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The InSlide Line: Week 16

By Tyler Porter

Hello, and welcome to the InSlide Line Presented by Boughner Racing Suspension. We are lucky this week as the column is once again coming to you from our home turf! We will be on the road for the next couple of columns, so keep track as I move about this great nation. Several things went down this week, and as much as I wish it were different, not everything is good news. In life though we have to take the good with the bad though, so let's get to figuring out what is going on in our sport.

The biggest news this week is that Brad Baker is now on the injured list. This is very bad news for our defending champ, but he is in the hands of some great doctors and he has some time to heal before the Springfield Mile. Brad was injured while instructing at the Texas Tornado Boot Camp, the famous dirt track riding school owned by MotoGP star Colin Edwards. Apparently it was a very low speed crash, but the bike actually landed on Brad's arm, which is what they think actually did the damage. It's Brad's left Ulna and Radius (arm) with the Ulna broken in two spots and the Radius in one. Surgery went well yesterday and the doctors said that there were no complications. He is set to return home to Washington on Sunday and he isn't even in a cast at this time. While Springfield is a challenging track, it isn't the most physically demanding, so here's to hoping that we don't see "The Bullet" skip a beat on the Grand National Circuit. Get well soon Brad!

With the big news out of the way, let's get on over to racing. Here's where you can find some racing action this weekend.

Mid America Speedway, Indianapolis, IN

Sikeston Raceway Park, Sikeston, MO
North Florida Speedway, Lake City, FL

Next weekend things get going once again at these tracks.

Original Speedway Park, Fruitland Park, FL (Leesburg Bike Fest)
Delta, PA
Busco Beach Speedway, Goldsboro, NC
IMI Sports Complex, Erie, CO
Chowchilla Speedway, Chowchilla, CA
Perris Raceway, Perris, CA
Lodi Speedway, Lodi, CA

It sure is a relief to see a healthy amount of racing coming up next weekend. I'm sure a lot of you are ready to sink your tread blocks into some dirt! Speaking of those tread blocks, well the tire saga just keeps getting deeper and deeper. On Monday AMA Pro Racing sent out a "FAQ" about what the Dunlop tire transition means to all of us. For one, at this time, it means prices are going up. $204 for a front tire and $206 for a rear tire. Oh yeah, let's make this old tire technology worth its weight in gold! Now AMA Pro Racing is claiming that tires will be available for competitors to purchase at each round, which has not been the case for a long time. For that price, I want free mount and balance also. Is that included?

If the price doesn't set you back enough, how about this; the tires aren't available. That's right, because Dunlop has taken over things from Goodyear Race Service, you can't order a new Goodyear from anywhere, unless you are dealing with somebody who has them in stock right now. There are no new fresh ones out and about. They are "expecting" things to be in stock in their Nashville, Tennessee warehouse "sometime in May" Your real best bet is to wait until Springfield, where they are promising to have them on sale. I am pretty steamed over this whole tire deal. The people at AMA Pro Racing are playing the "hey, it's just a transition phase and everything will be ok" card, but they aren't the ones worrying about, and most importantly paying for, our tires. It's a very delicate situation. People trying to talk me off of the ledge assure me that it's a good move because it gives Dunlop control of the distribution and manufacture of the tires. Since Dunlop actually cares about motorcycle tires and motorcycle racing, when this transition is complete, tire prices could come down and the tires will be readily available. Most parties claiming that this is a great thing are painting Goodyear out to be an evil car company who just plain had us over the barrel and didn't care about our sport. The way I see it, Dunlop and Goodyear are much too closely aligned for there to be much difference.

This is another one of those business deals that just appears lazy. Transition period during race season? You mean to tell me that these wonderfully smart "powers that be" couldn't see our race season coming down the pike and think, "Gee, these racers will need tires at this point in time!"? This deal could have been done and finalized months ago. It's not like there was a major buy out going on here, it's a parent company trading off manufacture and distribution to another one of it's name brands. Also stirring up the racer's ire is these cutesie little gift certificates that they are getting for contingencies instead of receiving a check. No longer if you win on the series' spec tire do you get cash in your back account. No, you get a gift card for more Dunlop tires. Let me tell AMA Pro Racing and Dunlop something real quick. No, I'll never see one of these gift cards, I would never see one of the contingency checks, but I can tell you this, Dunlop tires aren't nutritious and they don't fit in a gas tank!

What AMA Pro Racing needs to be concerned with is the welfare of their racers. They have done such a good job of improving things for us over the last few years. I'm the first to praise them when they do something right and they have been very good to me, helping me out with different things and always being an open line of communication when I had a question or wanted to express an opinion. However, this is thin ice. There are already teams and riders talking about protesting the placement of the Dunlop patches on their leathers, there are racers who aren't front runners telling me that with the even higher tire cost and the hoops we have to jump through to get them, that racing at the Pro level just isn't worth it any more. To top it off, you have a nearly nation wide series going on that doesn't have a tire rule that has another dirt track tire manufacturer supporting it heavily and paying racers very well. Yes, Steve Nace's All-Star Series, which just seems to keep growing. The top teams and racers are going to show up no matter what. We all know this, but as much as they pull the fans in and get the most attention, they aren't what makes the show or pays the bills for AMA Pro Racing. No, the people who make pro racing possible are the "other guys" and I'm at the bottom of that heap. We are the ones who pay the same entry fee, yet never, or rarely get a check for prize money. We pack the field full of riders so you have racing throughout the field. We make the starting lines full. We make the pits have some character. We make it look like a major event is going on. Go ahead, make us mad, make us leave. Eventually, you guys can have a lot of fun going after potential series sponsors while showing them youtube footage of a 12 rider main event taking off with empty and lifeless pits and empty stands. I hate to go apocalyptic on everybody here, but these are things that could happen when they price the "average joe racer" out of the ball park.

In the mean time, if you are needing tires now and you aren't concerned with the spec tire rule for the nationals, your one stop shop is D&D Powersports. They have a HUGE inventory of the coveted Maxxis dirt track tires IN STOCK and ready to ship. At this point in time they are the ONLY dealer in the country with fresh Maxxis tires in stock. If you need tires, call them up at 585-589-4131 and tell them Fight For Dirt Track sent you when you are placing your order. You can also check them out on the web at Don't let this distributor change keep you from having fresh tires!

I feel sorry for the poor soul who they send to Springfield to sell us tires. Poor guy isn't going to know what hit him when he's cursed at by everybody handing him money. To the people telling us that things will be ok after the transition and prices will come down, that was described to me by one insider as the "Mike Kidd train of thought". You know, remember? "Oh, if we just get rid of framers, the OEMs will start dumping big money into the sport!" Yeah, we changed the rules before the checks were handed out. I'm all about the free market, and Dunlop should be business savvy enough to sell tires to us for what we will pay for them. Having said that, why would they lower the price on our tires when they see us paying $206 for them? If this is such a great deal for all of us racers, well, I just can't wait to be proven wrong. I sure hope that I am proven wrong!

In better news this week, one of the worst kept secrets is a little closer to being confirmed. Even after the big X-Games showing with Harley Davidson, even after being shown on their bikes wearing Screaming Eagle clothing, even after denying it to me when I asked, it's now looking like Jared Mees and more than likely his wife Nichole will both be Harley Davidson Screaming Eagle support riders for the 2014 season. Harley had made offers to a few racers for the support package which includes a hefty parts allowance along with several other key perks in exchange for what pretty much is title sponsorship of that racer's twins program. Hopefully this will be confirmed soon, but I'm operating on a really good hunch here, as people in Jared's camp are talking about the deal.

Another bit of good news is that once again the organizers of the Lima Half-Mile are having an open Test and Tune day on June 18th just ahead of their national. This is open to any Pro Singles or Expert licensed rider and will cost $20 per rider which covers track prep and ambulance. That is one heck of a deal! I know a lot of riders participate in this test each season, and if my schedule allows, I may even try to make it out. The test is 4 hours long from 1-5 pm. Anyone wishing to ride is advised to call Dean Gallup at (419) 236-1983

That's a wrap on the column this week. I know, it has been another short one! News just hasn't been trickling in that quickly here. I'm off this weekend to check in with the Gillim clan and see what kind of trouble I can get into at the motocross track with Hayden Gillim and JD Beach. Perhaps I'll have a good story for you next week. I'll be on the East Coast all next week visiting dealers and spreading the good word about Memphis Shades windshields. Maybe I can get some news while I'm on the move! Have a safe and fun Easter Weekend, we'll be back next week!

Best Of's

Scrub(s) Of The Week: JD Beach and Jake Johnson

Best Super Hero Impersonation: Darren "Superman" Carter

Best Stoppie: Marshall Tucker