Monday, November 29, 2010

Looking Down the Road at the 2012 MotoGP Rules Changes


The 1st Son of The King, Kenny Roberts, Jr. was the last American born-and-bred 500CC World Champion before the rules changes of 2002 saw the four stroke era ushered in and morphing the long-standing series into the MotoGP World Championship. KRJR won four races, podiumed nine times, and only suffered one DNF in 16 events during the 2000 season to also win Suzuki's last crown in the top level road racing series in the world. By contrast, the bike above that wore the #1 in the last year of the two stroke era in the premier class, finished a dismal 11th in the championship, and only made one podium on the year. It was what this writer still considers the start of a slide that continues to this day of Suzuki's trials and tribulations in the premier series.
For the first five of those years in the 'new' MotoGP World Championship, we saw the 1000-era and the uber development of electronics into the series. The series
then 'down graded' to the 800-era, where the electronics all but took the control of the bikes out of the riders' hands (so to speak) and all but turned the racing into a processional parade lap in many races. MotoGP and Dorna are hoping with the new, broader-based formula for competitors in the ultra-elite series that this will help fill in the grids and invite more participation, and also make for closer racing.

One of the best sites to keep up on MotoGP racing, if not THE best site, is David Emmett's Moto He runs a very informative and detail-filled site that helps to keep mere mortals like you and me up to date on the inner workings of the MotoGP World Championship, as well as his super coverage of the World Superbike Championship. During the course of the normal racing season David (as well as his great photographer Scott Jones) keep us informed on the happenings on and off the track, whether it be testing notes, rider and/or factory updates or full-blown 'you are there' race weekend coverage.

Unless you are a full-blown techno geek or motor-builder extraordinaire (of which I am neither-but that's another subject altogether!), then understanding rules packages for different racing series can sometimes be like trying to decipher Chinese arithmetic. And many times just as frustrating. And with MotoGP getting ready to go into the last year of the 800-era, the rules changes planned for 2012 and beyond is somewhere close to 'WTF?' in trying to understand just what shape the series is taking for the future. Not that any step might not be the correct one with the processional races that have seemed to develop due to current electronic aides at hand with the multi-million dollar bikes.

David does a great job of shining light on the subject and exactly how the new rules break down in one of his latest pieces, and although I'm not ready to go out and try to help develop a new up and coming MotoGP entry, I at least have a better understanding of what Dorna and MotoGP have in mind to help build (and fill the grids) for the future of world championship racing.

You can check out his great column on the upcoming changes (and maybe you won't have to scratch your head so much after doing so, either) right here:

Friday, November 26, 2010

AMA Flat Track: Brandon Robinson Comeback in 2010 Amazing After Indy Mile '09 Crash


Brandon Robinson sits on his #44 Lancaster H-D/Action Motorsports/Ruckus 44/Moose Racing-sponsored XR750 prior to one of the qualifying sessions at the Springfield Mile on September 5. Round 14 of the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series was one of the five Twins Series events that Brandon was able to make the final in this year after his devasting 'flying out of the park' crash at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile in August of 2009.
After winning the '08 AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Expert Twins Championship (the ladder-series that was replaced in '09 with the Pro Singles Championship), Brandon suffered what would be considered 'career-ending' injuries as a result of his Indy crash, but came back with the fire in his eyes ready for the 2010 season, and was one of three riders to help test the new Daytona short track in January 2010 in preperation for the opening rounds in March. It took several surgeries to get him pieced back together, and the young man from Oxford, PA. more then showed he was ready to return to competition for the 2010 season, albeit with a slimmed-down schedule for the year to better aide him in his complete recovery.
It was a rough ending for what started as a fairly good day, as he set 15th fastest time in combined practice (out of 52 riders that timed-in for the event), and then setting 24th fastest time in qualifying (out of 54 riders that timed in to the 48 qualifying spots for the heat race line-ups.) Eventually finishing second to semi one winner Shaun Russell to get his card for the National main event, his day ended prematurely and he was credited with 18th in the 18-man final. He also garnered an 11th place finish at Lake Odessa, a 10th place finish at Hagerstown to go along with his 13th and 16th place finishes in the Yavapai Downs events.
Other riders in this shot are Luke Gough on the #62 Dick Ford/KK Cycle/American H-D/Eaken Racing-sponsored XR, and Steve Bonsey, the first-time winner from the summer stop at the Calistoga Half Mile, on his #80 Johnny Goad/Alpinestars/Dodge Bros/Happy Trails-sponsored XR. Jethro Halbert's #69 Kings Kustoms/Nelson Racing/KK MC Supply/Fluid Suspension-sponsored team can be seen in the back corner of the shot with Jethro's XR at the ready for the session.


Brandon Robinson talks with the fans during round 13 at the Springfield Short Track Rodeo Arena during the weekend's events for the annual stop on the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series. Brandon's #44 Action Motorsports/Lancaster H-D/Ruckus 44/Motion Pro-backed Honda CRF450F sits in his pit stall behind him.
After running 18th in the combined practices for this event (out of 72 riders!), Brandon qualified in the 22nd spot to earn his spot amongst the 48 riders that would make the heat race cut for the evening. Finishing in the 2nd spot in the first semi behind #11W Scott Baker to gain his spot in the National, Brandon brought it home in the 13th spot out of the 19 rider final. He also added a very impressive 7th place finish at the Gas City Short Track round back in June for the two Singles Class main events he made for the year.
Making his finish at the Gas City round even more impressive to this writer was hearing him talk with The Rider's Larry Lawrence during a break in the action that afternoon about the multiple surgeries he had gone through after his Indy crash, and talking about his will to get back to racing full-time again, not to mention full-strength. He is definitely determined, and has shown that he has what it takes to run in the bigs again.
This has been a great comeback for a personable young man, who looks to return for more in 2011. Great job Brandon, we can't wait to see you again in the upcoming season and we were very excited to see you back this year after seeing first-hand the tumble you took out of the park here in Indy at the '09 event. Keep that chin up and keep on keepin' on man, you've got a great attitude and definitely have what it takes on the track to mix it up with the boys in the bigs. 2011 should be even better for you AND your fans!

One of the best 'feel-good' stories of the year in AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters sponsored by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series Racing was the return of National #44, Brandon Robinson to the series' tour for the 2010 season. For those of you not familiar with this personable young man, Brandon was the rider that suffered serious injuries during the National main event at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile in August of 2009.
During the start of that race (for those of you still going 'Brandon Who?') there was a crash at the start of the Grand National main that night that involved a rider who ended up flying over the fence-along with his bike-right before the riders were coming into-and-out of turn one. (Although there are a few amateur videos out of this devasting accident, I chose NOT to post it here for this story. If you need to see it, you can find one on YouTube.)
Brandon Robinson sailed out of the park that night and sailed into AMA Flat Track Series racing history for suffering what well could have been career-ending injuries, only to return to the series to run a limited schedule for the 2010 series, making seven National main events along the way and an 18th place finish in the final year-end standings. A very impressive accomplishment for this young man, who as of this summer had gone through seven surgeries to repair/piece together his shattered pelvis.
Getting a chance to meet him and see him compete at Gas City back in June, I was equally impressed with his general attitude, his will to return, and his recovery from his injuries that he suffered. Listening to him speak with The Rider's Larry Lawrence at that event made me an instant fan, besides the fact that I knew enough about his background before the incident to know he was one of the series' best and top up-and-comers.
After winning the 2008 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Pro Expert Twins Championship (the feeder/ladder series that was replaced with the Pro Singles Class for the 2009 season), this young man was expected to be one of the hot young new rookies in the top-level AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series competition in the coming years. Getting to hear him talk about what he had gone through was in itself enough to open even a casual fan's eyes, let alone mine after having followed this great series for over three and a half decades. Needless to say, many riders would have retired, or had to have retired, after such an incredible series of events. Not Brandon! He is a true racer and couldn't wait to get back, as racing runs in his blood.
Admittedly, #44 took the 'ease it back in' route for the 2010 season, purposely skipping events like the Springfield and Peoria TTs, so as not to jolt his still-healing injuries in any event that could or would further prolong his healing period. Along the way, while making those seven events for the year, he was also working on his confidence as well as re-learning to battle 17 or 18 other men on a half mile or mile track, to be assured himself he was up to mixing it up again from a psychological standpoint at the level it takes to compete on the Grand National Championship schedule.
This writer can assure you after seeing Brandon back in action for the 2010 season that he can, and we also look for him to step it up for the 2011 season, as he works himself back to the level he was at before his accident. And we glad to see him back in '10 and are excited about seeing Brandon back on the track again for the upcoming season.
Congrats on a great comeback Brandon, and we're looking forward to seeing you again next year!

Wayne Hosaka's Flat has this press release from BRob44 talking about the end of the season and looking forward to 2011:

The great guys at SideBurn Magazine posted a shot of one of Brandon's x-rays from his recovery and you can take a look here at what kind of metal AND mettle this fine young man has in him:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Larry Pegram to Race BMW S1000RR in AMA Superbike for 2011 Season

Larry Pegram looks for the wet line in the turn 11 area at Road America during practice for the AMA Formula Xtreme Series in June of 2008. With a drying track, while running on race-rain slicks, the #72 Pegram Racing/Foremost Insurance Group/Leo Vince-sponsored Ducati 848 pilot tries to get the best set-up for the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader presented by Rockstar Energy Drink weekend's event in the AMA Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme presented by HMR Series.
This was Larry's second year being associated with Ducati, after campaigning Honda CBR1000RR's in the '05-'06 seasons in the AMA Superbike Championship Series class while running his own team along with HotBodies sponsorship. Pegram finished fourth in the year-end standings in the Formula Xtreme Series class for both the '07-'08 seasons, before moving back into the premier AMA Superbike class in '09-'10 with Ducati and running their 1098/1198-based platforms and winning several events along the way. Pegram's first win in the AMA Superbike Championship Series came at Willow Springs back in '99 while riding a Ducati for the legendary Eraldo Ferracci's FBF Ducati team.
Pegram had announced last week his split with Ducati, and today made the announcement that he would be campaigning the BMW for the 2011 season. With the improvements seen in the World Superbike Championship over the course of the last two seasons with the BMW, this could prove to be a great career change for Pegram. And this can only be good for the Bavarian Motor Werks company, as well, adding a top-flight rider to their fairly new machines in the premier class in the U.S. series.
After announcing his split last week from Ducati after four good years in the AMA Formula Xtreme and AMA Superbike Series, Larry Pegram made it official today he will be riding the BMW S1000RR for the 2011 season. The last time Pegram was NOT associated with Ducati was in the '05-'06 seasons when he campaigned Honda CBR1000RR's in the premier class, with so-so results.
Pegram's pairing with the BMW marque's inline four superbike should be a great move for all, and especially the fans. Getting a top-notch rider of Larry's capabilities on the third-year machine should help elevate it's stature in the AMA Superbike Championship, and also give fans a great chance to see the Bimmer run up towards, or hopefully AT the front of the premier class series in the United States. Former '94 AMA Superbike Champion Troy Corser, who will be returning to the WSBK BMW team for his third year in 2011, has helped to develop the bike into a front-runner in the World Class series, and would have probably gotten even closer in the 2010 season if not for mid-to-late season injuries.
Pegram has been racing in the AMA Road Racing Series since the early '90s, and is not only well-known to fans throughout the world, but is also a very popular sort himself around the track. This should be a great move all around and we can't wait to see them hit the track together 'officially' at Daytona in March 2011!
You can read the press release here from Pegram Racing, courtesy of the uber-cool
Everyone have a VERY Happy and Safe Thanksgiving, and thanks to YOU for spending your time with us here at Stu's Shots!

Jason Pridmore Catches Up With RRX


Jason Pridmore dives into turn 11 on the #43 American Suzuki/Yoshimura USA/Dunlop/Showa-sponsored GSX-R750 during qualifying for the AMA Superbike Series stop in Mid Ohio for the Honda Super Cycle Weekend in July of 1999. Pridmore 'retired' from active U.S. road racing competition at the end of the 2006 season after winning the '97 AMA 750 Supersport Championship as well as the '02 AMA Formula Extreme Championship, while also garnering the '03 FIM World Endurance Championship along the way.
Expected at the time to put more time into his golf game and possibly even touring the pro schedule, he has spent the better part of the last four seasons with his riding school, Star Motorcycle Schools, as well as competing in the FIM World Endurance Championship over the course of the last few years. Pridmore raced for several major teams in the U.S. over the course of his career, including Hyper Cycle, Team Yoshimura Suzuki and the Michael Jordan Motorsports team during the '05 season, their second in the series and first as a Suzuki team. Jason has stayed actively involved with the Jordan group, and currently is the man who gives the 'two-up' rides on the team's bikes during AMA Superbike Series weekend event's and press days.

Anyone that has followed AMA Road Racing for any length of time will recognize the name Jason Pridmore from the many years he graced the sport with his riding prowess. The son of the very first 3-Time AMA Superbike Champion Reg Pridmore, Jason went about setting a legacy of his own throughout the various AMA Road Racing classes for better than a decade and a half, as well as competing in Europe in the FIM World Endurance Championship for the last several years.

One of the first times I really noticed Jason was at Road America in the summer of '92 when he actually beat Scott 'The Screaming Chief' Russell in the AMA 750 Supersport event, when Russell was on a major tear in that class. The previous year Russell had gone undefeated in the old 750SS class, and was near that again in '92, when Pridmore managed to put a small, but noticeable dent in his streak at the sprawling four mile course in Elkart Lake, WI. He was riding a Suzuki at the time that was sponsored by his and his father's Star Schools that year.

Jeff Feathers over at caught up with Jason about what he has been doing as of late and what his plans are for the 2011 season and beyond. Thanks to Jeff and RRX and you can read up on Jason here:

Thanks for dropping by as always here at Stu's Shots, and we wish everyone a very Happy and SAFE Thanksgiving! God Bless and Safe Journeys to all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

AMA Road Racing & Dunlop Schedule for Newly-Paved Daytona Tire Testing

1989 AMA Superbike Champion Jamie James talks with one of his crew members while standing beside his #2 Vance and Hines Yamaha YZF-750 during practice for the AMA Superbike Series at the annual Coca Cola Super Cycle Classic at Road America in June of '94. James, who also won the '89 AMA 750 Supersport and '94 AMA 600 Supersport Championships, was one of the best tire-testers of the day in AMA Superbike competition. Always able to get the most out of his equipment, the Ragin Cajun was also one of the most likeable and approachable riders in the paddock to ever race in the premier AMA Superbike Series over the years.
Since retiring from full-time competition in the top-flight series, Jamie has been an instructor at various riding schools over the years (Kevin Schwantz' school for one) as well as putting together a Superstock-spec Yamaha R1 for former champ Scott Russell to ride in the AMA series in some 2008 select events. Jamie won his premier class championship while riding for the Yoshimura Suzuki team, and later in his career also rode some events on the H-D VR1000 for legendary owner/tuner Don Tilley.
AMA Pro Road Racing and Dunlop Tire announced today that they have scheduled two tire tests at the World Center of Speed in Daytona for December of 2010 and January of 2011. Although the AMA Superbike Championship Series is no longer the premier race at Daytona International Speedway, the season-opening round is still considered a big-seller in the motorcycle sales business based on it's rich, if not controversial history in the series.

The AMA Daytona Sportbike Class now runs the Daytona 200 and the Superbike Class runs as the 'support' class over the course of the week's activities. Superbikes haven't been used in the 200 since the 2005 season, when tire-load factors became too dangerous in the premier class to run on the banking at DIS.

With the track repaving just wrapping up (Daytona hadn't been repaved in over 30 years and the repaving project started in July 2010), Dunlop and the AMA will be hitting the track in just a few short weeks to try and sort out the tire situation for the season-opening round scheduled in March 2011.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------'s David Swarts has this report on the scheduled tire tests at Daytona:
Daytona International Speedway's official AMA Road Racing Daytona 200 and support event page is here if you are planning on making the trip in March:

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:

Friday, November 19, 2010

AMA Road Racing: Roger Lee Hayden Signs With Michael Jordan Motorsports for 2011 AMA Superbike Championship

Roger Lee Hayden bends the #95 Chaparral Suzuki GSX-R750 into turn six during qualifying for the Honda SuperCycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire event at Mid Ohio in July '00 for the AMA Superbike Series Wiseco 100 Doubleheader. This was the youngest Hayden brother's second year running in the premier class, having ridden for the Cyclegear Suzuki team in '99. Roger went on to team with eventual 2010 AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes for the '01 season, riding Honda's in the AMA 600 and 750 Supersport Championships for Bruce Transportation, moving to the Erion Racing Honda team for '02-'03, and eventually signing with the Kawasaki Factory effort as a team mate to his older brother Tommy.
He finally captured that elusive first AMA Road Racing Championship during the 2007 season, winning the AMA 600 Supersport Championship while riding for Team Kawasaki, after having placed runner-up in the '04-'05 seasons to older brother Tommy. RLH campaigned the 2010 World Superbike Championship while riding for the Pedercini Kawasaki team, but due to the team's underfunded campaign ended up 19th in the overall season-end standings. His one-off rides for the 2010 year in the States saw him bring home the LCR Honda at the Laguna Seca MotoGP round in 11th, and at the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP round finish 17th in the Moto2 race, largely due to a first lap crash that added to the American Honda team's overall weekend woes.
However, throughout his 2010 season struggles, Roger never swayed in his overall attitude and did a fine job of representing the United States and the Hayden Family. Anyone that knows racing knew that when he got back on a competitive ride he would be back in the fray again, and with yesterday's announcement, that time is going to be soon in the upcoming 2011 AMA Superbike Championship Series with Michael Jordan Motorsports. This is going to be good!
I'm a little slow posting this one, as I had to go back into the Stu's Shots archives to snag this shot of Roger Lee Hayden on a Suzuki from the 2000 AMA Superbike Championship Series season. This should go hand-in-hand with yesterday's super announcement from Michael Jordan Motorsports that they had signed the youngest of the Hayden Clan to team with '98 AMA Superbike Champion/'08 AMA Supersport Champion Ben Bostrom to campaign the 2011 AMA Superbike Championship.

Now, with that being said, in the original press release as shown below and on several sites yesterday, no where was it mentioned that the team would be campaigning Suzukis again for the 2011 season. The Jordan team has campaigned the Suzuki marque exclusively since their second year of competition in 2005 in the AMA Road Racing Series, winning an AMA Superstock Championship along the way, as well as finally getting their long-overdue premier class win at Daytona back in March with Jake Zemke. Even going to the team's official site ( there is no mention either way of a move from Suzuki.

As pointed out in the press release from Dean Adams' below, no where is Suzuki mentioned. When it was announced that Bostrom was joining the team back at the first of the month, the only place 'Suzuki' was mentioned was in the sponsor list at the bottom of the release. Henny Ray Abrams at Cycle had a story yesterday as well, and mentions Suzuki throughout, so this may just be an oversight--on either end. With the recent release of the new-and-improved 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R, there is a boat load of speculation that several teams could be 'going green' for the 2011 season, including the Attack Performance and Pat Clark teams. Again, this may just be speculation, but, that's why they call it silly season!

The great news, though, is that Roger Lee is coming back to the States to compete in the premier road racing class and series against his older brother Tommy. After the year that RLH had in WSBK, and his one-off rides at Laguna and Indy, I'm sure he's ready to get back aboard a competitive ride. And no matter which way Michael Jordan Motorsports goes, you know they are going to pump out some race-ready and competitive machinery.

Congrats to Roger Lee Hayden and to the Michael Jordan Motorsports team. It's going to be great seeing the #95 back on the track in the States again!
Here's the official press release from Michael Jordan Motorsports on the signing of Roger Lee Hayden to team with also-new signee '98 AMA Superbike Champion Ben Bostrom, courtesy of

Cycle's Henny Ray Abrams filed this story on Roger Lee's signing with MJM from yesterday:

AMA Flat Track: Moroney's 1-800-FASTHOG Team Reviews PJ Jacobsen's AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year Season

A couple of the team techs for PJ Jacobsen's #99B Moroney's 1-800-FASTHOG/Weiss Racing/Shoei/AStars-sponsored XR750 work on one of his machines while another looks on during a break in the on-track action at the Lima Half Mile in June of 2010. PJ went on to win semi 2 later in the day's events ahead of Chad Cose and Mick Kirkness to put it into the main event of round seven of the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship 2010 season, and finishing the main in the 13th spot. PJ had earlier in the year qualified for his first Expert Twins event in the May running of the Springfield Mile, where he finished in 6th place for his first Grand National main.
PJ and the team went on to qualify for the Lucas Oil Indy Mile (7th place) and the season ending event at the Yavapai Downs Mike (9th place) and went on to win the AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie of the Year Award in the process. PJ also raced for Celtic Racing in the AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike Class and placed 11th in the final year-end standings for the team while campaigning a Suzuki GSX-R600.
Let's hope we see much more of PJ and the Moroney's 1-800-FASTHOG team back in the series running strong again in the 2011 season. Great season guys, and congrats!
PJ Jacobsen had a great year in the four events he was able to campaign in his rookie year of AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Series racing in 2010, finishing three of those four events in the top 10 and picking up the coveted AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie of the Year Award along the way. Racing for one of the long-time competitors in the series on Pat Moroney's
1-800-FASTHOG-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750s, the team again put together fast and reliable machines for the new lid on the block in AMA Flat Track racing. And perform he did!

While splitting time in the AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike Class on the road racing side of the calendar, PJ showed he has what it takes to get and keep it at the front while hitting some of the toughest tracks on the schedule. At Springfield, Indy and Prescott Valley, PJ and the team put it in the top ten of each main event and at the rough-and-tumble Lima Half Mile in late June, PJ won his semi and came home 13th in the main event. He finished the year in 18th place in the overall standings with 44 points for his rookie campaign, this again after only four events.

Here's hoping we see much more of PJ next year in the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series.

PJ's Moroney's 1-800-FASTHOG team came out with this 2010 season review and you can read it right here thanks to Ultimate, along with a couple of shots of the team during the season:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

AMA Road Racing: Will Eric Bostrom be Back on a Kawasaki for 2011 AMA Superbike Championship?

Eric Bostrom is shown on the #32 Team Kawasaki ZX-7R at Mid Ohio in the summer of 2000 during qualifying for the Honda Supercycle Weekend round of the AMA Superbike Championship. EBoz finished runner-up in the series in '01 behind Mat Mladin, while winning the AMA 600 Supersport Championship along the way. He also finished runner-up in the premier class to Nicky Hayden in '02.
The rumor mill has been stirring right along this off-season as to who is going where for the 2011 AMA Superbike Championship, and this one is starting to hit high-pitch. In what has been talked about for a little over a month now, reports have Eric Bostrom riding Kawasaki's new ZX-10R in the championship for next year along with Attack Performance, the team that Eboz ran a few select races for this season, and possibly Pat Clark Motorsports, who big brother Ben rode for this year fielding Graves Yamahas.

Of course, Attack fielded Suzuki GSX-R1000s for Eboz on his return to the AMA Superbike Series this year after his 18 month hiatus from racing, and Pat Clark Motorsports fielded Graves Yamahas this year for Ben Bostrom and Chris Clark. There have been too many little reports to dwell on, but to boil it all down PCM was looking for another manufacturer to team up with, thusly the tie-in with Kawasaki for the upcoming season.

Read and see more below. Obviously, this isn't written in stone yet, but the following news and event links sure point to some more solid evidence to chew on for the next few weeks!

This release from Dean Adams and his talks about Pat Clark Motorsports and Ben Bostrom teaming with Kawasaki and Attack. This was posted on November 2, a couple of days before Ben actually signed to ride with Michael Jordan Motorsports on Suzuki GSX-R1000s for the '11 season, leaving PCM without a top-level, multi-experienced rider:

Then on November 13, had this video of Pat Clark personnel dyno testing a new 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R:

That same video popped up on Dean's AGAIN today, and mentions Eboz had actually TESTED the bike in a WERA West event at Las Vegas over the first weekend in November:

The above short story and video mentions EBoz having already run the new Kawasaki at Las Vegas during a WERA event. The following results of the A Superstock race at Las Vegas as posted by WERA back that up. Team Shoair has been one of Eric Bostrom's sponsors this year. Although the final result is last in the class, the fact remains that he did spend some time on a new '11 Kawasaki ZX-10R at Las Vegas over the first weekend of November:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

AMA Flat Track: 2010 AMA GN Champion Jake Johnson Talks Racing and Hooking Up

Jake Johnson, the 2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion, sits beside one of his trusty Zanotti Racing H-D XR750s in the pits at the Springfield Mile on September 5. Johnson, who also has two AMA Flat Track Singles Championships on his resume for the '06 and '08 seasons, won the title outright this year with a season that was filled with consistency, great riding, and zero machinery failures. His Dave Zanotti-helmed team put together bullet-proof machinery not only in the Twins Series, but in the Singles Series as well, propelling Jersey Jake to three wins, three 2nd place finishes, two 3rd place finishes and eleven top 5 finishes on the year, in what ended up being a 16 round season. Jake's final tally over series runner-up Joe Kopp was 289-269 points. Not bad numbers, you say!?
The '02 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year, who calls Franklinville, N.J. home, hooked up with the Zanotti team during the off-season, and they proceeded to start off the season at Daytona with winning on their 'to do' list, getting a 3rd place at the season opening race and then winning the second race of the year on the next night. Johnson added the Springfield Mile win in May to go along with his season-ending win on the Yavapai Downs Mile in Prescott Valley to close out a very successful season for him and the Zanotti Racing team. The team's only finish on the year that didn't garner a double-point pay-out was a very uncharacteristic 13th place finish at the Gas City Short Track round in June. Along the way, Jake and the team also won the Twins Championship and they were also awarded the Team Excellence Award, as well as Dave Zanotti and Mike Hacker being awarded Mechanics of the Year by title sponsor K&N Filters.
Congrats go out to Jake Johnson and the Zanotti Racing team for such a stellar year.
Great job guys, and we can't wait to see the new season roll off in just shy of four months!
Jake Johnson, the newly crowned 2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion, won three races this year on the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship schedule. While riding for Zanotti Racing and splitting time between his Zanotti XR-750 in the Twins Series (which he also won to go along with the newly re-combined overall championship) and his Zanotti Honda CR450F in the Singles Series (where he placed 4th on the year), Johnson and the team were the model of consistency, bullet-proof machinery and rider skill and ability.

This was the first year since the end of the 2005 season that AMA Flat Track had combined the overall championship, and Johnson and the Zanotti Racing team had what it took to add to their long lists of accomplishments throughout the years in the series. Johnson adds the overall and Twins Championships to his '06 and '08 Singles Class Championships, and Zanotti Racing adds to it's legacy and winning ways in AMA Flat Track to be the only father and son-run team to win the coveted #1 plate in the top form of American flat track racing. Dave's father, Mario, teamed with '76 Rookie of the Year Steve Eklund to win the 1979 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship.

Jake got a chance to talk with the great folks over at at the end of the season, and you can check out the chat with him below as he talks about hooking up on the track and the difference between the cushion and the groove, among other things.

Congrats again go out to Jake and the Zanotti team for a stellar year!

Super job, and I can't wait to see them defend their titles in the 2011 season!

Thanks to the great crew at Road Racer for putting this chat together with Jake Johnson, the 2010 Champ!

AMA Road Racing: Larry Pegram & Ducati Part Ways for 2011 AMA Superbike Championship

Larry Pegram on the #72 Competition Accessories Ducati 998 leads 3-Time AMA Superbike Champion Doug Chandler on the #10 Team Kawasaki ZX-750 at Mid Ohio during race two action in the AMA Superbike Series round in July 2001. Pegram first hooked up with Ducati riding for Eraldo Ferracci's Fast by Ferracci Ducati team in '99, where he won his first premier class race at Willow Springs. Even during the '00s, Pegram's only year he wasn't associated with Ducati was in the 2005 season, during which time he campaigned Honda's CBR1000RR on his Pegram Racing team in the top level series.
During the '09 and '10 seasons, Pegram campaigned Ducati 1098s and 1198s with Foremost Insurance as his title-sponsor, winning his first race in over ten years in the AMA Superbike Series at Road America in June of '09, and then winning both rounds at Topeka later in the year. Larry started off the 2010 season strongly while winning the first of two races at Auto Club Speedway in late March and adding five more 3rd place finishes to his year, including the season opening first race at Daytona. He finished fourth in the season-ending standings for both seasons, his personal best in the premier class since the end of the '90s.
In what has been deemed 'not totally unexpected' news, it was announced today by Larry Pegram and his Pegram Racing team that he will be splitting from Ducati for the upcoming 2011 AMA Superbike Championship Series. Having ridden in the premier class on the Italian marques' 1098/1198 platform for the last couple of seasons (and winning three races in both seasons along the way), the rumblings about the split has been stirring since almost the end of the 2010 season at Barber Motorsports Park back in September. Pegram's Foremost Insurance Group Ducati 1198 F08's have been for sale on his website since about a week after the season wrapped (for a cool $100K each.)

Pegram didn't make mention of what he may be riding for the 2011 season, only that within a week or so he would be making an announcement as to what his plans are. With just shy of four months before the lights go green in Daytona, that should be plenty of time to get something serious together for the upcoming season. And with many riders/teams still unsigned for next year, whether it be talent or machinery changes, there is still a long way to go until racing resumes in Florida. And a lot of dominoes to fall into place.
Here's the official press release courtesy of Dean Adams and his great group of folks at

Pegram's 2010 Ducatis have been listed for sale on his website since just after the end of the season at Barber. For $100,000, you too can own yourself a full-blown 2010 edition Ducati 1198 F08 AMA Superbike and be ready to put it on the grid at Daytona in March:

Friday, November 12, 2010

AMA Flat Track:'s Mark Gardiner Follows-Up With Current AMA Flat Track Mgr & '81 AMA GNC Mike Kidd

AMA Flat Track Syracuse Mile, September 1975: When men were men, and boys were scared (but still enamored with high speed flat track racing!)

Heat race action kicks off at the Syracuse Mile on the New York State Fairgrounds mile oval as the official AMA starter drops the flag and AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Racing gets ready to thrill the thousands of fans who have packed into the grandstands to see the best of the best in flat track racing take it to the limit at 100 MPH speeds. Back in those days, people crowded and jammed into the stands to witness the high-speed art of AMA Flat Track Racing, and in many cases it was standing room only to get a seat to the great Rolling Thunder Show, the best show in racing in the world.

L-R: On the front row dropping the hammer are Rex Beauchamp #31 and Gary Scott #64 ('75 AMA Grand National Champion) on the Harley-Davidson Factory XR's, Dave 'Bones' Aldana #10 on a self-sponsored XR, multi-time Canadian flat track champion Doug Sehl on the #45 XR (I believe Sehl was sponsored by Poole's, one of his long-time Canadian sponsors), #36F Jim (?). On the back row you have Keith Ulicki on the #8K XR, and current AMA Flat Track Manager & '81 AMA Grand National Champion Mike Kidd on his Kruger Racing-sponsored XR750. Jim on the #36F and Mike Kidd on the #72 get some serious air as they rocket off their respective lines.

Today's program has evolved somewhat in comparison to 35 years ago. Even a few years ago, for that matter. The Expert Twins class now typically runs three 8 lap heats and two 8 lap semis, with spots 1-4 in the heats qualifying for the main, and spots 1-3 in the semis putting it into the show. In the old days, it was four heats, a couple of semi-races (all 10 lappers) and a LCQ (last chance qualifier) that gave the winner-only a spot in the show. (Remember Kenny Roberts' August '75 Indy Mile win on the TZ? He made it in the show by winning the LCQ, racing more laps that night then any other competitor, and then winning it by inches after 25 laps.) Main events still are comprised of 18 or 19 starters (today the rider's can use a 'provisional' to get into a race if necessary) as they were in the old days.

Track grooming would last for what at times seemed like days, and would be a constant in the delays in the show. Today, that is almost non-existent in the quick show that the new AMA Flat Track runs. Practice and qualifying took up a large part of the program in the old days-which was great for the competitors (in the seat time earned for an event trying to get the right set-up) but was a long, drawn out affair that now is whittled down to four 4-laps sessions that make the rider work for his place in the starting field, but much more timely in terms of the length of the day.

You can see the amount of fans on-hand for this classic event. Similar in numbers attendance-wise at what you see at the Springfield Mile and Lima Half-Mile today, typical and long-standing events in the series that have held and kept high attendance numbers. And in terms of today, new events held in Prescott Valley drew 'sold-out' numbers. Many other events held recently are also starting to show signs of good-to-great attendance levels, which is good for you, me AND the people that put on the show. Without, you don't have a show. And trying to keep those new AND old fans coming back is tantamount to growth, obviously, in the sport, but as well as getting the promoters of those events to not only re-up, but possibly sign-on to help promote OTHER possible events to add to the calendar.

Competition from different manufacturers was pretty constant in those days as well. Yes, Triumph was slowly going away, but still won a number of events on the TT courses up until the early-mid '80s even. Yes, the Yamaha parallel twin was on losing ground to the ever-conquering XR, but Yamaha shortly thereafter set it's precedent in the sport with it's release of the 500TT single-cylinder model, which went on to win numerous races in the series. Kawasaki at least had a presence until the end of the '75 season with Erv Kanemoto's H2-based triple two-strokes. No, they never won an AMA Grand National, but you always knew there was THAT chance whenever they showed up, especially at a mile event. Norton had all but gone away, too, but a man by the name of Ron Wood and a terrific rider by the name of Alex Jorgenson campaigned one into the early '80s, and regularly made races, and even won one or two along the journey.

Today's competition amongst manufacturers is probably better then it's ever been in the series, whether in the Twins or the Singles class. There are eight manufacturers that are represented by twelve models that are homologated to run the Twins class, and something like fourty-some models from numerous manufacturers homologated to run the Singles class. Sponsorship and television are the other areas that also seem to be helping to shine some light back on AMA Flat Track, and looking to improve in the year, or years to come.

There is still more work to do, but in terms of the sport overall, AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series Racing is definitely on the upswing. And we can thank the vision of AMA Flat Track Manager Mike Kidd and Team AMA Flat Track for helping to turn it around, and putting on a great show for the fans, let alone the competitors. After having gone to these things for 37 years now, I can firmly say this isn't your father's AMA Flat Track, and that is a very good thing.

I'll say it again, if you haven't seen the new and improved AMA Flat Track lately, you owe it to yourself, and a few of your friends, to go see at least one in 2011. You WON'T be disappointed, and if you are like me, you won't be able to wait to get back to another!
In continuing to help bring you the best of the best in AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series Racing, we have part two of Road Racer's Mark Gardiner's Backmarker interview with AMA Flat Track Manager and 1981 AMA Grand National Champion Mike Kidd. Mark made it out to Prescott Valley for the season ender and then further followed up with MK on the current state of AMA Flat Track. Last week we had part one, which we have also linked to below for those of you who haven't read it yet (or like me, want to read it again!)

Mark did a great job of talking with MK about what is (and hopefully what will be) happening in the great sport of AMA Flat Track. This is a very good read, even for casual fans, and if you are of the hard-core variety such as myself, it's a MUST READ!

Check it out, and thanks to Mark Gardiner and Mike Kidd for this insightful look at the best show on wheels in racing:
This is part one of Mark Gardiner's great interview with AMA Flat Track Manager Mike Kidd from last week. Take it for a spin:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

AMA Flat Track: 2010 GN Champ Jake Johnson Reflects on His Championship Season with Zanotti Racing


Jake Johnson's #5 Zanotti Racing/Leo Vince/Arai/Tucker Rocky-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750 sits inside the AMA tech area after a fine run home into fourth place at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile on August 28. Jersey Jake finished just off the podium at Indy, 3.057 seconds back from winner Bryan Smith on the #42 Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki, in what was also Kawasaki's first win in AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Twins Series Racing.
Johnson's stellar year in the series saw him come out of the box at Daytona in the second of two races for the season opening rounds, to win at the new stadium. Johnson and the team won again at Springfield at the Memorial Day Weekend mile event, and wrapped up the season by winning the season-ender in Prescott Valley, AZ. Throughout the year, Johnson showed his ability to bring it home in every race, and the team never suffered a DNF throughout the year, laying claim to a program that saw consistency and bike-prep as the groundwork for a very worthy championship season. Johnson's only finish outside the top ten in 2010 was a 13th place finish at the Gas City short track round in June. He won the title outright by a margin of 20 points, 289-269, to runner-up Joe Kopp and the Latus H-D/Lloyd Brother Ducati team.
Team owner Dave Zanotti adds to the legacy his father started in the '70s, when Mario Zanotti teamed with a young up-and-comer by the name of Steve Eklund, and won the '79 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship. With Dave and Jake adding to that great feat from 31 years ago, Zanotti Racing is the only father/son duo to have won the coveted #1 plate in AMA Flat Track competition after over 50 years of racing in the series. Johnson, the 2002 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year, also won the '06 and '08 AMA Flat Track Singles Championships while riding for the American Suzuki effort.

In what was a stellar year for fans and competitors alike, the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship season saw new winners, new competition and new faces in the series to add to the great turn around that the series is seeing. But when the year was done and said, long-time competitor Jake Johnson and the Zanotti Racing team took home all of the honors while doing so with one of the legends of the sport, the Harley-Davidson XR750. With all of the 'new' in the series for this season, the final say-so went to a machine that has been competing in the series since the early '70s, showing everyone that the 'iron-clad' alloy XR isn't quite ready for the museum as of yet, restrictors or not!

Teaming together in the off-season last year, Jake Johnson and Zanotti Racing formed the perfect match to win the big marbles in AMA Flat Track Racing, and in doing so also showed how strong their team and rider were throughout the season by taking home 3 wins, only one finish on the year outside the top ten, and zero DNF's due to rider or mechanical failure. Talk about a near-dream season.

The great folks at and The Fast and have teamed up to bring us this great season ending video from the Yavapai Downs Mile in Prescott Valley, AZ., and we get a chance to see and hear from some of the racers during round 16 of the 2010 season. Jake Johnson takes some time to reflect on the season, and ultimately the #1 plate as he wins the race over Jared Mees, the defending AMA Flat Track Grand National Twins Champion, by a scant .004 seconds to go out on top and collect the 2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship for himself and Zanotti Racing.

You can check out the season-ending highlights right here and hear Jersey Jake reflect on the run-up to the season ender, and the result of winning it all. Congrats again to Jake Johnson and Zanotti Racing for a great championship season. I can't wait for 2011!

Moto2 Tests in Valencia End with Encouraging Results for Kenny Noyes

The Moto2 entries of #25 Alex Baldolini of the Caretta Technology Race Dept/I.C.R. chassis, the #5 of Joan Olive of the Jack & Jones by Antonio Banderas/Promoharris chassis and the #9 of Kenny Noyes of the Jack & Jones by Antonio Banderas/Promoharris chassis sit outside their respective garages during the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP round in August of 2010. When the season was done and said, the Suter, FTR, Speed Up and Moriwaki chassis proved to have what it takes to run up front on a regular basis in the class, which is comprised of various chassis manufacturers running Honda 600 Supersport-spec control motors, and on Dunlop-spec tires. The teams were allowed to run their own combinations of fuel management mapping software as well as their own exhaust systems in the class.
The Banderas owned Jack & Jones team will be switching from the Promoharris to the Suter chassis for the 2011 season after struggling with the Promoharris chassis almost all year. Olive finished out of the points in the initial season of the new class, while Noyes finished 24th in what was a very rough season for the team. Highlight of the year for the team was Noyes taking the pole at the 3rd round of the season in France. Noyes finished the season ending test session in 15th out of the 31 riders that tested on Monday in Spain, while testing on a borrowed chassis with a strictly stock Honda 600 motor, leaving the test with a positive feeling for the upcoming year.
Kenny Noyes had a stressful year in the inaugural season of the Moto2 World Championship, finishing in the 24th position for his Antonio Banderas owned Jack and Jones/Promoharris-equipped team. Several rounds into the season, the team found out that the Promoharris chassis lacked the set-up and development standards of the top-running Suter, Moriwaki, FTR or Speed Up chassis as employed by the front-running teams, and were quickly in a hole just trying to stay in the middle of the huge pack on race day.
The team will be switching to the Suter chassis for the 2011 season, and Noyes had the chance to test a 'borrowed' chassis with a stock Honda 600 engine on Monday, in Valencia, and was able to see after 42 laps that things should be much better for the team next year. Noyes is confirmed back with the team for next season, while this season's team mate Joan Olive is still unconfirmed. Olive finished out of the points entirely for the season, and did not test on Monday with any team.
You can check out the official reports and releases on the Moto2 season ending tests in Valencia, Spain below.
Ultimate has this press release from the Antonio Banderas owned Jack and Jones Moto2 team and rider Kenny Noyes about their outing in the official season ending Moto2 tests at Valencia from Monday:
The folks at have this release about Kenny Noyes re-signing with the Antonio Banderas owned Moto2 team for the 2011 season: has this list of the times for the Moto2 test on Monday:
....and they also filed this short story on the season ending tests in Valencia for the Moto2 class as well:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moto2 Testing in Valencia Sees Colin Edwards Helping Out Tech 3

Tech 3 Racing's Moto2 entry of Yuki Takahashi sits outside the team's garages during the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP round in August a little over two months ago. Takahashi finished the season ranked in the 12th position in the inaugural year of the Moto2 class on the #72 Tech 3/Packard Bell/Leo Vince sponsored machine, while team mate Raffaele de Rosa on the team's #35 like-sponsored entry finished in 27th place in the season ending standings. Takahashi will be racing for the 2010 Moto2 World Championship-winning team of Gresini Racing in the 2011 season, and de Rosa's whereabouts for the upcoming season had not been officially announced as of this writing for the upcoming season. He was, however one of 31 riders to test today in the Moto2 class in Spain. Takahashi did win the Barcelona round on the team's bike back in July and was runner-up in Brno in August for his best results of the year.
Colin Edwards, who is well known to U.S. fans, as well as his great following of fans across the pond, tested the team's entry today at the Valencia circuit, putting in 54 laps on the day. The Texas Tornado, who recently re-signed with Tech 3 to ride the Monster Energy YZF-M1 again in the MotoGP World Championship in 2011, is widely known as one of the better motorcycle racing test and set-up gurus around the paddock. He ended up 20th out of the 31 riders to take to the track while helping the team to test suspension settings to try and help improve on their somewhat dismal results for the team this year. Edwards will be on-board the #5 Monster Energy M1 tomorrow in Valencia as the two-day MotoGP tests kick off before the long season-ending break.
Moto2 testing today in Valencia saw Colin Edwards aboard a 600-based machine for the first time since Daytona of 1994. Edwards, the '00 and '02 World Superbike Champion, offered to help Tech 3 Racing out with their Moto2 efforts in today's test session in order to help them gain a perspective on their dismal results for the inaugural Moto2 season. Turning 54 laps on the day, The Texas Tornado tried to help the team concentrate on suspension settings in order to turn the handling around on the team's entries in the class, which builds it's own chassis for the new class. Edwards told Cycle's Henny Ray Abrams that the last time he was on a 600-based race bike was at Daytona in '94, when he was contesting the AMA Superbike Series as well as the Daytona round of the AMA 600 Supersport Series for the Vance and Hines Yamaha team.
Moriwaki, Suter and FTR seemed to be the more dominate chassis this year that were used in the all-Honda powered class, and the class also runs on spec Dunlop tires. One of Edwards complaints seemed to derive from the 'lack of power' in the machines, compared to a modern Superbike or especially a MotoGP bike (not that that is a big suprise!) The new class, that took over for the old 250CC World Championship for this year, made for some very close and exciting racing this year, with as many as 42 riders on the grid at each of the 17 rounds. Toni Elias won the inaugural championship while running for Team Gresini and had clinched the championship
in Malaysia back in October. Yesterday's season-ender at Valencia was won by Karel Abraham, the ninth different winner on the year. Elias will be moving back to the MotoGP class for 2011 with rhe LCR Honda team, replacing departing Randy de Puniet. Abraham will be moving along with his Cardion AB team to the MotoGP class for 2011 as a satellite entry for Ducati.

You can read all of the official releases below about the season-ending Moto2 tests in Spain.
Colin Edwards talked with Henny Ray Abrams today at Cycle about testing the team's Moto2 bike after not having ridden a 600-based machine since Daytona in 1994:

Here are the overall times in today's Valencia Moto2 tests thanks to the folks at Edwards and Tech 3's new Moto2 team mates talked about today's efforts:

And here is Tech 3's official Moto2 site:

Thanks to Ultimate for this link to the press release from Tech 3 announcing the new team mates on November 2, Bradley Smith and Mike di Meglio for the 2011 season in the Moto2 class:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

MotoGP: Valencia Season Finale Sees Loris Capirossi's Last Ride With Rizla Suzuki and Other Post Season Notes


Loris Capirossi's #65 Rizla Suzuki GSV-R V4 sits just outside the team's garages during the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP round at the end of August of this year. In what was the end of a three year run with the team, Capirossi's last ride on the fledgling MotoGP team came to an end with a wimper, as he finished out of the classification in the results some 17 laps down. A long-time competitor in the top levels of racing, the Italian and fan favorite will be moving to the Pramac Ducati team alongside also-new team member Randy DePuniet come Tuesday morning at Valencia.
MotoGP season-ending testing kicks off for the teams in what will be the last test of the year before the long off-season and testing ban until after the first of the year. Moto2 teams take to the track in Spain first thing in the morning.

Loris Capirossi's last ride with the long-suffering and under achieving Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team came to a close with nary a whisper, as he finished out of the overall classification some 17 laps arrears at the season-ender in Valencia. The 3-Time World Champion (125CC World Champion '90-'91, 250CC World Champion '98) ended up finishing in the 16th spot in the 2010 MotoGP World Championship standings, and will be moving to the Pramac Ducati team, hopefully with much better results down the road. Before this year, and since he had joined the premier class in 2000, 'Capirex' had never finished outside the top 10 in the overall point standings. He finished the '08 season in 10th and last year in 9th while riding for the rolling papers team. Capirossi started the year at Qatar with his 300th appearance on the premier class grid.

Rizla Suzuki has struggled mightily in the premier road racing class in the world, and for the most part haven't been but a blip on the radar since Kenny Roberts, Jr. won the 2000 500CC World Championship. The England-based team will trim down to one bike/one rider for the 2011 season after it was initially thought they would be leaving the series completely earlier in the year. Dorna, the governing body for the MotoGP/Moto2/125CC World Championship Series, will be helping out to kick in some needed support in hopes of plugging the dike of leaking/thinning grids in the high-dollar MotoGP series to keep Suzuki from leaving the sport altogether. And in support of the team from this fan's standpoint, they HAVE at least stuck around all these years in terms of bikes on the grid. Their results have been far less than stellar, but they have filled a major need in what has been a big drop off in teams competing in the series the last few years. And with 16-17 bike grids, that's saying a bunch right now.

Tomorrow kicks off post-season testing in Valencia with all the major movers getting acquainted with their new surroundings. Moto2 teams hit the track on Monday, with Colin Edwards reported to be testing the Tech 3 team's entry to further help develop that machine after the intitial season for the first-year class. Kenny Noyes' Jack and Jones Antonio Banderas' owned team will be leaving the Promoharris chassis in the garage and moving to a Suter chassis for the 2011 season, which should better align him and the team with the more popular chassis option after the first year of the series.

Tuesday morning will see the changes everyone has been hearing about, speculating about and known about almost the entire 18 race season in the premier MotoGP class. '07 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner will be aboard a Repsol Honda after his four year stint with the Marlboro Ducati team, 2010 MotoGP Rookie of the Year Ben Spies will be straddling the Factory Fiat Yamaha, and Capirossi and DePuniet will be on board with the Pramac Ducati team.
Oh yes, some guy by the name of Valentino Rossi will be riding for some team out of Italy on a big red Ducati.

Just the team changes alone make me wish the 2011 season was ready to go already, instead of some four months off. It's going to be a LONG off-season in Indianapolis.

Here is the official press release from the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team bidding adieu to three year team member Loris Capirossi:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

AMA Flat Track: Joe Kopp Retirement Release from AMA Pro Flat Track


Joe Kopp, the '00 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion, sits in his pit area at the Lima Half Mile round of the AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series in late June of this year. Kopp was riding his Lloyd Brothers/American Agip-sponsored Ducati 1098, thusly his long-trusted Latus H-D XR sits beside him while he talks with the fans.
Kopp went back to the trusty XR for the half mile events in Lake Odessa and Hagerstown (where he won both!) and also at the West Coast round at Calistoga, where he ultimately ended up finishing in the seventh spot after having to win his semi to qualify for the main event. Smokin Joe's crash in turn one in his heat race is still clear in fan's minds when the swingarm pivot bolt broke, causing him to lowside into the airfence. Thankfully he wasn't hurt badly and Joe went on to finish second in the final year-end standings to 2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Jake Johnson and the Zanotti Racing team.
The 2010 season in AMA Flat Track was really all about change, and overall it was accepted AND displayed at a very high level. Not only did the series see added venues, but new promoters that came on board and knew how to sell the sport, new blood in the series in terms of the equipment and rules packages, and a much-tighter and entertaining show that helped to keep the fans interested throughout the season. And in terms of attendance, the people are starting to come back to see the show. Many venues, and not just the usually well-attended one's run by the IMDA, showed signs of good attendance, if not sell-outs (both new Arizona events.) And safety has also been stepped up for the series, as well. AMA Flat Track Manager Mike Kidd is the man behind the turnaround, and the series is more healthy then it's ever been as a result of his vision for the sport.
Look for more and even BETTER things in the upcoming season(s) as AMA Pro Flat Track goes further into the new decade with the best show on wheels. With new winners Ducati and Kawasaki, the return of Triumph to the series, and new and updated entries in the form of KTM, BMW and Suzuki, the series is breathing life into a sport that has captivated fans for over five decades, but who had as well felt the downturn in the sport, let alone the downturn in the economy. With entertainment at a premium now and a slicker, more polished show to be seen, the fans are returning and the action has also taken a BIG step forward.
Like I have been saying for the better part of the year now, this ISN'T your father's AMA Flat Track anymore. And I, among many others, are thrilled at the new look and feel of The Rolling Thunder Show!

I just wanted to take the time to post this press release from AMA Pro Flat Track, and thank them for taking the time to display one of my shots. Originally posted back in early July, the shot above is one I took in the pit area during the Lima Half Mile event at the end of June, with Joe Kopp talking to the fans during the pitwalk that afternoon.

It also really made me feel like some of this stuff I have been putting out here on Stu's Shots has been helping and maybe even making a difference in the sport, especially after I received an e-mail from AMA Flat Track Manager and '81 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Mike Kidd. I can say without a doubt that he has always been one of my all-time heroes of the sport, and seeing him win the Terre Haute Half Mile in August of '75 solidified that feeling even more for a 'then' kid of 18 years old. MK mentioned how he thought this 'was a great shot' and how he felt that I had been doing a great job in 'catching all the elements of the GNC series' this year.

WOW--thanks Mike, and thanks for taking the time to check out Stu's Shots. And thanks for getting this thing turned around in the great sport of AMA Flat Track!

To note, the shot I posted above is one of Stu's Shots, but just to be clear the other shots that are attached to this press release from AMA Flat Track are NOT. I just want to make sure no one thinks that I would try to take credit for something I wasn't a part of. That's not my way of operating and I try to make sure that that is always clear with everyone who takes the time to come by and check us out.

Thanks as well to everyone who takes time out of their busy day to come by and check us out here at Stu's Shots. We always appreciate it!

2010 AMA Pro Header


Joe Kopp

The Man! The Machine! The Family Man!

His Retirement!

What a career you had! Is it hard for you to believe the days of chasing a championship title is over?

Yea it really is, but I think I'm ready. I have known all year long, but my biggest question was am I going to go out with the # 1 plate. Having that # 1 plate to take home would have even made it easier for me to retire. But yea, I am sure I will still be chasing some racing title doing something, just not full time GNC racing.

Most riders turn expert at around 17-18 years old, you first turned expert in 1991 at the age of 22. Why the late start?

I was always into the off-road scene, such as local hare scrambles and x-country races, but I would ocassional throw a leg over a bike at the local flattrack races. I remember when I was about 12 one of my first dirt track bikes was an old Yamaha RD250 twin two-stroke and that dang thing about killed me. Then I went to a Maico 490 then a KX500, which both had stock frames. I guess I learned some serious throttle control on those bikes. But I just really enjoyed racing off-road in my younger years, plus my cousins and I grew up here in Mica (WA) at the base of the mountains and trails were everywhere, so thats what we learned to ride. I always said, if they ever throw a log or some sort of obstacle in the straight at the Springfield mile, those boys are gonna get a good whoopin' . Then a few years after highschool a couple of local guys let me ride a Champion framed 250 liquid cooled Cr250 Honda at a local race and that was probably the first real flattrack framed bike I ever rode. I was like, damn, these things actually handle when you put a good chassis where they can hooke up. That year I also got my pro-am license and off we went. So yea I got a late start in flattrack, but at the same time it probably helped me out by not getting burned out at an early age.

At what time in your career did you realize you were good enough to win the Grand National Championship series?

I don't know that I ever thought I was good enough to win the title before I actually won it. I've never been a real confident person, like when some people get beat on ten times in row at the races and they still think they are still better than you. I was never like that, however I knew that if I ever got a bunch of confidence from winning a few races or just running up front, then these boys were gonna be in trouble. I have always been pretty confident with my racing, but to have confidence to win at the GNC level versus confidence to just qualify for a main is a whole different thing. It takes forever to build confidence but only an instant to loose it all! But over the last several years I have learned a few tricks.... but I ain't gonna tell! ha-ha






Throughout your career you have probably raced more different brands of motorcycles than anyone on the series. What did winning the Mile at Prescott, AZ on the Ducati mean to you personally?

You know winning the Arizona Mile on the Ducati didn't really mean that much to me at the moment. I don't think I realized the importance of it until the weeks following, then I was amazed at what it stirred up. It was truely awesome and I am very proud to be a part of it. I just have always liked to take on new challenges in my career.

You achieved the flat track Grand Slam by winning short track, TT, Half Mile and Mile. Which discipline did you feel you were the most competitive and why?

I would say TT's are my favorite to ride, but I think I am the most competetive on the 1/2 miles. I really don't care if the track is a cushion or clay, I just feel I can adapt to most different conditions faster than the other riders. I think that the slicker or more technical a track gets plays into my cards. I really feel comfortable in situations when you are trying to find every last bit of traction and not just wacking the throttle wide open and going for it. At the same time I have always liked to prove myself on different types of race tracks.

The commitment and challenges to race at your level had to have been overwhelming at times. Was there any other time before now you thought about hanging up the steel shoe?

For the last few years it was just getting harder and harder to make a full comittment each week. But even when I was down on my results, I always had GREAT people around me that kept me going. My family, sponsors and friends I had around me is what allowed me to stay competitive.

You became a crowd favorite at more than your fair share of races with the longest autograph lines. Why do you think the fans picked you as their favorite rider?

I have always made it a point to really try and be fan friendly with the fans but more importantly with the kids at the races and I think that really started to show in the last couple of years. I have young kids at home and I know how much they look up to a racer such as myself, so if you take the time and chat with them while signing an autograph, you would be amazed with what kind of memory it leaves with that yound child. I've always believed, you should treat someone the way you would like to be treated. Pretty simple really. I just always wanted to be known as a good guy on and off the track and I feel like I have accomplished that.

Although you announced your retirement, you also stated there will be a couple times you may get the bikes dusted off to hit some races next year. Any idea which events you may plan to attend?

I'm thinking somewhere like Daytona and maybe the Springfield TT since those were always two of my favorites. Plus I would like to do something like Pikes Peak ,maybe a few Endurocrosses, or what ever else comes along that would be fun to do.

It appeared during your announcement speech at the awards ceremony it all was becoming a reality. That must have been tough.

I knew it was going to be tough! I really could not even think too much about it in the days leading up to the awards ceremony without getting choked up. There were so many more things I wanted to say but I couldn't because I just was not able to talk. I wanted to congratulate Jake and his crew because I saw how hard they worked all year. I also wanted to thank all of my fans, friends and sponsors over the years. It was an emotional moment, but I guess people understood just what flattrack has meant to me over the years. It is and has been my life and my family's life!

The saying goes...behind every great man, is a great woman. How has Deedee played a role in your racing?

Where do I start? DeeDee has always played a major role in my career. Non stop, week in and week out she has helped me through the good and bad times. Now it's time for me to join her in doing things she loves to do like horse back riding or what ever she has planned. For years we have talked about maybe getting into team roping together. All I can say, if that is the direction we want to go.... those cowboys better watch out. DeeDee gets as serious as I do when it comes to being competitve. I really look forward to all the new things we will do together.

Are the kids and Deedee ready to have you home?

This is something we have all discussed over time, so I think everyone is ready. With all the traveling we have done over the years we will probably get ants in our pants to get back on the road and go somewhere. I don't see us just sitting home.

Many sports figures have a hard time adjusting after retiring. How is Joe Kopp going to handle the slower pace and less stress?

I'm not sure if I will slow down that much as I have lots of ideas. I can't financially retire, so I will need to find something fun and rewarding to do. But yea, I am not sure about less stress or slower pace, but I would say that safer is more like the word for the job I am looking for. ha-ha

Any regrets along the way that stands out?

I have no regrets along the way. Sure there are the things here or there that you think about, but really I have had such a GREAT time out there racing full time on the AMA GNC circuit, I would not trade it for anything! There were some battles on the track that were maybe left unfinished, but ya know what comes around goes around in my book. I love good carma and bad carma! ha-ha

Congratulations on your successful racing career and we look forward to seeing you with your induction into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

WOW! The Hall of Fame would be amazing! I'm not sure if I will fall into that group, but if I do, I guess that would be like winning another championship. Thank you!









As a subscriber to this newsletter you will receive information on a regular basis. As the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Season draws near we may send you exciting news and announcements regarding that season on a more frequent basis.


Here's the kink to the same press release over at Larry Lawrence's great site, The Rider Great stuff as always coming from one of the long-time contributors and gurus of the great sport of motorcycle racing!