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Saturday Super Hooligan of the Day

Bob Schaller shows off his classic 1980s metric crusier during practice for the Super Hooligans support Flat Track race during the Superprestigo of the Americas at the Orleans Casino Arena last weekend.  Aboard this liquid cooled, shaft drive Honda v-four, complete with king-and-queen seat, Schaller qualified 28th out of 32 entries with a lap at 13.127 seconds for the Super Hooligan event, and didn't make the 24 rider cut to compete in the Heat Races.  This was the only Honda entered - the laregest brand represented in Super Hooligans was Harley-Davidson, with 21 bikes in the field.

Saturday, 28 November 2015 09:37 Published in News


Thursday Super Hooligan of the Day

At the Super Hooligans support Flat Track race during the Superprestigio of the Americas event at the Orleans Casino Arena on Saturday night, November 21, Mitch Gallagher went old school for real with his hard tail Harley-Davidson.  Sponsored by Motosource and Keil Motorsports, Gallagher was a DNS from the final in Las Vegas.

Thursday, 26 November 2015 00:16 Published in News


Monday Super Hooligans of the Day

Super Hooligans support heat race action during the Superprestigio of the Americas Short Track event at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, with the # 66 Harley-Davidson of Shaun Guardado of Long Beach, CA.; the # 4 Harley-Davidson of Travis Hayes of Encinitas, CA., and the # 23 Indian of Brendon Lutes, also of Long Beach, CA.

Sunday, 22 November 2015 11:16 Published in News


Sunday Super Hooligan of the Day

Thor Drake of Portland, Oregon took the support race Super Hooligan win at the Superprestigio of the Americas event at the Orleans Casino Arena aboard a modern, liquid-cooled, 750cc Harley-Davidson.

Sunday, 22 November 2015 11:01 Published in News


Champ Mees Wins first Superprestigio of the Americas in Las Vegas

Newly crowned AMA Pro Grand National Flat Track Champion Jared Mees of Clio, Mi, came to Las Vegas, gambled and won.  Big time.  In Friday’s final event in the AMP Flat Track National Tour at a new, ultra-short track at the Orleans Casino Arena, Mees scored a safe third in the Feature race and clinched his third overall National crown. 

This Saturday night on the same track, Mees worked through a crazy-busy set of Heats and Semi races to be one of four Flat Trackers to start the main event, then defeated his Flat Track peers and the top racers selected from other disciplines (“All Stars”) to become the first winner in the new all-comers Invitational Superprestigio of the Americas presented by Yamaha.

Aboard his Las Vegas Harley-Davidson backed Honda single, Mees placed second in the 12 Lap final Q race for Flat Trackers, behind Brad Baker of Eatonville, WA, to earn one of the four spots for “his kind” in the Superprestigio race.

In the 15 lap Main Event, Mees ran second early, then cut under Baker when the just-back-form-injury rider clobbered the plastic wall on the outside of the front straight.  Baker, frequently millimetres from the barrier, continued in second but Mees was solidly in first.

Mees won over Baker by a second and a half, with Kenny Coolbeth Jr. taking third, another second back.  Honda swept the podium.  For much of the race, Coolbeth staged a great dice with top “All Star” class competitor Roger Hayden on a Suzuki, but road race ace Hayden fell in the final turn and was classified seventh.

Top “All Star” class Feature race finisher was veteran 40 year old Larry Pegram in fourth with the Foremost Insurance Honda.  Teen-aged road race sensation Joe Roberts was fifth, while top young Brit road racer Oliver Brindley placed very worthy sixth on his Kawasaki single.

The Superprestigio concept was relaunched two years ago in Spain, and while three Spanish road racers took part in Las Vegas, none made it to the main event.  This was mostly due to bad luck – only four riders from each category could take part in the final, out of an entry of 15 per division.

“What a way to top things off at the end of a great year,” began Mees post-race.  “I’m almost at a loss for words, it’s really a big deal, winning a Superprestigio.  I knew Brad would be tough, he got the best of me in the race before, but I kept my focus.  Now Brad and I are heading over to Spain to represent the American dirt trackers.”

“I don’t think they could have designed a better track to create chaos,” joked Mees after his win.  “Any time you do something different, it’s fun.  The whole thing was hectic, but it was nothing compared to what we go through in Spain.  It’s really cool that it was so fast paced.”

“The way the track was set up, it was racy,” continued Mees.  “You could stick somebody, really go hard, like you were racing 100s in my back yard with my buddies.  With us having the event the night before, it gave us an advantage, we knew what was going to happen, how the track would change.  In the future maybe this can be a stand-alone race.”

Second placed Baker admitted that “I definitely had a wild wall ride, for a flat track style bike! To ride clean on this track is tough, but that’s the goal.  It was really fun racing Jared, he rode so good, and I made too many mistakes.  I had a bike break, I got hung up on the starting gate in one of my heats – I really can’t complain after coming back on such a rough night!”

Third placed Coolbeth said that “I had a really awesome fight with Hayden, we were really back and forth, it was really aggressive, it was real short track racing.  I got to third and I just stayed there.  The track was kind of slick, kinda dry, we slowed down our bike so we could go a little faster.”

The sole Canadian invited to the first Superprestigio of the Americas was newly crowned Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence of Mississauga, ON.  After adjusting his bike after Friday’s racing, Lawrence had nothing but bad luck in his heats. Although Lawrence got close to making the cut in is Flat Track Semi qualifying race, he stalled his Town Moto Honda in a tight turn while battling for position and was unable to Qualify for his Main. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015 03:14 Published in News


Super Hooligans Race at Las Vegas

The support class for this evening’s inaugural Superprestigio of the Americas dirt track presented by Yamaha event at the Orleans Casino Arena in Las Vegas is Super Hooligans.  Since the Super Hooligans is a sort of a modern version of the “free rider” initiative, with an aversion to structure and rules, the event is hard to describe.

Most of the entries in the Super Hooligans class are competing aboard big, cruiser type v-twins of some type, many of them street legal, complete with active head and brake lights.  There are a few older machines, several sorta-XR Harley-Davidsons seemingly built from used parts, Triumphs, a Buell, and an early 1980s Honda Sabre v-four cruiser, complete with king-and-queen aftermarket seat. 

Super Hooligan riding gear also runs the full range of options, including taped together leathers, clearly borrowed steel shoes, and the first open face helmets we have seen at a track in many years.  One guy raced well with a white denim Levis-style jacket and white jeans, belt showing.  There is some hipster, as well as vintage, influence in Super Hooligans activity.

Class guru Roland Sands appeared to be wearing pyjamas in the opening on-track session, but was down to just his leathers for his second session aboard his handsome Indian twin.

If you know how to cover all this with a descriptive, umbrella like category overview, please let us know!

Of course, something new and different often attracts smart comments, and many wise guys suggested all kinds of possible mishaps for the large and heavy machines, not necessarily well suited to this tight, tenth of a mile oval – except maybe for the sole Ducati Scrambler!

So far, the riders have been respectful of each other, and only a couple of bikes have required on-track pick up.  You don’t want to be on the bottom of a Short Track pile in the Super Hooligans 12 rider, 8 lap final race later on in tonight’s Las Vegas program.

Saturday, 21 November 2015 20:16 Published in News


Lawrence Misses Vegas Main as Mees Repeats

Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence earned third in his heat race and fifth in his semi in the final round of the Harley-Davidson GNC1 AMA Flat Track Championship presented by Vance and Hines, but it wasn’t enough to get him into the 13th and final main event of the 2015 National season at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, November 20.

In his Heat, Town Moto backed, Honda mounted Lawrence got a poor start, but managed to work his way up to place a respectable third behind winner Brandon Robinson and runner-up Kayl Kolkman.  That result moved Lawrence onto the front row of the crowed 12 rider Semi race, and the Champ needed to place in the top two to make it to the main. 

While Lawrence again moved through the field, it wasn’t enough to earn him a spot in the 12 rider Main vent.  Instead, Lawrence’s effort moved him on to the GNC1 “B Main,” and after a rough start, he worked his way up to net sixth.

“The track slowed down a lot, we changed the gearing, we were trying to work it,” explained Lawrence post racing.  “My races went Ok, but just Ok – positioning is everything.  The track was getting rutted, and you really needed to hit things straight, and when you’re in traffic, that’s hard to do.”

Lawrence will return to the same tenth of a mile, custom designed dirt oval tomorrow, since the Northern National Champ earned an invitation to take part in the first ever Superprestigio of the Americas.  This unique event, based on a recent Spanish format, has a ladder system for flat track stars and a separate series of qualifying and heats for non-dirt trackers, leading to a combined “world” final.

Meanwhile, a series of bizarre events mean that heat six victor and reigning Champ Jared Mees of Clio, MI has clinched the American National Flat Track crown, before the final event has even taken place.  As with most of the field, Mees was mounted on a Honda CFR450R single, but is backed by big local dealer Las Vegas Harley-Davidson.

Potential points rivals in the Championship chase, Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Hon) and Brad Baker (Hon), both fell in their Semi, meaning both are mathematically eliminated from the title battle.       

Saturday, 21 November 2015 01:20 Published in News


Lawrence Launches from Fifth Heat in Vegas

Reigning Flat Track Canada National Champion Doug Lawrence will aim to qualify through the fifth of sixth Heat races tonight at the 13th and final round of the Harley-Davidson GNC1 Flat Track Grand Nationals, held at the Arena in the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas.  The sole Canadian in the 36 rider entry ran as high as 16th aboard his Town Moto backed-Honda CRF450R in the early practice sessions, but a fall in the final Qualifying dropped him down the order to 23rd overall.

Fastest Qualifier for tonight’s racing is Mike Rush on a Honda, the veteran lapping the tight oval at 10.23 seconds.  Rush will start from pole in the first heat, while next best lapper Henry Wiles (10.27) gets the pole for race two with his Honda, race three will be headed by third best Q rider Briar Bauman on a Honda, Robert Pearson will start from the inside in Heat four on a Yamaha YZF450F, the Lawrence heat will be headed by Suzuki RMZ 450 of Kayl Kolkman, while pole for the final heat belongs to the sixth best qualifier, reigning Champ Jared Mees on another Honda.

Lawrence turned a best lap at 10.62 seconds before he got out of shape in the second and last Q session, eventually tumbling into the padded wall that lines the tight, hockey arena-sized track.  The top 12 riders from the HEat and Semi races will take part in the final 2015 Dirt Track National.

“The track was getting rough, there was prep work right before our session, and I figured it would help, but I was wrong,” explained the uninjured Lawrence prior to the opening ceremonies.  “Yeah, I hit the wall, but it was no big deal.  Maybe it’s time to put on the ol’ chest protector!”

“I need to get back to the way I was riding (in the earlier sessions),” considered 30 year old Lawrence.  “I need to be a little more calculated, that’s my normal mode.  I’ll be in the middle of the row, it will be crazy on the first laps, so I need to get my elbows out.”

“The race is fun, the whole weekend is great (including tomorrow night’s Superprestigio of the Americas), but I wish there was a little time to enjoy it.  We didn’t really know what to expect with the track, they maybe over watered it, and now they’re trying to smooth it out as best they can.”

“As far as the race strategy goes, It is what it is, what I expected – you really need a good start, and you need to take advantage of your chances if they come, especially in the early laps.  If you get a chance, you just have to do it.”

“The race format is pretty specialized, there are a few guys who know how to race these little tracks, and then there is everyone else.  You’re really going to need to work the inside, right around the ring.  You need full commitment, look well ahead, and just try and find your comfort level.”      

 Sponsorship for the Lawrence Racing 2015 AMA Pro effort comes from John Briggs Motorsports, Town Moto, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Jon Castin, Triple J Racing, American Harley-Davidson, Arai, Troy Lee Design, SIDI boots, Motion Pro, West Coast Hot Shoes, Works Connection, Klotz, Saddlemen and JS Marketing.  

Friday, 20 November 2015 21:56 Published in News


Non Flat Trackers Test in Vegas

With the arena’s track preparation complete and the Airfence in place, non-Flat Track Superprestigio of the Americas competitors got a couple of hours of surface testing and practice on Thursday evening, November 19 at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas.

On Friday evening, November 20, the 13th and deciding round of the 2015 American Flat Track Championship takes place at the same venue, while the next night features the inaugural Yamaha-sponsored Superprestigio of The Americas. 

Both events take place on a custom built, indoor hockey rink-sized (about .10 of a mile in length) track at the Orleans Hotel and Casino.

Non flat track racers taking part in the discipline-crossing first ever North American Superprestigio event will be at a disadvantage, partly because they do not regularly compete on dirt ovals and mostly because they are not part of the AMA Pro National wrap-up on Friday night.  So a little test and tune was a welcome and much appreciated surprise.

With most of the top flat trackers watching from the sidelines, the non-oval group showed well, and demonstrated that the surface should be good for competition.  Track designer and Flat Track legend Chris Carr made big efforts to ensure that passing was possible, and the initial, non-competition outing on the Orleans oval showed promise.

Maybe the fastest, unofficially, of the Pros to try the track was Larry Pegram on the Foremost Insurance Honda single.  Out of work since the works Buell team dropped out of World Superbike early in 2015 due to issues with the parent company, former flat track star Pegram was in confident form.

Attracting the most attention was a charging Roger Lee Hayden aboard the Yoshimura Suzuki RMZ450, with most of the riders trying to follow every time Hayden took to the course for one of the many brief sessions.  Back in 2002, Hayden and his two brothers, Tommy and Nicky, swept the AMA Pro National Short Track podium in Springfield, Ill.

Top European was MotoGP ace and 2012 Moto2 World Champ Toni Elias of Spain, 32. A veteran of the Spanish Superprestigio that started the us vs them flat track spectacular craze, Elias looked quick and fairly consistent, shaking of a couple of minor tumbles on the stop-and-go layout.

Action for the Flat Track Experts starts on Friday at 3 PM local time, with two hours of timed practice.  After that, there will be Heat and Semi races for the GNC1 and GNC2 categories.  Canadian interest will focus on newly crowned Flat Track Canada Champ Doug Lawrence aboard the John Briggs Motorsports/Town Moto Honda. 

The Inside Motorcycles web site will feature coverage of the Lawrence effort both nights.

On hand to watch the test, Lawrence explained that he was “impressed with the track, they seem to have really done a good job preparing the surface – it has plenty of moisture, and that should help over a night.”

“They’re trying to make it so you can pass, race each other.  I don’t know if what we watched tonight will be what we see in the races tomorrow night, but right now those guys know more than we do.”     

Thursday, 19 November 2015 22:53 Published in News


Lawrence Readies for Vegas

Newly-crowned Flat Track Canada overall national No. 1 Doug Lawrence is very busy these days, preparing for the season-ending dirt track doubleheader next weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. On Friday evening, November 20, the 13th and deciding round of the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Championship takes place, while the next night features the inaugural Yamaha-sponsored Superprestigio of the Americas.  Both events take place on a custom-built, indoor hockey rink-sized (listed at an optimistic .25 miles) track at the Orleans Hotel and Casino.

Inside Motorcycles will be on site in Vegas for Lawrence’s races, and provide exclusive web coverage focused on the Flat Track Canada champ.

Lawrence will compete aboard one of his Honda CRF450Rs, recently rebuilt by Doug Beattie.

“I’ve won a lot of Canadian nationals on this bike,” explained Lawrence shortly before leaving for Michigan and further testing and training on Sunday, November 15. “But now we’ve detuned it, trying to make it work for a tenth-of-a-mile track. Doug did a great job for me, he really knows these Hondas well now.”

Lawrence explained that everyone planning to compete in Las Vegas has been looking to ride at tracks small enough to simulate the Orleans set-up.

“Everyone has been building these little tracks, and I tested with (American champ) Jared Mees at a track he built on his property. Then I’m going to Scott Parker’s place in Michigan, Bryan Smith built a track there.  I think (retired multi-time national champ) Scott’s even going to ride with us!”

After his final test in Michigan, Lawrence will fly to California, before heading to Vegas for practice.

As far as the format for the event is concerned, with many short races close together leading to eliminations and the final, Lawrence says he is trying not to focus too much on the event’s structure.

“It doesn’t help to worry too much about the starts, but everyone knows how important that is on a short track.  The starts are huge,” laughs Lawrence.

“The trick is to ride assertive, not aggressive.  You really need to use your head, pick your battles, and don’t put yourself in a position where you are going to make a mistake. I guess you have to say that it comes down to luck.  The guys who get success in this type of event, they aren’t the fastest, but they really know how to position themselves.  It is important to qualify up front, the times will be really close, put yourself on pole, be in a position to control things from the front.

“The race formats are a little different from what we get usually, so it will shake down differently, but it will still be an issue if some guy kamikazes and takes down a bunch of people in his heat race.

“The racing will be way different from how things look in practice, we’ll be more upright, not so vulnerable, guarding our spot – maybe not as exciting (or sideways).  It really depends on the surface, can we ride it hard, but it will likely be inconsistent.  So protecting your spot, your position, will be a big factor.”

Lawrence places equal importance on the two events, but figures that Saturday’s Superprestigio will be the tougher event in terms of qualifying for the final race.

“Organizer Chris Carr has put me in with all the other flat trackers, and that class is full of heavy hitters – I’m really in the deep water, so in a way the math is worse on the second night. No one knows what will happen, and that should make it really entertaining.”            

Following the Vegas events, Lawrence will return to California for some bicycle training before heading to legendary MX venue Glen Helen Raceway for Red Bull’s 18th Day in the Dirt, with support from Troy Lee Designs Canada.

Sponsorship for the Lawrence Racing 2015 AMA Pro effort comes from John Briggs Motorsports, Town Moto, Brooklin Cycle Racing, Jon Castin, Triple J Racing, American Harley-Davidson, Arai, Troy Lee Design, SIDI boots, Motion Pro, West Coast Hot Shoes, Works Connection, Klotz, Saddlemen and JS Marketing.  

Saturday, 14 November 2015 14:21 Published in News


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