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To Baja And Beyond

Jason Raines On Bike Prep

Shane Watts On Practice

Plus, Vital Tips For Race Day Success


Kurt Caselli

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U.S. Begins Qualifying For FIM Speedway World Cup Dream Team Targets Title The U.S. team seeking international success at the FIM Speedway World Cup this summer began its journey with the initial qualifying round in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on May 5. The U.S. teammates are Greg Hancock, Billy Hamill, Ryan Fisher and Ricky Wells. Also on the team as a back-up rider is Kenny Ingalls. The squad is led by reigning FIM World Champion Hancock and 1996 FIM World Champion Hamill. “I’m really pumped to be riding alongside Greg again,” says Hamill, who is also a five-time U.S. champion, winning his most recent title in 2007. “We have had a lot of success as teammates, and won four FIM Speedway World Cup gold medals from 1990 to 1998. This isn’t really about me making a comeback, though. It’s more about getting the U.S.A. back on top, and the FIM Speedway World Cup is the foundation for years to come.” Hamill adds that the world championship effort is part of a broader mission to nurture a growing speedway contingent in the United States. “I would like to see the United States win a another gold medal in the next five to 10 years,” Hamill says. “This is certainly a big step toward

Table of Contents 06 Jason Raines On Bike Prep 07 Shane Watts On Practice Gerhard Ward On Race Day Logistics 10 Kurt Caselli: Racer On Fire 12 Racing Hare & Hound 14 Racing For Respect


that goal, and I would like to thank the AMA, my U.S. teammates and everybody working so hard toward achieving it. We are so lucky to have such passionate and knowledgeable people involved in this quest for success.” The next step in FIM Speedway World Cup competition is July 7 in Poland or July 9 in Great Britain, based on qualifying position. The world championship is July 14 in Sweden, after a race off on July 12. While speedway is fighting for recognition among more mainstream motorsports such as motocross and enduro racing in the United States, it’s hugely popular in Europe. Contested since 1960, the FIM Speedway World Cup is the pinnacle of team competition in the sport. The event features multiple days of competition by a number of national teams, with four qualifying for the finals. The winner of the Speedway World Cup collects the Ove Fundin Trophy, named after the five-time world champion.



July 2012

Photo BSI Speedway

Greg Hancock

Snapsho t

Photos Watts: David Scearce; Ward: Courtesy Gerhard Ward; Raines: Davey Morgan

d r a o B Pit

Shane Watts On Practice Just Do It! By Shane Watts

Riding and racing off-road motorcycles is an awesome passion that so many of us have. It’s also something that we all desire to become not only more skilled and safer at, but faster, too. One of the hardest parts of improving is to develop the mentality of continually spending a small but significant amount of time each week practicing specific skills exercises. This will fast-track your learning more than just pounding out laps or miles of trail. Even spending a quick five minutes on key practice drills before your next race or ride will pay big dividends. This practice time allows you to build your confidence. Plus, it warms up muscles you are going to use to ride the bike. Here are three basic skills exercises and what they entail: r The Slow Ride. This is a great exercise for reinforcing the four fundamentals of riding skill: body position, throttle/clutch coordination, balance and confidence. In this exercise, you ride as slowly as possible without putting your feet down. Having great balance allows you to maximize your momentum on the trail, especially in more difficult conditions like mud, deep sand, hills and rock sections. r The Square Exercise. Use this drill to build superior flat cornering technique. Set up a 10-by-10-foot square with four cones. If possible, find slippery


but consistent conditions. Now, ride continuous laps, gradually getting faster until you are able to slide/drift your bike around the square without interruption for at least six laps. Use the four key points of cornering (body position, lean angle, throttle position, and counter steering) to control the slide and guide your bike where you want it to go. It’s a great feeling when you have mastered this skill! This will be a huge benefit in the next mud race or just when you are pushing the limits and the tires are breaking traction. r The Figure-8 Corner Rut. This is the best all-around exercise for off-road riders and racers to practice. The precise front wheel placement, as well as the aggressive acceleration skills, correct body position, and supreme confidence needed to rail a rut also build the skills you need to conquer numerous other trail or track situations. However, building a proper corner rut takes a bit of planning and practice. You can find free videos about corner ruts and building them at DirtWiseRidingSchool. Former World and U.S. off-road champion Shane Watts runs the DirtWise Academy of Offroad Riding School and Instructional DVDs. For more information, see

10 TIPS FOR A GREAT DAY AT THE TRACK Mind The Details By Gerhard Ward

As someone who has raced for 37 years, and has been a motocross and off-road promoter for decades, I’ve seen both sides of the sign-up table a lot. Here are 10 tips for making your next race day as smooth as it can be. #1. Sign up! Yes, it happens. Occasionally, racers head out for practice before signing up. This is a pretty serious infraction and, in fact, may result in a suspension. It’s not fun for you or the promoter if you have to go visit the nice ladies at sign up and plead your case. #2. Line up! This is another basic step that gets missed more often than you think, particularly at woods races. Often, a rider will be out in the woods looking for the hot line through a rock bed when he should be warming up his bike. #3. Run the right numbers. It comes as a shock to many racers that the scorers don’t recognize them on sight. You must run your number to be scored properly! Numbers are usually assigned by the District, so consult your AMA

Gerhard Ward is the MX director for AMA District 17. With wife Patty, he runs Fox Valley Off Road in Ottawa, Ill., and Megacross in Mendota, Ill.

Jason Raines On Bike Prep Maintaining Your Ride

While your personal and race. A Roman preparation—training philosopher said luck and fitness—is critical, is what happens when it’s tough to win a preparation meets motorcycle race without a opportunity. This is true well-prepped motorcycle. in everything we do. If you aren’t properly To help with your prepared for the race, planning, I’ve created not only can you expect three lists, available at problems, you can expect AmericanMotorcyclist. not to be able to fix those com/RaceChecklist. problems. aspx, that cover each You can work all leg of a successful race week practicing and preparation program: training, then load up maintenance, spare and drive to the event, parts and tools. pay the gate fee and Following these the entry fee only to guidelines, it takes have a small oversight me around 30-40 ruin all the hard hours to fully prep a work—and waste your bike for a single race. hard-earned money! Most casual racers First, plan to aren’t able to put that have the bike done much prep into their and ready when you programs. roll into the race. However, everyone Likewise, all your can use these lists gear (helmet, goggles, as an ideal to strive boots, etc.) should be for. Racing is fun, but prepped and ready. racing seriously is A common sight at hard work, and the the races is riders higher you climb, the scrambling in the pits more fun you’ll have. I an hour or so before guarantee it. Download and print Jason’s pre-race their race, changing checklist at RaceChecklist.aspx brake pads, swapping Jason Raines air filters, etc. Not is a six-time AMA only does this create more opportunity Hare Scrambles Champion, three-time for maintenance mistakes, it also rattles International Six Days Enduro gold you mentally when you need to be cool. medalist and AMA Life Member. He All you should have to do the day runs Raines Riding University (www. of the event is get there, unload, walk, which offers off-road the track, sign up, get your gear on riding instruction to all ages.


District rulebook for guidelines such as number size, background color, etc. #4. Don’t miss the riders meeting. If you followed the wrong colored arrows in the hare scrambles race and ended up on the youth course, you probably missed the riders meeting where all that—and more—was explained. #5. Renew or buy your memberships early. Yes, these are available at the track, but why complicate your life, the promoter’s life and everyone’s life who is behind you in line? #6. Bring enough money, your identification and your membership cards. Don’t assume the club or track will take debit, credit cards or even a check. Ask first or just bring cash. #7. Show up early. While yours truly may believe that being early is a waste of time, do what I say, not what I do! Arrive early so you aren’t rushed. #8. If you are new and have never raced before, the first thing you want to say to the sign-up person is, “I am new and have never raced before.” They will instantly know how best to help you. #9. If it’s a motocross race, get the practice order and race order at sign up. If it’s a hare scrambles race, ask where the starting line is and when to line up. #10. Check the score sheets within 30 minutes after they are posted. Too late is just that—too late. In the same way that the AMA and AMA Districts provide the foundation for great events, sign up provides the foundation for a fun race day. If sign up goes well, the rest of the day is easy. After all, at that point, all you have to do is race!

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Building A Program For Success


ike thousands of kids who have matured in Southern California’s many desert communities, Kurt Caselli grew up riding his dirtbike in one of the biggest playgrounds in the world, and he did it whenever he got the chance. At the time, however, no one would have predicted Caselli would take that passion and blend it with both talent and hard work to become the dominant desert racer in the country, as well as one of the top off-road racers in the world.

How dominant is he? In 2011, Caselli launched a full-on assault on the AMA Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series for the first time since he raced 125s 10 years ago and won five out of the nine races to claim the title. And through the first four rounds of the 2012 series, he’s chalked up a perfect score, winning each race with apparent ease. (He’s also won the first of the threeround SCORE Desert Series in Baja.)


Naturally, the FMF/KTM Factory OffRoad Racing Team star refuses to jinx himself by predicting a perfect season, but many observers see him headed that way, judging by his margins of victory so far. “Well, you never want to think it’s going to be a walk in the park,” Caselli insists. “Obviously last year in the Hare & Hound series, I had some good finishes, and I also had some bad ones so we were just looking—as far as the

championship goes—to improve on [the number of] race wins this year.” One factor that is different this year is the competition. Long-time desert racer Destry Abbott has semi-retired from competition and isn’t competing in the full series. “There are only a handful of guys who are able to win, and Destry was obviously one of them,” Caselli says. “Having him out of the series, it’s opened up another door for me and for other guys to be able to finish up front. “But so far, so good.” Still, with Abbott running only a few select events (and 2010 champ Kendall Norman parting ways with Johnny Campbell Racing Honda and a surprise no-show so far this year), Caselli’s win streak is impressive. A lot of the credit goes to what Caselli describes as a major amount of setup this season. “I think what’s really happened is KTM’s put a huge emphasis on Baja and

“The ISDE is a huge ‘high’ on my list of things that I want to accomplish every year,” he acknowledges. “The preparation starts months before the race.” That affects everything about Caselli’s program, even his physical training regimen. “Six Days is a lot of sprints,” Caselli says. “There are a lot of intervals, so my trainer [Troy McIntosh] has got it worked in where we’re doing some high-intensity interval training. As far as [riding practice], just getting on a motocross track and doing some sprints [is how I’ll get ready for Six Days].” The level of competition on the world stage is, of course, unparalleled, and the ISDE style of racing has piqued Caselli’s interest in the FIM Enduro World Championship. When Caselli has had breaks in his domestic schedule, he’s been able to try his hand at the EWC and proven competitive there as well, winning special tests on more than one occasion. It’s something he’d love to add to his résumé. Caselli thought that 2012 might be the year he’d get the chance to go for it, but KTM had other plans-namely the desert. “The Enduro World Championships

Racing The World

Kurt Caselli (foreground) and mechanic Anthony DiBasilio

the program down there [for the first time], and that’s brought a lot more interest from the factory in Europe to help us develop a good Baja motor and a good Baja bike, and I’ve been able to test and try out different Baja things on my hare & hound bike,” he says. “As far as the suspension goes, I’m not far from what I used last year—I felt really confident in the bike’s handling last year so we kind of kept to that whole program—but then with the motor, we’ve been able to try a lot of different things, moreso related to a rally-type motor and the Baja motor that we ran in San Felipe and that we’re going to run in the [Baja] 500.” Though confident in his abilities, Caselli realizes that there are no sure bets in racing, so while the accolades and

There’s more to Caselli than simply desert racing. Since his first stab at the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE), when he scored a DNF in 2000 in Spain as a Kawasaki KX125-mounted privateer coming off a broken collarbone a few weeks before, he’s morphed into more than simply a field-filler. Caselli is a threat to the top Europeans who’ve traditionally ruled ISDE competition. In 2007 in Chile’s Six Days, Caselli won the E3 class, and he followed that up by winning E2 in Finland last year.








1-800-788-3969 July 2012



recognition that come with victories are nice, he’s focused on the bigger goal and knows what it’ll take to achieve it—again. “I won last year and, obviously, I want to keep that momentum going through this year. Four for four is good, but the important thing is the championship at the end of the year.” The big picture is definitely on Caselli’s mind. “Winning is important and I want to win every race I can, but I’ve learned enough over the last couple years to know that consistency is key, and if it comes time where I need to think about the championship and not just the race at the time, I’m OK with backing it down and playing it safe and doing what’s best for myself and staying safe and healthy. The wins are going to happen if and when they do, and then again, you’re going to have bad days so I’m pretty content on where we are, and if anything changes as far as competition or the bike or anything, we’ll just have to go with what we get.”

was on my list, and I’ve got a lot of things that I want to accomplish, as far as my racing career goes,” Caselli says. “But I wasn’t frustrated [to be assigned desert championships instead of EWCs]. It was a decision—and a worldwide decision [by KTM management], which is kind of a cool thing.” Anyway, Caselli says, racing in the desert, whether in the United States or Baja, is familiar ground. “I wanted to go back to racing desert,” he says. “That was my roots and I felt like that was something that I enjoyed doing before I got caught up doing different things around the world—just racing desert in Southern California and the West Coast. So going back to that has made me happy and I’m glad I got that opportunity. “[The World Enduro Championship] is the biggest series in Europe, and it’s the premier off-road series in the world,” he says. “Even though I didn’t get that opportunity this year, there still might be next year or the year after.”

Team Goals

Caselli says he’s meeting his performance targets for the year and enjoying his opportunities on this side of the Atlantic. “If I’m racing a dirtbike and I’m making money, I really don’t care where it is,” he says. “As long as I’m with a good team, I’m happy.” Like any racer, Caselli invests


everything he can into being the best he can be at his chosen goal, and he expects the same from his support crew. He says he’s getting that from KTM. “Any time I go out, I set out to accomplish a series or championship or anything like that, it’s 100 percent,” Caselli says. “With KTM, it’s the same thing. They know that Baja’s going to take a lot of effort, so they’re putting in 100 percent effort. It’s the same with me. I’m not going to go down there and feel like I’m just trying it out or just going to be there for a short time. “With the [SCORE] Baja [series] format, there are only three races, so that’s pretty nice to have that time in between to accomplish different things and race different races. So, whatever KTM has in store for me, I’m happy with. I know they’ve always made the right decision for me.” Caselli says visualizing, and executing, a long-term plan also is a key element to his relationship with the Austrian manufacturer. “Team KTM’s going to get a lot more out of me going down to Baja and developing that program and that bike,” he says. “So I’m happy to be where I am and I hope that it leads to championships and more things to come.”

National Hare & Hounds Offer Classes For Everyone Can You Catch The Hare?

In much the same way the AMA Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series has been elevated to new heights in recent years, the AMA has brought a promoting partner on board to advance the AMA Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series. The National Hare & Hound Association (NHHA) takes the lead on promotions and interfacing with the AMA-chartered clubs that run individual rounds. The result has been better organization, a more consistent raceday and enhanced marketing. If you’re an off-road racer in the western part of the United States, this is an excellent time to begin racing. Classes accommodate everyone from youth to senior racers, from first-time racers to some of the fastest desert riders in the world. Here are some tips to get started: a Dress for tough conditions. There’s the obvious—helmet, boots, gloves, goggles—but you’ll also want a chest protector, knee pads, elbow pads, etc. a Protect the bike. Get hand guards and a skid plate at the minimum. A tool bag with some basic tools and nuts and bolts is also a good idea. a You’ll want a high-capacity fuel tank and to prepare for variety. Courses might include everything from low-speed rock gardens to high-speed valley runs. In general, though, consider gearing slightly taller than stock. a Carry water. If you break down, you will be picked up, but it could be a while. a Minors must have both parents at sign-up or an AMA annual release and one parent (or a guardian with a notarized statement) at sign-up. a Non-California riders must meet special requirements to race in the Golden State. If your bike is registered as an off-road machine or plated in your home state, you can just show up and race. If not, you will need a California out-ofstate off-road permit. One thing is for certain. You will have an epic time on an awesome course laid out by fellow riders who know the area best. When you see the checkered flag, you will know you have accomplished something. Info:


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Director’s letter

Racing For Respect The Value Of An AMA Sanction RACING DEPARTMENT Joe Bromley Director Kevin Crowther Director of Supercross and Pro Racing Relations Bill Cumbow Director of Special Projects Kip Bigelow Motocross/Arenacross Manager Ken Saillant Track Racing Manager Chuck Weir Off-Road Manager Jane Caston Supercross/Motocross Coordinator Tamra Jones Off-Road/Track Racing Coordinator Lana Cox Administrative Assistant AMA (614) 856-1900 13515 Yarmouth Dr. Pickerington, OH 43147

ADVERTISING Zach Stevens National Sales Manager (626) 298-3854 Steve Gotoski Advertising Director (951) 566-5068 Aaron Cumbow Marketing Specialist (614) 856-1900 x1266

EDITORIAL AMA Racer is produced by the Communications Department of the American Motorcyclist Association. AMA Racer (614) 856-1900 13515 Yarmouth Dr. Pickerington, OH 43147 Cover Photo: Kurt Caselli is leading the 2012 AMA Kenda Hare & Hound Championship (Credit: Mark Kariya) Insets: Jason Raines (Davey Morgan), Shane Watts (David Scearce), Gerhard Ward (Midwest Off Road Riders) AMA Racer is published by the American Motorcyclist Association, Copyright (c) 2012. Printed in USA. Send story ideas and photos to All submitted material becomes property of the AMA. Return of special items may be arranged, but call (614) 856-1900 before submitting.


Why do you race? It’s a simple question, but one that is tough for many of us to answer. Although I spend significantly more time helping manage events than participating in events these days, I have raced a great deal during different stages in my life. I understand that at times we race for different reasons. For example, I have raced to be with my kids, to hang out with friends or just to have fun. I also have raced to win AMA amateur national championships. Although the first three reasons are big reasons to race, the fact is I can spend time with my kids, hang out with my friends or have fun doing things other than racing. But there is only one way to win a bona-fide amateur national motorcycle championship, and that’s winning at an AMA Grand Championship or AMA National Championship Series. AMA-sanctioned events are built on fairness, respect and cooperation—and are conducted according to gold standards that place them heads and shoulders above non-sanctioned competition. A non-sanctioned event may let you race your motorcycle, but that may be at the whimsy of a biased promoter, on a sub-par track, against miss-classified racers, under flexible rules (if there are any rules) and without risk-management standards. On the other hand, AMA-sanctioned events offer several unparalleled benefits: Rules. The AMA Amateur Competition Rulebook is written by the elected representatives in AMA Congress. It is the basis for fairness and legitimacy, and it is only available to organizers of AMAsanctioned events. Results. The AMA is the impartial clearinghouse of results collected from promoters all over the country in all racing disciplines sanctioned by the AMA. Classification. Skill-based class assignments for nationally defined classes at AMA-sanctioned events are based on a standardized classification process. Back-office support. AMA promoters operate with a team of event experts in the AMA’s Racing and Organizer Services departments. Their expertise pays dividends and results in a smoother, more efficient race day for competitors. Risk management training and services. The AMA provides riskmanagement training to organizers who run AMA-sanctioned events.

National amateur championships. The AMA national No. 1 plate represents the only true national-level championships in the United States. The recognition of this legitimacy extends from fans to racers to potential event sponsors. International respect. The AMA is the sole U.S. affiliate to the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, the world’s motorcycle sanctioning body. In addition to licensing riders for World Championship Series, the AMA selects the riders who represent the United States at World Championship team events, including the Motocross of Nations, the International Six Days Enduro, the Trial des Nations and many more. The AMA also organizes and coordinates World Championship events in the United States, such as rounds of MotoGP. You support the sport. Competing in AMA events is an investment in the future of racing. With a team of freedom fighters, as well as a nationwide network of volunteers, no other organization is better equipped to protect the sport we love. Your AMA membership provides critical support to those on the front lines who protect your right to ride and race. AMA championships confer the thirdparty validation that is only possible thanks to the AMA’s nine decades of protecting and promoting motorcycling. A non-sanctioned promoter who simply puts a sticker on their trophy that says “national champion” may have good intentions but—I’m sorry—that’s not a bona-fide national championship. What else do AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Bill Baird, Mert Lawwill, Dick Burleson, Bob Hannah, Kenny Roberts, Rick Johnson and Jeremy McGrath have in common? They are AMA champions. While few make it to the Hall of Fame, many begin that journey with an AMA No. 1 plate. Get that plate, and where you go from there is up to you.

Joe Bromley AMA Director of Racing




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AMA Racer Volume 2 Issue 3  

The Official Publication of AMA Racing

AMA Racer Volume 2 Issue 3  

The Official Publication of AMA Racing