It has been over eight months since my last Motorsport track visit. Finally! Something came along locally that I actually wanted to be a part of. MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey at NJMP is always amazing and I’m super happy I was able to take part this weekend even though I’ll miss out on a full day of racing (Sunday) due to work.
Work has certainly put a damper on this hobby. By the time I finished Thursday night I only managed to get two hours of sleep before driving down south Friday morning for the ridiculously early 6:40am meeting at NJMP. Luckily it was good weather, sunny and only a small chance of weather that did not materialize, except for one instance of lightning that had us briefly evacuated causing a shortened practice session. I had a great night of rest at a local cheap motel… “cheap” when it comes to quality… not the price which they jacked from $56/night normally to almost double $96/+ tax because a pro race is in town. Thanks Quality Inn. But I can’t complain too much. NJMP pays for this event so my expenses will be covered. Saturday it was rain all day long. And to be honest I missed it. I missed the experience so much I thoroughly enjoyed the misery. Had to change my whites at lunch time because even with rain gear it was getting cold and uncomfortable. But all in all a fantastic weekend. Tons of action, lots of good fun. Now my feet are burning and I’m back to sitting on my ass all day at work tomorrow. Happy with the memories I made.
Blue must be the most suitable bike color…
My first and last local race in the books. Until next year!
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.
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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…
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!
Bright and early morning meetings at the NJMP Officer’s Club.
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.
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.
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!
The cozy feel of NJMP Thunderbolt paddock and the open garages to spectators made everyone feel very much part of the event:
Demographically this was probably the most diverse Motorsport event I’ve been to in a while, and of course, lots of chicks!
Super happy I was able to make this event. Highly recommend it!
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:
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.
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.
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)
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.
Ducati Islands in vendor village was like a candy store, so many cool bikes on display it was awesome.
But most awesome was getting to watch the event from different stations and therefore get some amazing perspectives I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
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:
Fantastic time! Can’t thank Jeanie enough for the opportunity!
Another season opener, this time on two wheels. I have to say that Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit is the most scenic and exotic racetrack I have ever been to. Especially working turn 6.8 Right, the Siberia corner, was a fantastic view of the ocean behind the bikes making a sharp turn towards us.
Surprisingly enough I got to do a lot of recoveries. My station had no flags on it, and no shade as a result. But I was on comms the whole weekend so I could hear what was happening throughout the practice stints and races, and got to call in a few bike #’s that crashed in our turn. Jumping over the tire wall and hay bales was interesting, but we got to recover almost half a dozen bikes, especially on Saturday Supersport practice where there was a complete tire failure for a lot of competitors.
The ratio of my bike to car races is highly skewed to cars, but I’m looking forward to my next MotoGP at Indianapolis later this year 🙂
PS. I can’t say enough good things about the Phillip Island circuit, for anyone thinking about doing it, there’s no question do it any opportunity you get!