Monday, August 31, 2009

All The King's Men...or At Least His TZ750 Indy Miler..

As many of you already know, and have seen, Kenny Roberts made an
appearance at the Indy Mile on Saturday 8/29/09 aboard his infamous
Yamaha TZ-750 flat tracker that he used to win the event back in August of 1975.
With a great crowd on hand, the folks at Yamaha brought out a VERY nice
replica of the bike that now stands in infamy as one of the premier motorcycles to ever win an AMA Grand National Flat Track event. The bike was displayed during the w/e at the Indy round of the MotoGP race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and did it ever draw the drools from young and old--myself included.
After having been there on that fateful evening back in August of 1975, seeing, let alone hearing it again after all these years, brought the same chill to my body as it did over 34 years ago. Not only did Yamaha not dissapoint, but neither did 'The King' when he rolled out of the pits to take a few 'hot' laps on the old beast!
All along, figuring that The King would just run a few straight blasts and take it easy in the corners, the crowd, let alone myself, was awe-struck when he blasted down the straights and threw it into the corners almost as blazingly fast and furiously as he did all those years ago! The crowd was absolutely thrilled, and
I myself jumped for joy as he managed to wrangle the old beast through the turns as if it was yesteryear all over again. To put in into the words of Larry Lawrence from, it 'was a magical evening' to say the least, one that everyone that witnessed will remember forever. The King has
NOT lost his touch, and he not only wowwed the crowd with his skill at throwing the old beast into the corners and jamming it down the straights, but he even talked for awhile afterwards about what it was like that night, as well as
THE night from almost 3 1/2 decades ago!
I shot the above shots in the vendors area at IMS on Friday afternoon 8/28/09 while Yamaha had it on display at their tent during the GP. They truly represent what a fine replica this particular one is. And the fine folks at Sideburn mag posted these short videos and story about that night as well:
Long live The King, and long live one of the greatest stories, motorcycles, and
races that ever were.
And thanks to the great folks at Yamaha, and Sideburn for the link, for making this all possible!
Here is another link of that great nite posted from
And here is a link to a smattering of videos leading up to, and including, this great event:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Tip of the Hat to!

Thanks go out to the super website for the nod and picture post theyput on their site the other day.
They had e-mailed me about a week and a half ago about some shots I had of 1975 Grand National Champion Gary Scott's Triumph that I had taken at Springfield during the inaugaral HOF race. The bike was in the vendor display area, as they had some displays that w/e ofpast flat track bikes. Gary's always interested me in that he won the Castle Rock TT five years in a row on a bike that was very similar, if not the bike itself. Sweet looking piece in the middle of the above link and I have added another here of it as well.

Take the time to check out their website--it's way cool!!

Thanks to The Speed Junkies Folks!!!

A tip of the hat and a very grateful thank you to the fine people at Speed Junkies for giving a nod to Stu's Shots here recently. This is the link to their
home page. Check it out, you WON'T be dissapointed! Great stuff here:

Now sit back and drool..................

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 on Twitter Gives a Nod to Stu's Shots...

Thanks to Dean and Co for the nod on Twitter from yesterday! Always great to
see and hear from the REAL good guys on the journalistic ends of the racing scene.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Mat Who Would Be King.....

.....IS King again for the 7th time!
Mat Mladin, who has managed to dazzle, ruffle, and keep our interests alive for the better
part of the last 13 years in the AMA Superbike Series, managed a 9th/2nd place finish over
the weekend at Virginia International Raceway, and took his 7th Superbike title in the
premier class of American roadracing. Not that winning his 7th--and unfortunately what
looks to be his last as he announced his retirement a couple of weeks ago--was going to be a
stretch. Through and including the Laguna Seca round over the 4th of July w/e, Mat had won
a total of 10 races, while managing to build a lead in the series standings that he would not relinquish. The formalities were all but done by race time yesterday, as in the Sunday race he
only needed 2 points to take the title from his team mate, Tommy Hayden, no matter where
Tommy Gun finished.
After having started the year on a tear in not only claiming pole wins, Mat amassed win after
win in what seemed from the start of the season a cakewalk. However, after having to deal with
a new '09 motorcycle several race events into the season, it took some time for Mat to come to
grips with the handling and performance of the new machine. Never failing to take it to the edge,
he showed everyone why he is the all time champion by protecting his point lead while
developing the bike, and coming to grips with the nature of the new beast at hand. Not too
mention the new beasts involved with the Damaged Motorcycle Guys people who have
attempted to re-work the series ala NASCrash and their rule making/changing ways to re-
formulate the series. That's another story for another time. This is about Mat.
For the man who stepped up and has taken the U.S. series by storm since he emerged on
the FBF Ducati in 1997, yesterday was the final crown and the final exclamation point to
a very storied career. Not that a chance of another win or two might not be possible in 2
weeks at the season-ending event in New Jersey, but yesterday was the culmination of all the
dedication, effort, training and focus that Mat Mladin has shown all of us here, let alone the
world, for all of these years, and shown how/why he is now a 7-time champ after having won
his 7th crown in the last 11 seasons. I've said it from the start, the man is a machine, and he has
rolled over all of us in showing what kind of champion and competitor he is. And unfortunately,
after the end of this year, Mat Mladin will go back to being a mere mortal. He will walk away from the sport and series he has decimated virtually since the start, and we will all be
worse off without him as a result. Not seeing Mat Mladin on the grid in 2010 in the AMA
Superbike Series is going to leave a hole the size of Texas in the series and we all will suffer
as a result. However, we can say we have been treated over the last decade plus to one of the
finest performances by one of the premier athletes at his job, and boy, were WE wowwed by it!
For Mat Mladin, we all bow at your feet for what you have done and shown us, and we are all
better for what you have done and shown us over the years. You will be surely missed, and
we will appreciate even more, when you are gone, how much you have truly done for us.
Thanks for the memories, Mat, and congrats on Number 7! We never doubted it would come!
The shots above are all of Mat at Road America in 2004, in various stages of practice, qualifying,
and generally kicking everyone's a.. over the w/e while winning both races that year.
Their may be some people out there that won't miss him when he's gone, but I can tell you I WON'T be one of them.....Thanks again Mat!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mat's 1st Year On The Team Yosh Suzuki

For you nostalgic types--such as myself--here is a shot I took of Mat Mladin,
who yesterday announced his retirement at the end of the '09 AMA Superbike
season after having withdrawn from the Topeka Tornado Superbike Races after
concerns of lack of proper safety areas on parts of the track.
Take a look back at the first year of what was to become an over decade run of race wins,
race poles, and the other little thing in that he won 6 titles in the supreme class of motorcycle
road racing on the North American continent. Now, keep in mind Mat had already had 2 years
of racing, and also winning, here in America, but was riding a Ferraci Ducati for those years.
The story of the day was Mat wasn't satisfied with the level of--or lack of for better words--testing with the team. And as a result that was what led to him being signed by the winningest
team in AMA Superbike history, Yoshimura Suzuki. And to say what was to come in the next
12-13 years was going to change the course of modern racing as we know it, well let's just
say that would be a gross understatement.
Mat Mladin--and of course Team Yosh--not only re-wrote the record books, they took over
the publishing--at least in the sense of totally dominating in every and all aspects of the sport for
6 of 7 years in winning titles and races, but continuing to decimate the competition even as
Ben Spies came along as his team mate and ALSO managing to bag 3 more championships.
But Mat needs to be given credit for MUCH more then all the wins, the poles, the podiums,
and that other little thing again of 6--and it very well could end up being 7 as he does have a
126 point lead going into this w/e's event/clusterf... at Topeka--he needs to be given credit for
the safety aspect of the series. He has been the most active, vocal and outspoken lead man to
help lead to widespread and house-cleaning changes in areas of track run-off, safety and SOLID
barriers, track surfaces that seep, bleed, or GUSH rivers of water, all of the areas of concern when you are a racer--not to mention a hard core fan and afficianado of the sport--that come into question when you are racing an over 200hp, 350 +/- lb. crotch rocket at speeds at over 180 mph. And if you've ever seen in person--or even on tv--a motorcycle, or worse yet a motorcycle racer, come into contact with something that should never have been there in the first place and the ensuing damage and chaos it causes, then you can begin to appreciate safety
and the measures you MUST take when competing at this level to ensure it DOESN'T happen!
And for THAT, more then all the big and other little things Mat has done for us, this wonderful sport, and the rider who may avoid those problems thanks to him being so vocal, so sure, and so
correct in standing up for those beliefs, we should ALL take a knee to the master!

Bravo Mat!!! It HAS been a great run, and the sport is already lonelier and at a loss without you.....

The shot above I snapped of Mat at Road America in June of '98. This was just out of turn 8
during qualifying for that w/e's event. I was able to get him to sign it for me a little over 2 months later at another event that raised MANY major safety concerns after the teams, riders,
and we fans, had showed up to see a race and it had been CANCELED due to safety concerns.
That event was the August '98 scheduled event in Joliet, IL., at the then-new Route 66 Raceway. They DID run the flat track races that w/e on the 1/2 mile dirt track--Rich King won
on a Corbin-sponsored RS750 Honda--and under the bleachers during a break Mat took the time to not only sign this shot but look at some of my others--and comment on safety issues at
race tracks.