Moto America-Launch Pad Road Atlanta
The 2018 MotoAmerica racing season roared off its “launch pad” at Road Atlanta, April 14 and 15, to great fanfare. With nail-biting racing, accompanied by the gravity-defying stunt shows from the Tony Hawk Experience and American Motor Drome’s Wall of Death, MotoAmerica put on a weekend spectacle like no other.
The “young guns” of Junior Cup (300-400cc) led off both days, racing for glory in the MotoAmerica entry-level class. Of particular note to Born To Ride was the first-ever female podium in American road racing history, as Jamie Astudillo took 3rd place on Sunday after a 4th place finish on Saturday. Dads of daughters everywhere were proud.
The brand new Super Twins class featured a grid full of Suzuki SV 650s and Yamaha MT-07s. The deep throaty roar of V and in-line Twins across the grandstands was palpable. We hope this class will continue to grow in numbers of racers and popularity.
The Supersport 600 class saw a new rivalry develop, between veteran Yamaha Factory rider JD Beach and Hayden Gillim, who rode Superstock 1000 last year. They split the podium both days, swapping 1st and 2nd on two races.
Superbike 1000 also saw the return of dominant performances by defending class champion Toni Elias, demonstrating why he’s a renowned, world-class competitor. Toni took the checkered flag in perfect conditions on Saturday, then in adverse, rainy and windy conditions on Sunday. A true champion in every respect. Toni will be hard to catch this year, much less defeat.
We had the opportunity to talk with Tony Hawk after he took a VIP 2-up “hot lap” ride around Road Atlanta with retired racer Chris Ulrich. Asked what he thought of the experience, Tony exclaimed, “That was like the best, customized rollercoaster ride ever! When Chris pinned it across the front stretch, hitting 160 mph, it was a level of adrenaline rush and fear that I’ve never experienced before. Incredible.” Coming from the skateboarding legend himself, that spoke volumes.
The howl of uncorked motorcycle engines, the rush of triple-digit speeds screaming by, and the drama of racers battling for position across the track course- a weekend of MotoAmerica racing is indeed an adrenaline rush in every respect, even for spectators.
World-class American road racing is back, thanks to the vision and leadership of Wayne Rainey and company. For the season schedule, results, standings, and highlights, visit MotoAmerica.com. If a race is held anywhere near you, make arrangements to attend- you’ll be so glad you did. Catch the races broadcast live on BeIN Sports and BeIN Connect. And of course, Born To Ride will report on all the action, as the race season progresses. We hope you are as excited as we are! Spring is here, and racing is in the air. MotoAmerica, the nation’s premier motorcycle road racing organization, returns for its 4th season. Helmed by racing legend Wayne Rainey, 3-time World Grand Prix champion, MotoAmerica is returning the sport to its former glory days of the 1960s-1990s. With race weekends spanning the country (3 of which run here in the South), the season kicked off at Road Atlanta with great fanfare, including exhibitions by Tony Hawk & Friends, the infamous American Motor Drome Company “Wall of Death”, a Kid’s Zone and the “Caffeine & Kickstands” custom bike show.
I talked with MotoAmerica’s Communications Manager Paul Carruthers recently about the 2018 season:
Rob- 2017 was such a thrilling season: The epic battles between Toni Elias, 2016 defending champion Cameron Beaubier, Roger Hayden, and veteran Josh Hayes; Toni taking the Superbike title in the end; Garrett Gerloff winning his 2nd consecutive Supersport title, etc. After watching the preseason testing, who’s looking strong to threaten for the titles this year?
Paul- The preseason has been a good one and has shown just how close we expect the racing to be in the Motul Superbike class. Cameron Beaubier has been impressive in coming back from injury to lead all the tests and you can tell that he’s full of confidence and wants that number one plate back! We all know now how strong Toni Elias can be, so counting him out would be silly talk. There’s also a lot of fast young guys jumping up to Superbike this year, riders like Mathew Scholtz and Garrett Gerloff.
Rob- There’s been some realignment of the classes this year, and the introduction of Super Twins, which I think will be thrilling to watch – definitely to hear!
Paul- We think the Twins class has a good future. It’s normally a big class in club racing and we think we’ll see a lot of local guys showing up to race. It’s an interesting class, and we might see a lot of different things out there on the track. Should be fun to watch and, as you say, listen to!
Rob- What can fans expect to see in the racing this year?
Paul- They will see great racing in every class. The Junior Cup will be loaded with talented kids this year, now that it’s open to all the manufacturers. Superbike will be a thriller at every round and Supersport will be closer than most people think.
Rob- What can fans expect to experience at a MotoAmerica event this year?
Paul- We are making a big push to make our events truly “events.” While our focus will always be the racing, we are ramping up the other activities so that our fans will have plenty to do every single day at our races. At Road Atlanta, for example, we had Tony Hawk and his team come in to give the fans skateboarding exhibitions on a giant ramp that will be in the paddock. We will have musical acts at most of the events, so I think people will be impressed with MotoAmerica in 2018.
Rob- beIN Sports network will be carrying all the races this season, right?
Paul- Between beIN Sports and beIN Connect, all of our races will get live coverage. It might switch around as to what races are on what platform, but they will all be covered.
Rob- Road racing has a long history here in the States. What do you see as its future? A return to the glory days of the 60s-90s?
Paul- It’s a different time, but we’ll get it to where it needs to be. We want competitive racing, a chance for our riders to race internationally and we want to provide events that our fans can enjoy from morning ‘till night.
Rob- Can viewers also find and follow the action on MotoAmerica’s website?
Paul- Yes, we’ll have timing and scoring on the site from every event so people at home can follow the action. We are also packing the site with quality content about our series, our teams and our riders with both the written word and video content.
Rob- Born to Ride will be there, covering the Southeastern rounds, and running regular updates on the standings as the racing progresses. It’s going to be an exciting season.
Paul- As always, we look forward to seeing you guys there, and we can’t wait to get started!
Don’t miss the speed and roar of American motorcycle road racing – visit MotoAmerica.com for tickets to every championship weekend, and catch the races on beIN Sports, and beIN Connect all season.
Photos by Phil Gauthier
Keywords: Tony Hawk Experience, American Motor Drome’s Wall of Death, BeIN Sports and BeIN Connect, MotoAmerica, World Grand Prix Champion, Paul Carruthers