RACER volume 1, NUMBER 4
The MX Issue Page 6 racing News Page 16 featured event
LETâ€™s ROCK! AMA Racing championship banquet information INSIDE
Director’s Letter AMA Racing STAFF Joe Bromley, Director Kevin Crowther, Deputy Director Bill Cumbow, Deputy Director Kip Bigelow, Motocross/Arenacross Manager Ken Saillant, Track Racing Manager Chuck Weir, Off-Road Manager Heather Bowman, Assistant Motocross Manager Connie Fleming, Senior Coordinator Jane Caston, Supercross/Motocross Coordinator Tamra Jones, Off-Road/Track Racing Coordinator AMA Racing (614) 856-1900, AMARacing.com AMARacing@ama-cycle.org 13515 Yarmouth Dr., Pickerington, OH 43147
AMA Racer James Holter, Editor Mark Lapid, Creative Director Nora McDonald, Production Coordinator Ray Monroe Advertising Manager (815) 885-4445; email@example.com Misty Walker Advertising Assistant (614) 856-1900 x1267; firstname.lastname@example.org AMA Racer (614) 856-1900, AmericanMotorcyclist.com AMARacer@ama-cycle.org 13515 Yarmouth Dr., Pickerington, OH 43147 AMA Racer is published periodically by the American Motorcyclist Association. Copyright (c) 2009 by the American Motorcyclist Association. Printed in USA. No responsibility is assumed for loss or damage to unsolicited materials. Send story ideas and photos to AMARacer@ama-cycle.org. All submitted material becomes property of the American Motorcyclist Association. Return of special items may be arranged, but please call before submitting. Please include your full name, AMA number and phone number with all submissions.
Calling All Champions By Joe Bromley All season, you’ve battled your competitors, the track and the elements. There have been times when you’ve powered to the win. Other times, you’ve struggled to finish. You’ve tasted victory and no doubt have been slapped by the cruel hand of defeat. All year, you have given it your all to accomplish a feat that few motorcyclists have ever managed. In the end, you stood atop your class. You are among the country’s best at what you do. You are an AMA Racing Champion. This Dec. 4, it’s our turn to give something back to you. The AMA Racing Championship Banquet will take place at the stunning Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on the first Friday of December. On stage, AMA Racing will honor AMA members who emerged from the 2009 season at the top of their class. They range from 4-year-old minibike racers to 40-(plus!) year-old vet racers, and include men and women on all sizes and types of machinery. One of the reasons AMA Racing sanctions more competitive events than any other motorsports sanctioning body in the world is because we sanction many types of two-wheeled motorized competition—as well as some four-wheeled off-road events. Our calendar of sanctioned races includes competition on the trail, racing on the motocross track, racing on asphalt, racing on the salt and racing on pea gravel and limestone. In addition to class breakdowns by discipline, age and motorcycle displacement, AMA Racing also sanctions competition in classes ranging from novice to expert. In some disciplines, such as in the AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series presented by Moose Racing, our expert-ranked riders represent the best in the country. In others, such as motocross, our
top amateurs are battling for points to qualify for the pro ranks. AMA Racing understands that the vast majority of our riders compete for fun. That’s why in most disciplines we classify riders by skill—generally defined as C, B and A classes. This way, everyone on the track competes on a fair footing and has the best opportunity to enjoy their time at the race. For our part as a sanctioning body, managing a complex rider classification system is one of the biggest challenges— and we wouldn’t have it any other way. (For an update on how we’re striving to improve in this regard, see page 8.) The bottom line is this: AMA riders come from all walks of life, and one thing they have in common is that each of them is an AMA Racing champion in their own right. To those who are Champions with a capital “C,” I’m looking forward to congratulating each one of you this December. See you in Vegas. Joe Bromley is the AMA director of racing.
ON THE COVER: AMA Team USA’s Ryan Dungey airs out his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RMZ450 at the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations, held in Italy this year, where AMA Team USA won an unprecedented 20th world championship. Photo: Jeff Kardas.
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. Through its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rentals, transport, hotel stays and more. The AMA is everything motorcycling.
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snapshots A motorcycle and an all-terrain vehicle share the trail at a fun run in New York. Photo: Valdis Sustko
For closeups and captions of these member-submitted photos, please visit the online version of this issue at AmericanMotorcyclist.com/AMARacer/
Father John Lane and sons Tyler and Bryce enjoy Tin Cup Pass in the Colorado Rockies.
Danny Dotson Jr., 10 years old, rails his 85cc Suzuki around a corner in Frankfort, Ind.
Got a photograph that captures the spirit of AMA Racing? Send it in, along with a few words, to AMARacer@ama-cycle.org. (Note: Only submit photos for which you own the full copyright. Thanks!)
Cole Lange and Greg Wilson after the ECEA AMA Delaware Enduro Riders Hare Scrambles on a soggy day.
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snapshots Ace mechanic Jeff Haasl and his son Joe at a local AMA motocross race in central Wisconsin. Jeff is talking with his son just prior to the start of a 125 Junior class moto. Photo: Brian Hennessy
Brianna Arens loves to ride her Yamaha PW50. She rides under the watchful eye of her dad, Chuck.
Leah Lloyd claimed third in the Pee-Wee class at the King Ferry Hare Scambles, put on by the Cayuga County Riders...
...while Will Lloyd took second in the 125 C class.
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snapshots Allyx Camp (No. 12) from Farmington, Ill., and Brianna Hazen (No. 15) from Altona, Ill., race the 86-160cc 4-stroke class at a McComb, Ill., short-track. Photo: Dave Reynolds
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snapshots Kevin McGeachen, a 15-year-old dirt tracker and hare scrambles racer from Rutherford, N.J., rides on the ice in January 2009.
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snapshots Dave Blubaugh, 63, racing at the Mid-America Speedway in Indianapolis. Photo: Kurt Bauer
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AMA RACER NEWS
Ivan Tedesco, on the gas at the MXoN.
Horizon Winner Does Good
AMA Team USA Wins Motocross Of Nations Call them winners. World champions. Underdogs, even. Just don’t call them the “B” team. Although some doubted the 2009 AMA Team USA for the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations—Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, Red Bull Honda’s Ivan Tedesco and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer—would reclaim the Chamberlain Trophy at the world’s biggest motocross race, the U.S. riders proved the critics wrong. “Led by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Roger DeCoster, the members of AMA Team USA gave it their all every time they set out on the track,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “We congratulate the riders and support crew for another job well done.” With a come-from-behind performance in the event’s last moto, the U.S. team won the event for a record 20th time. Hopes for another AMA Team USA win at the Motocross of Nations, held this year in Franciacorta, Italy, were slim heading in, however. The Americans were third in points before the final race, but an inspired ride by moto winner Dungey—and some luck when other contenders
had problems—put them in the lead when the dust settled. “It has been a dream to come over here, and a real experience to be a part of this, never mind actually winning it,” Dungey said. “A lot of people told me what it would be like, but when you arrive here you can’t help but be amazed. We had a good time, and full credit to Jake and Ivan. I had a break between the motos, but they went back-to-back and that takes a lot of heart and dedication.” In the first moto, which combined the MX1 and MX2 class, a consistent showing by Dungey and Weimer, who placed third and eighth, gave AMA Team USA a slim lead ahead of Italy and Great Britain. After the second moto, the edge went to France, whose Open and MX2 class riders, Gautier Paulin and Marvin Musquin, finished first and fifth. AMA Team USA fell to third behind Belgium. A massive tangle on the start of the final moto, which combined the MX1 and Open class, took out a number of riders, including Italy’s Antonio Cairoli, who won moto one. Spain’s Jonathan Barragan emerged with the lead, but Dungey quickly put his Suzuki out front and paced the
AMA Team USA wasn’t the only representation of AMA Racing talent at the Motocross of Nations. Another notable contender was Canidae Motosports Kawasaki Xtreme Team Green rider Dean Wilson. Wilson, who won the AMA Racing Motocross Horizon Award earlier in the season at the Air Nautiques AMA Amateur Motocross National Championships, raced for Team Canada at this year’s Motocross of Nations. Wilson claimed the victory in the B Final, which included the teams that didn’t qualify for the main event. The race was Wilson’s pro debut. The Canadian rider went to Italy with no professional experience. He left with a better understanding of what it takes to win at the top level. “The biggest thing I learned was to stay relaxed,” Wilson said. “I tried to ride as relaxed as I could, but I also pushed hard in the first half of the moto. These are long motos and I need to learn to take my time and not try and make passes right away.” field, winning in 17 laps. The Motocross of Nations features threerider teams on a range of machinery. In the 2009 event, Dungey raced the MX1 class, which features 450cc four-stroke bikes. Weimer competed in the MX2 class, which features 250cc four-stroke motorcycles. Tedesco raced the Open class. The event includes three motos, each of which combines two of the three classes. Dungey finished third and first in his motos. Tedesco finished third and seventh. Weimer finished eighth and 25th. “Today showed what Motocross of Nations is all about,” said Weimer. “It is about which country has the best three riders who are also the most solid. That was us today… To even be one chosen for Team USA is an incredible honor. And now that we have won it for the 20th time, the feeling is indescribable. This ranks at the top of my career accomplishments. I am super excited.”
AMA RACER NEWS
Wilson, Bell, Dubach Take Top Honors At Loretta Lynn’s Tomorrow’s Stars – And Yesterday’s Heroes – Shine At The Ranch
AMA Amateur Arenacross Champions To Be Honored
Photos AMA Team USA: Jeff Kardas; Arenacross: Jeff Kardas; Dean Wilson: David Smith/RaceDayPix.com
New Format To Determine Top Racers
A new format to crown the country’s top amateur Arenacross champions is just one of the enhancements planned for the 2010 AMA Racing Amateur National Arenacross Championships. The series will crown AMA Racing amateur champions in a number of age-, skill- and displacement-based classes at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on May 9. “The AMA Racing Amateur National Arenacross Championships will help provide a solid foundation for aspiring riders to develop their skills on a stadium track,” said AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley. “For many riders, this series will become the route through which they achieve their ultimate goal of competing in the AMA Supercross Championship.” The 2010 AMA Racing Amateur National Arenacross Championships will be held the day following the final round of the 2010 AMA Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, giving the top amateurs the opportunity to ride on the same track as the world’s best Supercross racers. Amateur racers will qualify for a spot at the championship Arenacross race based on their finishes in regional events. The top four riders from each of the five regions—North, South, Central, East and West—will be invited to the championship. Also new for 2010 will be the opportunity for the top eight finishing riders in the Expert class to receive an AMA Supercross Lites endorsement. The AMA Supercross Lites endorsement will allow these riders to compete in the 2011 AMA Monster Energy Supercross Lites championship. “In addition to improvements to the series for our amateur competitors, the country’s top Arenacross racers will also be on track at the season finale in Las Vegas in the AX and AX Lites classes,” Bromley said. “The competition for the AMA Racing National Arenacross Championship is one of the most thrilling in motorcycle racing, with the title often coming down to the wire.” The 2009 champions were decided at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as part of the AMA-sanctioned Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open. They will be recognized at the 2009 AMA Racing Championship Banquet. Info: AmericanMotorcyclist.com/LetsRock
The Air Nautiques/AMA Amateur Motocross National Championships, presented by Amsoil, saw 1,400 qualifiers battle for 34 AMA Racing Amateur National Championships, with three riders displaying the speed and consistency to earn special honors. The top rider at the event was Canada’s Dean Wilson, 17, who’s backed by Canidae Motosports Kawasaki. Wilson claimed the coveted AMA Motocross Horizon Award, presented to the rider showing the most promise for a pro career, by winning the 450 A/ Pro Sport title and the 250 A championship on the back of five moto wins out of six raced. “There were a lot of deserving riders,” said Wilson. “It’s such a great honor to receive the award knowing the competition is so good. It feels awesome.” The top youth rider at the event was Kawasaki Team Green rider Zach Bell, 14. Bell won championships in Supermini 1 and Supermini 2. The Georgia rider also won five of his six motos. Another rider who stood out, and is certainly one to watch next year, was Eli Tomac, 16, who gets support from Amsoil/Factory Connection Honda. Tomac won all six of his motos in Schoolboy 2 and 250 B Modified, and his lap times were consistently among the fastest all week. Indeed, Tomac was credited with laying down the week’s fastest time for all riders. The AMA Vet Rider of the Year Award went to longtime Yamaha rider and former pro Doug Dubach, 46. Dubach, from California, swept all six of his motos to claim both the Plus-40 and Plus-45 titles.
“This was another incredible week of motocross at the ranch,” said AMA Motocross Manager Kip Bigelow. “From 20,000 hopefuls to 34 champions to three special honors and, of course, the single winner of the AMA Motocross Horizon Award, this was another great season of racing. I can’t wait for next year.” Wilson had some stiff competition for the Horizon Award. Kawasaki Team Green rider Blake Baggett, 17, delivered the 250 A/Pro Sport championship, but was plagued with bad starts when matched against Wilson in the 250 A class and settled for third behind Taylor Futrell’s Honda. In the 450 A class, Suzuki-mounted Justin Weeks, 19, dominated with three moto wins, but couldn’t bring home a second title. Finishing second to Weeks in each moto was Malcolm Stewart, 17, riding a Kawasaki. Malcolm Stewart is the younger brother of AMA Supercross Champion James Stewart. The 85 (12-13) Stock and Modified classes featured a dramatic showdown between several future pro superstars, with Monster Energy Kawasaki pilot Adam Cianciarulo, 13, winning both titles. The Women’s class usually delivers some of the best racing of the event, and this year was no exception. Texas’ Shelbie Brittain, 16, ultimately claimed the title with a consistent 3-6-3 moto score. For full results from the Air Nautiques AMA Amateur Motocross National Championships, see MXSports.com.
Dean Wilson proved to the world at Loretta Lynn’s that he’s one of motocross’ rising stars.
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AMA RACER NEWS
National MX Advancement Moving Ahead New Rules To Enforce Motocross Class Rules In Effect By Kip Bigelow
A level playing field is integral to a fair, competitive event. In motorcycle racing, this applies to both the equipment and the rider. In recent years, AMA Racing has been making strides in better leveling the playing field when it comes to rider classification. On pages 24 and 25 of the 2009 AMA Racing Amateur Rulebook, you will find the National Advancement System rules and guidelines. This system is designed to place riders of similar skill and experience in the same class, and to do so on a national level. That way, a racer who competes in the 250 B class in Texas should be on par with a racer who competes in the 250 B class in Maryland. As you might imagine, there are enormous challenges to implementing this type of national classification program. With more than 40,000 AMA members competing in amateur motocross, the task of calculating, determining status and notifying members—and doing so fairly—is an enormous one. Having the ability not only to store race finishes and points earned, but also being able to calculate a rider’s Rider Performance Value (RPV) was the first piece of this puzzle. This element is now in place, and was made possible with the AMA’s ongoing dedication to amateur racing. At the conclusion of the 2008 season, a list of riders that advanced was posted on the AMA website for 2009, and riders were informed of their status. Appeals came in and they were addressed. Each one received full attention. An advancement committee consisting of a minimum of four AMA staff members, along with
input from the rider’s District organization, was put together. Our goal was to be fair, consistent and to stand behind every decision made. The AMA has learned a lot during its inaugural year, and we have made the appropriate adjustments to the process. Our system now has additional capabilities that are designed to ensure accuracy in points calculations. We’ve also developed a process to track results and gather delinquent results more thoroughly and quickly. The goal is to have 100 percent of 2009 race results received and entered into the system. In past years, some riders have believed it to be advantageous to stay in a lower classification to “improve” their ability to race or their chances to receive factory assistance. This is wrong. Racing in higher classifications improves your skills by competing against those with like experience, skill and talent. The factory amateurteam managers have the experience and knowledge to realize a rider’s potential relative to their level of competition. The advancement list will again be posted on the AMA web site by Dec. 31. If you are on the list, don’t despair. Consider this a reward for your hard work and dedication. In addition, for those advancing to the A class, we have made additional changes to our ProAm series that recognize the new professional license age requirements, which increase to 17 in 2010 and 18 in 2011. These changes will be announced shortly. Kip Bigelow is the AMA motocross manager. E-mail: email@example.com.
Amateur motocross racers are competing under a new and improving national classification system.
Junior World Champion Eli Tomac
Tomac Wins Junior Motocross World Championship From AMA Racing Champ To World Champ
Eli Tomac, 16, fresh off a stellar performance at the 2009 Air Nautiques/AMA Amateur Motocross Nationals presented by Amsoil, was victorious over top junior motocross riders from around the world at the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand, on Aug. 15-16, 2009. “I think I haven’t realized yet that I became the (Junior) World Champion,” Tomac said. “Thanks also to my sponsors, my family, the Townley family, Honda New Zealand, my mechanic and everybody who helped me to get this result. And also especially the AMA and Factory Connection Honda for helping me come here to this race with the added costs of international travel.” Tomac faced competition from all over the world, including riders from New Zealand, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands and more. AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley said that Tomac’s triumph demonstrates that the young rider has proven to be a force to reckon with on any motocross track in the world. “It’s a great honor to have Eli Tomac competing and winning the Junior Motocross World Championship,” Bromley said. “We at the AMA are proud of his accomplishment representing the United States and commend him on his great success.” Eli’s father, John Tomac, was also proud of his son’s accomplishment. “Wow, what an impressive event that the Taupo track and New Zealand MX put on for this FIM Junior World Championship,” Tomac said. “It was great for Eli to represent the United States and bring home the title for American motocross. It was a true test with tough conditions with rain all week long and some great competition from the Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders and other international riders.”
AMA RACER NEWS
The 2010 YZ450F is the most radical open-class Yamaha since the first YZ400F in 1998.
2010 YZ450F Flips For F.I.
Photos Loretta Lynn’s: David Smith/RaceDayPix.com; Tomac: John Tomac
Yamaha’s New Top-Line MXer Redefines The Breed—Again It’s been 12 years since Yamaha turned the motocross industry upside down with the introduction of the first YZ400F. While that bike was not the first modern four-stroke motocross bike, it’s credited with mainstreaming a revolution that ultimately changed the entire MX world into what we see today. Now Yamaha is out to do the same with the radically new 2010 YZ450F. And “radical” is an understatement after examining the ins and outs of this new ride at the world press intro at Budds Creek MX Park in Maryland. When the first photos of the new bike hit the street, the masses were blown away. The engine features a reversed cylinder head, a rear-tilting cylinder/head, an offset cylinder-tocrank position, fuel injection and a curly-cue Tornado exhaust tucked up under the seat. The list of changes is so immense that it’s easier to say what didn’t change—basically, the wheels, brakes, handlebar and a few ancillary parts. We could ramble with pages of data and specs from the bilateral beam frame to 12-hole, 44mm throttle body fuel injection all day long. But the real question is: What’s the bike like to ride on the track? The answer: Amazing.
The first time I opened up the 2010 YZ450F on a big Budds Creek hill, the bike came to life and just pulled, with incredibly broad power across a beefy mid-range. The pull at the top of the power spread was even more impressive, and I couldn’t run it all the way out on this track. Still, the biggest difference I noticed was how snappy the power delivery was down low. There was a lot of it, and it came on fast. It took awhile to get used to the snap, but pro riders will no doubt dig the responsiveness. For riders who want to adjust the delivery, the power curve is tunable with a hand-held GYTR Power Tuner in the pits. Another added bonus was how fast I was able to get comfy on the bike—I was ripping jumps in less than a lap, and the neutral chassis never felt like it was going to spit or buck me around. The more I rode, the better I liked the machine, and the last session of the day was my best, even though the track was at its roughest. I had a few issues with the front end tracking in rutted corners until I discovered the cure. I adjusted my riding style by moving slightly up on the seat. This minor change made such a big difference on how the bike tracked through the corners and the
front wheel stuck to the ground. For me, it is difficult to point out any real flaws on the new YZ450F. Yamaha did a stellar job building a really fun motorcycle. There was a slight learning curve to fully appreciate the new machine and I know that it would have only gotten better on the third and fourth—and 10th— day of riding.—Scott Hoffman Scott Hoffman is editor, publisher and janitor of JA Media Group, which publishes SMR Magazine (www.smrmagazine.com).
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AMA RACER NEWS
Motorcycle Land-Speed Records Fall At Bonneville Chris Carr and Denis Manning Reclaim The Top Spot With 367.382 MPH Effort
Chris Carr is once again the fastest man on two wheels. The seven-time AMA Grand National Champion and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer, riding the No. 7 streamliner built by fellow AMA Hall of Famer Denis Manning, recaptured the world and national land-speed records on Thursday, Sept. 24. Carr’s two-pass average of 367.382 mph in the measured mile was set at the AMA- and FIM-sanctioned Land Speed Shootout at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The previous record for the measured mile was 358.888, set by rider Rocky Robinson and builder Mike Akatiff in 2008. “It was a lot of work. This time was hard,” Manning said. “We blew up stuff, we got blown off course. It was tough. The thing was, every time we made a run, some part of the run was phenomenal, so we knew we were near. For these runs, we made an eighth-inch change to the aerodynamics and it made all the difference.
Records Set At Bonneville Class, Team Name Rider, New Record (Old Record) 1000-A-PBG, Zen Motorcycles Laurent Dutrel, 143.99 (128.16) 750-A-D, HDTUSA Fred Hayes, 90.251 (-) 750-M-DB, HDTUSA Fred Hayes, 109.795 (107.11) 100-M-VG, James Moore James Moore, 35.926 (-) 1350-M-BG, James Ramsey Racing James Ramsey, 159.462 (-) 1000-P-PP, Team Klock Werks Erika Cobb, 126.383 (109.341) 650-M-PF, JT&S Performance Terry Parsley, 125.883 (-) 650-MPS-PG, JT&S Performance Terry Parsley, 133.828 (119.623)
are impressive. The AMA congratulates them on this accomplishment.” The meet where Carr and Manning set the new record came near the end of the season for running on the Bonneville Salt Flats, which most of the year are too wet for competition. Earlier in the season, Aug. 30-Sept. 3, provisional records in a number of classes were also set at the International Speed Trials by BUB, and they are waiting ratification by AMA Racing. The AMA-sanctioned event, which Manning promotes, is the premier national meet for amateur land-speed racers to attempt landspeed records in classes ranging from 50cc scooters to supercharged sportbikes. For more information on land-speed racing, see SpeedTrialsByBUB.com. See the No. 7 streamliner in person at the AMA Racing Championship banquet this Dec. 4. Info: AmericanMotorcyclist.com/LetsRock.
Although Chris Carr and Denis Manning set the new world land-speed motorcycle record at a meet a couple weeks later, the AMA Motorcycle Speed Trials by BUB remains the premier event for amateur land-speed racers. A number of records in other classes were set at the earlier event. Here’s the list of speeds and classes. (All times are pending AMA ratification.) 1350-APS-PG, Buell Brothers Racing Joseph Taylor, 176.29 (154.98) 1000-P-BG, South Bay Triumph Alan Cathcart, 165.405 (-) 500-M-PG, O’Brien Brothers Racing Timothy O’Brien, 113.415 (107.391) 2000-M-AG, Hangar 12 / Lloydz Motors Gregor Moe, 165.863 (163.562) 1350-SC-BF, Swissperformance Team Fritz Egli, 206.157 (146.589) 350-A-BG, Sodium Distortion Jason Omer, 107.533 (-) 1000-SC-AF, TEAM RGM Rick Murray, 144.437 (133.748) 1350-A-AF, Scott Stites Scott Stites, 177.422 (174.594) 1350-MPS-AG, Don Mills - Two Ton Racing Don Mills, 202.88 (202.685)
250-APS-PG, Dave Riggs Dave Riggs, 93.825 (91.336) 250-MPS-P, Kelly’s Kawasaki Mesa AZ Geoffrey Smith, 105.297 (-) 750-M-PP, Cafe Custom Cycles Steven McGloughlin, 91.078 (-) 250-M-P, Wyoming Sport and Salvage Thomas Johnson, 95.171 (87.624) 175-P-PP, CONWAY William Conway, 55.541 (-) 1350-M-PF, NRHS Perf / Frontline Cycles Susan Wilson, 169.743 (137.867) 1650-A-AG, Bison Racing Dick Fish, 169.521 (-) 750-MPS-VBG, Hellzapoppin Fritz Kott, 86.007 (-) 2000-M-P, Team Klock Werks Michelle Mielke, 143.154 (-)
650-M-VG, Bike Cave Michael Becker, 88.064 (84.265) 650-A-AG, Cycle Dynamics James Rispoli, 149.117 (147.471) 500-MPS-VF, Heartland Express Jason Jessup, 92.417 (-) 1350-P-PP, Buell Sisters Race Team Erin Hunter, 146.351 (130.391) 50-P-P, Gralex Motorsports Gary Alexander, 60.649 (-) 50-P-AG, Gralex Motorsports Gary Alexander, 60.561 (-) 125-S-AF, Buddfab Streamliner Eric Noyes, 186.649 (137.399) 1350-APS-BF, A-Ward Attachments Racing Richard Assen, 236.01 (217.029) 1350-P-VG, Wrecking Crew Guy Mobbley, 78.963 (-)
Photo Tom Bear
The Fastest Motorcyclists
The data was telling me that the nose was trying to dive, so we raised it up, and it worked.” Carr said that the record run was smooth. “We had the drama on the out-run,” Carr said. “We about cleaned out the side of the course on the run out with the wind blowing, but the run back was great. It actually started to slow down for me. It was not nearly as hectic as 347 (mph) was a couple years ago.” Carr first held the outright land-speed record in 2006. Manning also set the land-speed record in 1970. “The outright land-speed record is one of the most coveted numbers in motorcycle competition,” said AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley. “This is a number that all motorcyclists can relate to. Every time this record is set, it’s a historic moment for racing. The engineering that Denis Manning and his team invest in this endeavor, and the emotional fortitude and physical skill that Chris Carr brings to the table,
AMA RACER NEWS 500-MPS-PBG, Baling Wire Racing Delisa Bartholomew, 134.448 (-) 750-SC-AG, RJ & Adolph’s Sons Racing John Mills, 84.08 (-) 1650-M-PF, Satya Kraus Satya Kraus, 145.18 (142.17) 1000-APS-VG, Thunder Road Fredrick Hector, 112.937 (-) 1000-MPS-P, She E Moto Andy Sills, 184.126 (119.226) 125-P-PP, Lynda Conway Bill Conway, 54.681 (-) 1000-M-PG, Steve Hamel Steve Hamel, 155.848 (152.406) 1000-M-VG, Steve Hamel Marty Dickerson, 155.192 (151.685) 1000-APS-PF, Serge Martin Serge Martin, 135.601 (-) 750-A-PG, Roxie’s Racer Joe Blackwell, 116.127 (-) 1650-MPS-VF, American Cycle Fab Paul Friebus, 147.454 (-) 1350-SC-AF, jim meyer racing Jim Meyer, 153.305 (-) 1350-APS-AG, J-B racing Michael Garcia, 211.711 (203.962) 100-P-PP, Gopher 55 Roy Williams, 52.772 (-) 300-APS-W, Mission Motors Jeremy Cleland, 150.059 (-) 1350-MPS-AF, Don Mills-Two Ton Racing Don Mills, 205.376 (201.957) 500-MPS-PG, NRHS V-Twin Lucille Dunn, 116.874 (110.723) 350-APS-PG, Dave Riggs Dave Riggs, 96.225 (-) 1350-M-PV, Roseburg Speed Shop Jeremy Bolduc, 99.805 (95.863) 500-APS-VG, Autobahn Skunkwerks Len Kerkoff, 106.83 (104.117) 3000-M-PBG, Swissperformance Team Sven Traber, 157.591 (-) 1650-MPS-AG, Images Racing John Duffy, 183.843 (182.073) 1350-A-BF, Williams/Horner Scott Horner, 189.912 (-) 3000-A-PF, Broken Spoke Racing Jay Allen, 167.276 (-) 1350-A-AG, Scott Stites Scott Stites, 173.748 (163.675) 2000-APS-PG, Team Bullett Dale Gullett, 162.84 (-) 2000-P-P, Team Klock Werks Laura Klock, 121.223 3000-MPS-AF, Ray Wheeler Ray Wheeler, 148.246 (-) 3000-M-AF, Ray Wheeler Ray Wheeler, 145.018 (-) 1350-M-AG, Team Tracy Tracy Snyder, 171.735 (170.187) 1350-A-PF, NRHS V-Twin Perf/Frontline Cycles Aaron Wilson, 185.491 (-) 1650-A-PG, Bennett’s Performance Inc Bob Bennett, 169.759 (168.102) 1650-M-VF, Ross Thomas Ross Thomas, 98.035 (-) 650-MPS-P, Team Crashalot Kerry Alter, 159.648 (129.873) 650-MPS-AF, Team Crashalot Kerry Alter, 159.693 (147.228) 650-APS-BF, Triple Speed Racing Tod Cole, 143.037 (-) 1650-A-VBG, David Pilgrim David Pilgrim, 136.848 (-) 1650-A-VBF, David Pilgrim David Pilgrim, 131.014 (-)
750-M-BG, Higgins/Watters Jim Higgins, 200.27 (-) 750-APS-BG, Higgins/Watters Kim Krebs, 209.81 (-) 175-M-AF, Belen Wagner Belen Wagner, 110.004 (105.858) 100-S-AF, Buddfab John Buddenbaum, 155.11 (151.425) 750-P-PP, Big D Cycles/RJ Randy Johnson, 120.914 (118.754) 500-P-PV, Bonneville Brenda Tad Meadows, 103.457 (-) 175-MPS-P, Team Go Dog Go! Werner Miller, 61.177 (-) 500-MPS-PBF, Baling Wire Racing Tim Bartholomew, 129.749 (-)
500-APS-PBF, Baling Wire Racing Mark Richmond, 128.181 (-) 1350-A-BG, Coastline Racing John Dobbs, 204.005 (-) 750-SC-AF, RJ & Adolph’s Sons Racing Don Hildebrand, 84.213 (-) 650-P-P, Good Time Kaw Lynn Pfeiler, 168.532 (128.311) 250-APS-PF, Speed Team Doo Marvin Bennett, 74.794 (51.386) 1350-APS-PF, Glendale H-D/Stewart Terry Stewart, 165.865 (-) 3000-MPS-PF, Las Vegas/Red Rock HD Hirohisa Koiso, 170.744 (153.591) 2000-APS-PF, Team Bullett Dale Gullett, 171.504 (156.717)
1000-APS-PBG, Zen Motorcycles Laurent Dutrel, 151.439 (-) 3000-M-PF, Las Vegas/Red Rock HD Hirohisa Koiso, 175.289 (128.824) 500-A-VG, Autobahn Skunkwerks Jessie Baublitz, 108.931 (91.737) 175-MPS-UG, Team CMSNL Ivo Kastan, 97.479 (-) 1350-APS-AF, J-B racing Michael Garcia, 211.671 (202.516) 125-S-AG, Joachim Grenestedt Joachim Grenestedt, 133.165 (125.594) 1650-MPS-PBG, T-Man Performance Thomas Reiser, 157.493 (-)
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AMA RACER NEWS
ITP/Moose Racing ATV MX Championship Wrap
Swatfarger, Dyer Among Champions
After a seesaw battle all season long between KTMmounted Derek Swartfager and Honda rider Jerry Tulenchik in the Open A class of the ITP/Moose Racing AMA ATV Motocross Championship Series, Swartfager emerged as the champion. Swartfager, of Knox, Pa., edged out Tulenchik, of Pequot Lakes, Minn., for the title by just seven points—200 to 193. In the Women’s class, Honda rider Kayle Dyer of Quincy, Ill., dominated by posting six first-place finishes, two seconds and a third in the 10-round series. She finished outside the top 10 in just one race. Dyer earned 230 total points. Angela Adkins, a Can-Am rider from Charles City, Va., was her closest competitor with 188 points. The 2010 season kicks off March 27-28 at Millcreek Raceway in Pell City, Ala.
Sommers On Top In Inaugural Season
AMA Racing ATV Hare Scrambles Crown Goes To Yamaha
Brandon Sommers (784) goes down in the history books as the first champion of the AMA Racing ATV Hare Scrambles Championship Series, which held its first-ever season in 2009. The Yamaha rider from Millersburg, Ohio, garnered 160 points to earn the title. Chris
Borich of Sunbury, Pa., rode his Suzuki to second-place overall with 90 points, although he didn’t run the full season. Borich concentrated his efforts on the AMA Grand National Cross Country Championship Series and that paid off: he won the title. Chuck Weir, AMA Racing off-road manager, was pleased with the AMA Racing ATV Hare Scramble series’ first season and looks forward to 2010. “People who were calling about the series were pretty excited,” Weir said. “Racers really like the series because it offers more traditional, tight trails. “For next season, I’m looking forward to continued growth, more riders and a lot of excitement,” he said.
Photos Trials: Jake Miller/G2F Media; Lafferty: Shan Moore
AMA RACER NEWS
AMA Team USA Scores Best Trial des Nations Finish Ever
Bobbitt Makes It Three
Lafferty Wins The Race; Bobbitt Wins The War
Smage, Webb, Ibsen, Wineland Face Off Against World’s Best Competing in the top class at the 2009 Trial des Nations (TdN) in Darfo Boario Terme, Italy, the men’s AMA Team USA squad of Sherco Riders Patrick Smage and Cody Webb, Gas-Gasbacked Will Ibsen and Beta rider Keith Wineland nailed fifth place overall, America’s best finish ever in the world championship event. The Spanish team of Toni Bou, Adam Raga, Jeroni Fajardo and Albert Cabestany won the TdN this year. Defeating the Great Britain team by an amazing 65 points, Spain won its sixth TdN title in a row. “The world stage for trials competition is enormously competitive, and this event often features the most difficult terrain our riders face all year,” said AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley. “The AMA is proud of the effort Team USA put into this year’s campaign.” According to U.S. team manager Kip Webb, Team USA “pretty much gave a go at each section with some very good rides. We still have a ways to go to catch the top teams, but our guys didn’t back down from the challenge. We finished in fifth position, which is an all-time high for an American TdN effort.” The American women’s squad of Sarah Duke and Caroline Allen finished eighth in the Women’s division while riding with only two team members instead of the usual three. U.S. member Louise Forsley was unable to attend the event due to last-minute travel complications. “Without the third rider, you just cannot make any mistakes as every point counts,” Webb said. Great Britain won the Women’s division, edging the Spanish team by a single point to claim the 2009 title.
Seasons don’t get much closer than this. A single point was all that separated Shock Doctor KTM’s Russell Bobbitt and his teammate Mike Lafferty for the AMA/Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series presented by Moose Racing title, after a season when each won five rounds of the 10-round series. Although the title went to the wire, the difference was a result of the opening round of the series in South Carolina. There, Bobbitt took the win while Lafferty finished fifth. Due to his consistent finishes, Bobbitt came into the final round of the series in Indiana with a 3-point advantage over Lafferty, and despite the fact that Lafferty won the race in convincing fashion, a runner-up finish was all Bobbitt needed to claim his third national title. “It was a pretty tight series, but we just tried to stay consistent and be in the hunt every race, so it was awesome to finally wrap up the title,” said Bobbitt. “It’s been a long, rollercoaster year. We had a few minor mechanical issues, but we were able to overcome them. I just kept my head
down and got a podium at every round, and everyone is riding so well that you have to be on the box every time. That’s what it boiled down to this year.” Lafferty, who was going for an unprecedented ninth national title, gave Bobbitt a good run, but came up just short. “When you look at a long series, you’ve got to be up front every race,” Lafferty said. “We came here with the goal to win this race and let things happen, but it didn’t go our way. But it is what it is, that’s racing, and Russ rode a hell of a race. Over the course of the series he put in the best 10 races and that’s what it takes to win a championship. He had a heck of a year, and he deserves to win the championship.”
Mike Lafferty (right) came out on top at the last National Enduro round but Russell Bobbitt won the championship—by one point.
AMA Team USA: Front row: Sarah Duke and Caroline Allen. Back row: Keith Wineland, Patrick Smage, Will Ibsen and Cody Webb.
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AMA RACER NEWS
Hancock Wins No. 8
Greg Hancock is now the career leader in AMA National Speedway Championships.
Speedway Master Passes Legendary Mike Bast In Title Count
Nathan Prebe doesn’t like being at the bottom of hills, so he races to the top of them very quickly.
Racing To The Top
AMA Racing Hillclimb Grand Championships The top amateur hillclimbers in the U.S. gathered in New Ulm, Minn., to battle for No. 1 plates at the AMA Racing Hillclimb Grand Championships Aug. 15-16. When the dust settled on the 210-foot hill, laid
out by the Flying Dutchmen Motorcycle Club, 21-year-old Jay Sallstrom of Mankato, Minn., had the fastest time, set in the Open class on a Honda CRB1000RR-powered hillclimber. Sallstrom’s winning run of 3.791 seconds came
late on the second day of climbing and provided a thrilling conclusion to an action-packed weekend. Sallstrom wasn’t the only fast rider on the hill. Among the other champions were Todd Cipala, who won the AMA Racing Vet/Senior Award; Nathan Prebe, who took home the Youth Award; and Josh Perry, who claimed ATV honors. Cipala dominated the big-bike classes on the first day of racing as the only rider to break into the 3-second range with identical times of 3.962 seconds in both the 750cc class and in the Open class. In the 750cc class, Cipala dropped his time on Day Two to 3.873 seconds to hold onto the title. Despite lowering his time in the Open class to 3.826 seconds, though, Cipala fell to Sallstrom’s blistering run. Prebe, 11, set a fast time in the Mini Jr. class at 7.449 seconds on the first day. That time held through Day 2 despite much better conditions. With the title in hand, the Frontenac, Minn., rider didn’t turn down another shot at the hill, however, and ripped his Honda to the top in 6.193 seconds, putting an exclamation point on his first national title. Perry won the two-stroke ATV class, with fellow Missouri rider Tyler Clark less than a hundredth of a second behind. Perry’s time of 4.272 seconds was the fastest ATV time of the meet. Set on the second day, it was more than 2.5 seconds faster than Perry’s first run. —Mike Nelson
Photos Hancock: Michael Kirby; Hillclimb: Mike Nelson; Road Race Grand Championships: Dan Focht
Monster Energy rider Greg Hancock won an unprecedented eighth AMA Racing/USA Speedway National Championship Series title with a flawless performance at the final round at Fast Friday’s Raceway in Auburn, Calif. Hancock is now the all-time leader in national speedway championships. Going into this season, he was tied with the legendary Mike Bast, an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer, with seven titles. Going into the last race, Hancock had a slim 4-point lead on reigning 2008 AMA Racing/USA Speedway National Champion Billy Janniro. Throughout the evening, Hancock left no doubt he wanted to end the night remaining in the points lead. Hancock won all five races to qualify for pole position in the A main. Joining him were Charlie Venegas, Bart Bast and Janniro. Hancock got the holeshot and was gone, wrapping up his year with another dominant performance. For the race, Venegas finished second, Janniro got third, and Bast crossed the line in fourth. For the title, Janniro was second in points, followed by Bast.
AMA RACER NEWS
Miles Thornton circulates the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on his USGPRU bike.
AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships Deliver National Titles Amateur Racers Dice It Up On The Asphalt
Other special awards presented at the AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships included the YOUTH Award, the TOP NOVICE Award and the VET/SENIOR Award.
Top YOUTH, NOVICE And VET Riders
Yamaha rider Miles Thornton, a 15-year-old motorcycle road racer from West Point, Ga., says that he’s not intimidated when he lines up against the best amateur riders in the country. He’s only inspired to go faster. That inspiration fueled one of the best
performances of Thornton’s career at the AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships, held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, Sept. 12-13. Thornton’s results and sportsmanship earned him the 2009 AMA Road Race Horizon Award,
Honda rider Jake Lewis was the top youth rider at the AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships. The 13-year-old from Princeton, Ky., won the Expert 125 GP class, finished third in Lightweight GP and got second in the USGPRU 125 GP class. “My dream is to go to MotoGP,” Lewis said. “I’m going to work hard and train hard to get there.” Lewis added the road racing award to a diverse trophy case that includes the 2006 AMA Racing Dirt Track Fast Brain Award.
which honors the amateur road racer poised to make an impact in the pro ranks. “It’s crazy,” said Thornton, who was thrilled to win the same award previously won by the likes of former AMA Superbike Champion and current World Superbike Champion Ben Spies. “I never thought I’d go this far racing as a little kid. I’m so happy, and I hope to follow in (Spies’) footsteps.” Thornton won Middleweight Superbike, finished second in Middleweight Supersport and took first in the 250GP class in the U.S. Grand Prix Riders Union program that was part of this year’s AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships. The field that Thornton raced against wasn’t only amateurs. While their results weren’t included in the national championship tallies, pro-licensed riders were welcomed at this year’s AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships, which also served as a regional round of the Championship Cup Series (CCS) and paid CCS points and contingency. One of those pros was Brian Stokes, the 2003 AMA Road Race Horizon Award winner and grand marshal of the 2009 event. Stokes did battle with Thornton in both Middleweight Superbike and Middleweight Supersport. For full results, video and coverage of the event, see AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
Scott Stall from Huxley, Iowa, won the Top Novice Award on his Suzuki. Stall took home first-place trophies in the novice divisions for Heavyweight Supersport, Middleweight Supersport and Middleweight GP. He finished second in Middleweight Supersport and Unlimited Grand Prix and third in Unlimited Supersport. His weekend also included a 13th in Unlimited Superbike. “This award is a big deal,” Stall said. “The competition was fierce. It was a lot tougher than what I experience back home in Iowa.”
Yamaha rider Sam Gaige from Rochester, N.Y., won the Vet/Senior Award. Gaige won Unlimited Grand Prix, Middleweight Supersport and Unlimited Superbike. He finished second in Unlimited Supersport, Middleweight Supersport and Middleweight Grand Prix. “The competition was pretty good, and the award was a surprise,” Gaige said. “I’m older, and this is a hobby for me. We may not always be fast out there on the track, but we try to look good.”
Are You Ready To Race? Next Issue: 2010 Schedules Although 2009 has just wrapped up, 2010 is right around the corner, and it’s never too early to start planning for another season of competition. The next issue of AMA Racer will include schedules for the AMA Racing National Enduro Championship Series, the AMA Racing Hare & Hound Championship Series, AMA Racing Grand Championship events, and more. We’ll also report on any important changes to these series that might affect when, where and how you compete.
2010 the MX issue
Champions Converge On Vegas Championship Hardware, No. 1 Plates For 2009 AMA Racing Titles Will Be Presented The country’s best amateur motorcycle racers from all disciplines will take the spotlight this Dec. 4 at the AMA Racing Championship Banquet. From dirt track to drag racing, all champions will have their moment in this spotlight at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. AMA Racing National Championship Series and Amateur Championship events represent the pinnacle of two-wheeled motorized performance in the amateur ranks. The riders in these series are among the best at what they do, and the class champions represent the top tier of the sport. “Amateur racing is a big part of both our heritage and our future, and we’re excited about giving our racers the recognition they’ve earned,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Whether you race
motocross, in the woods, the desert, on a dirt oval or asphalt, you most likely are chasing an AMA National No. 1 plate or a national championship. The AMA Racing Championship Banquet will honor those who achieved that goal during the 2009 season. “We’re particularly thrilled about this year’s celebration, which leads into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame 2009 Induction Ceremony the next evening,” Dingman continued. “Today’s champions will get a first-hand look at what a career of dedication and effort can bring: a place in the revered AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.” The program will include the presentation of AMA Racing No. 1 plates to all champions in attendance, highlights from the racing season and several surprises that will make the evening unforgettable for the racers, their families and fans.
Rare Honor Champions from 2009 AMA Racing National Championship Series and Amateur Championship events will receive their personalized hardware on stage at the banquet. Every champion in attendance will be recognized for their accomplishments and receive a one-of-a-kind trophy for their 2009 season. In addition, several special awards will be presented to a number of truly outstanding competitors, including AMA Racing Athlete of the Year, ATV Athlete of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, Vet/Senior Rider of the Year, Youth Rider of the Year, Female Rider of the Year, and more.
Full Event Access Advance ticket purchase is required for the AMA Racing Championship Banquet on Dec. 4. The cost is $49 per person. You can also attend the 2009 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony the next evening for a total of $89 per person for both events. Tickets will remain on sale through Nov. 29, 2009. (Saturday, Dec. 5, will also include a Hall of Fame autograph session and the Concours d’Elegance bike show. Admission to both of these events is free.) To buy tickets, just go to AmericanMotorcyclist.com/ LetsRock.
Get A Room! Hotel accommodations at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas are available at a special AMAdiscounted rate through Nov. 4, 2009, after which these rates will be subject to change. To reserve a room at the discount rate, call (800) 473-7625. Mention Group Code AMAL09E for the special AMA rate.
Track And Trail AMA Racing sanctions more amateur motorized competitive events than any other sanctioning body in the world. These events include district-level local events, AMA Racing National Championship series and Amateur Championship events. AMA Racing National Championship series crown AMA Racing Pro-Am and amateur national champions based on results in multiple events at different venues across the country. Champions are honored in displacement-, skill- and agebased classes, with the overall champion in each series representing the best in that discipline. Here’s the rundown for 2009: • • • • • • • •
AMA Racing Arenacross Championship Series AMA Racing/USA Speedway National Championship Series AMA Racing ATV Hare Scrambles National Championship Series AMA Racing ATV Extreme Dirt Track National Championship Series AMA Dragbike Championship Series AMA EnduroCross Championship AMA Racing XiiR Speedway Ice Race National Championship Series AMA Supermoto Championship Series
Photos Banquet: Alan Matthews; Hotel: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
• AMA Racing Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series, presented by Moose Racing • AMA Racing National Hare & Hound Championship Series • AMA Racing/NATC Observed Trials National Championship Series • AMA Racing East Hare Scrambles Championship Series • AMA Racing East Youth Hare Scrambles Championship • AMA Racing West Hare Scrambles Championship Series • ITP Tires/Moose Racing AMA ATV Motocross Championship Presented by Parts Unlimited • Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Championship Series • World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS)
AMA Racing Amateur Championships crown AMA Racing amateur national champions in a number of disciplines. These are stand-alone events, not series, and often take place over several days of racing. • • • • • •
AMA Racing Ice Race Grand Championships AMA/USA Speedway Long Track National Championship AMA Racing Dirt Track Grand Championships AMA Racing Vintage Grand Championships AMA Racing Hillclimb Grand Championships AMA Racing/NATC East Youth Trials Championships
• AMA Racing/NATC West Youth Trials Championships • AMA Air Nautiques Amateur National Motocross
Championships, presented by Amsoil • AMA Racing Road Race Grand Championships • AMA Racing WORCS Bike Week National Championships
AMA Racing Featured Series and Events include world-championship-level events. The success and efforts of riders representing the United States at these events are recognized at the AMA Racing Championship Banquet. • International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) • International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) Qualifiers • Trial des Nations
• International Motorcycle Speed Trials by BUB • Motocross of Nations
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Heroes & Visionaries Racing Greats Among AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame Class Of 2009 A seven-time off-road champion. Brothers who pioneered one of the best-known brands in off-road. A motorcycling safety author. A lifelong rights activist. A parts and accessories pioneer. A legendary dirt-tracker. A suspension innovator. A builder of racing championships. These are the 2009 inductees into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. While the Hall of Fame includes representatives from all walks of motorcycling, this year’s class boasts three who made indelible marks on the racing community. Profiled on these pages, they are multi-time AMA Enduro Champion Randy Hawkins, dirttrack racer Chuck Palmgren and one of the most successful race managers ever, Gary Mathers.
You’ll find more on the entire ’09 class in the December issue of American Motorcyclist. The other members inducted this year are industry innovator Robert Bates, suspension pioneer Gilles Vaillancourt, off-highway rights activist Mona Ehnes, industry entrepreneurs and technological trailblazers Geoff and Bob Fox and motorcycle safety proponent David Hough. While you can read about them here, Dec. 5 is your opportunity to meet these outstanding individuals in person at the Hall of Fame’s gala induction ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The once-in-a-lifetime chance to rub shoulders with the fast and the famous will be hosted
by actor and motorcyclist Perry King, who will preside over the induction. The Hall of Fame ceremony is just part of a special weekend dedicated to motorcycling. The day before, on Dec. 4, AMA Racing will salute the best amateur racers on the planet at the AMA Racing Championship Banquet. The weekend also includes the 2009 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Concours d’Elegance, which will feature some of the most beautiful bikes ever created. It all happens amid the glitz of Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Tickets are $49 per person for one event, or $89 for all weekend. Special room rates are available through Nov. 4. Info: AmericanMotorcyclist.com/LetsRock
Randy Hawkins: STELLAR Champion
The 7-Time Champ Was Almost Going To Be Racing Cars
That experience, however, lit a fire inside Hawkins that would rage for the next 15 years. Undoubtedly one of the country’s top off-road racers of his generation, Hawkins dominated the AMA National Enduro Championships though much of the 1990s, won 13 gold medals at the International Six Days Enduro and racked up 73 AMA national victories. Today, Hawkins is the team manager of AmPro Yamaha, which competes in the AMA-sanctioned off-road series. On how he got started in motorcycle racing I grew up on a farm, and we had the opportunity to ride a lot. It was a big part of our community. My dad had me on an XR70 as soon as I could touch the footpegs, really. I started riding on my grandfather’s farm, just like any normal kid, and it went from there.
RANDY HAWKINS 18
Racing came later, though. First, I got into go-kart racing. I was doing pretty good locally, and went to a national in Donington, N.C. People said I’d be lucky to make the field, and I qualified fourth and finished third in the first race. In the second race, I started in third and the kid behind me crashed right in front of my dad. After that race, my dad said that until I would be able to drive something with rollbars, I was going to do something else. We went home, put up the go-kart stuff,
Photos Hawkins: Davey Morgan Photography; Mathers: Cory Cagle Photography
Randy Hawkins’ off-road racing accomplishments rank him among the best ever, but the career that would produce seven AMA National Enduro Championships began as humbly as any. In his first race, at 14 years old, the Travelers Rest, S.C., resident—born and raised—got his butt kicked in the 125 C class at a local motocross in Rival Falls, S.C.
and got into motorcycle racing. I probably would have gone on to be a car racer if that kid would have crashed anywhere else on that track but in front of my dad. On his heroes Honestly, I just was a racer. That’s what I wanted to do and luckily I was able to do. I didn’t really read Cycle News or Dirt Rider. I just wanted to ride my dirt bike. I never really paid attention to what was going on outside of that. It’s strange because all these guys I’ve become personal friends with— Bob Hannah, Malcolm Smith, Dick Burleson, Roger DeCoster—I’ve met them and gotten to know them, but at the time I was racing, I was too focused on my own program to have heroes. On what he got out of racing I just loved to ride my motorcycle. I loved winning. The wins were as important to me as the financial side. Of course, there were the friendships. I really enjoyed the friendships, the being able to be part of something, of racing, of the racing community and a family-oriented group. I really feel like I could go anywhere in the U.S. and be able to call someone up and have a place to stay and a place to ride. Those types of friendships are something you can’t put a price on. On his greatest accomplishment
Three Questions With Gary Mathers How To Find Champions Gary Mathers is one of the most successful figures in American motorcycle racing. While with Kawasaki, his keen eye for talent discovered Eddie Lawson and Wayne Rainey, who both graduated from Mathers’ tutelage to become 500cc Grand Prix World Champions. Mathers then moved to American Honda Motor Co., where over the course of 16 years he would produce a total of 48 championships in dirt track, motocross, Supercross and road racing. With Mathers at the helm, Honda won two championships every year except for one. This Dec. 5, Mathers will join eight other motorcycling luminaries to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. AMA Racer: What was your first big signing? Gary Mathers: Kawasaki in
I don’t think I have a single one. From being a gold medalist at the ISDE to winning a national race to winning a championship to being a part of the Hall of Fame, it would feel unfair to put one thing ahead of the others. Not to be corny, but I’d have to say it’s what all of that makes me, or has given me an opportunity to be. The most proud I feel is when a fan or parent of a fan comes up and thanks me for being a good ambassador for the sport. I get to talk to a lot of local schools—elementary schools and middle schools—and I’m usually up there with the police chief and mayor and other local leaders. We all tell the same stories and offer the same lessons and advice, but because I’m a motorcycle racer, these kids really listen to me. His advice for the next generation of racers As a racer coming up, winning the races you may think you’re the one, you’re the one riding the motorcycle, you’re the guy making it happen, but if you didn’t have the support of friends and family, where would you be? Is your family sacrificing financially so you can race, helping you get to the events? I don’t know anyone who got started in this sport and made it to the top level completely on their own. Never, ever forget those who sacrificed so you could race dirt bikes.
California called me and I went to work for them in motorcycles. Road racing was the big deal, and they didn’t have a rider, so my second day working for Kawasaki, I was asked to go hire Freddie Spencer. They had already decided they wanted him. But Honda had just picked him up, and I had to go back to my new boss and tell him that I missed Spencer by a day.
GARY MATHERS throttle wide open. Eddie then got off the bike and started walking to us. By the time the mechanics ran the 1,000 yards to where the bike was, it had blown up, and that’s how Eddie got his throttle fixed. It only cost us about $20,000.
We went back to the drawing board, and the name that kept coming to the top was Eddie Lawson, so I called him up.
You know, I didn’t blame him, though. These guys had to be half crazy to do what they did on these bikes that didn’t handle nearly as well as they do today.
AR: Any good Eddie Lawson stories from that first year?
AR: What did you look for in a rider?
GM: We were at Elkhart Lake, Wis., one day. It was the first practice day, and Eddie came in after the first run and said his throttle’s sticking. The mechanic looked at it, and Eddie, who was riding a KZ1000, went back out. The truck was parked about 1,000 yards from the pit wall where we were. Well, apparently the throttle stuck again. Eddie rode down pit lane, to the truck and leaned the bike against the truck with the
GM: We would take several years of results and narrow down the best riders, to see who came out on top. Then, I would look for kids who had strong family support because without that you’re not going far. I also would talk to their high school teachers. What I was looking for was intensity and imagination, not necessarily good grades. Past that, it was just talking to them and measuring their desire. The other main thing is I was always honest
with everybody. I never used any ‘BS’ with any riders. I’d say ‘you have the talent, but you’re not committed,’ and sometimes I got in trouble for that. Everybody at the top has talent or they wouldn’t be there, but talent doesn’t mean they can handle the pressure. AR: Where did you find the best racers? GM: Dirt track. You take a kid like Ricky Graham, Bubba Shobert, Rainey. These kids, by the time they’re 21 years old, they probably have 200, even 400, races under their belt. A pure road racer might have 35 or 40. The dirt trackers are used to going 110 mph sideways on a mile, so getting on a road-race bike was nothing to them. I always tried to pick somebody who nobody else knew about. I think they’re out there today. I think I could put a champ team together today and go out there and win next year.
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hooked. Racing kind of gets in your blood after a while. On what it was like to earn a living racing I spent a lot of time racing motorcycles. It was full-time. If you’re going to do it at a high level in those days, it was a 24-houra-day, seven-day-a-week job. Everybody worked on their own equipment, and the rider knew the mechanic really well because they were the same person because you couldn’t afford to pay anyone. On his racing career being put on hold In my amateur year in 1965, I scored more points than anyone else as a junior, and at the end of the season I had three letters: one from the Harley-Davidson factory, one from Triumph, and one from Uncle Sam. I got drafted, and that kind of put a damper on my career for a while. I went into the Army and was stationed in Alaska. In 1967, I hadn’t even touched a motorcycle since I was drafted, and I wrote to Gary Nixon, who said he’d have a bike for me if I showed up. I went on leave, and if they’d have caught me I’m sure I would have gone to jail. But I raced it, and I think I wound up like seventh or eighth.
Chuck Palmgren Made Yamahas Work in AMA Dirt Track Racing Chuck Palmgren won five AMA Grand National dirt track races between the late-1960s and early 1970s, had numerous top-10 finishes on the national circuit, and ranked in the top-10 in points in 1968-70, 1972 and 1974. He was known as an innovator of the Yamaha 750cc motor and frame design. Palmgren was wellrespected by his peers, and was always ready to help a fellow racer or sign an autograph for a fan.
On how he got his start
On learning to race
My brother, Larry, was involved with racing. As a kid, I was just impressed with that stuff, and it just kind of grew from that. My first ride was on my brother’s scooter, a doodlebug. He had left it at my dad’s business, and one of the guys asked me if I could ride it home. Of course I said, “Sure!” The guy had to start it for me, but I rode it home.
Broadsliding wasn’t that hard at first. It comes with time. It’s something that you see other people do, and pretty soon you’re doing it along with them. It was more of a curiosity that I wanted to learn. But it becomes a necessity pretty quick.
The racing I blame on my brother, too. He and a cousin worked for a dealership in Colorado Springs, Colo. They’d go racing, and I would follow along. In those days, you called it Scrambles racing, and you did that to work your way up.
My first race was in Colorado Springs. If I remember right, I was 13. It was an hour-long enduro. I think the two older fellows in front of me slowed down and let me win it. They probably had more fun following me and watching me mess up than they would have winning it themselves. But I was
On winning the Sacramento Mile in ’69 That was the one you wanted to win since you were a kid. I won in 1965 as an amateur and I came back to win it again as a pro in ’69. Just the battle and the competition were great. I led it most of the way. The last lap, going into turn three, Gene Romero came by me so fast that I thought I blew it—he really drilled it off through there. But halfway around to four, he wound up getting stopped, and as I came up on him, I started smiling because I knew I had him. I drafted him and won by half a bike length. He did everything possible, and he did it all right. But it wasn’t enough.
Photo Holly Carlyle Photography
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CLOSING SHOT Landspeed racer Erin Hunter of sheEmoto Racing celebrates her new national record of 146.351 mph in the 1350 Production Pushrod class, set at the 2009 International Speed Trials by BUB. Erin achieved the feat on a Buell built and owned by Tom “Santa Claus” Anderson, Buell Brothers and Sisters Race Team. Photo: Horst Roesler/ Motographer.de
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