INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003 -- Indianapolis Motor Speedway and American Motorcyclist Association officials conducted a feasibility test Oct. 1 on the Speedway's 2.605-mile road course. Two teams representing AMA Pro Racing's Chevy...
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2003 -- Indianapolis Motor Speedway and American Motorcyclist Association officials conducted a feasibility test Oct. 1 on the Speedway's 2.605-mile road course.
Two teams representing AMA Pro Racing's Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship ran several laps and debriefed with officials from IMS and AMA.
"This test was simply a series of compatibility runs on the road course," said Joie Chitwood, IMS senior vice president of business affairs. "The AMA took advantage of the fact that the facility is still in its road-course configuration after Sunday's successful United States Grand Prix Formula One race. There are no serious discussions right now regarding hosting a motorcycle race in the future."
Jake Zemke, of Paso Robles, Calif., and Vincent Haskovec, of the Czech Republic, turned laps at IMS. Zemke rode an Erion Honda Formula Xtreme bike, while Haskovec was on an Austin Ducati Superbike. Haskovec was the first rider on track, at approximately 11:15 a.m. (EST).
"It was a very productive test," said Scott Hollingsworth, CEO of AMA Pro Racing. "Jake and Vincent gave us excellent input, and the staff of IMS was very interested in hearing what the riders had to say.
"Nothing is on the table at this moment as far as having an AMA Pro Racing event at the Speedway. It was simply a feasibility test to see what might need to be done if an opportunity arose to bring a motorcycle race to this venue."
The test marks the first time that motorcycles have turned laps at competitive speeds at IMS since a series of seven motorcycle races took place Aug. 14, 1909. That day of racing was five days before the first automobile races on Aug. 19.
Haskovec and Zemke offered comments about the test:
On being the first rider in more than 90 years to ride a motorcycle at competitive speeds on the track
"Oh, man, it feels so special. To come in this place, it is unbelievable. I grew up 11,000 miles from here, and I know about the Indy 500. Everybody knows, all over the world. It is such an honor for me to be here and be the first guy to put a motorcycle on the track."
On the IMS road course, facility in general:
"This is a wonderful place. It's on top of the speedways, top of the world. You come into this place with huge respect. It just completely filled my thoughts when we talked about coming here. It's awesome, right here on the straightaway and start/finish line, and grandstands. You come in from the last corner and everything feels like you're going through a tunnel, and it narrows down. It's an enjoyable moment, definitely. Even the infield is free flowing. A lot of opportunity to pass, so it (could be) great racing."
"I've always watched the Indy 500, Brickyard 400 and F1 race -- watched all these races over the years, and I never thought getting the opportunity to ride around Indy on a motorcycle would ever happen. To be one of the first guys to do it is really something neat."
Thoughts on the track, is it "motorcycle compatible?":
"Yeah, like I said, I've watched the F1 races here so I kind of had an idea of what the track was coming into it. The track is really good, really smooth. Having only one race here a year (on the road course), the track doesn't get tore up. The surface is really smooth. The track's really wide, which I think would definitely make for some good racing for the motorcycles, for sure. When you get a track that is that wide, there's always the possibility for different lines through corners. If we have a race here, I think it would just be incredible."
The oval portion and infield road course portion provide quite a contrast, in terms of speed. What's your favorite part of the track?:
"For us, it's different because the infield's so tight. I was in first and second (gears) through the whole infield -- just third gear on the infield back straightaway. Then the rest of the track, the last couple corners coming onto the Speedway and the straightaway, it's just fast as you can go on these things. It's a pretty different mix between the two, but I think for as far as a road course inside of a speedway, it's incredible. For the amount of runoff they have in all the corners and the gravel traps, it's something you don't see a lot. Especially for courses inside a speedway, you run out of room a lot, so to have a track that has that much runoff room inside a speedway is impressive."