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The InSlide Line: Week 17

By Tyler Porter

Hello, and welcome to the InSlide Line Presented by Bell Helmets. This week's column is coming to you from what feels like my home away from home in historic Rossville Tennessee, the residence of none other than hall of fame tuner Babe DeMay. Babe is gracious enough to let me stay here while I am working at the Memphis Shades office from time to time and I've been here long enough that the bonus room above the garage feels like my own little apartment. The good news is that this is sort of Babe's trophy room and being surrounded by win ads from not only his own national win, but race trophies and win ads from some of his former riders is a little inspiring for the column. Nevertheless, we have some racing news to talk about, so let's get started.

With it getting towards the end of April, a lot of local tracks are trying like mad to get their racing seasons under way. Other than the poor folks in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, the temperatures are starting to warm up and racing fever along with seasonal allergies is starting to put it's firm grasp on racers of all sizes and abilities. The only problem is, well, at least in the central part of the country where I was born and raised, is that this time of year is sort of our monsoon season. Many tracks right now have gotten a ton of rain this week so even though I am going to list below all of the tracks that we know of racing this week, PLEASE check on your own to see if they are still racing before you travel. I know for certain that Macomb Illinois is not running, as their track is completely underwater.
Spokane Speedway, WA
Mid America Speedway, Indianapolis, IN Short Track
Macomb, IL Short Track

I Think Macomb Illinois Might Be Cancelled.
Salinas California-Short Track

Lodi, CA Short Track and TT
Ventura, CA Short Track
Prarie City, CA
Perris, CA Short Track
Cuddebackville, NY


The racing continues next week with races at the following tracks.
Salem, OH Western Reserve Motorcycle Club-Half Mile
Fosterburg, IL-TT
Fruitland Park, FL-Original Speedway Park
Travelers Rest, SC
Lodi, CA Lodi Cycle Bowl-TT
Chowchilla, CA Short Track
Salinas, CA Short Track and TT
Erie, CO-IMI Motorsports Park


I'm sure there are more races than just those listed above, so if you have an upcoming event, please email it to tyler@fightfordt.com and we will get it on our schedules page!

I announced it last week, but don't forget that the crew at Ride Academy has a really special event going on that is sure to fill up fast. They are putting on one of their top notch schools just ahead of the Springfield Memorial Day weekend, which is also right before Amateur Nationals. The school is taking place on May 22nd and 23rd and will afford students the ability to ride on the same tracks that they will be racing both during the All-Star events planned for that weekend and during Amateur Nationals. Mike Hacker, Johnny Lewis and Kenny Coolbeth will be the instructors and if those Grand National winning riders can't improve your skill set, well, no one can! You can pick from a one day class for $300 or learn on both days for $500. You better hurry because I have a feeling this class will fill up very VERY fast. Check out www.rideacademy.com for all of the details.

Not only will the Ride Academy crew be putting on a riding school, but leading up to Amateur Nationals, they are also having a FREE "Mile Preparation Course" that is open to everyone. This will be taught by the same race winning riders and will teach riders of all skill levels that will be racing amateur nationals how to properly and most of all, SAFELY race on the massive mile tracks. The time and location of this class will be announced at a closer date, but I would also like to see a lot of Pro Singles racers at this event because if anybody needs to learn about safety on the mile, it is the 450 class. Johnny Lewis will also be hanging out during the entire week of Amateur Nationals, lending his help wherever he can to young racers as they race hard through the week. Kudos to the Ride Academy crew for being very proactive with their Mile Preparation Course!

The madness just doesn't stop in Springfield, as there will be a "Legends" race during the mile on Sunday that will pit some of the most famous riders our sport has seen against each other on identically prepped bikes. They will be racing on a 1/4 mile track built using the front straight of the mile, right in front of the grand stands. This means that it is probably going to be a long track, about the length of the grandstands, and super narrow. Chris Carr, Jay Springsteen, Joe Kopp, Rich King, Ronnie Jones, Steve Beattie, Steve Morehead and Mike Hacker will be laying down the rubber on Honda's provided by Ride Academy. Come on guys...you don't think Mike Hacker is going to have the fastest bike of the group? It might be neat to watch, but the track that they are going to be on, I would say it's going to be a race between Hacker and Carr. Kopp could get in there and battle, but if they are on little bikes, nobody has more time on them than Carr and Hacker. However, if there is a Rich King holeshot, I can promise you that the rest of the field is going to have to figure out how to pass around the outside. I feel like this is a little bit of a gimmick, but at the same time if it is entertaining and puts fans in the stands, I'm all for it.

AMA Pro Racing dropped huge news on us last Friday after the column was posted and then again earlier in the week. Last Friday they announced the biggest news in years really when they announced that the "Basic Twins" class was coming back for 2014. This means that Pro Singles riders will be on twin cylindered bikes at what AMA Pro Racing calls "select Mile and Half-Mile events" next season. They are set to give the series sort of a test run at the Labor Day race of the Springfield Mile in September. While the official rules package for the class hasn't dropped yet, Flattrack Director Dan Johnsen did tell me via email that the rule structure will be similar to the one that we saw in 2008, the last year the Basic Twins class was offered. This means that engines will be restricted compared to what the Experts are able to run. However, since 2008, there are many new power plants on our race tracks and I have a feeling that AMA Pro Racing had to take a step back to allow as many of the current engines as possible all while keeping the playing field pretty even. On my end of things, I am hoping that they are able to develop rules to keep it from being a field of Kawasaki 650's because last time I checked, nobody at the Kawasaki factory is doing anything for dirt track, while we have companies like Harley Davidson, Triumph and Yamaha that are interested in our sport in some capacity from the factory level. It's a fine line to walk, and I know there will have to be tweaking along the way to keep things pretty equal, just as they are tweaking things for the Expert Twins this season with the Harley restrictors getting an extra millimeter on the mile tracks and the other brands having to be a little heavier. I think the best thing is that number 1, Pro Singles will be on Twins now (Pro Twins?) because as a Pro Singles license holder, I have always dreamed of riding a twin and never thought I'd have the chance. Number 2, the fact of the matter is, most of our fans want to see racing on the big bikes. Number 3, companies in our sport that make specialized dirt track parts, frames, wheels, triple clamps, they are going to see a boost in business as people start putting bikes together and last, number 4, AMA Pro Racing announced this new class now, with plenty of time for us to save our pennies and start a build.

The only downside to this is cost. Yes, it is going to cost us Pro Singles guys a lot of money to put another bike together. It may drive some people out of the sport even. However, if anybody had any illusion that dirt track, or even racing in general was cheap had the wrong idea in the first place. I also find it funny that some Pro Singles racers won't even think twice about buying a new 450 to the tune of $8,000, and then spend nearly another $8,000 getting it race ready with suspension and engine mods, dirt track wheels and the like, but if you tell them they need to spend $16,000 on a twin, we start hearing cries of "THE SKIES ARE FALLING!" Outside of building a brand new XR750, which is going to cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $25,000, most of the other twins bikes, if you are smart and resourceful about it can be built as cheap as $10,000 but most are going to be in the $12,000 to $16,000 range. That is, unless you go all out with the motor and have things coated, special pistons, rods, cams and cranks made and things like that. Custom parts are never ever going to be cheap, though with our rules package, those things may not be needed or legal anyway. This is already a tough time for Pro Singles racers to get sponsorships, and with this added cost going into next season, I challenge you as a fan to get behind some Pro Singles racers and help them out where you can so that this class is a success. Last week I challenged the racers to step up their game with their sponsors, now I challenge the fans and sponsors to get behind their riders.

AMA Pro Racing also announced the August 24th race date at Colonial Downs in Virginia. I hinted at this rumor last week, but AMA Pro Racing made it official this week. The track is listed as 1.25 miles long, but like I also said last week, I'm not sure if that is the oval's length or if they call it 1.25 miles because of the starting straight that the horses use. Either way, they have held races at the facility before and it is where Jennifer Snyder nabbed a pro win on her first ride on a Factory Harley Davidson over Rich King and Mike Hacker. The facility is top notch, it will be nice to have another East Coast race, and I sure hope we can pack the place!

Spend some time on the home page please, front and center is Johnny Lewis' latest video put together by Thunder Media and Built Brand Clothing. It is a 4 minute adventure through a tree farm on a bone stock Triumph Scrambler....street bike. Talk about entertaining! Johnny puts it through it's paces like few can do and the video is making the rounds all over the internet which gives at least one rider in our sport a ton of media exposure. It's things like this that help take our sport to new places, so thank you Johnny and especially the whole film crew and let's not forget Triumph Motorcycles. Speaking of Johnny, they have been doing a little testing with his new factory Triumph ride, and here is the latest picture of it:


In other news, Briar Bauman has left the Babe DeMay Motorsports team to strike out on his own once again for the 2013 season. With the DeMay Motorsports team still deep in development of their new Yamaha twin, I'm not sure if Briar got worried about it being ready for Stockton or if he got a better offer somewhere else, but you won't see him on blue bikes for the 2013 season. I have heard a tiny rumor that he may be going to the Werner Kawasaki team, but it is too early to tell, being that the last I talked to Briar he was planning on riding a Suzuki for Stockton and then had no plans for the rest of the season. On Briar's end, it's a shame because the kid has a wealth of natural talent. However, you have to still remember that he is young and he grew up with an extremely tight support team that I believe he isn't comfortable without at this time. However, as I learned early on, the things in life that usually end up being best certainly aren't comfortable at first! I wish Briar all the luck in the world and hope he can find the right fit very soon because there aren't a lot of teams out there any more to ride for. Any team that grabs him up will have a fun kid to work with though and trust me, if he sticks with it, he will win a national soon!

On the DeMay Motorsports side of things, they are still working at a feverish pace to get things ready for Stockton. They have 1 Yamaha twin together and ready to go, one nearly done, and one with the finishing touches on the frame going on. With Stockton 3 weeks away and tuner Clayton Shambaugh coming to town soon, I think the Blue Crew may just have 3 Yamaha's ready to go. They still aren't telling me who they have riding them, but whoever does is going to have some pretty neat equipment to race that will probably be lightning fast.

Speaking of Stockton, don't forget to get your pre-entries in. They are due by April 26th which is next Friday!

EVS Sports came on board with Fight For Dirt Track for the 2013 season and have been protecting me since 2011 with their awesome line of shoulder braces, ankle braces and knee/shin guards. They now have a new knee brace out called the Axis with two versions, the Axis Sport and Axis Pro. Available now, the state of the art Axis Sport Knee brace features: Reinforced nylon injected upper and lower cuffs, Adjustable hyperextension lock-outs allowing personalized fitment, Dual Defense total tracking knee cup design, Full protection at all times, Ultra-lite construction, Perfect FormFit Frame, Tru-Motion 2.0 anatomically correct hinges and a Thermo Fit Liner.
Sold individually and in pairs
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
$249 Single (Left or Right); $479 Pair.

EVS AXIS Sport Knee Brace

Available now, this state of the art AXIS Pro Knee brace features: Adjustable hyperextension lock-outs, allows personalized fitment, Aluminum and Carbon Fiber construction, DualDefense Patella Guard total tracking knee cup design, Full protection at all times- Ultra-lite construction, Perfect FormFit Frame, Tru-Motion 2.0 Anatomically Correct Hinges, and a Thermo Fit Liner.
Sold individually and in pairs
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
$375 Single (Left or Right); $695 Pair.

The Axis Pro Knee Brace

Both knee braces are available online at www.evs-sports.com and at finer dealers everywhere.

That's all I have this week. Like I said, I have been in Memphis for a couple of days getting my truck ready for it's West Coast adventure. I'll be all over the West Coast from Kingman Arizona to Sacramento California from Monday until Springfield time a month from now, so if you see the brightly colored Memphis Shades truck, that's just me poking along at 62mph. Wrapping up, I don't understand the tragedies in both Boston and near Waco Texas that happened this week. However, being not only a Marathon finisher but also a former chemical plant worker and rescue squad member, both hit extremely close to home for me. As the drama unfolds in Boston and crews and families begin to pick up the pieces in Texas, please keep all of those affected in your thoughts and prayers. The finish line of a Marathon is the happiest place in the world. A place where you have just suffered more than you may have suffered in your entire life is coming to and end. Thousands of people cheering you on to take those final steps and the feeling you get when it is over. It really can't be put into words. To have that special moment totally victimized is a horrible thing that I can't and don't even want to imagine. Please keep the victims of both tragedies in your thoughts and prayers this week. Thank you all so much for reading and have a great weekend.

Best Of's


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Newest Leathers: Mikey Martin


Worst Rally Driver: Kevin Anderson