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MotoAmerica Superbike Challenge of New Jersey at NJMP Thunderbolt

It’s been a few years since I’ve marshaled Superbikes at NJMP, but this weekend was amazing thanks to a new friend I made during Trans Am weekend that invited for this season finale.

There’s been a few changes since the last time. AMA Superbikes has been rebranded as MotoAmerica. And as such has improved tremendously in my opinion. One of the biggest contributing factors to this success I think is it’s affiliation with the global organization FIM… the MotoAmerica rep that we work directly with as flaggers proudly wore an FIM North America badge on his sleeve, along with AMA (which is still a thing, apparently) as a sanctioning body.

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Unlike the last time though, there were far fewer marshals… both flaggers and recovery it seemed. That said NJMP as an organization seemed very much more appreciative of the people that showed up.

I was lucky enough to work at Turn 5, station 7 which was ideal. I especially liked the turn because it didn’t require me to go offroading in the Miata to get to it. The location was right next to the bridge that connects the Thunderbolt paddock to the world. The station had a reputation of being a very active turn but in reality this weekend we hardly had anything happen. There was one bike that went down on the last day during the warm up session, and a few bikes that moto’ed (gone 2 off in the grass).

The racing itself was spectacular. Lots of close battles throughout the field, and lots of great control of the bikes even in circumstances where I was certain the rider would lose it. I was super impressed.

I was very much impressed with MotoAmerica and NJMP facilitating training to the newbie marshals. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity so I went to see for myself what the training entailed. And I’m really happy to see the FIM organized training, the same videos used for MotoGP, being used here for MotoAmerica SBK. That’s brilliant. I really want to see all of motorsport be on the same page, no matter where in the world bikes race. If the world can follow FIM rules so can the US.

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My other favorite activities as usual were exploring the paddock. Lots of interesting bikes on display. Lots of variety. There were bikes from Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Aprilla, Ducati and BMW. KTM had a spec racer series which was awesome, very tight racing in there. One series that wasn’t present was the Harley-Davidson 1200’s… but from memory those bikes were much louder than they were fast, and they tended to leak oil a lot which is never good for racing.

So a fantastic weekend in the books. I hope this post promotes the event to other people to consider next year. This is well worth the three hour drive from NYC Metropolitan area and NJMP pays for your services! Win win…

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The Bike that Won the Hearts of Everyone at MotoAmerica SBK Challenge of NJ: FDNY Engine 23 Alexander

I think the coolest bike on track this weekend was that of Corey Alexander sporting the F.D.N.Y. Engine 23 livery in remembrance of September 11, fifteen years on. It was a beautiful sight to see on track and even more beautiful was the tribute made during the spectator pit walk before the big races took place.

The bike led a parade of emergency vehicles on track with the sirens and lights blaring. What an appropriate way to pay tribute here in New Jersey where so many people were directly affected by the tragedy.

It definitely caught my eye early on in the weekend, and after working the first day of practice I told my corner captain that I’ll have to go to the paddock and take some close up pictures of the firefighter-bike #23.

Here they are:

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Corey didn’t have a problem free weekend but the team did a great job of setting up his bike for the races. Unfortunately despite how quiet our turn was at Station 7, the one big Moto we had all weekend was bike #23 going way off in the grass before reentering the racing surface. I really hoped he’d do well this event.

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Besides the bike livery, Alexander also wore leathers resembling a firefighters uniform. I thought that was an amazing touch.

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And here’s the bike leaving to lead the parade of emergency vehicles including a police car, ambulance and a fire truck around NJMP Thunderbolt before the big race:

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Way to go team Ducati and Corey Alexander… respect!

Post Card from MotoAmerica Season Finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park NJMP Thunderbolt

Greetings from New Jersey Motorsports Park’s Thunderbolt home to this weekend’s MotoAmerica race… the season finale of the Superbikes, Supersport and Superstock series along with KTM spec racers. In this post I’ll share some walkabout photos while the other posts will give a better description of an amazing event. So glad I had an opportunity to be a part of it!

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Bright and early morning meetings at the NJMP Officer’s Club.

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Awesome station assignment at Turn 5, station 7 that didn’t require me to offroad my Miata on the back of the track to get to flag point.

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Great place to set up camp near the pub… I think I was the only one tenting there among many VIP’s in RV’s.

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Weather was perfect and lots of Motorcycle vendors were displaying their wares including offering prospective buyers the chance to test ride their machinery. That was neat!

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The cozy feel of NJMP Thunderbolt paddock and the open garages to spectators made everyone feel very much part of the event:

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Demographically this was probably the most diverse Motorsport event I’ve been to in a while, and of course, lots of chicks!

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Super happy I was able to make this event. Highly recommend it!