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.”
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.
While covering the final round of MotoAmerica racing at Barber this past Fall, we learned about some of the new classes coming for 2018. This includes the new Junior Cup which replaces the KTM Cup which we are very interested to see but also even more surprising is the new Twins Class. This is very exciting to see as it adds a huge range of possibilities for both riders and builders.
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.
Read more about the new Twins Class at MotoAmerica’s website. You can also download the detailed technical specs by clicking here.
Gilbert on the track the day before.
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 🙂
While 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.
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!