I would like to take a moment and say congratulations to #43 Caroline Olsen for a great Supersport race (two actually) this past weekend at Barber Motosports Park during the final round of MotoAmerica. The last race, on Sunday, was particularly satisfying as she moved from starting in 19th place to finishing 11th! The previous day’s race was nothing to sneeze at either as she started in 22nd position and moved up to a 17th place finish.
It’s been heart-warming to watch her get back in the groove and it hasn’t been an easy journey. For those who aren’t aware, Caroline had a pretty nasty crash due to brake failure last year at NJMP that landed her in the hospital for a couple of days. Her injuries were rather serious as she described in a press release last year;
“I escaped without serious long-term injuries and I got released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. Bruised lungs, a broken collarbone, two broken vertebrae and an overall beat up body were the verdict. Since I’ve got back to Norway, I’ve had an operation on my collarbone and it was discovered that I had a broken fibula just below my right knee.”
I mentioned yesterday that the Supersport race had to be restated twice due to crashes. I understand this morning that everyone involved is “OK” at this point which we’re all grateful for considering what it looked like right in front of my position on the track. The photos speak for themselves.
It’s that time of year again when Kevin and I head down to Leeds, Alabama for the final round of the MotoAmerica series at Barber Motorsports Park. This weekend will have us watching (95) Roger Hayden taking his last laps before he retires from racing.
We’ll also be watching (43) Caroline Olsen to see how she fares in the last of the year. Caroline had a bad spill at NJMP last year but has been she’s working hard this year to get back in the groove. Personally, I’m elated to see her back in action as I feel she truly loves motorcycle racing. I’ve caught a lot of photos of her over the years and she always looks so happy when she’s on her bike in the grid ready to take off.
2018 brings some new/changed classes to the fray which should make for a packed weekend of racing. Though not “new”, the KTM cup has evolved into the Junior Cup with the field of KTM only machines now holding mostly R3’s and Ninja 400’s with just a brace of KTM 390’s in the lineup. The new Twins Cup class is something close to my heart as the field is seeded with a large dose of SV650’s, a bike have owned myself and still feel is one of the best all around bikes of the past two decades.
It’s going to be a lot of action in Alabama this weekend and Kevin and I will bring the highlights to this space as best we can.
The Twins class will allow for a lot of modification to the machines allowed to compete in the class which comprises 600cc to 800cc displacement two cylinder engines. Plus this segment offers a lot of inexpensive and versatile places to start including Yamaha’s MT-07, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650, and Suzuki’s SV650 (replacing the SFV650 for 2018).
Modifications can be applied not only to suspension and engine components but competitors will be allowed to modify ECU programming. This will be a boon to tuners looking to get the most out of these middleweight machines. These lenient rules are going to likely make for a very interesting and diverse field of machines on the grids for 2018.
During Sunday morning’s warm up for the 600cc machines we had another bike on fire incident, this time involving Michael Gilbert (55). Gilbert had a low-side get off that of course wasn’t great for him, but not anything that likely would have prevented him from taking the track later in the day. However shortly after the bike was moved a fuel tank leak resulted in the motorcycle catching on fire.
This was the third motorcycle to catch on fire during this weekend races here at Barber during the final round of MotoAmerica’s season. David Anthony and Josh Hayes also ended up with their own machines in flames the previous day. Needless to say it has been a rather dramatic weekend so far.
Michael appeared uninjured when I spoke with him a but later on after the crash but I know this was a big disappointment for him. It was for me too as I’ve been following his progress this year and was hoping to see him on the podium in person this weekend instead of reading about it later. With any luck I’ll get to see Michael on the podium next year as he told me he will be coming back. Looking forward to seeing you there again soon, Michael.
The sad aftermath of Gilbert’s (55) bike after catching fire.
We’re off to a cloudy start this morning here at Barber for the final round of MotoAmerica road racing this weekend. Kevin and I are here to get some photos and capture some interviews (and watch some motorcycles go roundy roundy). This is always a fun weekend for us as we get to be right in the thick of motorsport and get the view from behind the scenes behind our favorite sport.
Here Kevin contemplates the object in front of him. Yes, it is a motorcycle Kevin! Good job 🙂
This was made back in 2011 at the Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival. During this interview we spoke with Hannah Matthews and Dale Lavender about how this whole sidecar racing action works. Hannah shows us the rig and how she positions herself during the racing and then Dale goes over some of the details of their machine and how it comes together.
NOTE: At the time I this was produced I was running the Nashvilleriders.com website so you’ll see our old logo in the corner. The site is no longer around but the videos can still be seen if you search YouTube for Nashvilleriders.com.
The racing at the Barber Vintage Festival can get quite interesting. There are so many classes that need to get on the track that in many cases there are two or three different bike classes on the track at a time. This can make for some very confusing looking fields when you’re sitting in the middle of the track. You may see a super motard, a vintage superbike, a modern-ish race-replica, etc.
Here are just a few photos from some of the racing going on this past weekend at the event. I’ll be posting up some more soon so keep an eye on this space for a link to a new gallery of images.
Do you like going round and round on racetrack with your motorcycle? It’s fun for sure, but after a few laps some people get a little lonely out there. The solution? Bring a friend of course. Sidecar racing is one of the most fun events (for me) that happens here at the Barber Motorsports Park each year. I’m not sure if I can put my finger on exactly why, but it simply is.
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