the tires, weather and track surface available at whatever venue he may have been racing at at the time. And he very rarely ever crashed while doing so, as well.

Road Racer's Mark Gardiner has been doing a super job of keeping readers up to date on AMA Flat Track, green racing and riders who have disappeared from the limelight of the sport over the years. Last month he was able to catch up to 3-Time AMA Superbike Doug Chandler, who is now running his own bicycle sales and tuning shop close to his home in Salinas, CA. And just like with everything else Doug has done when it comes to equipment, it is top-notch. Mark got a chance to tour DC10's shop, and you can find the link to this great interview, with one of the all-time greats of AMA Road Racing below.

Thanks to Mark Gardiner again for keeping us up to date on Memory Lane, and thanks to Doug Chandler for all the great years wrestling a superbike, or a flat tracker, and making this fan very proud to have met him on a casual and passing basis. I know when I hear the name Doug Chandler, a BIG smile breaks out on my face and memories start to fly by so fast they almost look like they have a big green '10' on them!
Here's the link to Mark's great interview with one of the greats and one of the nice guys of the sport, Doug Chandler:
This is a great little article that Dean Adams wrote about ten years ago that he has on his site about Doug. It's a real nice history piece on one of the nicest guys to ever throw a leg over a racing motorcycle:
You can check out Doug's AMA Hall of Fame page here:

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