Tag Archives: Superbikes

MotoAmerica Should Have Spotter Guides!

My biggest surprise of this weekend was the lack of any visual spotter guides available for any of the three major MotoAmerica series racing at NJMP for the Championship of New Jersey presented by K&N.

How could that be?

It seems like such a no-brainer idea but I was not able to find anything online or after attending the refresh training session on Thursday night. I really think that a sport as popular as this AMA Pro series should totally offer a visual spotter guide much like those offered in IMSA racing, PWC or IndyCar. Even NASCAR does paint scheme stories on their web site ahead of some races to let their fan base know what their favorite driver will be driving and what the livery on that vehicle will look like. I realize that there are potential sponsorship implications, as sponsors change from race to race perhaps, but its no excuse why there shouldn’t be a basic guide to what each team’s and rider’s bikes look like.

I would have really appreciated to have a reference guide to call bikes into Race Control based on what they look like from a distance, it was not always possible to read the bike number, especially in cases where the number was three digits. Those 3 digit bike numbers were pretty much impossible to read when the bike was down, or far away like at Station 12 where I was on Friday.

So yea… if anyone at MotoAmerica is reading please consider making one… Thank you very much for the consideration!

Took me a while to tell the difference between two factory Suzuki teams… turns out the one with a zebra paint scheme was the Superbike team and the one with a single colored stripe is a Supersport 1000 team… Ah hah!

I know this Yamaha team has been using this livery for at least a few years… and so does the factory Yamaha team:

The bikes most difficult to tell apart were the KTM RC Cup liveries:

MotoAmerica Superbikes at NJMP Championship of New Jersey the debrief

It was a gorgeous weekend at NJMP Thunderbolt to watch some bikes racing. But the freezing cold overnight in my tent camping at the track kicked my ass. Much like Mosport in Canada last weekend my foot began to hurt a ton after freezing my toes off and I had a hard time walking on Friday… which sucked. It was so cold Thursday night I went out and bought another sleeping bag which improved my comfort the next two nights but not enough to make the arthritis subside and I limped my way through the weekend.

I didn’t let the injury dampen my weekend and soldiered on. The station assignments were fantastic this year. Like last year I worked Turn 12 on Friday and Turn 7 on Saturday and Sunday. It was fantastic! Probably as good as it gets really.

Turn 12

Turn 7

Looking towards Turn 6, where we had the first red flag of the weekend with a high side bike on the opening laps of the first race.

One of my British marshal friends was surprised I’m actually working an event in my home state… voila! It’s true.

NJMP got a new toy to add to the fleet of their Subaru’s… this nice looking (and sounding) Audi S3 safety car.

If you’re a bike fan, there was a lot to look at this weekend. And every time I work a bike event I really am tempted to go out and buy a bike of my own. Of course the sport bike that I want would require me to lose my gut to at least look normal on it.

Not much was out yet when I arrived on Thursday afternoon.

And a lot of familiar bikes were on display, but I was a bit disappointed to find out there is no visual spotter guide to help marshals distinguish the bikes. Or to help the fans for that matter.

Arriving on Thursday my goal was to go to the training/refresh meeting, which was neat. Dave does a great job. I was happy to see Dave using a pic of me Blue flagging (an IMSA race at Mosport a few years back) in his training material. I was surprised that there was only a handful of us in attendance though.

As cold as it was overnight, during the day it was super comfortable and warm weather. So much so I went out for ice cream one night.

It was delicious.

Big thanks to Brittany at NJMP for making this event possible for me, and I’m very much looking forward to another weekend down there soon for the NASCAR K&N East series. Interestingly enough the MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey was presented by K&N also… whose filters I use on my marshaling rig both oil and air.

It’s going to be awesome…

Post Card from Moto America Championship of New Jersey Round 9 at NJMP Thunderbolt Mega Photo Gallery

Greetings from a beautiful weekend in South Jersey volunteering for my only bike race of this season with MotoAmerica Championship Superbikes, Superstock and Supersport bikes supported by KTM RC Cup and Vintage Bikes.

Enjoy the over 100 pix from Race Day on Sunday… and stay tuned for more to come about this awesome event.

I got to work Turn 7 which is probably the best station at Thunderbolt and certainly for me, because during our long lunch hour I was able to just walk into the paddock area and check out all the bikes… spectator bikes, bikes for sale, racing bikes, etc.

The young kids riding… that is really inspiring!

notice the missing BMW engine behind the cowling…

These KTM spec series bikes are really neat!

Love seeing all these vintage bikes, many of them for sale!

And of course lots of new stuff for sale, Suzuki and others had a great test ride opportunity with customers going on a cruise in a convoy of new bikes around Millville, New Jersey

NJMP offered a good discounted lunch option for us, all for $5 bux

Philly Cheesesteak, fries, chips and drink.

By the time I finished my lunch, the grid walk was wrapping up… so I did some drive-by shooting of pix as the bikes were getting ready to grid up and race.

The kids riding area was super cool… I think a few racers actually joined them which looked pretty funny but must have been an amazing opportunity to inspire the young riders to pursue this hobby further.

Enjoy… more to come soon!

MotoAmerica Volunteers Needed for Round #2 at Road Atlanta

MotoAmerica wants you to volunteer!

It’s great to see them actively recruiting, I’ve gotten several invitations over the past few days that I wanted to share with the readers here… I totally think that you should sign up especially if you like motorcycles! It’s a mind blowing experience.


 

Volunteers Needed for Road Atlanta April 27th – 30th

photo credit: MotoAmerica

MotoAmerica is looking for a few good men. And women. MotoAmerica is seeking volunteers who want to assist the series and be a part of the action that is the 2017 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship.

“Those who volunteer their time to MotoAmerica races add to the safe and efficient running of our events,” said MotoAmerica Race Operations Manager Niccole Cox. “Like MotoGP and World Superbike, we use volunteers to help our staff, our volunteers are a great group of people who are passionate about motorcycle racing in the US. We always try to have a little fun with our Volunteer BBQ with a star rider each round, where the volunteers get to break bread and have some very candid conversations with our stars. The riders very much enjoy being able to meet the people who donate their time to our events, and it lead to some great conversations that most fans will never see. Our volunteers get closer to the racing action than any other fans, and learn what it takes to put on such a large event. The program continues to grow each year, and we are thrilled at the progress and the impact it has made on our organization”

MotoAmerica will provide training, free camping options, guest and parking passes, plus lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at each event. At stand alone events, MotoAmerica Volunteers will also be treated to a Saturday night BBQ with MotoAmerica staff and the opportunity to talk with one of the racers, up close and personal!

Positions are available for all specialties for Road Atlanta

Here is a brief description of those positions:
• F&C(Flag and Communications) marshal: communicates track conditions to riders by way of flags and to Race Control with radios.
• Track marshal: provides on track support with motorcycle recovery in the event of a crash or mechanical failure.
• Tire marshal: assists tire-control coordinator in paddock, hot pit, and grid to ensure competitors follow tire-allocation regulations.
• Technical control: supports technical director to certify racing motorcycles conform to rulebook.
• Hospitality Staff: helps ensure MotoAmerica hospitality area is stocked and greets guests as they enter to verify admittance
• Grid marshal: assists chief steward help riders follow practice and qualifying procedures and make sure their motorcycles are positioned correctly on the grid for race starts
• Signage/Podium: assist with signage set up on track and with podium presentations

To volunteer for click here.


Again I would strongly encourage Motorsport marshals and enthusiasts to sign up for this event because it is simply spectacular. No experience is necessary and in fact Flagging by Faynisha does an excellent job of training you leading up to the big races.

Poking around the MotorsportReg web site I noticed that MotoAmerica is recruiting volunteers for a lot of tracks where it has become almost impossible to play at without being employed by the track. This is excellent opportunity to visit the facility as an insider, specifically for places like Barber Motorsports Park, VIR, Sonoma or Utah Motorsports Complex. Click here for additional information:

http://www.motorsportreg.com/orgs/motoamerica/volunteers

I wish I had the means to travel, I would totally volunteer every round of this amazing series.

Give it a try folks!

MotoAmerica Volunteers Needed for Round #1 at Circuit of the Americas

MotoAmerica wants you to volunteer!

It’s great to see them actively recruiting, I’ve gotten several invitations over the past few days that I wanted to share with the readers here… I totally think that you should sign up especially if you like motorcycles! It’s a mind blowing experience.


 


Volunteers Needed for Circuit of the Americas April 20th – 23th

photo credit: MotoAmerica

MotoAmerica is looking for a few good men. And women. MotoAmerica is seeking volunteers who want to assist the series and be a part of the action that is the 2017 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Racing Championship.

“Those who volunteer their time to MotoAmerica races add to the safe and efficient running of our events,” said MotoAmerica Race Operations Manager Niccole Cox. “Like MotoGP and World Superbike, we use volunteers to help our staff, our volunteers are a great group of people who are passionate about motorcycle racing in the US. We always try to have a little fun with our Volunteer BBQ with a star rider each round, where the volunteers get to break bread and have some very candid conversations with our stars. The riders very much enjoy being able to meet the people who donate their time to our events, and it lead to some great conversations that most fans will never see. Our volunteers get closer to the racing action than any other fans, and learn what it takes to put on such a large event. The program continues to grow each year, and we are thrilled at the progress and the impact it has made on our organization”

MotoAmerica will provide training, free camping options, guest and parking passes, plus lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at each event. At stand alone events, MotoAmerica Volunteers will also be treated to a Saturday night BBQ with MotoAmerica staff and the opportunity to talk with one of the racers, up close and personal!

Positions are available for Tire Marshal and Technical Control specialties ONLY for Circuit of the Americas.

F&C marshals Track marshals, and medics are being organized by the COTA staff.  If you are interested in these positions for this event, please view their event page here. Do you have a medical background? They are in need of you especially!

Here is a brief description of those positions:
• Tire marshal: assists tire-control coordinator in paddock, hot pit, and grid to ensure competitors follow tire-allocation regulations.
• Technical control: supports technical director to certify racing motorcycles conform to rulebook.

To volunteer click here.


Again I would strongly encourage Motorsport marshals and enthusiasts to sign up for this event because it is simply spectacular. For this particular round MotoAmerica plays a support role to the amazing MotoGP event… Expect the crowds for this to be massive and also expect lots of swag from CoTA for your participation. No experience is necessary and in fact Flagging by Faynisha does an excellent job of training you leading up to the big races.

Poking around the MotorsportReg web site I noticed that MotoAmerica is recruiting volunteers for a lot of tracks where it has become almost impossible to play at without being employed by the track. This is excellent opportunity to visit the facility as an insider, specifically for places like Barber Motorsports Park, VIR, Sonoma or Utah Motorsports Complex. Click here for additional information:

http://www.motorsportreg.com/orgs/motoamerica/volunteers

I wish I had the means to travel, I would totally volunteer every round of this amazing series.

Give it a try folks!

Get Closer to the Action! Become a Motorsport Marshal Volunteer!

Russ found a new hobby in 2011: Motorsport volunteering.

Since then he has worked in 15 different countries and for all sorts of racing from Formula 1 to MotoGP.

Russ likes to encourage others to volunteer also.

Get in touch with Russ to find out how.

 

 

some shortcuts:

How to Become a Marshal?

by Series

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Young Marshals Wanted!

 

Events Russ Marshaled

Circuits Russ Marshaled

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!

Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at the Circuit of the Americas the debrief

For a last minute trip, my visit to COTA for MotoGP and MotoAmerica racing was as good a trip as it gets. I’ve said this to a few people over the past few weeks of marshaling and I don’t think they can really wrap their brains around this statement so let’s break it down here.

I was set to go to Watkins Glen for the NASCAR Motorsport Safety Seminar… I chickened out when I saw snow and freezing temps on the forecast. It did indeed snow and was freezing Upstate New York but I didn’t sit around at home sulking. I booked a flight the day before my departure for Texas. Austin was expensive… of course it would be, I’m only competing with tens of thousands of spectators, teams, officials, etc. So I flew to Dallas. It cost $63 one way on American Airlines and $62 on the way back flying United.

Unlike the last trip a month ago for PWC, Megabus was pricey and the scheduling didn’t work. So I elected to try Greyhound… it still cost almost $30 bux round trip, and the experience was crazy to say the least… I was pretty surprised by the type of folks that ride Greyhound, especially those that make their journey across the whole country, but that’s a story for another time. Lucky for me the Greyhound station is very near to my friend Joaquin’s home and it was quite convenient to get a ride to and from the track there.

Joaquin had a full house so I used my tent that lives in Texas to camp at COTA which worked out very well. It was especially convenient since I told Jeanie that I’d be happy to flag, be a track marshal or deliver lunches and she snagged me to help out with track ops, where among other things I really did do deliver lunches. It was the hardest I had ever worked at a track while volunteering. I was running around so much I had to change my shirt during lunch time because it was completely soaken wet. But it was such a blast.

Probably the coolest experience for me was driving around on track delivering marshals to their stations. I got to use the Toyota Tundra to take a small group to Turn 20A and 20B, and then raced back around the track to see if more people needed rides. I also used a golf cart to run many errands driving around the inner and outer rings of the circuit as well as multiple trips to the paddock. Unlike other series, Dorna really enforced the rule of nobody but officials in pit lane and garages. Everyone got scanned in and out. And since we didn’t get the credentials the only time I got to go there was during the pit walk which we shared with spectators.

But I feel I really got my money’s worth. I was issued blue overalls and a tabard so when numbers were short Saturday morning I was the only flagger at Turn 16. Then I got another track ops person to join me. Then I got pulled off when a real flagger turned up. And as I was leaving I got to help push a striken bike onto the gator transport. It was pretty awesome. On race day I got to spectate from Turn 1 and when things went crashy I got to push another bike up on the transport while the track marshal who was working there was trying to get his hand looked on which he burned by accidentally touching the smoking hot exhaust pipe under the seat. Apparently it burned right thru the glove.

All in all it was the best time I had ever had at COTA and I wouldn’t rule it out that I would sign up again for this position for another big event like Formula 1 later this year.

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Postcard from Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at COTA (MotoGP/MotoAmerica)

Well that was something completely different!

For a last minute trip it was much better executed than some of my longer planned in advance events. But of course I enjoy returning to COTA and thanks to my buddy Joaquin who’s been keeping my tent for me for a few years as well as  Jeanie Caulfied who always makes me welcome back in Austin (even on less than 24 hours notice) things went super smoothly.

I’ll write another entry when I have a little bit more time, it’s basically 1:30am and I’ve just flown in from Dallas via Houston and my alarm is set for 5:30am to go on the next trip to Long Beach.

But suffice to say I had my best time at COTA yet (I think I said this about the trip for PWC last month, but this one beat it by a mile!).

Instead of flagging or track marshaling I suggested to Jeanie that I’d be happy to deliver lunches. And she let me do it! How difficult could that job be?  right?…   well, I worked my ass off! I was absolutely gutted by the last day of the event and my body basically gave out. I burned myself out. But I had a blast doing it. The Track Ops position that I volunteered for is far more than just delivering lunches to 300+ marshals. I got to drive on track twice a day to deliver marshals to their stations. I got to drive the ring road more than a dozen times a day running errands, everything from delivering late comer marshals to drink and ice runs, to lunch deliveries. I got to fill in on flags when the flag chief was short on people. And I was even lucky enough to push a few bikes on the gator transports when there were incidents at stations I was either assigned to or happened to be in the area. It was such a blast. I feel like I had gotten to do it all, and then some… Definitely not a position I had ever the privilege of experiencing before and one I would love to do again… for F1.

But enough talk… I must get some sleep… in the mean time, here’s some photos:

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Every morning I got to do a lap around the COTA circuit to deliver marshals to station, and every afternoon I got to do another to bring them back to the mustering tent.

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Of all the rigs at our disposal for “Hospitality Operations Services” I got to wheel every one of them, from pick up trucks to golf carts.

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Was super glad we got to do the pit lane walk, although having to share it with spectators kind of took away from it being as special, that and of course it was too crowded to take some decent pix. (especially when the crowd in front of Rossi’s and Marquez’s garages was at least five deep)

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For MotoGP the paddock and garages was difficult to access without credentials (which we didn’t have), but MotoAmerica was far more welcoming and we made a number of rounds through it to pick up ice and run other errands.

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Ducati Islands in vendor village was like a candy store, so many cool bikes on display it was awesome.

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But most awesome was getting to watch the event from different stations and therefore get some amazing perspectives I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

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It was nice to see so many marshals passionate about Motorcycles, many rode their bikes to the event. Some showed up in Miata’s… like this Niseki Edition:

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Fantastic time! Can’t thank Jeanie enough for the opportunity!