Jordan Suzuki Makes Their Mark in AMA Pro Racingposted Oct 4, 2007
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2007 was a banner year for the Jordan Suzuki squad, now in their 4th year of competition. Hiring Aaron Yates from the Factory Suzuki team at the end of last season proved to be a watershed moment for the independent team, transforming their results from a top ten team to one fighting for the podium at every race, and beating several factory teams.
The team’s simple beginnings did not produce instant success. With the legendary Michael Jordan at the lead, Team Jordan Suzuki set out with big expectations, but their path to success was not easy. One of Michael Jordan’s riding buddies, Montez Steward, a CCS racer with a dream to race in the AMA professionally, approached Jordan with the idea of a race team. Jordan decided to help out his friend, and the Jordan Racing squad was born. Starting out in 2004 race season, the team fielded Yamaha motorcycles in Jordan’s trademark Carolina Blue. The first year results were not spectacular, but it was a learning year for everyone, and the team received a lot of attention.
For 2005, the team received an infusion of talent with the addition of Steve Rapp and Jason Pridmore, both journeyman professional racers. The team debuted the year with possibly the most complex paint job ever seen on a racing motorcycle. The tank was covered in graphics and icons representing Michael Jordan’s life and career, and was a standout in the paddock. Switching to Suzukis, the team made strong showings in Superstock and Superbike, with regular finishes in the top 10. Motion Pro joined Jordan Racing as a tool sponsor in this season.
Young gun Jake Holden from Washington State joined Rapp and Pridmore in 2006. Continuing to build on previous seasons, the team performed well, and all the team’s riders were pretty evenly matched. It was not an unusual sight to see all three running nose to tail in close formation, a very impressive sight for any team. The team had big ups and downs at the controversial final race of the year. On the upside, Pridmore scores a 5th place in Superbike and Rapp scores a 4th place in Superstock to give the team their best finishes ever. On the downside, there were many sad faces when Jason Pridmore announced his retirement from professional racing on the same weekend. The veteran racer and multi-time national champion will be missed, not only by his team, but by all in the paddock, where he garnered great respect for his skills, and many fans for his friendly and outgoing demeanor.
There were big changes for the team in 2007. The team took on yet another new look and a received another step up with the signing of Aaron Yates, who left the Factory Suzuki team at the end of 2006. Aaron brings many years of top-level competition experience to the team, and the results showed in all the classes they ran since Aaron came aboard. 2007 was a break out year for the team with more podium finishes in Superbike than several of the factory teams. This in itself is a major accomplishment for a privateer team. In Superstock, Yates and Holden are fixtures on the podium, and Yates brings the team their long awaited first National AMA road racing win. Yates finished the year 4th in Superbike, and 3rd in Superstock. The team continues to improve, and the impressive results are the product of hard work by both their talented riders and a support crew that is one of the most tightly knit and technically accomplished in the AMA paddocks.
More good things await the team in 2008. Aaron Yates signed on with the team for the 2008 and the team will continue to field a very talented pool of riders and mechanics. The real story has not started to unfold yet, but is it too much to expect that 2008 might be Jordan Suzuki’s Championship year? Time will tell….