Rider Spotlight: Larry Pegram

NEWS May 24, 2012

Rider Spotlight: Larry Pegram

Photo by Brian J. Nelson

AMAP: Where are you from?
LP: I live in Hebron, Ohio, which is right outside of Columbus. I was basically born and raised in Ohio. I’ve travelled all over with racing my whole life, and I’ve spent a lot of time in other places, but I’ve always enjoyed coming home to Ohio.

AMAP: Do you get to ride motorcycles for training in the off-season or when you’re not on your BMW S 1000RR?
LP: I do. I have a flat track and motocross track at my house. I don’t ride them during the season because I don’t want to get injured, but I ride a lot during the off-season. We have a lot of great riding areas in Ohio too. Ohio’s probably more motorcycle oriented than any other place I know.

AMAP: Tell us about your flat track background..
LP: That’s what I grew up doing. I did a little bit of motocross and hare-scrambles as a kid growing up, but I mainly rode flat track. I turned pro at 16 years old and did expert flat track racing for a few years. I won some amateur nationals and professional nationals. It felt like a natural progression to go road racing, and it’s gone really well going in that direction.

AMAP: Tell us about your progression as a team owner and rider with Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing.
LP: I’ve been with Foremost for five years now. They’ve been the best sponsor I’ve ever worked with. They’re just so down to Earth and work with me. They do a great job helping not just me, but their customers too. They’re very down to Earth. As for the motorcycle, we switched from the Ducati to the current BMW S1000RR after 2010, and since then, it’s been a learning curve. Because there’s not a lot of riders racing the BMW in the spec that we do in AMA Pro, the World Superbike development doesn’t help us as much. We have been doing a lot of the development ourselves. This season, we’ve been getting more help from Germany, so that’s helped out a lot. It’s been a struggle, but I plan on us being up front.

AMAP: You were testing the BMW S1000 RR at Homestead-Miami Speedway. How do you like HMS?
LP: I like Homestead. I think it’s a great track. I’m happy with a lot of the new tracks we’re visiting this season. I think it brings some new blood into the sport, and Miami is a great market for us to be racing in. Hopefully it won’t be too hot when we get there to go racing, but I think it’ll be one of the better tracks we visit this year.

AMAP: Out of all the tracks you’ve raced at, what is your favorite?
LP: Probably Road America and Mid-Ohio. Road America, because it’s such a fast track, and Mid-Ohio because it’s my home track. I still think Mid-Ohio needs to make more advancements in safety, but it’s my home track, so I like it. I have a lot of good memories at Road America. We won our first SuperBike race in 10 years there and won our first SuperBike race as a team owner. I seem to do pretty well and enjoy riding there.

AMAP: You're TV show “Superbike Family” is back for its second season. Can you give us an update?
LP: Sure, Superbike Family is back for another season. We didn’t film last season, but we are back for the 2012. The show that aired in 2011 was from the 2010 season, but this year, they’re filming now, and will start airing in the fall. We’ve grown a big fan base with the show and were able to show the inner workings of a SuperBike team and a family run team that competes with factory-backed teams on a budget that’s much less. It’s neat to show the fans what it really takes. One of the big things is that we’ve seen a lot more women get involved with the sport and like it more, because they saw my family, wife and mother get involved. Guys are coming up to me and telling me how their wives are much more interested in SuperBike racing, because they watched the show and want to get involved in racing.

AMAP: How would you compare the BMW to the rest of the bikes you’ve ridden?
LP: We’ve got the BMW to where I’m really comfortable on it. That’s one of the main things you have to do to a bike is get it to where you’re comfortable, then you find the speed. I feel really comfortable on this bike, and we’re making more power on it than we’ve had on any other bike in the past. Now it’s a matter of getting the right combination of power to electronics and handling dialed in. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great motorcycle. I’m very happy how it’s progressed.

AMAP: Do you feel like it would either benefit or take away having a flat track background when applying yourself to road racing?
LP: I think it’s definitely a positive. You feel comfortable sliding a motorcycle around at high speeds when you race flat track. I think it helps on the SuperBike. It  helped more in the older days of SuperBike racing when the tires weren’t as good. I think the only drawback was that, when I first started racing SuperBikes, I was using way too much back brake and not enough front brake. That was because you don’t have any front brakes in flat track. I think having that background helps in road racing.

AMAP: What goals are you and the Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing team setting for the rest of 2012?
LP: My goal is to be consistently fighting for the win, and we’re not doing that. We’re in fourth and fifth place. That’s not making me too happy. We’re working really hard to be able to make that next little step to get up front. We need to consistently get into the top-three and fight for the win.

AMAP: What draws you to the sport? The thrill, competition or the speed?
LP: I’ve been doing it since I was three years old. My grandpa raced motorcycles, my dad raced motorcycles, and I started riding at three and racing at five years old. It’s just a way of life for me. I don’t know anything different. Sometime I have to sit myself down and say, “Hey! Don’t forget, this is big, you’re enjoying this, so don’t make it tougher than it is!” Sometimes, I can take it too seriously, but at the end of the day, we’re racing motorcycles, and you really can’t have much more fun than that.

AMAP: Who’s your racing hero?
LP: Probably Jay Springsteen. He was my hero growing up. I got to race against him for a while when I was dirt track racing in the beginning of my career and he was at the end of his. He’s just a real, stand up guy, true person and a great motorcycle racer with a natural talent for racing motorcycles. He’d have to be my hero. He’s one of those guys that, when they’re your heroes and when you actually meet them, they live up to your expectations. I know Jay really well, and he’s still my hero.

Click here to view photos of Larry on AMA Pro Road Racing's facebook page

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