Thursday, October 21, 2010

AMA Flat Track: Joe Kopp Retires From Full Time AMA Flat Track Competition

Joe Kopp and Dave Lloyd look over the practice and qualifying numbers during the break in on-track action at the Springfield Mile on September 5. The 2000 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion had said before the season started, and well into the season, that no matter which way the championship went he would hang up his steel shoe at the end of the 2010 season. After the season ending Budweiser Racing Arizona Mile in Prescott Valley on October 9, Joe issued the 'official' announcement along with his race report that his full time run in active competition had come to an end.
Smokin Joe finished 5th in the season finale to end the season in 2nd place in the championship to Jake Johnson, 289-269 points, and end his 'full time' career in AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship racing with a total of 21 wins. The future AMA Hall of Famer won three of those races this year, including the break-out win on his Latus H-D/Lloyd Brothers/American Agip/MotoConcepts-backed Ducati 1098 at the Yavapai Downs Mile back on May 1. However, with his announcement he also said that he would still be racing 'here and there' so if we are lucky we may still get a chance to see Joe at some select rounds in the future. And this fan and reporter will be looking forward to that.
Thanks for all you have done for AMA Flat Track, Joe. It's been a pleasure to watch you all these years on and off the track, and we can't wait to see you strap that steel shoe back on again!
I'm a little slow in getting this posted, so there are many people out there that may have already read and heard the official announcement of 2000 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Joe Kopp's retirement from full time competition in the series. Joe had made mention of his impending retirement not only at the start of the season but well into the season as well. And like myself, I'm sure a lot of people had hoped he would forget about that talk no matter what way the championship run would end up. Not seeing the #3 on the track (or the #43 as he used to carry before winning the championship in 2000) is going to feel and look pretty strange after all these years. And I for one am not looking forward to that.
A consumate professional on and off the track, let alone a constant threat in the series over the years, Smokin Joe has not only been one of my favorites, but a standard fan favorite as well to many other devotees to the wonderful sport of AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship racing. With a broad, sly smile to go along with his bravado and ability to wring the best out of a flat track motorcycle, he has been one of the constants on the series trail since the early-mid '90s and has thrilled and entertained many a face in the crowd along the way. To put the Lloyd Brothers Ducati on the top of the podium back in May for what is one of the break out stories in series history is itself a testament to Joe's riding prowess and ability. Let alone grabbing two more wins this year on his Latus H-D, a race mount that couldn't be farther from the handling and power characteristics of the Big Duc.
We'll look forward to seeing Joe back around the track in the future, as with his background there are an awful lot of young, up and coming riders that will surely benefit from his experience and knowledge in how to set up and ride an AMA Flat Track machine. I'm sure Joe could give them, and anyone for that matter, a couple of pretty good tips!
Thank you, Joe, for all that you have done for AMA Flat Track as well as for the fans--this one included. You will be missed out there, man!
Joe has been doing race reports over the years about his race weekends, and this year has done a great job of chronicling the struggles of switching back and forth from one bike to another, and dealing with the differences between the tried-and-true XR and the Big Duc. This is his final 'full time' race report on the Arizone Mile, as well as his 'official' retirement announcement. Man, that sounds strange, but like with all good things in life, at one time they all must end:

Today's Cycle has the same report that Joe has on his site, with a few different pics thrown in as well:


  1. Have enjoyed watching you all these years. You are a great family man who happens to be a racer. Great job JOE

  2. He has been great to watch all these years, and obviously has a very strong family connection as well.
    Thanks for coming by to share and comment!


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