Saturday, January 5, 2013
AMA Flat Track: Dave Zanotti, Kenny Roberts and Kawasaki--Can It Be True?
Crew chief Ted McDermitt, rider Jake Johnson and team owner Dave Zanotti are seen getting the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Arai-sponsored XR750 ready to roll for the first practice session of the Twins Series season at the Springfield Mile I on May 27, 2012. Round 4 of the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season saw the 3-Time and defending 2-Time AMA Grand National Championship-winning team ready to hit their stride and work towards another #1 plate to add to their collection.
However, the team suffered through their worst season in some time in not winning a single race during the 2012 season, although not for lack of effort or trying. Continually in the hunt throughout the 16-race season, the Zanotti team and rider Jersey Jake Johnson had a string of podium finishes in the mid-part of the season that kept their, and their fans' spirit alive. But in the end, Johnson and the team ended the year ranked in the 3rd-place spot in the overall championship standings, and looking forward to the 2013 season ahead to be ready to do it again.
In following up on a rumor that has been spreading throughout the flat track community since mid-August, it was reported yesterday by Dean Adams at SuperbikePlanet.com that Dave Zanotti was working with another former 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion, Kenny 'The King' Roberts, to build and possibly field a Kawasaki 650R-based parallel twin to compete in the mile events on the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track schedule.
Zanotti, who has been very faithful to Honda and Harley-Davidson throughout the team's tenure in AMA Grand National Championship racing (dating back to when Mario Zanotti spearheaded the efforts to take '76 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year Steve Eklund to the '79 AMA Grand National Championship), was rumored last summer to be working on something for the future involving the Kawasaki twin missile-of-choice in The Rolling Thunder Show. Apparently even with the rules changes for the upcoming season giving the XRs another millimeter of restrictor back on the miles and a minimum weight limit set across the board for the Twins Series was still not enough for the championship winning team owner to want to take any chances in lucky '13.
Add to the mix of one of the sharpest team owners in AMA Grand National Championship racing and working with Roberts is former World Championship-winning tuner and engineer Warren Willing (who himself is a legend in the sport of two-wheeled high-speed racing) and you have the potential for another championship-winning effort in The Rolling Thunder Show long before a wheel has even been turned on the track.
This could add another layer of guess who-brought-what to the table in the upcoming season, with 2012 AMA Grand National Champion Jared Mees also mentioning that whatever it takes to win for 2013 was what he and team owner and newly-signed crew chief Kenny Tolbert were willing to do. And with the already-existing Howerton Motorsports team and rider Bryan Smith also looking to step things up for this coming year, we could have an even better season ahead of us than what we could have even imagined in the greatest racing series on wheels in the world.
A big thanks to Dean Adams at SuperbikePlanet.com for this story and photo released yesterday that sure seems to confirm rumors heard since mid-August 2012 that Dave Zanotti could be building a Kawasaki to contend the mile events with for the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season. Read on to check it out:
Roberts, Willing and Zanotti Racing?
Please take the time to check out Zanotti Racing's Facebook page here to keep up with what is happening with the team:
Zanotti Racing on Facebook
And here is their official website:
Zanotti Racing's Official Website
Update--Sat. 1/5/13 4:45 PM EST--It looks like the above mentioned item is a reality, and for the complete Twins Series season. Read on to see what Flattrackers.com had to say today:
Zanotti, The King & Kawasaki for 2013