Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AMA Flat Track: Joe Kopp Talks Family, Flat Track and the Future

After winning the second semi at the Springfield Mile to qualify for the National main event, Joe Kopp smiles for the cameras as AMA track announcer Barry Boone gets ready to interview him on September 5. The #3 Latus H-D/American Agip/Lloyd Bros/MotoConcepts-backed Ducati 1098-based rider came within 20 points this season of adding to his 2000 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship, but a series of late-season problems encountered by the team caused him to just come up short to eventual champ Jake Johnson.
Smokin Joe didn't have a bad year, though, when you look at the big picture of things. Winning the Yavapai Downs Mile in May for Ducati's first ever AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins Series win in itself was the break out story of the year, and then Kopp added wins on the half miles at Lake Odessa and Hagerstown while riding the Latus H-D XR, to total 21 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship wins for his 'full-time' years in the series.
The possibilities are pretty good that we will see the #3 back on the track next year, just not at every race. Joe has said he plans to run a few select events in the future, which is great news for all of us Joe Kopp fans. Those races can't get here fast enough to see him back out there wringing it out again!
Joe Kopp may have announced his 'full-time' retirement from the great sport of AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship racing, but the chances are still pretty good we will see him around the track in 2011 and beyond. The 2000 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion had stated throughout the 2010 season that this would be his last full-time year in the series, no matter the outcome in the championship in which he was a very solid part of throughout the season. He made the 'official' announcement at the year-end banquet awards ceremony in Arizona on October 9 and we covered that story last week. You can find the link to that story below.

Leading the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship overall point standings for the better part of the year, the wheels on his championship season slowly started to fall off of his and the Lloyd Brothers team efforts as the series was just hitting the stretch run. With multiple errors that plagued the overall great year the team had, the final straw was not only losing the chain in Minnesota, but the rain-out at Knoxville. With just one season-ending event to decide the overall championship, the Lloyd Brothers Ducati rider found himself in a position that was too much to come back from. And not to take anything away from 2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Jake Johnson and the Zanotti Racing team, either, which seemed to be running strong on all cylinders all season long.

Most of you know Larry Lawrence as the guy who had covered AMA Flat Track racing for the now defunct, hardcopy version of Cycle News for the last few years. As well as the great 'Archives' column that featured great looks back in motorcycle racing history which he had penned for them for the last 4-5 years as well, and also his super site The Rider that debuted in June of 2009. Larry got in touch with Joe Kopp in the last few days to talk with the 2000 Champ and get his views on hanging up the steel shoe and what the future holds for him. Being a great family man, one of Joe's main topics of discussion were his family. And he also states that although the full-time racing is over with for him, he does still plan to run some select races in the future, as well as wanting to get involved with racing or the motorcycle industry in one form or another.

Here is the link to Larry's interview with Joe which is a must-read and a very cool listen! Kick back for about 20 minutes and listen to what Smokin Joe has to say about the year, why he chose the #3, and what the future holds for him and his family:
Poppa Wheelie has these great shots from Joe's win on the Ducati in Arizona in May:
Check out Joe Kopp's website here to keep up with his news and race reports. He still shows an AMA EnduroCross event on his schedule coming up on November 20 in Las Vegas. That is the same weekend as the AMA Banquet and Hall of Fame ceremony as well. Kopp was scheduled to run the EnduroCross at Indy but decided to sit it out since the championship run was heating up. Joe ran an event late last fall in the EnduroCross series and ended up on the podium. This would be a great way to see him racing in one form or another:
This is the link to last's weeks post on Joe Kopp announcing his retirement from full-time AMA Pro Flat Track competition:

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