Doug Chandler is Back on Track.

Motorcycle.com Staff
by Motorcycle.com Staff

From Putter Power Media:

“I just wanna race,” says three-time AMA Superbike Champion Doug Chandler of his return to competition last weekend at California Speedway, in Fontana, California.

Reuniting with Kawasaki and other long-time sponsors in the first of a four-race, grass-roots racing campaign, Chandler took to the track on a self-prepared 2006 ZX-10R. Although his 19th-place qualifying and 15th-place result in Saturday’s Superbike race wasn’t stellar, he met his goal for the weekend after a two-year racing hiatus. “Basically, we took a stock streetbike, prepped it in little more than a week and qualified for a national,” remarks the three-time class champion with a smile.

Chandler performed the motorcycle’s street-to-track transformation personally. Starting with a low-mileage, stock motor, he cleaned up the mighty Ninja’s cylinder-head castings for smoother flow, fitted a thinner head gasket for additional compression, filled the transmission with slippery Repsol oil and ran Sunoco race fuel. After practice with this powerplant, a Muzzy-massaged engine was installed, but never made it on track due to a electronic pickup coil that was damaged during shipping from Oregon to California.

Front-line Dunlop tires and Brembo brakes were key, but among the trickest pieces on the bike were its pre-production, 50mm Marzocchi fork with adjustable-offset triple clamp and clip-on handlebars. It didn’t take much else to make the ZX-10R competitive. An Ohlins shock, GPR steering damper, Hotbodies bodywork, Dynojet Quick Shifter, Muzzys rearsets and AFAM sprockets rounded out the package. Other sponsors included Sterling Mortgage, High Gear Powersports, Shift, Kyle Racing and NickyHayden.com. The weekend’s wrenching duties were handled by Kawasaki Technical Services’ Scott Buckley, who was assisted by Jason Chisum, Chris Voelkner and Pat Ballew.Starting from the fifth row and battling shifting problems throughout, Chandler struggled in Saturday’s Superbike race. “I accomplished my main goal for the weekend, putting another Kawasaki on the grid, and decided that it would be best to regroup for the next round,” says the veteran racer who turned pro in 1983.

During Chandler’s time away from racing, he’s continued his role as a riding coach for Nicky and Tommy Hayden, works with Kawasaki and leather manufacturer Shift on product development, started a riding school and got his son, Jett, up to speed on the racetrack. All the while, Chandler has been working on a master plan to give back to the sport that has been so good to him.

Mentored and schooled by Kenny Roberts in his formative years, Chandler’s first step in this wide-ranging comeback was developing a riding school of his own. In its second year of roadracing and Supermoto training, for 2006, Champ Racing School (www. champ-racing.com), has 46 scheduled dates in the western United States.

Rider training is one thing, “But I’ve never been much for watching races,” admits Chandler. That said, the next phase of his plan was to build a race team and get himself back on track. To do so, Chandler and his associates have devised a creative way to involve Kawasaki dealerships and others in his comeback. Champ Racing is offering team sponsorship, VIP benefits and other marketing opportunities to all who sign up to support the team. Those interested in learning more about this program should contact John Papola at (707) 338-2298 or [email protected]

Phase three of this plan entails hiring other riders for the team. Chandler says, “I just want to get more green on the racetrack,” of his desire to see additional Kawasakis on the AMA Superbike Series’ grids after riding for the green-liveried team during eight fruitful seasons. Ideally, these riders would come up through Champ Racing School and be mentored by the three-time champion and former grand prix rider.

Among the most versatile competitors in AMA history, Chandler, 40, is one of four racers ever to achieve AMA Pro Racing’s Grand Slam, earning victories in all dirt track disciplines and, of course, in roadracing. He lives in Salinas, California with his wife, Sherry, and their three children: Jett and daughters Rainee and Quincee.

Still one of the smoothest racers the Superbike class has ever seen, Chandler plans to compete in three more rounds of the 2006 AMA Superbike Series: Infineon Raceway on May 19-21, Miller Motorsports Park on June 16-18 and Laguna Seca on July 21-23.

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Motorcycle.com Staff
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