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Jul 15, 2009

F450 Promoter Gavin Trippe Defends Conversion Of 450cc Motocross Bikes For AMA Pro Road Racing Use


Via e-mail:

Nothing like having a bully pulpit to push an agenda with reference to the plethora of Forum negativity toward the F-450 concept recently announced by DMG! If Roadracing World were so altruistic, how about just being objective and at least supporting the concept?

No we are not trying to get rid of two-strokes, unfortunately time will take care of that. F-450 is a separate category with four-stroke torque and a power weight ratio of 250 lbs. 'wet' and 55 hp at the rear wheel standard, plus you don't have to be 5', 110 lbs and Spanish to fit on one. Forums and blogs tend to attract negativity, it is up to the sport to at least support ideas without ambiguity. Ripsoli's comment on 450s on the mile getting stressed out is that a) his son did compete and finished, the fastest one would have qualified 20th for the Twins class. Also at the Duquoin half-mile the following week, a 450 qualified FOURTH fastest relative to the Harley V-Twins class and finally, the analogy of stressing the motor, a 450 on a mile dirt in a 20 lap race, is akin to running a road racer 'pinned' on a 20-mile-long straightaway! And they still survived! As they do pinned for eight hours at an average of 50 mph winning the Baja 500. Same bike, same frame, same motor.

Incidentally I do buy Roadracing World magazine and read the website regularly and respect (Roadracing World Editor) John Ulrich's long term efforts in promoting road racing, as I have going back to the first Superbike race I ran at Laguna Seca in 1973! I have probably spent way too much money, time and effort in an effort to promote something new and affordable. The new fuel-injected bikes we have built and run, really do work and also are easy to maintain. Go to Glen Helen for a Saturday Motocross and see a 16-year-old with girlfriend roll off his YZF450, race all day and go home, just gas and chain adjustment, no mechanic or team manager.

Ask Tyler Odom's team about longevity and you will get a different answer, also Elena Myers has been chasing the SV Twins boys on an '09 Kawasaki to good effect and it has not blown up! Highside one unlike 400 lbs of 600, fix the bodywork and do the next heat, the frame is built to jump 150'! Give love a chance as John Lennon sang, at least ask those who build them and for goodness sake, keep an open mind. Plant an Acorn and grow and Oak Tree!

Without more young participants migrating from the physical rigors of motocross or persuading dads to give their kids a shot at 'swerving' minus much of the perceived high-speed risks, there will be fewer stars of tomorrow"¦ No Little League, no Major League! We need more 'Acorns'! In this age of financial meltdown and negativity, we need some positive vibes and it is very tiresome and depressing, to have to fight so hard to prove a concept.

Remember, make the rules from the grandstands inwards, not the pit lane outwards, as it is now incumbent for the fans to foot the bill in this economy for the future of race facilities and racing, with the advent of departing sponsorship dollars. The days of VIP passes, OEM sponsored teams and events, and motorhomes with caution tape strung around the hospitality tent, are dwindling. Support for the life blood of the sport IS the paid admission ticket with a show that includes something other than a 'Super' something, that sounds different, has Brand ID, can read the number plates and bangs bars! This is after all 'entertainment', without the stage and the attraction of the performers, there is no show Rock and Roll or Road Racing!

I rarely get into this public debate and will probably regret writing this, but I have achieved everything I need to prove, other than watching a great sport spiral downhill without innovation and a refreshing embrace of Gen X/Y, plus the inclusion of the female persuasion that in case anyone has missed it, represents 50% of the populace Go get 'em Ashley Fiolek, Elena Myers and Melissa Paris!

This is only part of a possible solution and as a friend of mine joked darkly about my crusade, 'now back to curing cancer!' And retirement again!

Gavin Trippe
Aliso Viejo, California
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