WSBK at 25: Origins in America
images by dean adams

World Superbike celebrates 25 years in 2012. The series has deep roots in America--and oddly, at Daytona. The first US races were held at Brainerd in Northern Minnesota. Here, Ducati's first WSBK champ, Raymond Roche awaits practice.

In order to get the event, Brainerd altered the old course so that it would meet FIM homologation. This meant a new entry under the turn nine bridge. As evidenced here by Giancarlo Falappa, this was where a million wheelies were born.

Four Americans near an Italian team. Fred Merkel rider, Merlyn Plumlee crewchief, Danny Hull, mechanic and Merrill Vanderslice, then the AMA tech inspector, in the background at Brainerd.

WSBK's first and perhaps only mad man. Giancarlo Falappa. Paddock lore has it that he wheelied the Bimota while standing on the pegs at Brainerd, touching his helmet on the underside of the turn nine bridge.

Carl Fogarty doesn't talk much about the time he spent on a Honda in WSBK--the first time. There's a reason for that. Honda Britain WSBK team manager Tuxworth had known Carl virtually his entire life and wasn't taking any of his 'crap'. In Foggy's defense the bike was slow.

Australian Rob Phillis, Niall Mackenzie and Carl Fogarty await practice to start.

Robbie Phillis, many lament what may have been if only WSBK began in 1983 when he was young and fast instead of not too young and fast.

Merkel was the unequivocal star of the series 1989-1991. Here he wears the infamous 'you want blood?' helmet.

Team Rumi Honda, with team owner Oscar Rumi at the right.

A very typical 'fly-away' pit scene from WSBK in the early days of the series.

American Jimmy Adamo raced the Amerian WSBK rounds on his Gio.Ca.Moto 888. He lost his life at Daytona in '93.

All so young, all so eager. Tireless WSBK man Kel Edge in the background.

Merkel and friends inside one of the few Brainerd garages at the time.


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