I hate being the nihilistic voice of MO, but when it comes to the state of American talent at world-level motorcycle road racing, we’re f*#ked. If the swirling rumors of Nicky Hayden’s departure from MotoGP come to pass, it’ll be the first time since 1977 America’s been absent from competing at the world’s highest level of two-wheel racing. Truly sad – especially considering the U.S. hosts two MotoGP rounds.

Sure, I’m a Vale Rossi fan who’d love to see the old man reclaim his former glory in a last hurrah this season. But that doesn’t mean I’m not into supporting my fellow compatriot at his home rounds in Texas and Indy. Nicky’s not in contention for the championship, so there’s no reason I can’t cheer the guy in the middle of the pack as much as the guy at the front of the pack.

The real issue, though, isn’t the departure of Hayden from MotoGP, it’s the vacuum of American talent, the Mr. Nobody alternate, there to take his place. There’s scuttlebutt about Hayden maybe moving to World Superbike, which would make him the only American competing in that series. If, for some reason, a WSBK ride doesn’t materialize and Hayden retires from MotoGP, we’d be left with no Americans in either world-level series.

I don’t particularly care for pop country music. There’s no stars and stripes streaming from the back of my Japanese pick-up truck. You won’t find me espousing the unfounded virtues of American exceptionalism. But let’s put into perspective the role of American racers competing in both MotoGP/500cc and World Supers.

The competitiveness between fellow American racers Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz in the late ’80s and early ’90s is legendary.

The competitiveness between fellow American racers Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz in the late ’80s and early ’90s is legendary.

American MotoGP/500cc World Champions
Season Category Rider Constructor
2006 MotoGP Nicky Hayden Honda
2000 500cc Kenny Roberts Jr Suzuki
1993 500cc Kevin Schwantz Suzuki
1992 500cc Wayne Rainey Yamaha
1991 500cc Wayne Rainey Yamaha
1990 500cc Wayne Rainey Yamaha
1989 500cc Eddie Lawson Honda
1988 500cc Eddie Lawson Yamaha
1986 500cc Eddie Lawson Yamaha
1985 500cc Freddie Spencer Honda
1984 500cc Eddie Lawson Yamaha
1983 500cc Freddie Spencer Honda
1980 500cc Kenny Roberts Yamaha
1979 500cc Kenny Roberts Yamaha
1978 500cc Kenny Roberts Yamaha

Our Grand Prix golden age was the years spanning from 1978 – when “King” Kenny Roberts began the American domination of 500cc Grand Prix motorcycle racing – to Kevin Schwantz’s title in 1993. Thirteen championships out of 16 seasons. Kenny Roberts Jr. followed in his dad’s footsteps with a championship title in 2000. Six years later Hayden made his cameo appearance in the hall of champions, but there hasn’t been an American since, and there doesn’t appear to be one on the horizon.

We’re no better off in the World Superbike series. This year’s demise of Larry Pegram’s Team Hero EBR squad was a double whammy that left the WSBK paddock devoid of both American racer and American motorcycle. An emigration for Hayden from MotoGP to WSBK would, at least, keep America represented in a world series, but we’d be hanging by thread.

When WSBK launched in 1988, America’s motorcycle racing talent pool was spilling over. We won five championships out of the first six seasons; 1988 to 1993, while concurrently winning 500cc Grand Prix championships.

American World Superbike Champions
2009 Ben Spies Yamaha

Double World Superbike Champion, Colin Edwards aboard the Honda VTR1000.

Double World Superbike Champion, Colin Edwards aboard the Honda VTR1000.

2002 Colin Edwards Honda
2000 Colin Edwards Honda
1997 John Kocinski Honda
1993 Scott Russell Kawasaki
1992 Doug Polen Ducati
1991 Doug Polen Ducati
1989 Fred Merkel Honda
1988 Fred Merkel Honda

What happened? Did America squander its motorcycle road racing talent like watering a Las Vegas golf course? Blame it on the Great Recession, DMG’s hostaging of American Superbike racing, Justin Bieber, the removal of artificial colors and flavors from breakfast cereals, I don’t know, blame it on something or nothing. What I do know is we gotta get our motorcycle racing mojo back. Hopefully, three-time 500cc Grand Prix World Champion, Wayne Rainey and his crew at MotoAmerica can resolve the problem and set a course for a second coming of American racing talent.

MotoAmerica Superbike points leader Cameron Beaubier (pictured) and Patrick (PJ) Jacobsen, currently third in the World SuperSport series, are two young American racers with possible MotoGP/WSBK futures.

MotoAmerica Superbike points leader Cameron Beaubier (pictured) and Patrick (PJ) Jacobsen, currently third in the World SuperSport series, are two young American racers with possible MotoGP/WSBK futures.

Which is exactly what Rainey and KTM are doing with the KTM RC Cup. From an interview Troy Siahaan conducted with Rainey earlier this year, Rainey says “One of the other things we’re doing this year that we’re really excited about is that we have this KTM RC390 Cup. It’s a spec cup for amateur racers. It’s the first time, I believe, that in the AMA championship at least, that we’ve been able to have an amateur series involved with a national championship, so it gives the teams a chance to look at the talent coming through. Everybody’s on a spec bike, they’re reasonably priced, and also it gives them the experience to be racing at a national championship.

The man, the legend, the book.

The man, the legend, the book.

“If there’s one thing we were maybe lacking before,” Rainey continued, “it was giving youngsters a chance to get there [Europe] sooner. We didn’t have that. This is a great idea that KTM came up with, and at the end of the day, the winner gets to go on to Europe and race. So, I think it’s an awesome thing. I’ve said this before: if I was 14 years old, I’d have five or six paper routes, I’d be having my mom and dad do whatever it took to do this. This is going to be great for our series.”

Rainey has been a longtime advocate of motorcycle road racing in America. He was influential in MotoGP’s return to Laguna Seca in 2005, and now he’s holding the reigns to MotoAmerica. If he applies the same determination to making MotoAmerica successful and developing a youthful talent pool as he did to his own racing career (which you have to assume he will), it bodes well that America could regain its lofty position on the world stage of motorcycle road racing.

Wayne Rainey To Be Honored At AMA Ceremony

Let’s also give some much-deserved credit to KTM, for without its RC Cup there’d be no national venue dedicated to grooming the next generation of American road racers. From KTM’s RC Cup Race Guide:

“KTM understands the importance of catering to future riders of bigger displacement models by stimulating the market with smaller displacement sportbikes. With this in mind, the company is ecstatic to be partnering with MotoAmerica for the 2015 KTM RC Cup; allowing the next generation of racers to attack America’s most renowned circuits on the new KTM RC 390 Cup Race Bike.” Amen to that, KTM!

Fifteen-year-olds Braeden Ortt (551) and Anthony Mazziotto III (516) battling for victory in the KTM RC 390 Cup final at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Fifteen-year-olds Braeden Ortt (551) and Anthony Mazziotto III (516) battling for victory in the KTM RC 390 Cup final at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The irony here is that KTM is still largely recognized in the U.S. as a dirtbike company. With the roadracing recognition of the RC Cup in the MotoAmerica series, the Super Duke R earning Bike of the Year honors from us, as well as other publications, KTM’s persona is quickly changing.

Hopefully, the efforts of Rainey, KTM and all the unsung heroes of U.S. motorcycle road racing will save the American MotoGP/WSBK champion from extinction. It’s probably going to take a while because, from a world perspective, stock in American roadracing has fallen far, but I’m faithful it’ll rebound. In the meantime, I’m hoping Hayden and Rossi can keep competing for a couple more seasons. No offense to Lorenzo, Marquez, et al., but let’s face it, they’re neither American nor are they Rossi.

The last dinosaur? Nicky Hayden was at Laguna Seca signing autographs during the recent World Superbike round. Was he taking inventory?

The last dinosaur? Nicky Hayden was at Laguna Seca signing autographs during the recent World Superbike round. Was he taking inventory?

  • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

    Here’s a horrible thought–since pretty much only the Big Four–Roberts, Lawson, Schwantz and Rainey–could win MotoGP, maybe it just isn’t our thing? Maybe they were just an aberration, with freakishly un-American talents and skills available at just the right time in history?

    I hope not! Say it ain’t so!

    • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

      I have to agree with JMDGT about the correlation between our racing skills and the shrinking youth demographic. But I’m not even talking about dominating the sport now as much as I am just having a presence. If Nicky leaves we’re gone from the party.

      • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

        That’s what I’m saying–we possibly never had any competitive riders aside from the big four. We can’t go to the party because only jocks get invited and we’re in the chess club.

        • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

          Chess club? Well, we’re one helluva gun-toting chess club!

    • http://statesofmotion.blogspot.com/ FastPatrick

      How much of it is real talent (or a possible lack thereof), how much of it is a clear road to the big leagues, how much of it is just timing or luck?

      Same idea, different setting: The group of Americans that was so prominent in Formula One and world sports car racing from the late Fifties through the Sixties – Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Carroll Shelby, Richie Ginther, Peter Revson – came up at a time when access to the sport was within the realm of the normal (go buy a used MG TC and congratulations! you’re a racer!), they could get serious support from major players like Luigi Chinetti, and they were able to go out and mix it up with the rest of the world on equal terms.

      Same thing happened with the brace of good Canadian drivers that rose up in the Nineties, backed by an unusually aggressive and effective Porsche of Canada machine that got them into places inaccessible to an ambitious but isolated aspirant.

      The biggest blame probably goes to the mess that is American racing administration from the AMA down (and across to four wheels again) and their inability to present and market a meaningful package of races. It’s not a talent deficit, although there’s definitely issues with the motorcycle environment as a whole here in the US. It’s much more a management issue.

      • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

        I agree–there’s no clear path to deliver our talent to MotoGP. Local roadracing clubs are dying out and our national series is lightly attended and has little interest in it from the public.

    • Ozzy Mick

      Ain’t so.

  • Old MOron

    The RC Cup is definitely a great opportunity for young racers in the US. But I think it will take more than that. Consider the Red Bull Rookies Cup. JD Beach and Jacob Gagne were champions in 2008 and 2010, respectively. After winning that prestigious series, they were both basically right back in the US, with no international prospects.

  • Mr. J

    put me in, coach


    The lack of representation in Moto GP is a reflection of a decline in ridership combined with the current age demographic. There has to be a correlation.


    • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

      That’s a truly disparaging chart. Wish I could un-see it.

      • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

        Wish I could see one that’s less than 12 years old…is the trend slowing or reversing?

        • GreggJ

          Looks like the date on the chart is May 2009 (Home » BTS Publications » Special Reports and Issue Briefs » Special Report » 2009 05 14), so probably still relevant, and definitely still depressing.

        • JMDGT

          I looked for more current data but couldn’t find any. There is some registration data by state but that says nothing of ages or gender. Evidently demographic info shows to be available for a price. Part of the mind control marketing data available for those who will pay.

    • azi
    • throwedoff

      I’ll give you a correlation. The cost of a new motorcycle in 1985 was no where near as expensive as a new bike today. Furthermore, wages have not kept pace with the rise in the cost of goods and services. In 1985, an eighteen to twenty-two year old still living at home could possibly afford the payments on most any sport bike offered then as well as the insurance coverage. Today, that’s not going to happen. Thus, the only new young motorcyclists are those with parents or family members willing to financially back them, or those that are willing to ride older more seasoned bikes.

      • JMDGT

        I have been riding since the70’s. I have always considered a motorcycle a luxury. I never financed a purchase.Riding was a real passion for me and my friends.We all had standard type bikes. I didn’t have a sport bike until the 90’s. If the younger riders of today want a bike there has never been a better time. With so many quality machines to choose from at reasonable price points [ in todays dollars] it makes my head spin. I just don’t see any passion in the majority of young potential riders.

  • BDan75

    I think the situation bothers me less because of MotoGP/Superbike than for what it says about the future of motorcycling in general. I mean, let’s face it: we’re talking about a relatively dangerous activity in an increasingly risk-averse society (especially where kids are concerned). On top of that, there’s a choice we didn’t used to have: A huge variety of easy, cheap distractions on an internet-connected laptop/phone/tablet, versus a relatively difficult and expensive hobby that involves learning a new set of physical skills on a machine that’s much less forgiving than a video game.

    I’m happy to cheer for Italians, Brits, Spaniards, whoever…but it kinda bothers me when I look around and see the age of the average rider. I know things are different on the west coast (I was amazed at how many bikes I saw on a recent trip to the Bay Area)…but where I live (near DC) it seems like I barely even see younger people on bikes anymore. It’s like 75% middle aged dudes on Harleys, 15% middle aged dudes on BMWs, and 10% everybody else. Who’s gonna take over from all those middle aged dudes?

    I guess that’s a question that goes well beyond motorcycling…

  • Gruf Rude

    The USA is really not that into motorcycle road racing. In fact, the USA is really not that into motorcycles. I’ve loved and ridden motorcycles for 50 years but it was obvious early on I was participating in a minority activity.
    Motorcycle road racing is an even smaller minority activity. I road raced a little back in the 70s, but road race tracks are hard to find, most places. They are also expensive and in the vast majority, very dangerous for motorcycles. Road racing on any level is really expensive. Most American bikers do not watch motorcycle road racing. A very expensive sport and no local audiences. Not surprising there is no big USA motorcycle road racing talent pool.

    • Robotribe

      Exactly right. The aspiration of a career in the NBA at an early age only one requires three cheap things:
      1. A ball
      2. A court
      3. Enough passion for the game to make one put the work into it

      My guess would be that motorcycle racing being regarded as a sport worth pursuing requires parents with:
      1. Deep pockets with discretionary purchase power
      2. A personal tie to two wheeled transport (ex. citizen of European country where motorcycles or scooters are generally regarded as transportation tools within reach and not just “toys”)
      3. A universally broader definition of motorcycles as not being limited to the squids on sport bikes behaving badly on the freeway/highway or aspirational followers of SONS OF ANARCHY

      Of those two descriptions, which best fits with the good ‘ol US of A?

  • Ferris Argyle

    Tom, positioning the KTM cup as an American feeder series implies a causal relationship you haven’t mentioned. The big four of Roberts, Spencer, Lawson, and Rainey came from dirt track backgrounds when 500c two strokes were lurid real-wheel steering/sliding machines; the American ascendancy was attributed to this at the time. There was even significant controversy over whether Roberts or his arch-rival Sheene introduced the rear-wheel slide technique. Now we have four strokes with traction control and Europeans coming from road (as opposed to dirt, not closed-circuit) racing series are in the lead.

    Another significant MotoGP factor is sponsorship: it’s not co-incidental that Repsol and Movistar, the principal Honda and Yamaha sponsors, are Spanish, as was the rider for whom Honda designed a bike in preference to their champion Hayden, and as are Marquez and Lorenzo.

  • http://statesofmotion.blogspot.com/ FastPatrick

    Couple thoughts:

    1. KRSr, Rainey, Schwantz, the Hayden brothers and the rest started with dirtbikes then transitioned to roadracing. Is there more of a disconnect between the two spheres now? Would a successful young motocrosser simply prefer to make a complete career in the dirt than risk the jump to asphalt? Or has motocross outgrown or distanced itself from that farm-team mentality?

    2. See also the Australians – Gardner, Doohan, Stoner, etc. and how they’re also losing their dominance. Is dirt riding as big a thing in Australia? How does their dirt-to-asphalt path work? (Does it?)

    3. Following from that, those 500cc two-strokes favored a certain tail-sliding point-and-shoot riding style – again probably more accessible to guys who learned to race on loose ground. The current MotoGP bikes seem more attuned to a classical roadracer approach, so for someone like Rossi or Marquez who grew up more on pavement it’s probably more natural. (Stoner’s tailsliding technique was an outlier, but then again everything about him was.)

    4. Motorsports management in general in the US has been a disaster for the better part of two decades. The inability to raise global-level talent likely has less to do with any kind of absence of The Right Stuff than a reliable and fair system to breed it and put it on the world stage. This is just as true on four wheels as two. Incredibly happy to see Rainey starting to shake things up and instill some order and ambition in the works, but we have a long, long way to go to get back to where we were.

    • Ozzy Mick

      Hey FP, I raised the same questions with Bruce Allen following his Sachsenring MotoGP report. I believe that the Aussie champs cut their teeth in the dirt, at ridiculous ages like 4 (Stoner) and 8 (Miller). Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_Stoner, and
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Miller_(motorcycle_racer). I also agree with you that the tech on the current bikes may not require the skills honed on dirt. This nullifies the advantages that our riders had. Mind you, the top riders still practise and train on dirt in their spare time.

      So what’s been happening the last coupla years in Oz? Dunno. Except that the body that controls and oversees bike racing in Australia needs a kick up it backside, or a Rainey to take the reins – you’re lucky you’ve got him.

    • therr850

      It wasn’t the motocross stars “jumping” to pavement racing. It was the guys that grew up racing good ole flat track. I think the slide from the world stage started when pavement racing moved out of the Grand National Championship. Roberts, Rainey, Chandler, the Hayden’s, all started on the dirt AND pavement and learned they were better than some of their opponents on the pavement. Sponsors noticed that too and backed them, helping them get better till they could move to the overseas race bodies. Even Marquez has a dirt background. I realize supporting a dirt program and a pavement program is very prohibitive in today’s motorcycle racing scheme of things but maybe that is what it takes.

      • DXR

        Yes even Marquez rides dirt track. It is part of his daily training routine.

  • nickatnyt

    The USA has no top drivers in any world racing sport, but doggone it, we love our homegrown NASCAR.

  • pat

    Part of why we are not competing at the top levels is the lack of “American Exceptionalism”. We used to think we could do anything and most of realize attitude is 90% of what ‘gets us there’. With a hand wringing society worried that a fly is being shown insufficient respect (and leadership echoing it), we certainly are not going to engage in any activity requiring a helmet. Most of issue is attitude. If you don’t think you can do it, you can’t

    • Michael

      Ditto for Australia… same problem, same result.

  • TalonMech

    90% of the bikes I see on the road when I’m out riding are Hardly Ablesons. I think this has alot to do with the US getting left behind in racing. People aspire to be bikers, and not motorcyclists.

    • John A. Stockman

      Marketing hyperbole is quite powerful…for sheep-types and weak-minded. I don’t care what brand or style you ride, be genuine, love what you ride and don’t be a poseur. Poseurs buy into image and branding for the sake of shoring up a sagging ego or a poor self-image. My grandpa, who was among all of the accomplished “motorcyclists” in my own family, always said to those that called us bikers, “we are motorcyclists, not bikers” and would tell them the differences. Lots of HDs because they pander to the worn-out mantra of be a “badass”, an individual, etc. Umm, you are not “different” or an “individual” if you’re doing something that a lot of other people are doing…it’s the exact opposite. That’s being a follower, a sheep. A biker checks the weather to see if they’ll ride at all, a motorcyclist checks the weather to determine what gear is worn and taken with them. A biker shops for gear based on how it makes them look, a motorcyclist shops for gear based on fit, protection, longevity and visibility. In ball-sports addled USA, it’s about popularity and money, not which presents the better physical & mental athletic prowess. Because of the long-standing negative “badass” connotation, both from the majority of HD owners and because HD as a factory supports and markets it as such, JQ Public sees all of us as one negative entity, no differences between the various styles of bikes and the different types of riding. We’re all death-wish sorts who have little value to the general non-riding public. Stuntas on the streets/highways and the clueless loud-pipes-save-lives promoters don’t help. Motorcycle racing is quite non-athletic to that mentality. I’ve ridden hundreds of thousands of miles across the US and Canada in the past 30 years, meeting all sorts of non-riders and the full gamut of casual riders, up through the dedicated/die-hard riders. And I can easily tell you which group has comprised 99% of all my negative encounters while out on my motorcycles…and it was because I was not riding the same brand as they were. Seems I’m less than a person/rider if I was riding a Japanese, Italian or British bike.

  • Vrooom

    Probably not a popular opinion, but I hope Hayden retires from GP. He’s not running in the middle of the pack, that’s where guys like Maverick Vinales are, he’s running 17th in a field of 22 typically. It’s embarrassing, time to either go to WSB (probably not going to do a lot better) or retire with your championship and earnings to a nice waterfront home in Texas.

  • Michael Mccormick

    Last I checked the USA had no F1 drivers either. Maybe if we got invaded by Great Britain, Spain, or Italy there would be a turnaround. I have a hard time even getting motorcycle road racing TV coverage no matter where the racing is being done . Guess most people in this country don’t give a shit and the motorcycle manufacturers put their racing budgets overseas as the AMA and the NASCAR people ran off all the top level action. I used to watch racing on the Speed Channel religiously.

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    I have never in my life seen sport bike racing on American TV. I have never in my life seen it mentioned on ESPN. I can name only two Americans who I personally know that own sport bikes; one abandoned his bike after 6 months when he “had to lay ‘er down” and my brother gave up on his CBR1000RR because he “couldn’t figure out how to make it stop doing wheelies.” I don’t even casually know any Americans who race sport bikes.

    However, it’s worth noting that Dirt Quake USA, which features a kind of racing (albeit comic) is growing every year, as are similar events. Dirt track overall seems to be gaining ground.

    So, I think there’s some cause for optimism about motorcycling in general in the United States, but we may need to accept that’s not going to translate to participation in primarily European interests.

    And that’s OK. After all, the British televise darts competitions, for the love of Pete. This week, British television launched a show that sees celebrities competing at herding sheep. Just because something is big somewhere else, doesn’t mean Americans necessarily need to be upset it isn’t big in the US.

    • Warprints

      LOL. Hyperbole of sarcasm, I hope.

  • Warprints

    a few decades ago, road racing in the US seemed to be very robust, with Daytona as an international highlight. Then they started F#cking with the rules and the classes. AMA dropped the ball and then tried a disastrous lateral pass. Now it’s crap. Without the audience and the revenue, it’ll take some time to rebuild.

    • John A. Stockman

      Once AMA sold the rights to the nascar folks, they (DMG) definitely went about “f***ing with the rules” and especially those self-serving class names (Daytona Sportbike, WTF is that?). Let’s dumb down the racing like nascar, with clone bikes, nose to tail, going in around in a 160mph parking lot circle. Oh and put in spotters who are telling you what’s going on around you! Another WTF! I’m glad that motorcycle racing is one of the last bastions of non-spotter racing and no communications except the pit board between racer and pits/crew. It’s only the FIRST year for MotoAmerica. Rainey and co. are taking an apathetically-managed series and trying to resurrect it from the horrendous damage DMG did. In spite of that, DMG was actually “reluctant” to relinquish control to KRAVE/MotoAmerica. DMG “people” even told Gill Campbell they “saw no value in motorcycle racing”. That was in 2013 or 2014 when she was attempting to get a TV deal so the AMA races could be televised in conjunction with the WSBK racing at Laguna during that season. “We see no value in motorcycle racing.” Yeah, that’s who I want running the American 2-wheel road racing series. Yet I could tune in to Velocity network and watch every BSB race, but not my own national series! WSBK broadcast rights were taken by a soccer network in North America, beIN Sports, who has stopped showing Supersport! Every motorcycle support show was axed on Speed after their “commitment” to nascar; they’d go right over championship-deciding WSBK and MotoGP races for nascar news. Rick Miner said “don’t worry, we won’t become the nascar channel”; guess what, he LIED. The lack of respect for one of the most physically demanding disciplines in the world is sickening. Now they need to get a broadcast partner/producer to give us a real motorcycle racing presentation to round out the resurgence of motorcycle road racing here. The standard among all the racing series, which is a running order, what lap they’re on and lap-by-lap coverage w/o editing out 50-60% of the laps. Hey, like Chet Burks used to do. The show we have on CBS Sports is a youtube show. It starts with lap 1 & 2, then it’s lap 5 or 6, then all of a sudden it’s lap 10 and then it’s over. What lap is it, what’s the running order? Oh, it’s over now, thanks for that. Greenlight.tv, I don’t know who’s running that outfit, but it’s obvious they have never watched previous AMA Pro, or the current form of WSBK, BSB, or MotoGP to see how racing is properly presented. I hope they recognize that aspect and revamp the production/direction partner. It’s not CBS Sports’ fault, as they had good coverage the last few years AMA Pro was on that network with Paul Paige and Scott Russell doing commentary. Where’s Chet Burks when we & MotoAmerica need him?

  • Miffed

    Why American racing died.

    1) The manufacturers completely backed away from one of their largest, if not the largest market. They pulled away from us, we should stop supporting them.

    2) The adoption of Street Bike Production Racing. Not only did this rob riders of the skills necessary to ride a REAL race bike (A GSXR will never be a TZ), but riders discovered they could make a living in the USA without going to Europe (NASCAR did the same thing to American drivers, thus no driver from here in F1). Yes, bring back the two-stroke.

    3) Honda. Their push for four-stroke race bikes killed racing – Period!

  • mog

    OK, I will make this easy BUT I want your comment.

    0. Kick ass fun, small venue, fast pace and the observer can see themselves as a contestant.
    1. The phone with apps is most enthralling to the young and provides an instant (sickness) reward. It is stealing young brains away from real speed-dreams. Apps into this racing will get the young hooked into the real race life. Participant and/or competitor.
    2. What ever the race type… sponsors must see a way to sell, promote, market and align user groups. From run what you brung to Formula.
    4. This idea calls for something akin to a figure 8 with a bridge in the middle with tons of viewing stands and camera angles. 1 mile to two miles length, can go to any fairground or also any large race track. Right and left turns and straights through the center tunnel.
    5. Run it as if a twisted multi-lap, long distance drag race, 4 to 7 laps, main 10 to 12.
    5. The viewing stands are nearly in the pits. There are no bad seats.

    Immerse the public and the support will follow. Everybody in Europe is a motorcyclist.
    So, immerse the phone nut and get on with the racing.

    This is an outline for an idea to which added turns and straights vary the venue. Comments?

    • Ozzy Mick

      Excellent, mog – thinking outside the square! Racing is funded by sponsors, and is competing for their dollars. As these sponsors search for a bigger audience, adapting to modern day tech and behaviour among users is a great idea. Your suggested track design sounds very much like the motocross racing held in stadiums – up close and see the whole track!

      • mog

        Spot on OZZY.
        Now if you and I could get some additional comments…. This whole post could start to stir Rainey, KTM, MotoAmerica and a host of manufacturers. C’mon folks you want it bigger…. comment or fold.

    • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

      I’ve always been a fan of Gymkhana (https://youtu.be/KFEh59GVMnQ ). Super fun to watch. Can be held within the confines of a small area where everyone can see all the action. Not nearly as dangerous as road racing or MX. Can use almost any bike to compete. Very affordable compared to other forms of moto racing. I’d like to see MotoAmerica introduce Gymkhana into their schedule and/or see local race promoters introduce it for local competition. I think it could gain traction in the States if given the chance.

      • mog

        Reg Kitrell, a BUell rider, started Battletrax for any bike around 2001-2004 time frame. It went OK for a while and seemed to die down. It was quite similar to Gymkhana.

        Racing the “8” is very different. Anyone can imagine doing the race but it would boil down to amateur and expert classes just as the MotoAmerica series. The nice part is that a novice level would be strictly for street bikes (including the kick stand).

        The speeds on the straights are what separate the “8” from the slower type meets. Short straights to 100mph and long straights to 140+.

        This is full on racing but the bikes are not nearly as important as the rider’s finesse. A lot of room for manufacture’s series.

  • DXR

    We need to get back to the basics. What do all those riders have in common? Dirt track. We need to get back to grass roots racing. Support your local dirt track. The bikes are not as specialized as they used to be. You can go out and get a stock 450 and with a little bit of modification make a short tracker.