After a ton of investment and hard work by Richard Varner and company, in 2022 MotoAmerica has many of the elements of a very successful national series. The sanctioning body behind it is solid, the grids for the majority of classes are full, there is reliable television and internet television (wanna see how bad it can be? See the disaster that is the 2022 Outdoor Motocross telly and internet telly), riders can make money and, if not, there is no way the relatively small-medium investment needed to race MotoAmerica is going to end up with a rider/team/sponsor being on national and international television. Trust me, there are regional auto drag racing efforts where their tire budget is more than a run-of-the-mill MotoA Supersport team’s entire budget. Those regional drag teams exist in near total obscurity when it comes to being on national television or simply national exposure.
All of the accolades and positive aspects of the MotoAmerica series aside, it still needs a few things.
The first need is an off-shoot from the old days when Yamaha all but controlled the old DMG national series. Nobody needs me to rip all those scabs off, trust me, you don’t, because my point is that MotoA needs a Kawasaki Superbike team.
Why Kawasaki? As the old saying goes, if I have to explain it to you then you do not understand, and probably won’t. Kawasaki riders are very, very dedicated to their brand. Even if they no longer ride on the street, they remain Kawasaki guys. If they buy a side-by-side or a dirt bike or even a pressure washer at the local home store, it’s a Kawasaki. They have a Kawasaki sticker on their truck or their bicycle or, God forbid, their hot-rodded mobility scooter. When a Kawasaki is in competition they will seek out a way to watch and root for the Kawasaki.
A MotoAmerica Kawasaki team, if it is run internally by Kawasaki USA, is never going sell enough ZX10Rs to make the brass happy. Additionally, the probability that no one at Kawasaki USA wants to stake their job on pushing a factory Superbike team through the door is, well, very probable. I get it. It’s probably going to cost over $5 million to establish such a team if it is run through a factory. A factory where, for example, just putting new work mats for employees in a shop is something that needs to be signed off on and can cost a fortune. Not just the team, the mats in the work shop.
Okay, Kawasaki USA probably doesn’t want to do a MotoAmerica Superbike team. MotoA can look at that as a door that is locked like the apartment door in a crappy Brooklyn apartment–with as many deadbolts that will fit–or as a door that needs simply to be slipped past.
How to slip past? Acquire ex-factory Kawasaki WSBK machinery from Europe. This is very do-able. And will cost a lot less than five million dollars to acquire machinery and place it within an existing MotoA team. And there is a lot of freedom that comes with doing the team outside of the factory control. Run it without Monster sponsorship, and in retro Kawasaki colors …
How to pay for it? Well, as much as the class turns my stomach, the Bagger series is here to stay. Polaris/Harley-Davidson/S&S are throwing huge sums at the teams and championships. Not to put too fine a point on it, but have you see the representatives of the Japanese manufacturers at the racetrack of late? They walk around like recently neutered dogs. They walk gingerly, carefully, and only want to reminisce about 2005, back when they had power and budget like Harley and Indian are investing in the Bagger MotoA’ championship now.
So the reality is that for long-term US Superbike fans like you and I, there is a chance we may be flicking thru the television channels and might stumble on the roadracing equivalent of WHEN THE BIRTH PLAN GOES HORRIBLY WRONG and Bagger racing will be on TV. We will have to carry Tums in our pockets. We will have to steel ourselves for when some real world neighbor or friend says, HEY! I SAW THE CRAZIEST THING ON TV LAST NIGHT. THEY WERE RACING TOURING BIKES WITH SADDLEBAGS. DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT?
Like I said, carry Tums.
So, is it an outlandish idea that part of the revenue from the Bagger class might be used to subsidize a Kawasaki Superbike team? It’d be a good use of the bagger money, me thinks …