Motorcycle Words

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MotoAmerica Final Round this Weekend at Barber

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.

Some Unfortunate Spills from Saturday

Saturday’s 600 and 1000cc races resulted in some unfortunate crashes. In the 600 class Shane Richardson (26) and Max Fernandez (128) collided in turn 5 resulting in both riders going off the track. Max comes off his bike pretty early on while Shane seems somehow to come out of and then land (nearly) back in his seat  during the slide off the track. Both riders escaped receiving major injuries.  The somewhat blurry sequence of images below gives you an idea.

In the second lap of the 1000cc race for the afternoon, Sylvain Barrier (28) had highside going into turn 5. You can see below where his rear tire is heavily loaded up and the front looks very light. The next frame shows the bike tossing Barrier into the air to eventually land just ahead of his machine in the grass and gravel. Sylvain stayed down after coming to a stop in the gravel trap and was taken away on a backboard in the ambulance. We understand this morning that he is already back here at the track and he might have a fracture in the foot. Hopefully that is the extent of his injuries as from my angle it looked like it could have been a lot worse.

 

The above crash brought the race to a stop but the drama didn’t stop there. The second start of the race had David Anthony (25) and Josh Hayes (4) both having crashes with Anthony’s bike reaching the airwall after the first turn and promptly catching on fire. I understand that the fuel pump may have kept pumping and sprayed fuel spreading the fire in the space including onto the airwall catching it on fire as well.  Bother riders escaped any serious injury but the stopped the race again and set us up for a third start.

From the third start the race proceeded to the end with Roger Hayden (95) taking the win followed by Matthew Scholtz (11) and Josh Herrin (2) in second and third respectively. Toni Elias (24) managed a fourth place finish despite an off in Turn 5. Looking at the sequence of images below you can see his left foot hanging off free from the peg. His foot can be seen nearly dragging the ground and then he goes into a low-side carrying him into the gravel trap. Elias is quickly back up on his bike and is soon back on the track to make his fourth place finish.

      

 

KTM-Cup Race 1 photos.

Lots of great action in this afternoon’s KTM Cup race with an unfortunate get-off by Alex Dumas who was just 1 point behind the lead for the series. Tough break Alex.

 

Sidecar Racing Photos | Vintage Festival 2016

Vintage Festival 2016Do 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.

The sidecar rigs used on the track are quite a bit different than picture of a motorcycle and sidecar setup for the street. The sidecar itself is typically not much more than a platform, a wheel, and lots of handholds. Some of the rigs cover the bike and platform with aerodynamic fairings while others just let it all hang out in the breeze. You can see our interview with a sidecar team from back in 2011 back when I was running Nashvilleriders.com by clicking here.

Hit the Continue Reading link below to see photos from this weekend’s sidecar races.

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So Many Photos (from Barber)

KTM Cup 6-12-2016While I continue to flesh out the MotorcycleWords blog, I have been posting photos from this past weekend on Facebook. I do have more images to share and I will be creating an album here on the blog from the MotoAmerica races this past weekend. If you are one racers that I captured images of at Barber and would like copies of them please email me or reach out to me over Facebook and I’ll be glad to send what I have to you.

Saturday, in the Park…

Racing got underway here at Barber Motorsports Park today with the first of two rounds of MotoAmerica racing here in Birmingham. It was a hot day here in Alabama and the racing was even hotter. Really sounds like a pun but it’s an accurate description. Competition just seemed a bit more intense here this year versus past years and the new KTM series again was the most fun to watch, and shoot, today. Below are photos from the track today. Enjoy!

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MotoAmerica Racing - June 11

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Let’s get warmed up!

It’s going to be a hot weekend here in Birmingham with the second season of MotoAmerica kicking it up into high gear. I arrived this afternoon as the days practices were winding down. Still one can feel the electricity in the air as final preparations for the following weekend are wrapped up. There are several riders I plan on catching in paddock to say hi and grab some photos of them in between being trackside to grab images of them in action.

There’s a special appreciation I have for these riders. They have a spirit of competition and comradery they all share along with the courage to get out on the track trusting two tiny contact patches of rubber to keep them from crashing. It’s balancing that knife edge of rolling versus sliding and knowing how much of the latter one can get away with that I have serious respect for. Anyone can get on a bike and twist the “go handle” to go fast in a straight line. Pushing traction to the limit (and even beyond) while surrounded by a bunch of your fellow riders takes special mix of skill and mindset.

It’s also loads of fun to watch no matter what your own skill level riding may be. This weekend I’ll have a front row seat to this showing of talent and courage and as it progresses I’ll post up photos of the action to share with you. May sound like work but I’m certain there will be a big grin on my face behind my camera as the racers roll by. Until tomorrow then, here are some photos from late this afternoon at Barber.

Barber Bound! Year Two of MotoAmerica

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MotoAmerica  last year 2015

Prepping right now to head down to Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds Alabama. This will be the 6th year I’ve gone down there from Nashville to cover the races. This year is the second year of the newly minted MotoAmerica series which has taken over from the AMA ProRacing flag. Many of the same riders one has watched over the years as AMA racers are still around and now we have the new “kids” running in the KTM RC390 series. This is for me one of the most exciting things to happen in America road racing for a long time. With riders age 14 to 22, this new series will be the incubator for fresh talent to move into serious road racing.

Having all the same base machines a a wide variety of experience makes for some fantastic racing and exciting action. While the skill levels may vary, the desire and passion to win is equally high among all the riders I’ve seen. I’ll be posting photos from these and the other races this weekend here on motorcycleWordsKeep an eye on this space and watch our MotorcycleWords on Instagram and MotorcycleWords on Facebook feeds for all the action.

-Brandon

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