Friday, June 29, 2012

AMA Flat Track: Kenny Tolbert Racing Official Press Release On Team Hiatus

While Kenny Tolbert digs into the #12 Kenny Tolbert Racing Kawasaki/Big Ed Beckley/Wiseco/D&D Exhaust-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based mount, Big Ed Beckley, Bubba Bentley and rider Brad Baker discuss what happened to keep The Bullet from qualifying for round 4 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season at the Springfield Mile I on May 27.

After finishes of 7th-place in his heat and another 7th-place in semi race one, Baker missed the cut for the 19-rider National main by just over 1.6 seconds after the machine suffered from running issues throughout the day.

KT announced officially on Wednesday June 27 that he would be cutting back effective immediately in order to regroup and hopefully bring in more sponsorship in order to continue racing alongside rider Baker.  In the meantime, Baker will be working on putting together a ride in the Twins Series and will be riding his own Honda CRF450Rs in the upcoming Singles Series events. 

As was originally thought and reported by Tolbert and '11 Rookie of the Year Brad Baker on Wednesday, Baker will NOT be riding a TCR-supplied XR750 at the upcoming Lima Half-Mile round that is scheduled for tomorrow, as was reported this morning by Tyler Porter's Fight For Dirt  However, I'm sure Baker WILL be able to come up with a good Twins ride for tomorrow's Ohio National Championship race at the Allen County Fairgrounds, but with whom, we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

Look for KT and The Bullet to hopefully pull in enough sponsorship dollars in order to race the Indy and Springfield rounds later in the season, at the very least, and with any luck maybe enough sponsors will be able to step-up in order to keep this powerhouse team together for the better part of the 2012 season yet ahead.

Here is the official press release from Kenny and Kenny Tolbert Racing, and I have also linked my original interview with KT below to help fill in all of the blanks.


Tolbert Racing Taking A Break

Decatur, TX (June 28, 2012) -- After a short winter project to build a new race team with new equipment, Kenny Tolbert and Brad Baker have decided to part ways due to lack of funds to race at a competitive level in the AMA Pro Grand National Series.

Tolbert has a long successful history in the GNC series and knows what it takes to be competitive, win races and championship titles.  "We just got started late this year and can't seem to get caught up," said Tolbert.  "Running a professional team takes a lot of time and funding and right now we are short on both."

Tolbert says he will be back, "Development on the bikes will continue while we search for sponsorship funding.  When the time is right I will be back with a stable full of winning Kawasaki's."

Brad Baker on the #12 Kenny Tolbert Racing Kawasaki KX450F is shown during a practice session at the season-opening rounds at the Daytona Short Track in March 2012.  Photo courtesy of Kenny Tolbert Racing, by Dave Hoenig/

Baker says, "Before the season started Kenny made it clear we needed funding to go racing.  Like so many racing programs around the country we fell victim to not just not enough cash.  I will pick up the pieces to continue racing this season in hopes of coming back to Kenny's program or find another team to join."

Look for Brad Baker, the 2011 Rookie of Year to show up at the Lima Ohio GNC with a new team.  Don't be surprised if Kenny Tolbert doesn't show up at a few GNC events later in the season to test his bikes at the highest level of flat track racing as he prepares for a 2013 assault on the GNC Championship.

Kenny Tolbert
Kenny Tolbert Racing

Here's the link to the original story and interview with Kenny Tolbert from Wednesday that talks about temporarily mothballing the team in order to better help search for more sponsorship:

eni SBK World Championship Day 1 Sees Melandri Atop the Charts at MotorLand Aragon Round 8

Melandri the top man on the opening day

Motorland Aragon (Spain), June 29, 2012 - Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) took the fastest time in the first qualifying session of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship weekend at MotorLand Aragon in Spain. He overtook this morning’s free practice fastest man Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) who finished up second, with Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) third. Eugene Laverty, Biaggi’s team-mate, was fourth quickest with an improving Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) fifth.

Marco Melandri on the #33 BMW Motorrad Motorsport S1000RR topped the charts today in provisional qualifying for round 8 at the MotorLand Aragon circuit.  Photo courtesy of the eni SBK World Championship.

A good day for the German manufacturer saw BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet riders Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio go sixth and seventh respectively. Chaz Davies (ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia) completed the provisional second row in eighth.

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) rode his way to ninth in a hot qualifying session, with Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) the first Ducati rider home on day one, tenth. Checa’s team-mate Davide Giugliano secured 11th place, with Camier’s team-mate John Hopkins 12th. Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team) was 14th in his first visit to the MotorLand Aragon racetrack for a race weekend.

Max Biaggi on the #3 Aprilia Racing Team RSV4 Factory machine slotted into the second qualifying position in the provisional round today at the MotorLand Aragon circuit.  Photo courtesy of the eni SBK World Championship.

One more qualifying session and then Tissot-Superpole will take place tomorrow to determine the final grid places for Sunday’s races.

Times: 1. Melandri (BMW) 1'58.608 average 162.202 kph; 2. Biaggi (Aprilia) 1'58.973; 3. Sykes (Kawasaki) 1'59.123; 4. Laverty (Aprilia) 1'59.263; 5. Haslam (BMW) 1'59.396; 6. Badovini (BMW) 1'59.751; 7. Fabrizio (BMW) 1'59.770; 8. Davies (Aprilia) 2'00.146; 9. Camier (Suzuki) 2'00.147; 10. Checa (Ducati) 2'00.401; 11. Giugliano (Ducati) 2'00.514; 12. Hopkins (Suzuki) 2'00.570; 13. Canepa (Ducati) 2'00.615; 14. Rea (Honda) 2'00.617; 15. Guintoli (Ducati) 2'00.640; 16. Baz (Kawasaki) 2'00.690; etc.

World Supersport

Sam Lowes (Bogdanka PTR Honda) secured the provisional pole starting spot by putting over half a second between himself and second place rider Jules Cluzel (PTR Honda) in the first qualifying session at Aragon. The Kawasaki Intermoto Step machine of former champion Fabien Foret was a late third in the rankings at the end of day one, with Broc Parkes (Ten Kate Racing Parts Honda) fourth.

Sam Lowes on the #11 Bogdanka PTR Honda CBR600RR was the man to beat today in the provisional qualifying session for the World SuperSport round at Aragon.  Photo courtesy of the eni SBK World Championship.

Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) and Roberto Tamburini (Team Lorini Honda) completed the top six with a great effort from Jed Metcher (Rivamoto Junior Team Yamaha) taking him seventh ahead of another 2012 WSS rookie, Joshua Day (Team GO ELEVEN Kawasaki).

Times: 1. Lowes (Honda) 2'03.067 average 156.325 kph; 2. Cluzel (Honda) 2'03.635; 3. Foret (Kawasaki) 2'03.771; 4. Parkes (Honda) 2'03.955; 5. Morais (Kawasaki) 2'04.385; 6. Tamburini (Honda) 2'04.411; 7. Metcher (Yamaha) 2'04.516; 8. Day (Kawasaki) 2'04.838; etc.

Superstock 1000

Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet) set the fastest time of the first day, just ahead of his own team-mate Lorenzo Baroni in second. Markus Reiterberger (Team Alpha Racing BMW) posted third, making it a clean sweep for S 1000 RR machines in the early exchanges.

Two Kawasaki riders followed closely behind today, Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS) and Bryan Staring (Team Pedercini). Fabio Massei (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda) secured sixth place, with the top ranked Ducati Panigale rider Lorenzo Savadori (Barni Racing Team Italia) in seventh. One more qualifying session remains, on Saturday.

Times: 1. Barrier (BMW) 2'02.741 average 156.740 kph; 2. Baroni (BMW) 2'02.833; 3. Reiterberger (BMW) 2'03.230; 4. Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 2'03.508; 5. Staring (Kawasaki) 2'03.870; 6. Massei (Honda) 2'03.984; 7. Savadori (Ducati) 2'04.492; 8. Coghlan (Ducati) 2'04.533; etc.

Superstock 600

Riccardo Russo (Team Italia FMI Yamaha) took the provisional pole position in the Superstock 600 European Championship class today, followed by another top championship contender, Michael van der Mark (EAB Ten Kate Junior Team Honda). Gauthier Duwelz (Team MTM Racing Yamaha) and his team-mate Adrian Nestorovic were third and fourth fastest.

Another pair of team-mates, Tony Covena and Christian Gamarino, from the GO ELEVEN Kawasaki team, finished fifth and sixth in the heat at Motorland, with one more qualifying session left to run tomorrow before the race itself takes place on Saturday afternoon.

Times: 1. Russo (Yamaha) 2'06.129 average 152.530 kph; 2. Vd Mark (Honda) 2'06.492; 3. Duwelz (Yamaha) 2'06.635; 4. Nestorovic (Yamaha) 2'06.782; 5. Coveña (Kawasaki) 2'07.189; 6. Gamarino (Kawasaki) 2'07.605; 7. Suchet (Honda) 2'07.790; 8. Ponsson (Kawasaki) 2'07.812; etc.

KTM European Junior Cup

Lukas Wimmer was clearly the fastest man in the first practice session for the European Junior Cup, the Austrian heading up local Spanish riders Christian Vidal and Javier Orellana.

Giuseppe Scarcella, from Australia, was fourth. Gaston Garcia rode to fifth and Federico Fazzini from Italy rounded out the top six in a session with 23 competing riders.

Times: 1. Wimmer (KTM) 2'19.907 average 137.508 kph; 2. Vidal (KTM) 2'20.475; 3. Orellana (KTM) 2'20.555; 4. Scarcella (KTM) 2'20.840; 5. Garcia (KTM) 2'21.272; 6. Fazzina (KTM) 2'21.313; 7. Lewis (KTM) 2'22.924; 8. Demoulin (KTM) 2'23.139; etc.

For further information:

Julian Thomas
Press Office Associate Manager
Cell. +39 340 0993623

Nino Barra
Press Office & PR ItaliaCell. +39 339 4688138

Valentina Conti
Sponsorship & Int’l PR Associate Manager
Cell. +39 388 3032059

In 2011 the FIM Superbike World Championship achieved the following:

- A worldwide TV audience of 462 million
- Live broadcasts on 95 television networks covering 173 countries
- 3,106 broadcast hours
- Approximately 1,000,000 race spectators
- 3,779,237 contacts on the official website

Thursday, June 28, 2012

AMA Flat Track: Tickets Go On Sale July 1 for Season-Ending Pomona Half-Mile Flat Track Championship Round 16

Round 4 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season saw the emergence of a new player in town, the re-emergence of a long-time veteran of the series to the National main winner's podium, and a field rich with talent and variety in the form of eight manufacturers trying to make the 18-(or 19-rider as it were) field at the Springfield Mile I on May 27.

Six of these competitors brought two different makes to the table (with three total making it into the 25-lap main--H-D, Kawasaki, Ducati) when it came time for the extra-points and cash-awarding event known as the Dash for Cash.  In what has been a popular feature with riders, sponsors and fans alike, the Dash is a great event that offers the top-2 finishers from each of three heat races a chance to duke it out in a 4-lap battle of man and machine, with $1000 going to the winner, but even more importantly, five valuable points towards the coveted AMA Grand National Championship awarded at the end of each season.

The six riders that comprised the first Twins Series event Dash for Cash are shown above, getting ready to go out and give everyone on-hand a brief, but exciting preview of what is yet to come in the form of The Rolling Thunder Show main event at the end of the day.

Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Screamin Eagle/Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Fox/Arai Helmets-sponsored factory H-D XR750 had earlier in the day established himself as the man-to-beat by taking the fastest heat race win of the day by over 5.5 seconds compared to the other two heat races, and by 2.838 seconds over runner-up Luke Gough.  He would end the Dash .375 seconds behind winner Bryan Smith, and would come home with a solid 6th-place finish in the main event after running with the lead all afternoon long.

Texas resident and Kenny Tolbert-tutored Willie McCoy was back for more on his #59 Harley-Davidson of Wausau/Independence H-D/Tucker Rocky/Arai-backed XR750, after having won his first-ever Grand National in over 25 years of competition at the previous Springfield Mile in September '11.  McCoy and his self-built mount took on the might of the full-time runners in the greatest racing show on wheels in the world, and managed to pull-out the overall win in the National main event, and brought home a 4th-place finish in the Dash, .192 seconds behind winner Smith.

Flyin Bryan Smith arrived at the Illinois State Fairgrounds with his third-different Twins Series mount in as many years, in the form of the #42 Howerton Motorsports/Eaken Racing Kawasaki/Midwest Performance Hardware/Guts Wear-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based and Rocket Ricky Howerton-built and Skip Eaken-tuned parallel twin.  Builder and master craftsman Howerton, had prepared an immaculate machine full of all the modern bits and pieces (and threw in a big sack of WOW!), and Smith not only took it home to the first heat win of the day, but won the Dash and finished 3rd in the National main, just .033 seconds in arrears of McCoy.  Team member and head 'stooge' Jeff Gordon talks with Smith, while builder Howerton overlooks the operation while ready with the remote starter.  Smith is scheduled to ride the Kawi for the remaining four mile events (Sacramento, Indy, Springfield, Santa Rosa) and hop back on his Moroney's XR for the other Twins Series events of the year (cue BIG sigh from the rest of the competition for the first part of the summer stretch.)

Former Australian Champion Luke Gough returned to the States to contest Springfield (after sitting out the season-opening Daytona rounds) and the rest of the season, and promptly came home second in his heat to card himself a spot in the Dash.  Riding a new #62 Skip Eaken Racing Kawasaki/Dick Ford/Johnson Cams/KK Motorcycle Supply-sponsored 650R-based parallel twin, Lucky Luke would finish the Dash in 6th-place, .844 seconds behind winner Smith, and end the afternoon's racing with a 13th-place finish after pulling off with 3 laps to go with an unknown mechanical problem.  Look for much more out of this personable young man as the season commences, as he is establishing himself and the Eaken Racing team as a formidable player on U.S. soil going into their second season together of running a Kawasaki in the Twins events.

Rogers Racing's Brent Armbruster readies the #9 Rogers Racing/Blue Springs H-D/Saddlemen/National Cycle-backed XR750 of Jared Mees, while Mees talks with Jake Johnson (hidden).  The defending event-winner's savvy on the track, along with the combination of Armbruster's mechanical ability allowed Mees to qualify for the Dash with a runner-up spot to McCoy in his heat (by just .023 seconds), a 3rd-place finish in the Dash just .009 seconds behind runner-up Johnson and .132 seconds behind Smith.  At the end of the day, Mees left the legendary Illinois State Fairgrounds with a strong 4th-place finish in the main event, .233 seconds behind McCoy and with a firm, but early grip on the season's championship point standings lead.  It was this time last season that saw Mees go on a tear that would see him end the year with five total wins on the year and come up just-shy of winning the championship.

Jake Johnson has shown over the course of his AMA Grand National Championship career that he has the poise, the talent, and the machinery behind him to do what it takes to grab all the big marbles when the grabbing is good.  In '07 he took his first of three championships (Singles Series Champion) while riding for Suzuki, and after hooking up with the powerhouse Zanotti Racing team at the end of the '09 season, has since captured the '10 and '11 AMA Grand National Championship while riding a fine stable of Dave Zanotti and Ted McDermitt-prepared XR750s. 

After what was considered a disastrous start to the season at Daytona (for him), Jersey Jake more then made up for it with a trifecta of '2s' on May 27 at the Springfield Mile I round (after finishing 2nd in the previous evening's TT event behind winner Henry Wiles.)  Qualifying for the Dash via his 2nd-place finish behind Flyin Bryan Smith in his heat race (.084 seconds back), a 2nd-place finish in the Dash, again to Smith (.023 seconds behind) and a door-knocking 2nd-place finish to McCoy in the National main (.017 seconds in arrears.)  If you see a pattern forming here, make no mistake, you NEVER count out the man wearing the #1 plate, especially when it's in the form of the Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Arai-sponsored XR750 mounts that Johnson is so accustomed to wielding in the Twin Series events.  And you NEVER count out Jake Johnson until the season is completely wrapped up, because chances are if you do, he will have slipped by you, again, and shown his might in the run for the big marbles.

All of this, and we are only four rounds into the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season, with 12 rounds yet to go and the Lima Half-Mile round 5, less then 48 hours away. 

AMA Pro Flat Track and the season-finale promotion group, The Activation Group, announced today that tickets for the season-ending round 16 at the L.A. County Fairplex in Pomona, CA. will be available for sale on Sunday, July 1.

Although over 4 1/2 months off, it's never too early to grab your spot for what will surely be another great battle to the end, as the 2011 version of the championship battle came down to the wire with a hard-fought battle between three men-Johnson, Mees and Sammy Halbert-in a battle of men, machines and wits that saw Johnson sneak away again as he had done the previous season to win the coveted AMA Grand National Championship at the Pomona Half-Mile Flat Track Finals.

Check out the official press release below, and get ready to hold your breath as we get into full swing in the 2012 version of the greatest racing show on wheels in the world, The Rolling Thunder Show!

AMA Pro Grand National Flat Track Finals Return to Los Angeles

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Google+ View our videos on YouTube Gray

Released on behalf of The Activation Group:

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (June 27, 2012) - The AMA Pro Flat Track Finals are once again returning to Southern California and the historic Pomona Half-Mile at LA Fairplex Saturday October 13, 2012. Here the motorcycle world's greatest riders will once again face off shoulder to shoulder and bar to bar at speeds of up to 130 mph on Pomona's famed half-mile oval!

This night of intense, ground-pumping action will crown the two Champions of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by and Lucas Oil. Both the AMA Pro Grand National Champion and the AMA Pro Pro Singles Champion will be decided on this incredible night of racing!

Event co-promoter Chris Morgan is excited for the Finals return for 2012. "Last year's race was arguably one of the greatest finales ever for AMA Pro Flat Track as the guys really laid it all on the line. We are proud to bring this incredible happening back again, where it belongs, to the heart of motorcycle lifestyle and motorcycle racing in America Los Angeles, California."

From 1991 to 1996 the deep cushion of the Pomona Half-Mile was a staple on the Grand National Series, running spring and fall races in 1992 through 1995. The demanding track briefly returned to the schedule for one race in 2009. After the successful revival of the event for the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Finals the event is here to stay treating Southern California to some of the most intense, closest and fastest two-wheeled racing seen anywhere in the world.

Eventual 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson on the #1 Zanotti Racing XR750 leads Sammy Halbert on the #7 Kings Kustoms XR750 during one of the battles seen during round 20 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by at the L.A. County Fairplex-hosted season-finale Pomona Half-Mile on October 15.  The Rolling Thunder Show will again return to Pomona for this season's final round on October 13, 2012 and tickets will be available for sale on July 1.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

This grand finale of the Flat Track season will feature the talents of the world's best motorcycle racers. Top names such as Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Sammy Halbert, Jared Mees, Jake Johnson, and young sensation Brad Baker and a host of other top ranked riders will all vie for AMA Pro Flat Track Finals glory on the historic Pomona Half-Mile.

The addition of the Finals to the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track calendar caps a spectacular three race western state swing to finish up the year for the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by and Lucas Oil featuring the Santa Rosa Mile September 30, Tucson Half-Mile October 6 and the AMA Pro Grand National Flat Track Finals on October 13th.

This year's event has many great ticket options including exclusive VIP Club Level seating, front row box seats, reserved stadium seating and main grandstand general admission. Advanced ticket prices start at just $39 and all tickets go on sale July 1st.

This year the action starts early as local motorcycle clubs will be featuring their bikes on display at the pre-race tailgate party complete with live music, motorcycle vendors, and family activities which will run from 3-5 pm. The racing action gets under way at 6 pm and continues into the night until the AMA Pro Champions are crowned.

For tickets and further information, please visit or contact the Flat Track Finals staff at (310) 651-3096.

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at

For additional information contact:

AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

AMA Pro Road Racing Reviews NOLA Motorsports Park Test Session

Born on the Bayou: Josh Hayes Tops the Charts at NOLA Motorsports Park during Official AMA Pro Road Racing Test

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Google+ View our videos on YouTube Gray

NEW ORLEANS, La. (June 27, 2012) - In sweltering heat and under sunny skies, 55 AMA Pro Road Racing competitors participated in a two-day test at New Orleans, La.'s NOLA Motorsports Park in advance of the 2012 season finale scheduled for October 5 - 7 at the facility, the M1 PowerSports-promoted Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans. Two-time, defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) continued his recent run of success, topping the time charts with a blistering lap time of 1:39.282 around the facility's 2.75-mile, 16-turn configuration.

"What a fun track, it's nice to be close to home," said Hayes, who hails from nearby Gulfport, Miss. "I saw a lot of friends come out, say hello and check it out, just for our test even, so I think that bodes well; hopefully we're going to have a huge event. I think the track will be very spectator friendly, being as flat as it is. A lot of people can park their campers, get on top and see a lot of racetrack. If M1 brings out the jumbotrons like they're talking about, I think it'll be a great fan experience."

Hayes was the only AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike competitor to break the 1:40 barrier on day one, a milestone he reached in the final session of the day. Yamaha's leading man improved on his effort during day two, posting the fastest time turned on two wheels at the facility in the opening session and then backing that up with a string of sub-1:40 lap times in each of the day's remaining sessions.

"I really like the race track; I think it's a challenging and fun track," Hayes continued. "It's got some really scary stuff coming off the back straightaway through the fast esses there. I have a feeling that track conditions when we come back could be considerably better; they have a race this weekend with WERA, they've got some car stuff lined up, and as more rubber gets onto the track I think it's going to be easier on equipment. Also, in October, the temperature I think should be a little bit better. This was a lot like being at Barber, where the heat makes things really difficult for the bikes. So when we come back I think we'll be able to improve our lap times considerably."

Transporters for the participants in AMA Pro Road Racing's NOLA Motorsports Park test session line the paddock during the two-day test in New Orleans.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Blake Young (Yoshimura Racing) and Roger Hayden (National Guard Jordan Suzuki) were the only other two National Guard SuperBike competitors to post lap times below the 1:40 mark, turning in times of 1:39.677 and 1:39.727, respectively. Jordan Suzuki's Ben Bostrom posted the fourth fastest time of 1:40.131 and Josh Herrin (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) rounded out the top five with a time of 1:40.197.

In AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, the Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha team proved to be the class of the field. Cameron Beaubier piloted his No. 8 Yamaha YZF-R6 to the top of the charts with a time of 1:42.442, turned in the second session of day two, while teammate Tommy Hayden opened up day two with his fast time of 1:42.741 to lock in second fastest at the test event.

Martin Cardenas, 2010 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Champion and current series points leader, steadily lowered his lap times and posted the third-fastest time for the GoPro Daytona SportBike division of 1:42.866 in his last session, followed by Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo (1:43.099) and RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Jake Gagne (1:43.120).

The RoadRace Factory/Red Bull crew also proved to be competitive in the AMA Pro SuperSport division, as team riders Hayden Gillim and Tomas Puerta came in second and third fastest with times of 1:45.668 and 1:45.932, respectively. Gillim came out swinging, turning a flier in the very first session that held until the very last, when defending SuperSport class champion James Rispoli (Celtic Racing/Orient Express Racing Suzuki) turned in a flier of his own to lead the field with a 1:45.438. 

A handful of AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series competitors also turned out, led by championship hopeful Kyle Wyman (KLR Group/Spyke's Harley-Davidson). Wyman's lap time of 1:50.659 was over two seconds faster than the 1:52.512 turned by nearest competitor, and Vance & Hines XR1200 points leader, Tyler O'Hara (Bartel's Harley-Davidson).

AMA Pro Road Racing will return to NOLA Motorsports Park to close out the season with the Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince on the weekend of October 5 - 7, 2012. For tickets and information, please visit M1 PowerSports online at

The next round of the 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing season will be the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in Lexington, Ohio on July 13 - 15. For tickets and information, please visit

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at

For additional information contact:

AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

AMA Flat Track: BOMBSHELL--Kenny Tolbert & Brad Baker Part Ways, Tolbert to Mothball Team for the Foreseeable Future

Round 4 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season found the Kenny Tolbert Racing Kawasaki team working feverishly in their pit area between practice sessions at the Springfield Mile I on May 26, after the 650R-based Twins Series machine developed a miss during the first session of the day right off of the truck. 

While KT tries to get things figured out on the #12 Kenny Tolbert Racing Kawasaki/Big Ed Beckley/Wiseco/D&D Exhaust-sponsored mount, rider Brad Baker looks on in hopes that things will get worked out in time for the second session.  As we know by now, things didn't get worked out completely even by the end of the day, and The Bullet failed to qualify the new mount for the first Twins Series event of the season.

And in what may have been an early indication of worse things to come, news comes today that Tolbert and Baker have parted company 'for the time being' and KT will be putting the machines aside for the foreseeable future to 'work his regular job' and hopefully be able to drum up more sponsorship dollars for down the road. 

Just getting off the phone with the multi-time championship winning tuner, Tolbert told Stu's Shots this afternoon that it just came down to dollars and sense.

"It just came down to cubic dollars, I wasn't able to continue at this pace without any more sponsorship coming in, and I told Brad the best thing you can do is go find yourself a good ride now while you can, and maybe we can still put something together for Indy and Springfield, or maybe all the miles, should things come together," stated Tolbert.  "We were really behind on these things this year, and I still believe that one way or another, we'll be back, or I'll be back, should it be.  I just can't continue to fund this thing on my own dime.  We had some people come on board, Big Ed Beckley and Sammy Sweet, who helped us out tremendously, but not to the tune of the type of money it takes to run a full season in this thing.

"And we've gotten by cheap, compared to the Harley's.  Heck, it costs $850 per kit to put bearings in an XR--that's just the rollers and cages--and they break even on it, it costs them so much to produce.  It's an antique design that just keeps going.  I've got less then that in one or more of my motors (Tolbert told Stu's Shots at Springfield he was able to get one motor off of eBay for $200, but typically they were $800-1000 +/-.)

"I just ran my numbers last night," continued the 26-year AMA Grand National Championship veteran, " and we had about $12K in the first Kawasaki we put together, maybe $14.5K total.  You can build these cheap (compared to the long-standing Harley-Davidson XR750) but you still have to have the funds to contest the series.  Shoot, the whole season only pays around $70K if you win all the races (not including any points fund cash) and you're not going to win all the races.  Bottom line it was about cubic dollars, and I have to look out for me and my family and couldn't continue to fund it out of my pocket."

The man who is best known for his association with 7-Time AMA Grand National Champion, Chris Carr, has been around this sport for close to four decades.  "I love this sport and I love the racing, it's been my life and my love, and I want to continue to keep racing, but right now, it's just too much. 

"We were a little behind on both of these bikes.  With the 650 (which was being run in a 700cc platform) we got started just five weeks before Springfield, and it proved to be too much without the extra funds coming in, that never materialized.  We had close to $1500 in just the fuel tank, which was a crafty little piece, and re-worked it and got it just right.  I suppose with extras, you feasibly could have a rolling (chassis) together and ready to go for about $14.5-$15K, depending.  You can't do that with a Harley.  And I love Harley's, they've been my life, but they just got too damned expensive, and these Kawis I still believe are the future of the sport," along with the folks that are running the Ducatis, Triumphs, and so forth, Tolbert stated.

Right now, it looks like Kenny Tolbert will be temporarily mothballing the team "as I've got grass to cut here at home now.  I told Brad you need to get out and get a ride and maybe by Indy we can run there.  Brad's a great kid, one heckuva rider, and he's going to do well no matter what.  It looks like for Lima he'll be riding one of TCR's XR750s with Nichole Cheza's brother, Mark, turning the wrenches for him."

Kenny Tolbert gives his signature peace sign and familiar smile while chatting in the pits during the break at the Springfield TT on May 26 at round 3 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season.

Another thing KT likes about the Kawis, is that they are easy to build.  "Yes, these things are a dream to work on, and you don't have to rebuild them after each race.  It's just the initial investment of putting them together, and of course, the cost to run the full series.  I spent close to $20K last year on diesel fuel alone just for my truck, and Chris had his family and motor home and I'm sure he spent at least $12-15K for fuel for it. 

"Nobody has it easy now, with the economy still being what it is, and sponsors are still reluctant to come in with the big money for the support.  Look at the road racing guys, the big teams have 8-10 guys, a couple of bikes per rider, travel expenses and such, you don't even have the factories swarming back there yet since the economy took a dive.  And flat track is still struggling, but we still have some of the best racing there is.  I love this sport, and I want to continue with it cause it's been my whole life, but not without some help.

"Last winter I looked at running the H-D factory team, but they weren't ready and still wanted to keep it in-house through the 2012 season.  We'll see.  I still think the Kawis (and some of the other brands trying to make a name for themselves in AMA Pro Flat Track) are the future of the sport, " Kenny went on to say, " and I want to be a part of that, too.

"Even the KX450F Singles Series machine, we just got those two weeks before Daytona and got down there and got lucky and (Brad and I) got some good results.  But we were behind on those, too, and in the end it just caught up to us.  This isn't a cheap sport to contest, and I just decided I wasn't going to do it half-assed, so I pulled the plug after thinking about it after the Peoria (All-Star) races last weekend.  I'm not a quitter, but I have to look out after myself and my family and more money was going out then what was coming in.

"We'll re-group and see where things go.  Brad has a ride for Lima on a strong XR-based team with TCR and Mark Cheza (who is a heckuva tuner) so he'll be all right, and he'll still have more time to put something together for the rest of the season.  He's a great racer and great young man, we had no problems whatsoever working together, it's been a pleasure, but I was looking at having to cut too many corners, and that's not the way to go in this thing, " stated the Texas resident.

So there you have it.  Another great team and pairing in the great sport of AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship racing, and for now Kenny Tolbert is pulling the plug.  "I just can't continue to race on my dime, " the nine-year former Harley-Davidson factory mechanic stated in closing.

AMA Pro Flat Track Announces NBC Sports to Air Springfield Mile I on July 1

Round 4 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season had a new player in town in the form of Bryan Smith's #42 Howerton Motorsports/Eaken Racing Kawasaki/Midwest Performance Hardware/Guts Wear-sponsored Ninja 650R-based twin, and right off the truck the Rick Howerton/Howerton Products-built and Skip Eaken-tuned machine was ready to show the way in one of the biggest events of the season at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval.

Showing it's form in winning the first heat of the day, Flyin' Bryan also led the rest of the fast six riders home in the Dash for Cash event after four furious laps around the legendary racing facility.  Leading Jake Johnson across the stripe while getting the checkers, Jersey Jake had the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Arai-backed XR750 in close tow, just .023 seconds behind.  Smith took the first 'official' checkered flag of the 2012 Twins Series season by winning the barn burning event and claiming the valuable 5 points towards the championship that go with it.

Following Johnson home is Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing/Blue Springs H-D/Saddlemen/National Cycle-sponsored XR750, just .109 seconds behind, with eventual National main winner Willie McCoy on his #59 Harley-Davidson of Wausau/Independence H-D/Tucker Rocky/Arai-backed XR750 another .060 seconds in arrears.

AMA Pro Flat Track has just announced that the event, filmed over the course of the day's racing, by Kenny Sargent and the MavTV crew, will be broadcast this weekend on Sunday, July 1 at 5:00 PM EDT on the NBC Sports Network (remember, this is the old Versus network, NOT the NBC prime network!) 

You can read the full press release below, and when you get back from Lima on Saturday you'll have a great show to cap off a great weekend of racing in The Rolling Thunder Show!

AMA Pro Racing Announces Broadcast Date for Springfield Mile on NBC Sports
Fans encouraged to watch AMA Pro Flat Track riders take to legendary Springfield Mile

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Google+ View our videos on YouTube Gray
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 26, 2012) - AMA Pro Racing and Lucas Oil are proud to release the viewing date for the 2012 Springfield Mile. On July 1st at 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT, fans can tune into NBC Sports to watch the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track slide sideways.
"We are very excited to have fans see the thrilling action that our riders take part in each and every event weekend," said Dan Johnsen, Director of AMA Pro Flat Track. "NBC Sports is the perfect platform for showcasing the extremely competitive and exciting racing found at every AMA Pro Flat Track event and we look forward to thrilling audiences across America."

Bryan Smith #42 leads Jared Mees #9, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2, eventual-winner Willie McCoy #59 and the rest of the field during the running of the Springfield Mile I on May 27.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

Viewers will witness the world-class racing put on by the stars of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Expert Twins Class presented by Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, along with the up-and-coming, yet very talented AMA Pro Pro Singles support class, as they battle the legendary Springfield Mile. The Memorial Day weekend event featured some of the tightest racing and closest finishes to date in AMA Pro Flat Track.

Please check your local listings for a channel line-up to find NBC Sports. Search Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour or Motorsports Hour if you don't see the program listed.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at

For additional information contact:

AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

AMA Pro Road Racing Launches Online Video Service at NOLA Motorsports Park Test

AMA Pro Live Streaming Video System Launched during First day of AMA Pro Road Racing Testing at NOLA Motorsports Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Google+ View our videos on YouTube Gray

NEW ORLEANS, La. (June 26, 2012) - The all-new AMA Pro Live streaming video system launched today during the first day of AMA Pro Test Fest, a two-day official AMA Pro Road Racing test at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, La. The free online service is located at, giving fans insider access to the stars of the sport as well as their first glimpse of America's newest motorsports facility. The 2.75-mile track is situated just 15 miles from downtown New Orleans, and will play host to the Series for the 2012 season finale, the M1 PowerSports-promoted Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince (October 5-7, 2012).

Five channels will be available throughout the day Tuesday, June 26 and Wednesday, June 26. Danielle Teal will be leading fans on a tour of the venue, interviewing riders, crew members and fans as she strolls through the impressive grounds on the Teal Time Pit Report Channel ( Viewers can tune into the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Team Tent camera to watch the team work and catch glimpses of team riders JD Beach, Jake Gagne, Hayden Gillim and Tomas Puerta roll in off the track after their sessions (

Screenshot from AMA Pro Road Racing's AMA Pro courtesy of AMA Pro Road Racing.

For those that want to see the bikes attack the track, three static cameras have been strategically placed around NOLA Motorsports Park. Located at Turn 4 (, Turn 8 ( and the final corner (, each location provides viewers with rare and exciting vantage points that capture the true speed of the motorcycles.

To keep fans up to date, users can click on the Twitter tab to display the AMA Pro Live Twitter feed ( Links to relevant video clips will be posted to both @AMAProLive and @AMAProSBK, AMA Pro Road Racing's Twitter account ( Dion Device's Chris Killen will be creating video clips with the streaming content, which will be posted to AMA Pro Racing's YouTube page ( Those videos can also be displayed on AMA Pro Live by clicking on the page's YouTube tab and selecting a video from the list of recently posted content.

The AMA Pro Live streaming video content will continue after the end of Tuesday's competition sessions with the Test Fest Celebration Party. Kicking off at 6:00 p.m., the Test Fest Celebration Party will be hosted by local motorcycle dealer The Transportation Revolution at their trackside Motorbike Speed Shop, located in the first garage closest to the paddock. Riders and fans will get to experience the impressive sounds of the Roots of Music as they parade down the paddock to get the party started.

Conceptualized and developed with support from M1 PowerSports and RoadRace Factory, the group hopes to expand on the initial launch of the system for future events. For information and updates, please visit

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at

For additional information contact:

AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,