Flying down a straightaway, you know someone’s right behind you. You stay on the throttle until the last second, give the brake pedal a stab, and overshoot your intended spot by just a little bit. Sliding wide into the corner, Chad Reed flies by you on the inside. Then a few laps later, you get an intro to Arenacross-style racing, as you bang through several corners side-by-side with Josh Demuth. That’s what it was like last Thursday, when Yamaha introduced their 2003 U.S. race teams at an indoor karting facility called Dromo One in Anaheim, CA.
Yamaha riders from nearly every motorcycling discipline were in attendance, including drag racers, road racers, off-roaders, and enduro riders. Of course, their Arenacross, Motocross and Supercross teams also were well-represented. Shogun Motorsports (Josh Demuth, Tommy Hofmaster, and Phil Lawrence); Mach 1 (Nick Wey and Heath Voss); and Yamaha of Troy (Craig Anderson, Brock Sellards, and Ivan Tedesco); and the newly-expanded Yamaha Factory squad of David Vuillemin, Tim Ferry and Chad Reed was also there, ready to roll.
The format for the day was a short introduction by Yamaha’s Bob Starr and Keith McCarty, followed by a 200-minute kart enduro. Competitors included the riders, mechanics, and press, with nine teams consisting of ten drivers each hitting the track. While intended as a fun race, it’s hard to get that many championship-caliber riders in one place without competitive urges kicking in.
The karts themselves were fun, using a race-style chassis along with a four-stroke engine. Dromo One supplied the karts, driving suits, head socks, and computerized scoring, while most everyone brought their own helmets. The secret to going fast was to try and not overdrive the kart. Get too brake-happy or throttle-happy, and it was easy to make them really loose.
Team Triple H (which included Jamie Hacking, Randy Hawkins, and Barry Hawk) came away the winners for the day. TWMX was part of Team Tabasco (with Ivan Tedesco as the team manager), and uh…let’s just say it was a lot of fun racing.
All-in-all, the Yamaha team intro was a fun way to get to meet and hang out with all the team riders away from the normal insanity of race-day preparations. Look for interviews with all the team riders coming soon on www.transworldmx.com.