Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati in a Rush

Larry Lawrence
by Larry Lawrence
The Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati team now has its racing bikes from Ducati and the team is hurriedly preparing trying to make the doubleheader AMA Superbike round at California Speedway...

The Austin/Bleu Bayou Ducati team now has its racing bikes from Ducati and the team is hurriedly preparing trying to make the doubleheader AMA Superbike round at California Speedway. If the team is to make the April 5-7 race in Fontana they will have to completely go over the bikes (former Larry Pegram machines), freshen them up, then haul them out to California all in about a week.

Terry Gregoricka, team owner of Austin/Bleu Bayou, which raced Harley-Davidson Superbikes over the last few years, owns four Harley-Davidson dealerships and recently purchased a Ducati dealership in Austin, Texas. Gregoricka’s is not sure if the team will be able to make Fontana, but admits that new team rider Pascal Picotte is chomping at the bit to get on the bikes even if they are made of a mix of parts some of which are two years old.Crew Chief Lance Baker will be completely tearing down the former HMC Ducatis in the next few days to see what needs replaced and what can be used. If the motors are fresh enough expect to see them at Fontana. Gregoricka says that 2002 motors are coming over from Italy and the team’s bikes will be completely updated by the Sears Point doubleheader coming up at the beginning of May.

Austin/Bleu Bayou has been one of the top privateer/semi-works teams in AMA racing. The squad seems well funded and has very good personnel. Last year, with Jordan Szoke riding, they often finished higher than the factory Harley-Davidson team.

“We’ve always had a good team,” said Gregoricka. “It’s just been a struggle to get halfway competitive bikes. That’s always been a concern in AMA racing – the factory teams always win. But I think with Ducati’s backing our team will be right there. Pascal can beat anyone on any given weekend. We just need a few races to get everything sorted out.”

Meanwhile, the HMC Ducati seems to fit Doug Chandler like a glove. After going the entire off-season with no testing and never being on the bike, Chandler was reportedly the fastest Superbike rider Tuesday in the first of three days of factory testing at Laguna Seca.

While Ducati has been dominant in World Superbike competition, the factory hasn’t had a winning combination in the U.S. series since Anthony Gobert rode for Vance & Hines Ducati in 1999.

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Larry Lawrence
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