Tag Archives: suzuki

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!

Mazda Badge Engineering or… Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM)

Leaving the restaurant after celebrating my dad’s birthday my sister noticed a new Fiat 124 Spider in the parking lot and commented: “Hey, that’s a nice Miata!”

Funny that…

I explained the concept of Fiata to her and thought it would be an excellent topic to research and share in this blog. I like Mazda’s. I like their badge engineering efforts with other major companies. And having lived in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia I’ve been exposed to some of their other popular OEM agreements with Ford primarily, but also Suzuki, Nissan and most currently Toyota.

So here’s my attempt at explaining some of the “shared” platforms between Mazda and others.


Mazda & Fiat

Mazda Roadster / Mazda MX-5 – Fiat 124 Spider / Abarth 124 Spider

This is my favorite tie up because obviously the MX-5 started my relationship with Mazda and at some point I would love to buy a Fiat just for variety’s sake.


Mazda & Ford

Mazda BT-50 – Mazda B-series – Ford Ranger

Mazda Tribute – Ford Escape

I almost bought a Ford Escape once to replace our family’s aging Ford Explorer. Tribute would have been an option before I decided to focus my search on CX-7 & CX-5

Ford owned a big chunk of Mazda so there were lots of badge engineered vehicles. They go so far back I can’t even find pretty pictures to display here, so I’ll just list them all:

  • Ford Escape – Mazda Tribute
  • Ford Explorer – Mazda Navajo
  • Ford Courier – Mazda B-series
  • Ford Ranger – Mazda BT-50
  • Ford Probe – Mazda MX-6
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda Soho (Africa)
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda 121 (Europe)
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda 2
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda Demio
  • Ford i-MAX – Mazda 5
  • Ford i-MAX – Mazda Premacy
  • Ford Ixion – Mazda Premacy
  • Ford MAV – Mazda Premacy

 

Mazda Demio – Mazda2 – Ford Fiesta

Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Ford Ixion – Ford MAV

Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Ford i-MAX

It’s worth noting that Mazda uses different model names based on the market. Therefore a Demio is also Mazda2 which replaced Mazda 121 of the past.


Mazda & Toyota

Mazda Demio – Mazda2  – Scion iA – Toyota Yaris iA

This is the most recent relationship with the world’s largest car manufacturer which started off as a Scion brand that Toyota decided to fold into the parent company and now it’s the Yaris replacement. An odd scenario considering how many Yaris & Echo’s Toyota sold on it’s own over the past many years of making the little cars. Why outsource this production to Mazda now?


Mazda & Suzuki

Mazda AZ-1 / Autozam AZ-1 / Suzuki Cara

The Suzuki – Mazda relationship stretches back many generations. Including their famous AZ-1 / Cara project which was marketed under Mazda’s Autozam nameplate. Besides Autozam Mazda also launched Eunos which was originally one to market the Roadster in Japan known as MX-5 Miata everywhere else. Amati and efini brands which were meant to be the luxury divisions of Mazda much like Lexus was to Toyota, Acura to Honda or Infiniti to Nissan. Ford had it’s Lincoln brand and Cadillac did the trick for GM long before.

The list of Mazda – Suzuki mini-micro kei car collaborations:

  • Suzuki Every Wagon – Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum
  • Suzuki  Carry – Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum
  • Suzuki Wagon R – Autozam AZ Wagon – Mazda AZ Wagon
  • Suzuki Kei – Mazda Laputa
  • Suzuki Alto – Mazda Carol
  • Suzuki Lapin – Mazda Spiano
  • Suzuki Jimmy – Mazda AZ Offroad
  • Suzuki Vitara – Mazda Proceed Levante
  • Suzuki Ertiga – Proton Ertiga – Mazda VX-1

 

Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum – Suzuki Every Wagon

Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum – Suzuki Carry

Autozam AZ Wagon – Mazda AZ Wagon – Suzuki Wagon R

Mazda Laputa – Suzuki Kei 

Mazda Carol – Suzuki Alto

Mazda Carol – Suzuki Alto

Mazda Spiano – Suzuki Lapin

Mazda Spiano – Suzuki Lapin

Mazda AZ Offroad – Suzuki Jimmy

Mazda Proceed Levante – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda Proceed Levante – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda VX-1 ~ Suzuki Ertiga ~ Proton Ertiga

I could be wrong but it seems to me that Mazda rebadged every Suzuki made on the Japanese market. Which is interesting…


Mazda & Nissan

 Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Nissan Lafesta Highway STAR

Mazda Bongo – Nissan Vanette

Mazda Bongo – Nissan Vanette Truck

Mazda Familia Van – Nissan AD Expert

The Mazda Nissan relationship seems very interesting in that Mazda builds the Lafesta minivan for Nissan, along with the commercial Bongo rebadged to Nissan’s Vanette models. But Nissan provides the rebadged AD Expert marketed by Mazda as a Familia Van… Mazda’s Familia in Japan is marketed as Mazda 323, Mazda Protegé and more recently Mazda3 or Mazda Axela and none of the Mazda models look anything like the Nissan version… but, whatever works!


Mazda & Kia

Mazda Sentia – Kia Enterprise

This luxobarge was a rebadged Mazda for the Korean market before Kia/Huyndai started getting all fancy with their own big car designs.

Besides this product there was also Kia Pride which was a rebadged Ford Festiva just like Mazda 121 and Mazda Soho.


Mazda & Holden

This is going way back but Mazda used to sell Australian Holden’s in Japan as Mazda Roadpacer – rebadged from Holden Premier. Apparently Holden shipped the whole car minus an engine where Mazda shoved a rotary under the hood and put it on the market. It was not terribly successful.

 


Mazda & Isuzu

The next Mazda pick-up truck will be a rebadged Isuzu. Currently Isuzu and GM have a partnership where Isuzu’s rebadged D-Max trucks sell as Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.

 

I will update this page as I find more Mazda collaborations out there.

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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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!

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!