Racing News - MP Teams on a Roll in Off Roadposted Sep 5, 2012
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One of the biggest motorcycle racing weekends just flew by. Last weekend Indianapolis hosted road racing at the famous Indy Speedway, and one of the best races on the AMA Grand National Flat Track schedule took place at the nearby fairgrounds for the Indy Mile. By now, any fan worth his salt knows how the races went, and who won. But even if you were there in person, there were so many stories going on behind the scenes that there was no way you could keep up with them all.
The MotoGP races were the big story going on of course, and the highlight of the weekend. In the premiere class there are several Americans, and all of them were giving it everything they had this weekend. Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies, and Colin Edwards are the series regulars, and it was a tough weekend for all of them. Both Nicky and Ben had high side crashes early in the weekend, along with quite a few others, and both men suffered injuries. Nicky had a concussion and broken bones in his hand that unfortunately prevented him from competing in his home race. Ben’s highside left him bashed up and sore, but even after a painful and sleepless night on Saturday, he came back to the track Sunday morning and set the fastest lap in the warm session to the race. In the race itself he was the early leader, determined for a good result on home turf. Unfortunately, his season of hellish bad luck continued, when the engine of his Yamaha expired on the front straight. Colin continued his struggle with his CRT privateer race bike, only managing a 13th place finish. Hopefully someone can find some good luck charms for both Colin and Ben, and that Nicky makes a speedy recovery from his injuries.
In the middle of the results in the MotoGP race were two motorcycles that finished 14th and 16th. Why are these guys worthy of a special mention? They were two American privateer teams, making their early efforts into fielding a CRT bike in the highest tech motorcycle racing series in the world. Motion Pro is involved with both of their efforts.
Attack Racing fielded a Kawasaki engined race bike with a frame of their own manufacture, along with the rest of their trick parts that they machine and sell. Steve Rapp is the capable rider at the controls. The back story behind this bike is amazing; Richard Stanboli, of Attack Racing, virtually built this bike all on his own, in just a few months before the two MotoGP races at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis. His time schedule was so compressed that the only time it was ridden before the race at Laguna was up and down the street behind the Attack shop by Stanboli himself, one day before packing up for the race. The team showed up at Laguna to compete with the best in the world with a bike that had never been ridden on a race track! Unfortunately, they did not make the cutoff, but the track time at Laguna was invaluable, and they made great progress on the setup and tuning of the bike, and were ready for a much stronger effort at Indy.
GP Tech, led by Geoff Maloney, built themselves a GSXR based CRT bike, with a frame of their own design as well, and showed up with veteran racer Aaron Yates at the controls. Motion Pro supplied the Revolver throttle control and many of the tools that the GP Tech team used at Indy. The GP Tech team had the ability to do some testing before the event, and so was in a pretty good position before the weekend.
In qualifying, they were both able to make the time cutoff to qualify for the event, a significant achievement given the depth of the competition and the much greater amount of testing and development time that every other team already has.
So, in the end, both of the teams finishing the race in the middle of the standings is quite an accomplishment. Both teams have said they want to participate in more races in the future, so keep an eye out for both of them. It’s great to see an all-American effort in euro-centric MotoGP.
Also at the Indy Speedway was the very American AMA Harley-Davidson XR1200 spec series, running as a support race to the MotoGP event. Motion Pro supplies the Revolver throttle system to most of the teams that participate in the XR series, and MP sponsored Kyle Wyman was the winner in Race 1 on Saturday, with another MP sponsored rider, California boy Tyler O’Hara taking the checkers on Sunday.
The XR riders put on a great show, making those XR’s go faster than you might have though it possible for a Harley to go! Motion Pro sponsored rider and British Superbike series regular, New Yorker PJ Jacobsen made the most of his first appearance in the series, leading the time charts for most of the event, and leading a good part of both of the races. Bad luck showed up though, with a crash out of the lead late in race 1, and an engine failure in race 2 that oiled the track and ended the race.
There were some cool stories in the XR series too, away from the track. One of the most interesting ones is Peter Cline, #26, who is running his own team, and has a pretty neat twist on how he sources his crew members. Pete works with the Wounded Warrior Project, and invites 3-4 combat veterans to each race event. He gets an eager crew to assist his racing, and they get an action packed weekend at the races. Their time at the races seems to be very therapeutic for the veterans, with very positive remarks from all of them. To make the Indy weekend even more interesting, a crash early in the event resulted in a broken collarbone for Pete. But rather than packing up and going home, Pete and his crew of vets offered their help to the rest of the racers in the XR series, ending up helping out racer Rich Barnett for the rest of the weekend. Now that’s sportsmanship.
Next time an AMA event comes to your neighborhood, head out to the track and check out the XR1200’s. It some really great racing, and the AMA just confirmed that the XR’s will be a part of their series through 2014 at the least.
Just outside of the Speedway, the most American form of motorcycle racing was taking place at the Indy Mile. Flat Track racing probably goes back to when the second motorcycle was made, and raced against the first one! This is a hugely popular event on the schedule, and is attended by nearly all of the MotoGP crew too, eager to watch the high speed action on the smooth Indy dirt track. Flying down the straights at 140mph and sliding through the corners at 90 makes for a great spectating experience.
Harley Davidson has long dominated the flat track series with their venerable XR750 racers, and they are still the majority of the grid. However, some other brands are making some serious headway against the well established Harleys. The Lloyd Bros Ducati team has been using an air cooled two valve Ducati twin in a special frame to begin earning some very respectable results with rider Henry Wiles. After some bad luck earlier this year, Henry and the Duc finished in 4th this weekend, nearly equaling the runner up spot they earned earlier in the year in Lima, Ohio. One of the other bikes that is making huge strides in the twins series are the Kawasaki twins, which are being campaigned by more and more riders, and taking some of the top spots. Bryan Smith has been very fast on his Kawasaki, winning the Sacramento mile just a few weeks ago. Indy looked to be more of the same, but an unfortunate electrical problem put Bryan on the sidelines halfway through the main event. That made room for new front runner Brandon Robinson to take the point on his Kawasaki, and battle with Sammy Halbert and his Harley. Halbert took the win by a slim margin, but second place probably felt like a win for Brandon, as this was his first AMA Expert Twins podium, and also because Indy was the location of his near career-ending crash back in 2009. “It was kind of like revenge on the track, actually. This was the first time back racing on this track since my crash, and to put it on the box just leaves me at a loss for words. This is absolutely the high point of my racing career so far.” Congrats Brandon! By the way, all of the riders in the main event except one are sponsored by Motion Pro!
The Indy weekend was action packed as always. If you missed it this time around, start planning now, because next year will be just as good for sure.