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Pro Street Bringing the Action to MIR

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A mid-season Orient Express Pro Street rule change, giving the nitrous bikes back some of what was taken away at the start of the year, promises to give the blue bottle crowd ammunition for revenge against the 6 second turbo onslaught that happened at Maryland International Raceway in April. So expect the wildest street tire showdown of all times when the Mickey Thompson MIRock Superbike Series reconvenes for the Fast By Gast Summer Showdown at MIR on June 2-3, 2012.

The home of the world’s first 6-second streetbike pass last October saw two turbo bikes join Ryan Schnitz and the nitrous huffing HTP Performance Suzuki Hayabusa in the exclusive 6 Second Club in April. Pro Street rookie Joey Gladstone on the DME Racing ‘Busa and two-time defending champion Rodney Williford rang up the magic number, and several other turbo bikes including Rockingham winner “No Joke” with Jeremy Teasley up top were within striking distance.

HTP Performance builder/tuner Cecil Towner is covering his bets, though, and debuting his new turbo bike at MIR with rider Lavar “Lil’ Charlie” DeLee in the saddle along with Schnitz on the nitrous ‘Busa.

Towner and Schnitz will also be returning with the brand new EFI/nitrous/Hayabusa Mickey Thompson Pro Mod combination that debuted so well in April, losing the final to surprise first time Pro Mod winner Mac McAdams.

Pro Street isn’t the only class expecting a vengeful pack of nitrous bikes. RS Motorsports owner/tuner Roger Starrette and his three nitrous Kawasaki ZX14s will be ganging up for sure on Johnny “Turbo” Dobrin’s turbo ‘Busa in DME Real Street. Dobrin’s won both races this year, and multi-time Real Street champ (and Adams Performance/RS Motorsports rider) Jeremy Teasley is pissed at seeing his checks and trophies going to someone else.

Also expect huge Trac King/APE Top Sportsman, House of Speed Crazy 8s, FBR Shop 5.60 Index, Fast By Gast Pro ET, and Brock’s Performance Street ET fields to race deep into the night along with Saturday night’s Afterdark Underground. MIR’s famous bikini contest, though, will be glistening in the bright light of day on Sunday. You won’t want to miss 6 seconds of the Fast by Gast Summer Showdown at Maryland International Raceway.

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Find out more about the Mickey Thompson Performance Tires MIRock Superbike Series at http://www.mirockracing.com

This report was prepared by Tim Hailey. Enjoy everything there is to read, see and watch about motorcycle drag racing and more at http://www.eatmyink.com

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Dynojet sponsored Celtic Racing’s Rispoli And Alexander Share Podium Finishes At Road America

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Celtic Racing arrived at Road America for the AMA Pro Road Racing SuperSport West doubleheader with James Rispoli leading the West point standings, and Corey Alexander in fifth in the East championship. James rode hard in Practice and Qualifying aboard his #1 Celtic Orient Express Suzuki GSX-R 600 to take third position on the grid, posting the fastest time in Saturday morning Qualifying as well. Corey showed that he was back to form at Road America, qualifying just behind his teammate in fourth place in the thirty-two rider field on his #5 National Guard Fairhills Group Suzuki GSX-R 600, and was third fastest in second Qualifying. Race one on Saturday saw Rispoli battle for the lead with eventual race winner Lewis, and finish in third position just behind Mesa. Rispoli gained valuable points to maintain his Supersport West lead for the series championship. Alexander had a good start for the first green flag, but then after the red flag suffered with clutch issues which dropped him back to 22nd overall. Some determined and calculated racing moved Corey steadily through the field to finish eleventh, with a pace that would have placed him in the lead pack.

The second SuperSport race on Sunday was a three rider battle for the front with Rispoli again battling for the lead. Alexander had a good start, working his way from eighth to fourth, again on pace to battle with the lead pack but unable to close the gap. On the last lap Rispoli attempted to make a pass for the lead and wound up crashing. James would recover quickly and finish sixth, salvaging valuable points. Alexander was in the perfect position to take advantage of his teammate’s misfortune, and grabbed third place on the podium behind Lewis and Mesa.

Corey Alexander was thrilled to earn a podium on Sunday, and said “After a tough few weeks and a misfortunate problem with the bike on Saturday, I was super excited to make a podium finish Sunday. My National Guard Fairhills Group crew stuck behind me so I have to give them a huge shout-out, and though I was bummed to see James go down on the last lap I was happy to take third. Thanks to everyone supporting the team, the National Guard, Fairhills Group, and Celtic Racing. Special thanks to my personal sponsors Arai Helmets, Spidi Leathers, XPD Boots, Hudson Valley Motorcycle, my family, and Uncle Richie.”

Rispoli battled hard all weekend, and he was happy to gain points as the next event moves to Barber, stating “Race one was pretty good before the red flag, we were right there hanging behind Lewis closing the laps down, but third was all I got Saturday. Sunday morning warm up we made some changes to help get off the corners harder, and through the fast corners. The first lap of the race i knew we had the pace when I could run up on Lewis coming off the corners. On the white flag lap I passed him for the lead going down the back straight into turn five, I got double drafted so I tried to just go back around Mesa to sit in second but I missed my first downshift so I had to grab four gears in a row and got it super side-ways. As I went down I just remember yelling in my helmet “YOU IDIOT” and then “GET UP! GET UP!” Before I was done sliding I was running for the bike, and luckily the flagger had picked it up and I was on my way to the checkered flag, only losing one point in that race. I feel bad that my team gave me the bike to win and I made a very uncharacteristic mistake, that I don’t usually make and that I couldn’t put a win in the books for them. But we’re still 26 points ahead going into Barber where I love to ride.” James would also like to thank his personal sponsors: AGV Helmets, Dainese Leathers, Monster Energy, and Techmount for their support.

Both Celtic Racing Suzuki GSX-R 600’s showcase the best in road racing technology. Product support for both machines comes from: Michael Jordan Motorsports, American Suzuki, Armor Bodies, Chicken Hawk Racing, DesignStar3, Dynojet, FMF Racing, Full Spectrum Power, Hudson Valley Racing, Galfer Brakes, GB Racing, K-Tech Suspension, Maxima Oils, Motion Pro, Pit Bull, Riviera Country Club, Saddlemen, Star Motorcycle School, Vortex Racing, and Zero Gravity.

Celtic Racing was established in 2001 by Barry Gilsenan, and over the past 11 seasons has established itself as a premier privateer racing team. Development of riding talent began with two-stroke 125cc, and 250cc machines competing in professional and regional championship events. More recent Celtic Racing efforts have focused on AMA Pro Road Racing in the Daytona SportBike and SuperSport classes with Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha four stroke motorcycles. Gilsenan’s talent for coaching racers of all ages and abilities has brought Celtic Racing worldwide attention and recognition, with many former Celtic Racing riders now competing on World Championship levels. Please join Celtic Racing on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CelticRacing.

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Check out the PCV equipped ZX-14Rs in Kawsaki’s Zero-to-Hero Challenge

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In an effort unparalleled in the history of the modern sportbikes, Kawasaki Motor Corp. (KMC) has not only acknowledged sportbike motorcycle drag racing, but put forth a considerable amount of time, effort, and expense to showcase our discipline for mainstream motorsports enthusiasts to view this summer on SPEED TV.

A quick breakdown of the Zero to Hero Challenge concept was this: Submit an essay entitled, “Why I am qualified to race Rickey Gadson” (View complete contest rules here.)

Out of the 3,000+ essays submitted, entrants were painstakingly whittled down to 8 semi-finalists by Kawasaki’s marketing staff, combined with personal phone interviews of the top 20 conducted by Rickey Gadson himself. The eight were then judged by the public via the Kawasaki.com website from their personally submitted bio with photo. (Click here to view semifinalist’s bios – Reading their bio’s you will easily see why they were chosen)

After the public had spoken, the 4 top vote receivers were the finalists (the 5th highest, Hall joined as an alternate.) They then travelled to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to attend a 2 day Rickey Gadson Drag Racing School aboard slammed and stretched 2012 ZX-14Rs.

During my interviews there was one common theme amongst all five Zero to Hero Challenge competitors, it was praise towards their Rickey Gadson Drag Racing School experience.

At the completion of the school, the competitors had to pass the official NHRA test criteria to qualify for their ET Motorcycle Competition License. Generally, this would entail making two full passes of 9.99 or quicker, but because of the LVMS high altitude, that number has been softened to 10.15. Because I don’t want to ruin any of the drama of the upcoming show, and BELIEVE ME when I say there was plenty of drama, I’ll just continue on. The semi-finalists raced each other in a bracket-race format, and for the finale, the winner out of the four, faced off against our beloved 9-time Drag Racing Champion, in a best two-out-of-three bracket-race, for the key to a brand new stock ZX-14R which had sat glistening in the sun at the starting line for two full days, taunting the contestants during each and every burnout.

I won’t tell you which competitor was in serious jeopardy of not even making the cut to receive a competition license, much less exactly what chaos unfolded just before the final. Just remember my drama comment, and stay tuned to dragbike.com for show airtimes.

I would like to take a moment to try to define the lengths with which Kawasaki has gone with regard to the Zero to Hero Challenge and bringing this show to SPEED TV. Of course, their job is to sell motorcycles, and I’m not pretending otherwise, but when was the last time a major OEM placed this type of emphasis toward the mainstream market using sportbike drag racing? I can answer that question in a few words… never in my lifetime.

The Zero to Hero Challenge concept began in August 2011 and was unveiled during the Long Beach event of the International Motorcycle Show in December. KMC produced marketing material which included high quality posters and other literature to include with the Zero to Hero bike, built by Gadson, which accompanied him on the six show east coast leg of the tour finishing at Bikeweek 2012 in Daytona. In addition to YouTube videos and various web promotions, KMC also produced stand-ups of Gadson, which were sent to every Kawasaki dealership in the country, plus sent postcards to text “ZeroToHero” to every Kawasaki sportbike customer in their database.

I asked Kawasaki Motor Corp. marketing and communications specialist, Aimee Soto, to briefly describe the logistics involved to put on a television broadcast like the Zero to Hero Challenge, and she summed it up like this:

‘Fuse Interactive is Kawasaki’s, advertising and video production agency, and they handled the entire production of the Zero to Hero Challenge shoot, which will air on SPEED TV. Next Level PR was also involved. Their account director, Tom McGovern, provided project support which was invaluable since he is highly knowledgeable about the sport. The two agencies worked hand-in-hand with Kawasaki marketing to develop the program and implement it as you saw.’

She continued, ‘We were all very hands on and took a lot of pride in ensuring that the finalists had a GREAT experience, which in return would naturally make for great content. As you know, Rickey Gadson is the king of the sport, and Kawasaki is more than just a brand of bikes. Speaking as someone who had a lot of opportunity to speak with the finalists about the experience, it made me feel good to know we had such a positive impact on their lives.’

 

THE COMPETITION

Pressure? We all feel it, but at what level? Most people have different thresholds at which we crack under it, but where? Tough-types think they can take piles of it, yet some will internally give up before they even begin. Are we born with a certain ‘breaking point,’ or is stress-induced failure (or success) a trained mental skill? Better yet, I’ve heard long time racer John Force proclaim, “I’d rather be lucky than good any day,” and well, we are in Las Vegas…

One thing is for certain… there was no shortage of pressure for the ‘chosen four.’ In fact, the stakes were higher than most professional drag racer’s current paydays. With a Golden Blaze Green Edition (with special graphics) ZX-14R on the line (which comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $14,899,) a boom camera bouncing about, sound guys and multiple camera men in their faces constantly, it was difficult to imagine just how uptight these everyday/inexperienced novices felt at the idea of racing each other, much less faced with the daunting task of having to deal with a seasoned pro, like Rickey Gadson, in a best ‘two out of three’ showdown at the end of the day to actually ‘bring home the key’.

Gadson giving, Angie Young, some pointers as the ever-present cameras roll. Ashon ‘Capo’ Dickerson assisted during the event while the Monster Energy umbrella girls added an extra touch of ‘factory race day feel’ and some added relief from the blistering Vegas heat.

When I say everyday/inexperienced, let me break it down for you. The object of this challenge was not to provide a bike to borderline pros so they could go out and challenge Mr. Gadson in an effort to make the 14R look good for the cameras, NOR was it to let someone who has the financial means to purchase their own ZX-14R simply shortcut the process. These competitors were all hard working, dedicated folks who love motorcycles and hopefully had enough overall experience to meet the licensing requirements at the end of the day. The real question was if they would also possess the situational awareness required to race an ultra-powerful machine like the ZX-14R on the drag strip after attending the school, without stress testing their new Speed and Strength gear. The new ZX-14R is a seriously fast motorcycle, especially after being “Brock-ed out” (if I do say so myself.)

The Rickey Gadson Drag Racing School ZX-14R Bikes are equipped with the following performance products:

  • Brock’s Performance: Alien Head 2 Exhaust
  • Brock’s Performance: Front End Lowering kit
  • Brock’s Performance: Window Links
  • Brock’s Performance: Clutch Mod
  • Brock’s Performance: Dynojet Power Commander PCV (Brock’s Pump Gas Track Map)
  • Brock’s Performance: Vortex Rear Sprocket (43T)
  • Brock’s Performance: Vortex Front Sprocket (16T)
  • Brock’s Performance: Guhl Re-flashed ECU (one bike)
  • Carrozzeria Wheels (one bike)
  • Conti: Continental attack 2’s
  • DME: Shifter Brackets
  • Litz shocks (stock shock revalve)
  • Motul
  • MSD: Shift Lights
  • Myrtle West: Mirror Block Offs
  • Roaring Toys: Kickstands
  • Roaring Toys: Extensions
  • Tiger Racing: Tiger Tail Inner Fender

Gadson’s best time in good conditions is 8.54@160 MPH. As I said, KMC even brought in an alternate, in advance, just in case of a crash or miscue in the license department, etc… I will also say this… there was a LARGE disparity in rider skill level. With over ¾ of a second separating the quickest semi-finalist’s runs of 8.90s in the Vegas heat and corrected altitude of over 4600 ft. Once again, in the interest of not spoiling the show ending, I’m going to leave out the details, but pressure control was definitely the key… I’ll let you decide for yourself which ‘pressure level’ prevailed.

With high desert temps in the mid-to-high 90s for most of the event, and corrected density altitude readings above 4600 ft., the competitors had their hands full of reasons to NOT go fast. Even so, rookie Robert Parker, still managed an 8.94 second ET aboard a pump-gas fueled, bolt-on only, modified Rickey Gadson Drag Racing School ZX-14R. (Editor’s Note: Robert’s run corrected to sea level would have been in the 8.60s.)


Robert impressed all with 1.45 short times right out of the gate.


Angie was looking for all of the help she could get!


The quiet Texan, Shawn Ellison, and his brother, Michael, worked as a team and looked great in qualifying.


US Army Major and motorcycle safety specialist, Jim Markham, was physically the largest competitor of the bunch, but he didn’t let that keep him from doing well in eliminations.


Of course, I realize that a quick Internet search will tell anyone that Ms. “Slick-Wicked,” Angie Young, of Anderson, SC is the proud owner of a new 2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R. Congratulations Angie from all of your friends at Dragbike.com! (But the only way you will know the REAL STORY of how she obtained the bike STAYS in VEGAS is if you watch the Zero to Hero Challenge broadcast on SPEED TV this summer!)

MY CONCLUSION

So that’s my take on the Zero to Hero Challenge and Kawasaki’s overall involvement in our sport. Is the ZX-14R the greatest motorcycle I’ve ever ridden? It certainly is for my personal application as a bolt-on and go rocket. Is Kawasaki ruling the roost in supporting sportbike motorcycle drag racing like no other company? Most definitely! So even if you might not have been a fan in the past, I hope you recognize a good thing when you see it and give them a second look the next time you are in the market for a new machine.

Brock Davidson for Dragbike.com

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ASA and RideNow RZR XP4 with Power Commander V

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Dynojet Research Inc. and Ridenow Powersports support the ASA RZR XP raffle. “The raffle revenue is used to support ASA’s legal, legislative, public safety and natural resource stewardship activities, all directed toward maintaining access to public land for motorized recreation. “ For more information click here

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Dynojet Sponsored Rider Josh Hayes and Monster/Graves Yamaha Win 3rd Consecutive Championship!

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Homestead, FL September 23, 2012 – Dark skies, thunder, lightning, and rain couldn’t curtail the friendly Hurricane from winning the race and the title. Josh “Hurricane” Hayes won his third AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike championship, while also winning Sunday’s SuperBike Race Two at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

As it turned out, Josh actually won the championship before the race even started, since his closest competitor Blake Young decided to sit out the race due to the wet-but-drying track. That wasn’t going to deter Josh from trying to win the race for his Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha team and his army of fans across the country and around the world.

While some riders chose full rain tires, Josh decided to go out on the grooved intermediate Dunlops on both the front and rear, and it proved to be the right choice. After the start, Josh was able to click off faster laps than the riders ahead of him, and he caught up in short fashion, then put his #1 Yamaha YZF-R1 in its rightful place at the front. From there, Josh was able to pull a gap, which he stretched out to a lead of nearly five second by the time he took the checkered flag.

Reflecting on his 14th race win of the season and his third championship in a row, Josh said, “Today, there was a lot of talk about how to handle the wet conditions. I stuck to my plan of going out on the track so the fans could see the #1 R1 at speed. I pretty much rode around without a slip, and I started thinking that I could make it to the front on the setup we chose. I’m really glad it worked out. It’s great to get a win in the same race that I won the championship.”

 Josh’s teammate and rider of the #2 Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R1, Josh Herrin, battled back from his lower finishing position in yesterday’s race and, today, he finished in a solid, drama-free fourth place.

The Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha team will be back in action during the weekend of October 5th through 7th for the final round of the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans, LA. Don’t miss it!

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