Kentucky Speedway Expanding Parking Facilities

Sparta, Kentucky ( 2012-03-12) – Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) just announced they had acquired 143-acres of land to be used to expand parking facilities at the Kentucky Speedway. They are also hiring new staff and engineering personnel to help manage automotive and pedestrian traffic at the track during race days. Presently, the firm plans on investing $7.5 million in order to achieve these goals in the months ahead.

Speedway Motorsports Inc is spending $7.5 million to enhance parking at the Kentucky Speedway
Speedway Motorsports Inc is spending $7.5 million to enhance parking at the Kentucky Speedway

The Kentucky Department of Transportation is also planning on enhancing parking access by improving connecting highways to the Kentucky Speedway.

“We learned meaningful lessons during our inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend and we committed that the traffic congestion that occurred on race day would not happen again. It was important for us to act quickly and I am thrilled to report this solution, which was formed in only seven short weeks. I compliment and thank SMI Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and KYTC Sec. Mike Hancock for working collaboratively on this plan,” Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger said.

Speedway Motorsports expects the expanded parking facilities to increase available parking at the race track by about 35 percent with this announcement. They also plan on further improving the track by reenforcing all areas using gravel and by implementing new painting guidelines to maximize parking at the site.

The firm has hired Veteran’s Security and Patrol to manage parking during up coming races at the Kentucky Speedway. This security firm currently provides similar security and parking services at racing venues like the Daytona International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Watkins Glen International. The Kentucky Speedway will also use the services of a top traffic engineering firm to help implement and assimilate the changes being planned and create the best possible traffic plan for the site.

“Kentucky Speedway is a premier destination for the country’s best racing, and it’s clear that tens of thousands of people want to be right here to experience those events. The NASCAR race weekend this July was a huge success, but it did experience traffic problems, caused largely by inadequate parking,” said Gov. Beshear.  “To assure visitors have an even better experience next year, we’ve worked hand in hand with SMI to plan improvements that will benefit fans on race day and Gallatin County residents year-round.”


Ride for the Kids

Moto Guzzi and AMA Pro Racing President Roger Edmondson Join Chick-fil-A
Kyle Petty Charity Ride for Kids

Celebrity-rider autographed Moto Guzzi Norge will raise additional fund at
2010 Sound and Speed charity auction

NEW YORK – April 28, 2009 – Moto Guzzi motorcycles have
delighted riders with their unique motor music and long-distance riding
comfort for over 80 years. Now, one of this storied brand’s thoroughly
modern sport touring motorcycles, the Moto Guzzi Norge, will travel
cross-country on the 15th anniversary Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride,
starting in Stevenson, Wash. on May 8. Piloted by AMA Pro Racing President
and Grand-AM CEO Roger Edmondson, the Moto Guzzi Norge will head east, along
with over 200 other riders and motorcycles, collecting autographs from
celebrity participants along the route. Its final destination is the
January 2010 Sound and Speed charity auction in
Nashville, Tenn., benefitting children’s charities, including Petty’s
Victory Junction camp.

“I’ve been an enthusiastic rider for over 53 years and I’m especially happy
to combine my passion for motorcycles with a terrific cause like Kyle and
Pattie’s charity ride,” said Edmondson. Edmondson, who was first hooked on
two wheels when he bought a scooter at the age of 13, is no stranger to Moto
Guzzi. He owned one of the best-loved Moto Guzzi models, an 850 LeMans –
the same model that AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Mike Baldwin unexpectedly
took to a runaway victory in the 1976 AMA Superbike race at Loudon, New

Edmondson will be adding a number of non-standard “options’ to the Norge
along the route. To prep the Moto Guzzi for its final destination, the 2010
Sound and Speed charity auction, he’ll ask notable ride participants like
NASCAR legend Harry Gant, Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy, football
great Herschel Walker and PGA Tour professional Davis Love III to add their
autographs to the motorcycle.

Supported by a growing number of caring riders each year, the 15th
anniversary Ride benefits Victory Junction and other children’s
charities. Petty and his wife, Pattie, founded Victory Junction in
Randleman, N.C., in 2004. The year-round camp serves children ages 6 to 16,
with serious health issues, at no cost to their families. The Petty’s plans
to open a second Victory Junction will come to fruition on May 13 when the
Ride stops in Kansas City, Kan., to participate in a ceremonial
groundbreaking celebration at the site of the new camp.

Since its inception, the Ride has visited 49 states and donated more than
$12 million to children’s charities. Riders have traveled approximately 7.9
million cumulative motorcycle miles, and 13 riders have participated all 15
years. For complete and current information on the Ride, visit

About Moto Guzzi and Piaggio Group Americas

For more than 85 years, Moto Guzzi has maintained a reputation as one of
world’s most prominent manufacturers of motorcycles. The company was founded
in 1921 on the shores of Lake Como in the village of Mandello del Lario,
Italy, where the motorcycles are still manufactured today. Moto Guzzi has
notched up no fewer than 3,300 racing wins including 14 world GP titles, 22
world records and 11 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy wins in the course of its
long history.

In December 2004 Moto Guzzi became part of the Piaggio Group, Europe’s
leading manufacturer of two wheelers and one of the world’s most recognized
and respected names in motorcycle and scooter production. For more
information on Moto Guzzi’s complete U.S. model line, visit

2009 Aprilia SMV 750 Dorsoduro Delivers Maxi Moto Thrills

2009 Aprilia SMV 750 Dorsoduro Delivers Maxi Moto Thrills

Fueled by five Supermoto World Championships, Aprilia’s new supermotard
blends total control and serious technology with extreme road riding fun

NEW YORK, NY – December 5, 2009 – Power slides, jumps, wheelies and full
throttle straights are all part of supermoto racing, and with five Supermoto
World Championships in the record books, Aprilia is a master at engineering
motorcycles that can expertly handle the challenges – and the sport’s
inherent thrills.  Now, with the U.S. debut of the mid-size 2009 SMV 750
Dorsoduro, the Italian manufacturer offers American riding enthusiasts a
lightweight, high-performance 92-hp V-Twin streetbike that combines all the
benefits of supermoto styling and riding position with precision handling
and race-bred technology.  Just as importantly, the Dorsoduro comes standard
with an inordinate amount of pure fun.

Lightweight, agile, and powerful, this new addition to Aprilia’s family of
sport bikes features the compact, new-generation 90° V-Twin engine for power
that rivals or exceeds that of many larger twins.  In addition to massive
torque and unique style, the Dorsoduro is blessed with abundant racing
technology, from a second-generation ride-by-wire throttle to an ultra-rigid
mixed steel trellis and aluminum frame and competition-caliber brakes with
radial calipers.  Rough roads or smooth as glass asphalt, the 2009 Aprilia
SMV Dorsoduro begs you to bring it on – and leaves you smiling all the way
to the end of the ride.

Minimal Styling, Extreme Good Looks

Every square inch of the lean and mean Dorsoduro has been designed to serve
one purpose: delivering maximum riding thrills with minimum weight.  As a
result, body panels are reduced to a bare minimum.  A mini fairing
integrates the front head light as well as the front fender, and at the rear
a knife-sharp tail houses the dual exhaust.  Even the fuel tank includes
off-road style radiator shrouds. This combination doesn’t just keep the
Dorsoduro’s profile as slim and aggressive as possible, but also achieves
perfect symmetry and ideal weight distribution, as well as a dry weight of
just 409 lbs.

With a concentrated center of gravity, the rider melds with the machine,
shifting weight effortlessly to control power output under all riding
conditions, even on circuits where classic supermotard wheelies and power
slides are the order of the day. 

Engine Technology Befitting a World Champion

The Dorsoduro’s engine has been optimized for street riding.  With peak 92
hp on tap at 8,750 rpm and 61 ft.-lbs. torque available at just 4,500 rpm,
the four-stroke, eight-valve DOHC V-Twin delivers the perfect combination of
low-end “grunt” and steady top end performance.  The compact Twin also
features a mixed gear chain drive and electronic fuel injection with
dual-throttle bodies.

Sophisticated electronic engine management sets a new benchmark for the
competition.  As the first manufacturer to utilize ride-by-wire technology
on a motorcycle in this segment, Aprilia continues to be a leader in using
sophisticated technical solutions that help riders harness the ultimate
performance from their motorcycle.  The latest generation engine control
unit (ECU) manages all engine parameters, with a CAN network carrying
signals to the diagnostic center integrated in the Dorsoduro’s instrument
cluster. The CAN uses just two wires to handle all data, dramatically
simplifying the electrical system and reducing the overall weight of the

Three Performance Modes, One All-Around Entertaining Ride

Three performance modes – Sport, Touring and Rain – can be selected from a
switch on the handlebars (with the throttle closed for safety reasons). The
Dorsoduro changes its character radically, depending on which mode the rider
selects.  Sport mode provides aggressive instant power; Touring mode
delivers a smoother throttle action that is better suited to relaxed daily
riding; Rain mode reduces the engines power for improved safety on slippery

The Tri-Map electronic throttle also means smoother, more consistent power
anytime   thanks to more accurate and precise throttle control, based on
parameters including engine speed, gear selection, air flow, throttle
position and temperature. Whatever the mapping choice, the engine is always
ready to deliver the best possible performance in terms of acceleration and
rev range, resulting in a most satisfying and entertaining ride.

Emissions are handled by the Dorsoduro’s stainless steel dual exhaust.  The
system features collector pipes which meet in a single silencer under the
seat before splitting again into two tail pipes. The large-volume exhaust
system also aids engine breathing and boosts efficiency.

The Art of Perfect Balance

Parallel development of both engine and frame means that the Dorsoduro’s
longitudinally compact V-Twin is a perfect complement to the frame structure
– and vice versa.  Just like its world championship-winning sibling, the
Aprilia SXV 4.5, the Dorsoduro frame is a super tough mixed steel trellis
and aluminum frame design.  The top section of the frame is formed by a
tubular steel trellis, which is fixed to robust aluminum side members with
special high strength bolts. The complete assembly forms an extremely rigid
yet lightweight structure, providing the perfect solution for taming the
generous horsepower of the V-Twin engine without weight gain.

Designers and engineers also paid careful attention to the positioning of
the rear shock, specifying its laterally offset position and angle to
accommodate the exhaust collector pipes and avoid wasting space and adding
weight.  Even the Dorsoduro’s aluminum alloy swingarm was specially shaped
to support the asymmetric stress imparted to it by the innovative monoshock
positioning.  It boasts standard-setting rigidity for the motard sector.
Suspension Perfection Regardless of Surface

True to its Supermoto character, the Dorsoduro’s suspension package ensures
reliable performance on multiple surfaces.  The 43mm inverted front fork has
forged yokes and shell-cast bottom sections to hold the radial calipers.
This technically advanced design results in superb sliding action and, in
keeping with supermotard philosophy, generous 167 mm front wheel travel.  A
laterally offset hydraulic monoshock pivots directly on the aluminum alloy
swingarm in a cantilever configuration.  Adjustable for spring preload and
rebound damping, the rear suspension allows up to 150mm rear wheel travel.

Braking Technology from the Race Track to You

The Dorsoduro is equipped with the finest braking technology available.
Front brakes feature radial calipers with four pistons, a true state-of-the
art design within the motard category.  Big 320mm floating wave discs add
powerful stopping performance.  In the rear, a 240mm diameter wave rotor and
single piston caliper is ready to do the job.

Both front and the rear brakes are fitted with aeronautical type metal
braided brake lines to eliminate the sponginess inevitably associated with
conventional rubber hoses and to enable the bike’s top-class braking system
to deliver maximum precision.  Seventeen-inch front and rear high-profile
tires add excellent grip and stability.

Premium Components for a World-Class Supermoto

Like all Aprilia motorcycles, the Dorsoduro features a high concentration of
premium components.  The sophisticated analog/digital instrument cluster
incorporates diagnostics and multiple functions, all packaged in a modern,
ultra-light design.  Analog and digital areas are backlit white and red
respectively and riders can choose from three levels of brightness.  All
instrumentation functions can be accessed and controlled from the dual
taper, anodized aluminum handlebars, which are duplicates of the bars used
on Aprilia’s championship winning racing bikes.

The Dorsoduro’s hydraulic clutch provides consistently precise action and
exceptional smoothness and is self-adjusting as well as completely
maintenance free.

The 2009 Aprilia SMV 750 Dorsoduro has a manufacturer’s suggested retail
price (MSRP) of $9,599.  Color choices for U.S. riders include Aprilia Black
and Shine Red.

About Aprilia and Piaggio Group Americas

Aprilia world headquarters are in Noale (Venice, Italy).  Founded in 1962,
the company designs and manufactures motorcycles in Noale, with production
facilities in Scorzè.  With 38 motorcycling world championship titles (32
road and 6 off-road) under its belt, Aprilia is the only European
manufacturer to have a complete on- and off-road model portfolio, ranging
from sporty scooters, innovative off-road bikes and tough adventure tourers
to award-winning super sport bikes.  For information on Aprilia’s complete
U.S. model line, visit the company’s website at

In December 2004 Aprilia became part of the Piaggio Group, Europe’s leading
manufacturer of two wheelers and one of the world’s most recognized and
respected names in motorcycle and scooter production.

With approximately 7,000 employees, approximately 708,500 vehicles sold in
2007, 5 R&D centers, 7 production facilities in Europe and Asia, and
operations in over 50 countries, the Piaggio Group has a consolidated
leadership in the European 2 wheeler market.  Its production includes
scooters, motorcycles and mopeds in the 50cc to 1,200 cc displacement range,
marketed under the Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Derbi, Aprilia, Scarabeo and Moto
Guzzi brands.

Vespa Invites You to Get Smart About Your Ride

Vespa(R) Invites Consumers to Get Smart About Their Ride

Vespa and SUBWAY(R) restaurants team up for fuel-efficient, fresh
summer fun
with “Get Smart”-based Instant Win sweepstakes, free food and helmet

NEW YORK, May 20, 2008 – Vespa, the world’s most iconic scooter brand,
joining forces this summer with SUBWAY(R) restaurants and secret agents
Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 from the action comedy “Get Smart” to fight
forces of evil – traffic congestion, fuel consumption, global warming
boring transportation.  Supporting a cameo appearance by a silver Vespa
150 scooter in the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures release will be a
promotional campaign and placement within a SUBWAY(R)-branded
online Instant Win Game and Sweepstakes with a chance to win one of 10
scooters, as well as two exclusive offers to enjoy free food and gear.
multi-tiered promotion ties-in with the June 20 launch of “Get Smart,”
starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson and Alan Arkin.

While Maxwell Smart (Carell) and his savvy partner Agent 99 (Hathaway)
pursue the evil forces of KAOS, consumers can ensure that they’re not
starting their own mission on an empty stomach or without the right
protection.  Secret agents in search of fresh fare and the ideal
ride can receive a free $5 SUBWAY(R) card with a test drive or product
demonstration at all Vespa dealers.  Participants in SUBWAY(R)
Get Smart Eat Fresh Instant Win Game and Sweepstakes will receive a
to take advantage of a special offer to receive a free Vespa Soft-Touch
helmet, a $300-value, with the purchase of a new Vespa scooter. The
print and in-store promotions run June 2 through August 10, 2008 at all
Vespa dealers and more than 21,500 SUBWAY(R) restaurants in the U.S.

“The Vespa brand is synonymous with smart, spirited transportation,”
Paolo Timoni, President and CEO of Piaggio Group Americas, Inc.  “Vespa
riders already know that scooters are a fresh way to tackle today’s
fuel and
congestion issues, and we’re pleased that this promotion gives us the
opportunity to help even more consumers uncover the facts about




Two-wheel devotees are invited to the third annual Japanese Motorcycle Saturday at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum on June 7, 2008.  Located on the campus of the American Motorcyclist Association in Pickerington, Ohio, a few miles east of Columbus, the Museum is the country’s premier showcase of motorcycling heritage and history.  Over 400 enthusiasts and nearly 200 Japanese motorcycles of all styles, including new and vintage sportbikes, café racers and tourers, are expected to gather at the Museum for Japanese Motorcycle Saturday.


Whether visitors ride in on a classic Japanese motorcycle or simply stop by to glimpse machines showcasing decades of design and engineering, the event is sure to please all motorcycling aficionados.  Highlights of Japanese Motorcycle Saturday include a non-judged bike show and seminars.  Admission is only $10 and includes access to all museum exhibits, including the new “MotoStars: Celebrities + Motorcycles,” an installation chronicling many of the world’s most well-known enthusiasts.


Additional details about Japanese Motorcycle Saturday can be found at or by calling (614)856-2222.

The Life and Times of “Fast” Freddie Spencer, World Motorcycle Grand Prix Champion


  Ride the Wind Young Man


                                                                                     Part 2

   Welcome to the continuing story of the life, times and tribulations of Fast Freddie Spencer’s journey from the dirt tracks of America to the grandest stage of sportbike racing.  To become a living icon of motorcycle racing history and an endearing figure of the industry he loves to generations of aspiring champions. 

We left a 21-year-old Freddie last time just as the sun was setting on the year 1982 a time in which he failed to reach his goal of capturing the World Grand Prix Championship.  An outcome our 22-year-old phenomenon was determined to change during the 1983 season, a result that didn’t set well with the future hero of millions of adoring fans.  The sun climbing over the track of the first circuit of the 1983 season at Kyalami in South Africa found a 22-year-old competitor waiting at the start line determined to change last season’s disappointment and ride into the history books as a sportbike racing hero.   The sun followed Freddie around through-out the 1983 season as he raced to his first 500cc world title by a margin of 2 points over the legendary Kenny Roberts.  The two point difference between the two gentlemen is the closest margin in a point’s championship in the illustrious history of sportbike competitions. Making the 1983 battle one of the most exciting ever witnessed with Freddie taking the chequered flag in six races of the year-long contest on his NS 500 Honda Interceptor.  But this time was just foreshadowing the legendary events about to transpire on the world stage in the coming competitions.  In the following confrontations Freddie’s aggressive dirt track techniques would prove to be just as effective on pavement as the dirt tracks of America.  The dramatic streaks of black Freddie left on the pavement of circuits around the globe left compelling evidence of the effectiveness of his techniques.  His ability to drift into the turn on his front tyre, then spin out of the turn on the rear as he feathered the rear brake into the throttle while stabilizing the weight of the sportbike with his knee, allowed him to do things with a motorcycle few men had accomplished before and generations of competitors have copied, and is a trade mark technique used by aspiring champions that makes him an endearing idol to many budding riders and fans of the sport. 

Since around 1980 Freddie had been considered one of the top developmental riders in the industry, providing input on the bikes he raced to help developers make the next generation of sportbikes better. So when a Honda came-calling in 1984 a 23-year-old Freddie decided to help develop the 2-cylinder NSR 500 for the Japanese manufacturer by providing the data they would use to hopefully create a faster ride.  Unfortunately their new baby had teething problems that year as Freddie would start only five times on the NSR 500 in 1984 for his sponsor.  Winning an amazing four on the difficult sportbike and finishing a disappointing 4th in the championship despite the technical hitches of his temper mental steed.  

A confident 24-year-old Freddie Spencer rode up to the start line of the first circuit of the 1985, ready to ride and win, and secure in the knowledge gained his first two years on the grandest motorcycle racing stage in the world. He had stunning the Grand Prix world in the forefront of his mind and he knew how to accomplish the feat.  The flag dropped on the first race of the 1985 championship in the heat of the South Africa circuit at Kyalami and Fast Freddie came bolting from the start line on his 500cc Honda to win an amazing seven of the eleven competitions he entered in the 1985 season.  Winning nine poles and setting nine new lap records on his way to amazing status among the greatest sportbike competitors in history. 

Always loving the feeling of success and willing to ride just about anything with two wheels during his illustrious career. Freddie then jumped on a lighter and less powerful Honda 250cc after his victory in the 1985 500cc championship and rode his smaller mount into the history books as Freddie Spencer became the only individual to successfully take the 500cc and 250cc World Grand Prix titles in the same year.  But the cherry on Freddie’s 24th year occurred in the heat of the AMA National at Daytona while straddling his Honda, as Fast Freddie became the only individual in motorcycle lore to win all three major divisions at a competition by taking the chequered flag in the 500cc class, the fast-cornering 250cc class, and the SBK.  This put the seal of amazing on one of the greatest seasons in Grand Prix history and astounding on the competitive career of the charismatic champion.  But left his fans wondering what Freddie Spencer would do next to a shock them? 

   Hungry fans lined the South African circuit in 1986 anticipating what they were expecting to be an even greater performance from their hero Freddie Spencer.  A 25-year-old Freddie made a valiant try to reclaim last season’s glory and the hearts of fanatical fans hoping to see him win again.  But in the end the only thing that could beat Freddie was his own body as disaster struck in the form of recurring tendonitis in his forearms.  Making it impossible for him to regain the riding style of Fast Freddie Spencer, reclaim the title or fulfill his fans dreams for the 1986 competition.  Despite high-hopes for a return of their cherished hero Fast Freddie continued to lose ground to his opponents over the next three years.  And in 1989, at the ripe old age of 28, the little rider from Shreveport, Louisiana decided to get off his race bike for the last time, walk into the house and hang his riding gloves up on his mantel for his grand kids to look at. 

But Freddie still in love with sportbike racing would feel the competitive itch again in 1993 at the age of 32 and prepared to once again board his metal steed to test man and machine against the elements. So tired of watching others do what he was born to do Fast Freddie started his sportbike and headed toward the start line of the Grand Prix of Malaysia once again. 

To assess the competitive waters and the strength of his forearms against his modern monstrosity and challenge the Grand Prix world anew.  But father-fate proved fickle; the return of past glory was not to be as Fast Freddie struggled to finish again.  So concluding the sun-had-set for sure on his celebrated career, in 1993 at the ripe old age of 32, Fast Freddie Spencer would once again turn his metal friend off, took off his riding gloves and walk away from professional sportbike racing an endearing icon of the sport.

The sun still shines in the sky above Fast Freddie’s life though as he opened Fast Freddie’s High Performance Racing School in 1997 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Today, at the venerable age of 36, he can be found at the new auxiliary location for his school at the Miller Motorsports Park in Utah or at the main school in Las Vegas passing on his knowledge, teaching the techniques that made him a legend and showing by example the attitude that makes the status of Fast Freddie Spencer continue to grow today.

In recent years a 40-plus Freddie has taken on the job as color analyst for the Speed Channel Network, passing on his love and knowledge of the sport to millions of viewers around the world.  His success on the race track has translated well to teaching the skills he gained winning his way to celebrated status.  For today Freddie Spencer’s High Performance racing school is considered one of the finest, if not the best, rider training schools in the world.

If you’re a sportbike fan and you find yourself watching a Grand Prix race on the boob tube or sitting in the race stands above the starting grid of a venue somewhere in the world in 2007? Be on the look out for a Honda NS 500 two-stroke triple and rider revving his motorcycle at the start line.   It might be a 46-year-old Fast Freddie Spencer tempting fate again, waiting for the flag to drop so he can scream up the track in search of another chequered flag in the distance.  And as you look down towards the track, wave to the racers as they sit revving their metal steeds at the start line waiting for the next flag to drop.  For though legends like Fast Freddie may no longer fill fans with the adrenalin rush of old, their spirits live on as long as we remember their contributions to the sport we love.

If you aspire to be a world-class racer like Freddie Spencer or just to learn techniques that can make you a better rider any where you travel with your sportbike.  If you think learning the techniques used by a retired 46-year-old three-time world champion to keep him from crashing as he was tempting-fate on the race track might help.  Then check out Freddie’s racing school at the Las Vegas Speedway or his auxiliary school at the Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah.  Your body may thank you one day for taking the time to learn from the best and the confidence gained will make you a better rider.          

The Life and Times of “Fast” Freddie Spencer, World Motorcycle Grand Prix Champion


                                                                Ride the Wind Young Man


                                                              Born to Race  


The story of Fast Freddie Spencer’s ascension from small town America to stand alone on top of the podium as three-time World Grand Prix Champion.  

     We humans are a predictable lot!  If we design something to blow things up we want to see just how big a bang our new toy will make.  Invent a vessel designed to dive deep into the ocean depths and we just have to see how deep it will go.  Design, engineer and build the first two-wheeled motorised transport to move a human from point A to point B and what do we need to know next? You guessed it, just how fast will this two-wheeled contraption go anyway? 

     Probably not the thought Gottlieb Daimler, the inventor of the first motorised two-wheeled human transport ‘Einspur’ (one-track(1885)), had in mind after the historic first journey of his two-wheeled inspiration.  But as the next century of relentless pursuit for motorised two-wheeled perfection progressed, the need-for-speed increased.  Eventually resulting in the formation of fledgling organizations dedicated to seeing how high their motorcycle can climb up cemetery hill?  Who quits first in a long distance competition the man or machine?   And who’s the best sportbike racer of all time in their unrelenting desire for sportbike riding perfection?   Today’s current seven time World Grand Prix Champion Valentino Rossi might make a claim on the title of greatest?  Maybe past legends like Barry Sheene, Giacomo Agostini or Mike the Bike Hailwood would have a few words to say on the subject?  Absolutely the question is subjective requiring categorization by racing era, by size of bike engine, possibly the type of circuit used.  Maybe even additional esoteric criteria best left to the individual voter might be used to determine who we feel is the greatest of all time?  

We begin our discussion of candidates for the title of the top racer of all time in the early part of the 1960’s in the sunny state of California.  A decade that will always be known as the time of a legend considered by many to be the best to ever step onto a sportbike track.  With the life and times of an American champion loved and idolized by millions of adoring fans for his winning ways on a motorcycle.  He won his way from the dirt tracks of rural America to the pinnacle of the sportbike world for competitors, to stand alone on the mountain of professional sportbike racing, by winning the World Grand Prix Championship three times during an illustrious career spanning four decades.  On the legendary Honda NS 500 two-stroke triple on which he won so many times during his outstanding career.  And just two years later cementing his legendary status among his fans, by becoming the only racer in Grand Prix history to win both the 500cc and 250cc championships in the same season.  A feat the fans think may never be equaled and the racers of today say maybe impossible to match considering the level of competition on the GP tracks of today. A human being so comfortable on a bike; he looked like he was born on one when riding.   His ability to alter racing styles and techniques depending on the size and power of the sportbike he was racing, made this former champion a force to be reckoned with no matter the track or class of sportbike he was riding.  At ease on any sportbike or in any era of competition and able to ride anything with two wheels like he was born to the task, this individual was a hero for all seasons.   

Fast Freddie Spencer is his name and riding sportbikes to victory was his game whenever he left the start line of a race. Friendly and enthusiastic off the track but fierce and driven on the track, Freddie Spencer was born Frederick Burdette Spencer on December 20, 1961 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Declared a developing prodigy as a young man by those who watched him progress through the lower ranks. Fast Freddie as his fans called him, began riding at the tender age of 4 and enthusiastically entered his first motorcycle race at the age of 5.  After the trial year of crashes, bruises and bumps that all beginning riders experience during their first year learning to control their mount.

Rising quickly up the ladder of success Freddie had won 10 Texas and Louisiana State Championships by the young age of eleven in short and dirt track classes.  First racing in TT Scramble dirt track events in Dallas, Texas before moving up to short track competitions. 

Fast Freddie entered his first street race in 1972 at the amazing age of 11 in the 0-250cc stock classes on a 100cc Yamaha at Green Valley Raceway in Dallas, Texas.  And by 1977 he had won 12 national road racing championships in both AMA and WERA sanctioned events throughout the continental United States.

Fast Freddie decided to drive his bike up to the start line of the professional ranks in 1978 at the age of 17, winning every competition in the AMA 250cc Grand Prix novice class that year.  Before moving up to the expert division of the AMA 250cc Grand Prix in 1979 and capturing the title in all but one race while defeating Eddie Lawson for the championship.  

Always yearning for the open road Freddie decided to enter the superbike championship in 1979, he placed third in the point’s championship, yet won the Sears Point and Laguna Seca rounds of the series.  His stunning victory on a Kawasaki at Sears Point made him the youngest competitor in history to win an AMA superbike national at 18 years, eight months of age.  And helped put the seal of success on the career of Fast Freddie Spencer but was just a shadow of the accomplishments to come that would create the legend of Freddie Spencer.   

The sun was shining on the career of a 19-year-old Freddie as dawn broke over the 1980 season, as he inked a deal with Honda America to race for the sportbike giant in the AMA Superbike Championship.  The AMA competition would be a learning experience for the growing prodigy that would lead to greater opportunities later in the year riding for Yamaha.  For Freddie would win the opening races of the Trans-Atlantic match series aboard a production Yamaha TZ 750 in 1980, out racing the world title holder at the time Kenny Roberts and former title owner Barry Sheene in the process. 

This was despite being handicapped by the advantage of the full factory support both Kenny Roberts and Barry Sheene enjoyed at the time.  Energized by his success Kenny decided to ride his bike in the European Grand Prix in Belgium for the official Yamaha team in 1980. Kenny would finish 6th among the field of heroes assembled at the old circuit but would learn valuable lessons he would use to facilitate his journey to stardom in the coming years.   

The Japanese sportbike developers contacted Freddie in 1981 to see if the 20-year-old phenomenon  would ride for them in the up coming 1982 season on the circuit.   Freddie agreed to ride in selected Grand Prix races in 1982 for the manufacturing giant Honda, as a lead up to his debut season competing in the World Grand Prix Championship. Freddie’s first coming out season would be a true learning experience for the young man who would one day enter the hall of fame.   Finishing 3rd in the point’s race for the 500cc championship stung the confident young man and he vowed things would be different next year. 

As the sunset on 1982 Fast Freddie looked toward his 22nd year on planet Earth with vengeance in mind, winning titles filling his dreams, and visions of chequered flags waving in the air.  Well that’s it for now, join us next issue for the continuing story of the life, times and racing adventures of a true sportbike racing legend.  A man who continues to alter the landscape of the industry and sport he loves even after the cheers have ceased.