Photo courtesy of Brainerd International Raceway

Photo courtesy of Honda PowersportsSport Bikes …Taking ‘Em To The Track

“Take it to the track.” It’s a statement that may commonly be heard by sport bike enthusiasts.

So how do you transfer from street to track? That depends on the discipline you want to pursue.

 

DRAG RACING

Think your bike is quick? The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) have been attempting to cater to motorcyclists through professional, semi-professional, and local level racing opportunities at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR), Grove Creek Raceway in Grove City, Minn., and Rock Falls Raceway in Elk Mound, Wis. 

At Brainerd International Raceway (www.BrainerdRaceway.com), motorcyclists can drag race at 15 events in 2014. Wednesday Night Drags are open to anyone with a street-legal motorcycle, appropriate gear and $25. Opening night is May 7. BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series caters to everyone from the novice to the expert via its Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman, Bike/Sled and Comp Trophy classes. Entry fees are $25 to $65 per event. Opening weekend is May 9.

East of the Twin Cities, Rock Falls Raceway (www.RockFallsRaceway.com) offers motorcyclists a variety of opportunities during their Test & Tune events on Saturday afternoons, Saturday night racing, and “Fun Races” events. Entry fees range from $40 to $65. Opening day is April 19.

West of the Twin Cities, Grove Creek Raceway (www.GroveCreek.com) offers motorcyclists Test & Tune days as well as Saturday night racing on its 1/8-mile NHRA-affiliated track. Entry fee is $50. Opening day is April 12.

“Bikes can race against the cars, or in their own Motorcycle/Snowmobile class,” Owner Rick Austin says. “The last race, our count in the Motorcycle/Snowmobile class was 22, and I would say about 11 of those were bikes. We usually get from 12 to 25.”

Austin says he sees sport bikes, V-twins and full-on drag bikes. But where do the racers come from? “The bike & sled guys are mostly Minnesota guys. We’re 70 miles outside of the Twin Cities, so we get some from there and south-central Minnesota.”

ROAD RACING

Folks more interested in road racing have other options.

Have you taken part in an advanced rider training course? If so, you’re likely ready for one of the track day experiences offered by numerous area providers, including Zalusky Advanced Riding School (ZARS) Midwest Track Days, Road Closed Promotions, dealerships and various OEM-affiliated clubs.

At ZARS (www.RideZARS.com), riders have the opportunity to participate in track days or riding schools at BIR and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Three groups – novice, intermediate and advanced – have approximately 20 minutes on track each hour during the seven to eight-hour events. First time riders are offered a complimentary track orientation with classroom and on-track guidance. Prices range from $169 to $415 depending on your package option. Opening day is May 26.

Want to further test your skills? Looking to work your way up to national level competition? The Central Roadracing Association (www.cra-mn.com) is open to everyone from the occasional novice to the dedicated expert.

The CRA will be at BIR five weekends this season: May 9-11, June 13-15, July 18-20, Aug. 22-24 and Sept. 19-21. Opening weekend is a dual event weekend with the Bracket Drag Racing Series.

Taking part is easy. Just click over to the CRA website to learn how to take part.

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Road Closed Promotions Offers A New Track Day Experience

By Dave Soderholm

Using public roadways for a race track is a dangerous and deadly proposition.  There are way too many factors working against you – unpredictable conditions, traffic, the errant animal, and Johnny Law looking over your shoulder make street racing a real bad idea.

Offering riders another way to get on track and safely explore and expand their personal riding limits, Road Closed Promotions (RCP) is a track day provider starting its second year of operations.

Founder and owner Jon Peterson says he wanted RCP to offer a laid back rider-centered atmosphere, cater to supermoto and sport bike riders alike, and offer participants experienced and enthusiastic coaches for both styles of riding at no additional fees.

RCP venues include both Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) and Brainerd International Raceway (BIR), although there already are thoughts of expanding to additional locations in the future.

RCP maximizes track time at DCTC and BIR by running only two groups in 20-minute sessions back to back all day. A one-hour lunch break is mixed in. At DCTC, multiple configurations both clockwise and counterclockwise are run to provide a wide variety of experiences.

Want to experience a track day without having to purchase an expensive set of leathers? One-piece suits, provided by Arsenal, are available to rent at all events.

Online registration is easy and convenient via Paypal; price of admission is $100 per event. However, for the season opening event over Memorial Day weekend, the price will be slashed to $65. Instruction normally is an option, yet Peterson says that opening event first will have more emphasis on riding tutorials.

Click over to www.RoadClosedRacing.com for more information. Questions? Contact Peterson at roadclosedus@yahoo.com

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CRA Makes Some Changes for 2014

Already familiar with the Central Roadracing Association? Here’s some news for 2014 from CRA Membership Director Dwayne Stroman:

• “We are continuing our commitment to adding new racing members for 2014 and will be continuing the New Racer Incentive Program.  If you refer a new racing member to the CRA, you will receive a free sprint race once that new member has completed their New Rider’s School. A new line appears on the Membership Application Form for a new member to fill in your name as the referring member. Please help us to promote your club by referring a sport bike rider and mentoring a new racer.”

• “Some new layout changes are being worked through for the Donneybroke course, as well as additional curbing.”

• “We are also increasing our efforts to retain and add workers as club members.  As all racers know, the volunteer workers are the lifeblood of the club, and we would not be racing without them.

• “This year we will be adding a new incentive program to increase worker club memberships. For each new worker that attains the required three working days to achieve their complimentary membership and completes the membership application, that worker will receive two bonus worker points after submitting their membership application. In addition, the referring club member will receive three bonus worker points. The new worker should fill in the referring club member’s name on the “If you were referred by…” of the membership application to make sure they are credited with the worker referral bonus points.”

• “The CRA Board of Directors is very committed to any and all cost constraints possible to maintain reasonable pricing to our membership. The cost of membership has not increased for the 2014 season. In addition, pricing for double sprint weekends will be reviewed in an effort to standardize the costs of these special event weekends.”

As usual, stay tuned to the MNSBR website (www.MNSportBikeRiders.com) for details.

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Photo courtesy of YamahaProfessional Road Racing in the U.S.

Many motorcycle road race fans in the U.S. were incensed earlier this year when AMA Pro Racing announced the 2014 season was whittled down to five event weekends, with no race events west of the Mississippi River and no television coverage. Previous seasons ranged from nine to 12 event weekends.

The five-round 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing series began March 15 at Daytona International Speedway. Future rounds are May 30-June 1 at Road America in Wisconsin, June 21-22 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, July 19-20 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Sept. 13-14 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Racing encompasses Superbike, SportBike and SuperSport classes. Here’s a primer for the season.

SUPERBIKE

AMA Pro SuperBike continues a motorcycle racing legend that began in 1976 and features fast, powerful large-displacement motorcycles based on a rule set that allows for a variety of performance modifications.

AMA Pro SuperBikes all have at least 1000cc in engine displacement from a variety of twin and multi-cylinder powerplants. Four-cylinder, four-stroke machines have a minimum post-race weight of 380 pounds and are limited to 1000cc engines, such as the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and Yamaha YZF-R1. Two-cylinder, four-stroke machines must tip the scales at a minimum post-race weight of 370 pounds and cannot exceed 1200cc displacement engines, such as the EBR 1190RS, KTM RC8R and Ducati 1098R.

Top speeds in excess of 190 mph are not uncommon. All bikes are fueled by Sunoco 260 GTX unleaded racing fuel, all bikes roll on Dunlop tires, and all bikes have a front wheel size of 17 x 3.5 inches and rear wheel size of 17 x 6 inches. The use of carbon fiber or carbon-composite material for brake components is not allowed and titanium brake discs are also outlawed.

Horsepower: 200 hp
Minimum Weights: 380 lbs: 4-Cylinder/4-Stroke 1000cc engines; 370 lbs: 2-Cylinder/4-Stroke engines up to 1200cc
Top Speed: Over 190 mph
0-60 mph: Under 3 seconds
¼ Mile Acceleration: Low 9 seconds
Tires: Dunlop KR106 (Front: 125/80R-17) and KR108 (195/65R-17)
Race Lengths: 50-mile sprints
Eligible Bikes: Aprilia RSV1000R/RSV4 R/RSV4 Factory, BMW S1000RR, Buell 1125R/1125RR, Ducati 1098R/1098S, EBR 1190RS, Honda CBR1000RR/CBR1000RR ABS, Kawasaki ZX-10, KTM RC8R, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Yamaha R1

SPORTBIKE

Created in 2009, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike was envisioned as a class in which a variety of brands and configurations could compete on a level playing field, putting the emphasis on rider talent.

Like AMA Pro SuperBikes, GoPro Daytona SportBikes are race-tuned descendants of some of today’s top high-performance production motorcycles. Power comes from a variety of four-stroke, multi-cylinder modified production engines and minimum bike weights range from 360 to 370 lbs., depending on engine configuration, displacement and number of cylinders.

Top speeds reach 175 mph. Engine rules mandate primarily stock parts with minimal modifications and tuning and – like AMA Pro SuperBike – stock transmissions. All bikes are fueled by Sunoco 260 GTX. Dunlop SportMax GPA tires are mounted on original equipment wheels. Brake components may be replaced with aftermarket items. However, the use of carbon fiber, carbon composite or titanium materials for brake discs is not allowed.

Engine Displacement: 600cc – 675cc – 848cc – 990cc – 1000cc – 1125cc
Horsepower: 120 hp to 140 hp
Minimum Weights: 4 cylinders – 360 lbs.; 3 cylinders – 360 lbs.; 2 cylinders – 370 lbs.
Top Speed: 170 mph
0-60 mph: 3 seconds
¼ Mile Acceleration: 10 seconds
Tires: Dunlop SportMax GPA Front (120/70R-17) and Rear (190/55ZR-17)
Race Lengths: 50-mile sprints. The season-opening Daytona 200 is 57 laps for 200 miles.
Eligible Bikes: Aprilia RSV1000R/RSV1000R Factory, Buell 1125R, Ducati 848, Honda CBR600RR/CBR600RR ABS, Kawasaki ZX-6R, KTM 990 Super Duke, Suzuki GSX-R600, Triumph Daytona 675/675R, Yamaha YZF-R6

SUPERSPORT

AMA Pro SuperSport is designed for up-and-coming riders to compete on sport bikes that are only minimally modified.

The same motorcycles that are featured in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike division are eligible in AMA Pro SuperSport, albeit with fewer modifications. Top speeds reach 165 mph. Competitors must use original equipment wheels and braking systems, with alternate brake pads or discs the only change allowed.

Unlike in previous seasons, the class will be contested as a single National championship in 2014. Additionally, a special award will be presented to the highest-scoring 16- to 18-year-old rider in the class.

Engine Displacement: 600cc – 675cc – 848cc – 990cc – 1000cc – 1125cc
Horsepower: 110 hp to 130 hp
Minimum Weights: 4 cylinders – 360 lbs.; 3 cylinders – 360 lbs.; 2 cylinders – 370 lbs.
Top Speed: 165 mph
0-60 mph: 3 seconds
¼ Mile Acceleration: 10 seconds
Tires: Dunlop SportMax GPA Front (120/70R-17) and Rear (190/55ZR-17)
Race Lengths: 35-mile sprints
Eligible Bikes: Aprilia RSV1000R/RSV1000R Factory, Buell 1125R, Ducati 848, Honda CBR600RR/CBR600RR ABS, Kawasaki ZX-6R, KTM 990 Super Duke, Suzuki GSX-R600, Triumph Daytona 675/675R, Yamaha YZF-R6

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Photo courtesy of Harley-DavidsonHogs Race, Too

Road racing isn’t just populated by high-strung Metric two-wheelers; Harley-Davidsons carve turns, too.

Thanks to a renewed partnership with performance tuner Vance & Hines and a new agreement with the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series returns for a fifth season to offer a highly-competitive, relatively low-cost racing platform based on a carefully-designed rule set which keeps the motorcycles as evenly matched as possible.

The spec-based class, which joined the AMA Pro Road Racing structure in 2010, features Harley-Davidson XR1200s modified with a special parts and accessories kit from Vance & Hines.

The 2013 season was competitive and pit not only riders against each other, but also a large number of Harley-Davidson dealership sponsors.

Engine Displacement: 1200cc
Horsepower: 85 hp
Minimum Weights: 515 lbs.
Top Speed: 140 mph
0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
¼ Mile Acceleration: 12 seconds
Tires: Dunlop SportMax GPA Front (120/70R-17) and Rear (190/55ZR-17)
Race Lengths: 25-mile sprints
Eligible Bikes: Harley-Davidson XR1200

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155_SS_RARoad America Attracts Area Racers

By B.P. Goebel

While Brainerd International Raceway serves as our “hometown track” in Minnesota, offering CRA road racing, track days and drag racing, Wisconsin’s Road America – a roughly five-hour ride from the Twin Cities – also welcomes motorcyclists with special events throughout the year.

No doubt the largest such event will occur May 30-June 1, when the five-round 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing series visits. Bikes and bikers of every kind come to pay homage to their gods of speed. Have you purchased your tickets and made travel and lodging arrangements?

Unless you’re a race fan, you’ve likely never heard of Road America. Located in Elkhart Lake, nestled amongst the evergreens and mature deciduous forests just west of Sheboygan and Lake Michigan, Road America’s glacially formed land makes for a challenging and amazingly beautiful track.

The 4.04-mile track’s 14 corners are a great mix of slow speed turns and super fast sweepers. One of fastest tracks on the AMA circuit, the front straight is an amazing spectacle with riders reaching up to 170mph before grinding off more than 100mph to make the right angle turn one.

Road America has completed many facility upgrades and new viewing areas to enhance the fan experience over the last few years, and there now are hundreds of different places to spectate. Some spots in the grandstands offer multiple corner views, some spots on track level offer little more than a fence and a 30-foot run-off space between you and the track.

Out for an adventure? The roads between Minnesota and Elkhart Lake are stellar, and the forest-lined roads around the track make for scenic jaunts.

Like kicking tires? The acres upon acres of parked bikes during Sunday’s big race day make for a great impromptu motorcycle show.

Road America’s 2014 AMA Pro Racing Subway Superbike Doubleheader weekend is May30-June 1. If your favorite bikes are older ones, Road America hosts the AHRMA Vintage Motorcycle Classic Races & Rockerbox Motofest June 6-8.

Great racing, great roads, and only a day away. Learn more at www.RoadAmerica.com.

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Sport Bikes for the People

Interested in a new sport bike? Check out what the leading manufacturers have for you in 2014. You’ll notice our list of “sport bikes” include traditional faired models as well as sport-minded standards.

HONDA155_2014HondaInterceptor

Number of Models: 17
Price Range: $4,199-$17,499
VFR1200F ABS/DCT ($15,999-$17,499)
CBR1000RR/ABS ($13,999-$14,999)
CB1000R (TBD)
Interceptor/DLX ($12,499-$13,499)
CBR600RR/ABS ($11,490-$12,490)
CBR650F/ABS ($8,499-$8,999)
CBR500R/ABS ($6,299-$6,799)
CBR500F/ABS ($5,799-$6,299)
CBR250R/ABS ($4,199-$4,699)

KAWASAKIPhoto courtesy of Kawasaki

Number of Models: 15
Price Range: $4,999-$15,699
Ninja ZX-14R/ABS ($15,299-$15,699)
Ninja ZX-10R/ABS ($14,299-$15,299)
Ninja ZX-6R/ABS ($11,699-$12,699)
Z1000 ABS ($11,999)
Ninja 1000/ABS ($11,099-$11,999)
Ninja 650/ABS ($7,699-$7,999)
Ninja 300/ABS/SE ($4,999-$5,499)

 

YAMAHAPhoto courtesy of Yamaha

Number of Models: 5
Price Range: $7,890-$14,290
YZF-R1 ($14,290)
YZF-R6 ($11,190)
FZ1 ($10,790)
FZ-09 ($7,990)
FZ6R ($7,890)

 

SUZUKIPhoto courtesy of Suzuki

Number of Models: 10
Price Range: $3,999-$15,199
Hayabusa ABS/SE ($14,599-$15,199)
GSX-R1000/SE ($13,899; SE is sold out)
GSX-R750/SE ($12,299-$12,499)
GSX-R600 ($11,699)
2011 GSX1250FA ($11,599)
SFV650 ($8,149)
2013 GW250 ($3,999)

 

DUCATIPhoto courtesy of Ducati

Number of Models: 10
Price Range: $9,295-$65,000
1199 Superleggera ($65,000)
1199 Panigale/S/R ($18,995/$24,495/$30,995)
899 Panigale ($14,995)
848 Streetfighter ($13,495)
Monster 1200/S ($13,495/$15,995)
Monster 796 ($10,495)
Monster 696 ($9,295)

TRIUMPHPhoto courtesy of Triumph

Number of Models: 6
Price Range: $9,399-$14,699
Speed Triple ABS/R ABS ($12,799-$14,699)
Daytona 675 ABS/R ABS ($11,599-$13,499)
Street Triple ABS/R ABS ($9,399-$9,999)

 

 

BMWPhoto courtesy of BMW

Number of Models: 4
K 1300 S ABS ($15,750)
S 1000 RR ABS ($15,150)
S 1000 R ABS ($13,150)

 

 

 

 

KTMPhoto courtesy of KTM

Number of Models: 2
Price Range: $8,999-$16,499
1190 RC8 R ($16,499)
690 Duke ($8,999)

 

 

 

 

 

APRILIAPhoto courtesy of Aprilia

Number of Models: 5
Price Range: $8,699-$20,499
RSV4 Factory APRC ABS ($20,499)
RSV4 R APRC ABS ($15,499)
Tuono V4 R APRC ABS ($14,499)
Mana 850 GT ABS ($11,199)
Shiver 750 ($8,699)

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