AMA Pro Road Racing Roars to Road Atlanta This Weekend for the Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince
NEWS April 20, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
BRASELTON, Ga. (April 19, 2012) - AMA Pro Road Racing roars back to the Northern Georgia countryside this weekend to take on Road Atlanta's 2.55-mile natural road course for the M1 PowerSports-promoted Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince. Considering the intense racing witnessed during last month's opening round at Daytona International Speedway and the pre-race hype that surrounds this weekend's event, fans can expect wheel-to-wheel, bar-to-bar racing action in a setting ripe with entertainment options.
Every position gained or lost during each of this weekend's race finals will prove vital. Using a moto-style scoring system to determine the top performer in each class, four Big Kahunas will be crowned and awarded beautiful, one-of-a-kind trophies created by Hurley surfboards and designed by Roland Sands and Motorcycle-Superstore.com.
Find out who will become the next Big Kahuna in AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike and AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike by tuning in to SPEED for a set of same-day delayed broadcasts scheduled to begin Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. PT) and Sunday at 11:00 p.m. ET (8:00 p.m. PT). Follow along live as the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series riders battle for their boards by logging onto http://www.speed2.com. SPEED2 is a broadband service available to customers of Time Warner, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, DISH and Cox. For more information and instructions on gaining access to all of the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series races, please review the SPEED2 FAQ located at http://www.speed2.com/faq.
AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike
A diverse and highly-competitive field of 23 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBikes will take flight for practice at noon on Friday, April 20 as the first on-track competition activity for the weekend. Blake Young (No. 79 Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) earned his maiden National Guard SuperBike victories in a thrilling weekend sweep, taking pole position and both race wins over Josh Hayes (No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1), when the Series last competed at Road Atlanta as part of the 2010 season.
The recent history between the two riders has been no different, Hayes coming out strong and taking a win in last month's season-opening Race 1 at Daytona International Speedway followed by Young nipping the defending Champion at the line in Race 2. Hayes' win at the "World Center of Racing" was his first on a SuperBike in Daytona Beach and he is looking to stake a similar claim in Braselton; with five Road Atlanta wins in AMA Pro SuperSport and AMA Superstock to his credit from 2006-2008, both he and Yamaha are hoping to score their first SuperBike victory at the venue. The rivalry and winning ways of Hayes and Young all but guarantee an entertaining battle between the Japanese marques' leading riders this weekend.
New to the National Guard SuperBike ranks this season is Hayes' teammate and local hotshot Josh Herrin (No. 2 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1), who turned in an impressive performance in his SuperBike debut during last month's DAYTONA® 200 Week. Herrin, who hails from Dublin, Ga., showed impressive speed by taking a holeshot and taking a Top 5 finish in his first SuperBike race weekend.
Another local star with a proven track record, Geoff May (No. 99 AMSOIL Hero Moto EBR 1190RS) is set to impress on the only American-made SuperBike brand in the field. May is from Gainesville, Ga. and is joined on the Erik Buell Racing squad for the 2012 season by two-time, defending AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Champion Danny Eslick (No. 69 Hero Moto EBR 1190RS).
The Michael Jordan Motorsports duo of Roger Hayden (No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Ben Bostrom (No. 23 Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000) are also expected to perform well. Hayden took home a pair of podium results at Daytona and will have a large group of supporters at what he considers as his home track. Teammate Bostrom found his pace during last month's test at Homestead-Miami Speedway following a frustrating Daytona event. Both riders have won at Road Atlanta, Hayden in AMA Pro SuperSport (2005, 2004) and AMA Superstock (2005) and Bostrom in AMA Pro SuperSport (1998).
Larry Pegram (No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR) edged out Steve Rapp (No. 15 Motorcycle-Superstore.com/Big Kahuna/LeoVince Attack Kawasaki ZX-10) in both races at Daytona International Speedway and they are currently sitting fourth and fifth in the SuperBike point standings, respectively. AMA Pro veteran Jake Holden (No. 59 EvanSteelPerformance.com BMW S1000RR) grabbed a pair of Top 10 finishes to land sixth in the points, followed by Young's new teammate on the Yoshimura Racing squad, Chris Clark (No. 6 Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000). Robertino Pietri (No. 3 Team Venezuela Suzuki GSX-R1000), David Anthony (No. 25 Kneedraggers.com/ Motul/Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Chris Ulrich (No. 18 M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki GSX-R1000) round out the Top 10 in the points heading into this weekend.
Qualifying for National Guard SuperBike grid positions will take place in two sessions, Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. and Saturday morning at 9:50 a.m. The National Guard SuperBike division will be featured in a doubleheader format with 20-lap race finals scheduled for Saturday, April 21 at 3:15 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m. local time.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Underdog Joey Pascarella (No. 52 SGA Racing/Yamaha Champions Riding School Yamaha YZF-R6) ran a flawless race at Daytona International Speedway last month to claim his spot in the history books as the 71st winner of the DAYTONA® 200. With the dissolution of his race-winning Project 1 Atlanta team and uncertainty looming, the Vacaville, Calif.-native's prospects for the remainder of the season took a sharp upturn in the form of a last-minute entry for this weekend's Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince. Riding for a new team formed as a collaborative effort between The Jon Block Group and SGA/Katra Racing - Yamaha Champions Riding School, the 2010 AMA Pro SuperSport West Division Champion has been granted a much-needed opportunity to capitalize on his post-Daytona momentum and build on his early-season AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike points lead.
The race that Pascarella ran to capture his first GoPro Daytona SportBike victory was extremely impressive, and second only to that was the run that Jason DiSalvo (No. 40 Team Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675) made in America's longest-running endurance race. The 2011 DAYTONA® 200 winner took a costly early-race pitstop on his Gary Nixon-styled No. 9 Triumph and dropped to the rear of the field. With championship aspirations driving him forward, he slipped in for a quick second pit stop without taking tires. Despite the obvious disadvantage, DiSalvo continued to turn qualifying-paced lap times to the very last of the race's 57 laps, edging out Cameron Beaubier (No. 6 Y.E.S. Graves Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6) to finish 0.048 seconds behind Pascarella. DiSalvo returns to his familiar No. 40 this weekend after his inspiring tribute to the late Gary Nixon. His quick speed on a new brand reaffirms his skill as a rider and his drive as a competitor and he is sure to challenge for race wins at each round during the 2012 season.
Beaubier and Garrett Gerloff, who joined the Y.E.S. Graves Motorsports team at the start of the 2012 season, are both recovering from injuries and will not compete this weekend. Fan favorite Tommy Hayden was tapped to stand in for Gerloff after the young star was sidelined at Daytona International Speedway last month, and he will once again pilot the team's No. 8 Yamaha YZF-R6 for this weekend's event at Road Atlanta.
Martin Cardenas (No. 36 GEICO Suzuki GSX-R600) has claimed victory in three of the four AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike races held at Road Atlanta and has returned to the class where he earned a 2010 Championship after a successful season in AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike. Sitting fourth in the point standings after narrowly missing the podium in the DAYTONA® 200, Cardenas is likely to begin his winning ways this weekend. The Colombian currently tops the Daytona SportBike win record with 16 victories claimed over his two seasons in the class.
Cardenas and J.D. Beach (No. 95 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6) are the only GoPro Daytona SportBike riders in the field with Road Atlanta wins to their credit. Beach topped the podium at both AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport races held at the track during his 2010 championship-winning season.
Sitting in fifth, Dane Westby (No. 5 M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki GSX-R600) turned in a solid performance at Daytona and continues to make improvements to his already fast and effective riding style. Jake Zemke (No. 98 Ducshop Racing Ducati 848), Hayden, Jake Gagne (No. 132 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6), Tommy Aquino (No. 827 SGA Racing/Yamaha Champion Riders School) and Cory West (No. 57 Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600) occupy positions six through 10 in the point standings and all but Aquino are entered at Road Atlanta.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike riders will take to the track for practice on Friday at 1:00 p.m., followed by their first qualifying session at 4:00 p.m. Grid positions will be set after Saturday morning's 8:55 a.m. final group qualifying sessions and the class will take on Road Atlanta in a set of 20-lap race finals, scheduled for Saturday, April 21 at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 2:15 p.m. local time.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
The Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince is the first AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race on the 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing schedule with points earmarked exclusively for East Division riders. Of the 41 riders entered, 31 of them are declared Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East Division riders and therefore eligible to gain regional championship points.
After a fruitful season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway that included fifth- and second-place results, Corey Alexander (No. 5 National Guard/ Fairhills Group Suzuki GSX-R600) leads the East Division points over Stefano Mesa (No. 37 Kneedragger.com/ Galfer Yamaha YZF-R6) by seven points, 42-35. Tomas Puerta (No. 12 Roadrace Factory/American Supercamp Yamaha YZF-R6) finished one position behind Mesa in Race 1 at Daytona and one position ahead of him in Race 2 and currently trails his Colombian countryman by a scant two markers in the point standings.
Jake Lewis (No. 85 Riders Discount/ Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600) is the highest-ranking freshman in this weekend's Motorcycle-Superstore.com field and will almost certainly be near the front of the lead pack. The Kentucky native earned a second-place finish in his AMA Pro debut last month at Daytona and had an even more impressive run in Race 2. The Young Gun started from the back of the 46-bike field in that contest and climbed to fifth position before suffering a mechanical with five laps remaining. On the strength of his podium finish, Lewis sits fourth in the point standings despite receiving no points in Race 2.
Although a boon for Lewis, SuperSport Race 2 at Daytona proved profitable for local rider Miles Thornton (No. 72 Eyeball/ Markbilt Racebikes Yamaha YZF-R6), who led the second draft pack across the stripe to take a Top 5 finish and fifth in the points. The Georgia native is followed in the point standings the Kawasaki-mounted Ryan Kerr (No. 28 RFC/Sunstar Kawasaki ZX-6R).
The title sponsor of the Big Kahuna Nationals will be represented in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport division by Dustin Dominguez (No. 68 Castrol/Triumph/GE Capital Triumph Daytona 675), who currently sits seventh in the points. Jacob Morman (No. 34 Apex Race Services Yamaha YZF-R6), Charlie Long (No. 314 CRL Racing Suzuki GSX-R600) and Eric Stump (No. 77 EyeballNYC.com/ Markbilt Racebikes Yamaha YZF-R6) round out the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport top 10 heading into the second of seven East Division points-paying event weekends.
Notable entries from Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport's West Division include defending Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport National Champion James Rispoli (No. 1 Celtic Racing/Orient Express Racing Suzuki GSX-R600), Elena Myers (No. 21 SuzukiScoopFans on Facebook Suzuki GSX-R600) and Hayden Gillim (No. 69 RoadRace Factory Yamaha YZF-R6). Rispoli and Myers grabbed the lion's share of the points at the dual-region Daytona opener and are currently sitting in first and second position, respectively. Rispoli took top honors in Race 1 and Myers earned a historic win in Race 2 that made her the first woman to win a major professional motorsports race at the "World Center of Racing." Gillim trails his Young Gun counterparts in the West Division points by 11 tallies.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com is a post-entry class and additional riders are expected to be added until the Friday morning entry deadline. The first practice and qualifying sessions for the class are scheduled for Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., respectively, with the final grid to be set after Saturday morning's 8:00 a.m. final group qualifying sessions. The first 16-lap race for AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport will begin at 1:00 p.m. local time on Saturday afternoon and the second is slated for 1:15 p.m. on Sunday.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
There are 21 Harley-Davidson XR1200s pre-entered for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Road Atlanta debut as part of the Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince. This exciting and unique division of AMA Pro Road Racing is set to go green on Sunday, April 22 at 12:30 p.m. local time for a 10-lap final on the legendary 2.55-mile natural road course.
At the Daytona opener, Kyle Wyman (No. 33 KWR/ Vesrah/ Kuryakyn Harley-Davidson XR1200) outfoxed his more experienced rivals to score a dramatic victory and take an early points lead with a last-lap draft past eventual second- and third-place finishers and Bartel's Harley-Davidson teammates Tyler O'Hara (No. 29 Harley-Davidson XR1200) and Michael Barnes (No. 34 Harley-Davidson XR1200). All three are back to battle it out at Road Atlanta, and Wyman will be doing double-duty this weekend; the New Yorker recently announced that he will also be competing in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike aboard the No. 133 Triumph/STT Triumph Daytona 675.
Another double-duty rider will be AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike standout Steve Rapp (No. 5 Harv's Harley-Davidson XR1200). Rapp was runner-up for last year's AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series Championship and he will likely enjoy quick success this weekend.
Fourth in the XR1200 Series point standings heading into the second race weekend of 2012 is veteran David Estok (No. 123 Trev Deeley/Ruthless Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200) followed by teammate Darren James (No. 229 Ruthless/Deeley Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200). Kyle Wyman's younger brother Travis Wyman (No. 24 Harv's Harley-Davidson XR1200), Michael Corbino (No. 15 XP Motorsports Harley-Davidson XR1200), Gerry Signorelli (No. 88 Kuryakyn/Racing for a Wish Harley-Davidson XR1200), Josh Chisum (No. 10 Bartel's Harley-Davidson XR1200) and Nicholas Hansen (No. 97 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200) hold positions six through 10 in the point standings, respectively, and all are entered in this weekend's event.
Post-entries for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series are accepted until Saturday morning. The first practice for the class will begin at 10:30 a.m. and a 45-minute qualifying session will set the XR1200 Series grid and close out Saturday's on-track activity. The big twins will begin their 10-lap battle at 12:30 p.m. local time on Sunday afternoon.
M1 PowerSports Event Features
This weekend's Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince marks the return of M1 PowerSports to full-time event promotion at the venue where they began to define their trademark brand of motorcycle road racing entertainment. The original Big Kahuna events began at the Braselton, Ga. circuit in 1998 as the first doubleheader event weekends on the AMA Pro Road Racing schedule and quickly became known for delivering exceptional entertainment value. With the extensive list of entertainment opportunities available for fans to enjoy this weekend, it's hard to imagine what else could be added.
Each day presents a unique opportunity to meet the stars of the sport. The fun begins on Thursday, April 19 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. with the M1 Track Walk, an intimate opportunity to learn about Road Atlanta from the AMA Pro Road Racing stars. Friday night's feature is the Friday Night Fan Party, scheduled for 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. in the Café Racer Village. On Saturday and Sunday, the AMA Pro Fan Walk sessions are held prior to opening ceremonies to give fans the chance to circulate on pit lane and visit with their favorite riders and teams from AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series.
In order for eager fans to catch up on the latest AMA Pro Road Racing information, M1 PowerSports has partnered with Roadracing World to provide free event programs to the first 750 fans through the gate on Friday and Saturday. The Denver, Colo.-based promotions company also teamed up with MobileView to place JumboTrons in two of the major spectator seating areas for fans to keep up with all of the exciting on-track action.
In addition to the amazing AMA Pro Road Racing action, there is family-friendly entertainment located in every turn. From the heart of the racetrack, the Café Racer Village, fans can meet and greet with nine-time World Champion motorcycle drag racer Rickey Gadson, watch Jason Britton's Team No Limit Stunt Shows, sing along to rockabilly concerts by the Cigar Store Indians, weigh in on Café Racer Magazine Bike Shows and check out the exotic animal petting zoo by Jungle Zoo Experience, all while browsing the offerings of over 60 vendors.
Entertainment options also abound outside of the Café Racer Village, there will be Triumph Fan Laps, a bikini bike wash, the Extreme Team 4x4 Monster Ride Truck, charity rides in the ultra-exotic MonoTracer, classic race machines and former champions in the Historic Moto Grand Prix paddock, on-track Yamaha/NESBA demo rides, the always-popular Big Kahuna Bikini Girls and a kid's corral full of fun for the Little Kahunas. Even Santa Claus is getting in on the action, heading south for the weekend to take a ride in a sidecar to throw out gifts to fans around the track.
For tickets and additional event information, visit www.m1powersports.com or head to Road Atlanta now to join in on the weekend's festivities. For information related to AMA Pro Road Racing, please visit www.amaproracing.com.
Live Timing & Scoring of all on-track sessions is available at http://live.amaproracing.com/rr/. Between the races, stay connected with AMA Pro Road Racing at www.twitter.com/AMAProSBK and www.facebook.com/AMAProRoadRacing; keep up with M1 PowerSports via Twitter (www.twitter.com/M1PowerSports) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/M1PowerSports).