The schedule has been released for this year’s inaugural MotoAmerica American road racing championship. There will be eight race weekends, including a single California stop at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the fall when WSBK comes to town. With Round 1 at Circuit of the Americas only weeks away, here’s what we know about our new MotoAmerica championship:
Late last year, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), in partnership with KRAVE Group LLC, reacquired commercial and promotional rights to American professional road racing from Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG). They called the reinvention MotoAmerica. KRAVE, a motorsports management all-star team comprised of Wayne Rainey, Chuck Aksland, Terry Karges, and Richard Varner, now owns, operates, and promotes MotoAmerica. With Rainey and friends behind the wheel, and with the backing of the AMA and MotoGP management company Dorna, hopes are high that AMA Road Racing will once again be able to breed riders who are ready for success at the international level.
Cynics will tell you we’ve been here before, on the brink of a new beginning for racing in the U.S. Back in 2008 our hopes were riding on another new management team–DMG–to revive the ailing series, but that dream died quickly. After six dismal seasons, each worse than the one before, many of the top riders, teams, and sponsors had abandoned the sport, and media coverage had become near to non-existent. The economic downturn in the early 2000s deserves some of the blame, but poor leadership exacerbated a fragile situation and left the series a wreck.
As things stand, KRAVE and AMA have a long, hard road ahead to bring some life back into American Road Racing, but MotoAmerica is still the best chance AMA racing has seen in a decade to turn our beleaguered series into the national championship it once was. The change won’t happen overnight, but if there was ever a chance to get American racers back on international podiums, MotoAmerica is going to give it to us.
Running the Show
As the new commercial owners of AMA Road Racing rights, KRAVE Group will be running all aspects of MotoAmerica AMA racing and FIM-sanctioned North American Road Racing. KRAVE is named after its founding members: Karges, Rainey, Aksland, and Varner.
He needs no introduction, but here goes anyway: Wayne Rainey is an American road-racing legend. He’s a three-time world champion, Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee, and team owner and manager who has run 250cc and 500cc teams in the MotoGP championship.
Terry Karges is Executive Director of the Peteresen Museum and former Vice President of Marketing at Roush Performance. Karges brings over four decades of motorsports management experience to KRAVE, primarily in the automotive world, and has owned his own racing team.
Richard Varner is a successful businessman, custom bike entrepreneur, and passionate bike rider, collector, and builder. Rainey, Karges, and Varner (along with The Quail Gathering’s Gordon McCall) came up with the idea to buy the rights to AMA racing while collaborating on a custom Yamaha build and lamenting the decline of the sport in America.
Most recently Director of Track Operations at Circuit of the Americas, Chuck Aksland is a former racer, rider manager, and team manager for Team Roberts for fifteen years, where he met Rainey.
KRAVE’s long-range plan for MotoAmerica is for the race classes to conform to FIM’s (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) rules, so American racing is more in line with the rest of the world. To minimize new expenses for teams already invested in one system, that adjustment will come slowly. Superbike will remain the premier MotoAmerica class, while Superstock 1000 will now be run with it and scored separately. Dunlop is the official spec-tire provider for MotoAmerica, and both Superstock and Superbike will be running Dunlop slicks. Supersport 600 riders will run slicks also, while the class formerly known as Supersport will become Superstock 600, with riders on lightly modified stock bikes and DOT Dunlop tires.
The junior class KTM RC 390 Cup is one of the most exciting aspects of the new series. Riders aged fourteen to twenty-two will compete on very affordable (about $10,000), spec RC 390s, with KTM paying out prizes of $500 to $100 for riders finishing in from first to fifth place. The KTM Cup supports MotoAmerica’s focus on developing young riders to be the next generation of great American racers.
For a list of riders and teams signed up for each class, head over to the MotoAmerica website.
After a 2014 season with no tv coverage to speak of, the new management recognized that bringing racing into homes is key to the commercial success of the series. Shortly after announcing they would be taking over, MotoAmerica penned a deal with CBS Sports Network for weekend and primetime race coverage. Extensive digital coverage will also be available at the motorsports website Torque.TV.
CBS’s broadcasting team will be led by Jonathan Green, an experienced motorcycle race announcer, who will joined in the booth by MotoGP veteran and lively personality Colin Edwards. Cristy Lee, a sportscaster, co-host of the Discovery Channel show “All Girls Garage”, and avid dirt and street rider, will be reporting from the pit.
- April 10th, 11th, 12th: Circuit of the Americas (Superbike and Superstock MotoGP support races)
- April 17, 18th, 19th: Road Atlanta
- May 15th, 16th, 17th: Virginia International Raceway (VIR)
- May 29th, 30th, 31th: Road America
- June 12th, 13th, 14th: Barber Motorsports Park
- July 19th: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Superbike and Superstock World Superbike support races)
- August 7th, 8th, 9th: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Superbike and Superstock MotoGP support races)
- September 11th, 12th, 13th: New Jersey Motorsports Park
We’ll see you at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this July!
Swarts, David. “MotoAmerica Partner Chuck Aksland Talks About How Their New Race Series Will Look In 2015: Part Three, The Class Structure and TV Package.” RoadRacingWorld.com. http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/motoamerica-partner-chuck-aksland-talks-about-how-their-new-race-series-will-look-in-2015-part-three-the-class-structure-and-tv-package/.
Miles, Matthew. “Five Classes: MotoAmerica Season Entry List.” MotoAmerica.com http://www.motoamerica.com/five-classes-57-riders-motoamerica-season-entry-list.
Siahaan, Troy. “MotoAmerica Secures 2015 TV Deal with CBS Sports.” Motorcycle.com http://blog.motorcycle.com/2014/12/05/motorcycle-category/sportbikes/motoamerica-secures-2015-tv-deal-cbs-sports/.
Miles, Matthew. “MotoAmerica Faces the Future.” CycleWorld.com http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/10/07/motoamerica-leading-the-next-generation-of-american-roadracers/.