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Aug 29, 2006

On An American's Experience At The Red Bull Rookie's Cup

FIRST PERSON/OPINION

Via e-mail:

Just a little update from Corey's perspective. The decisions for today haven't been made, but here is what has happened so far. I just got off the phone with Corey and he is having a great time. They are sending all of the kids out by their country of origin for their 9-lap try out, so the American kids are hanging out and making friends with one another, which is great to hear. They are all having a good time hanging together.

When they arrived at the track, all of the riders and parents were taken to a conference room to be debriefed. Once the conference was over, the kids are taken away from the parents and taken to the paddock to get introduced to the bike. The parents are kept separate on purpose"¦..they don't need the added pressure, which I agree with.

After the first day of testing, no Americans were picked to advance to the second round. The two-day session was split up. Half of the US kids tried on Mon. and then second half were slated for today. Corey's run off day was today (the second day) and again, none of the Americans did very well. I knew that there was a different level of riding with the European kids, but given some of the things that happened, I wonder how far off we were. I'm being told that the Americans were 4 8 seconds off the pace of the European kids, but what follows says someone should look into the process.

Before he took off, Corey looked at his tires and wondered how much life was left"¦.he asked if they were able to make any setting or tire changes"¦.they Said yeah, yeah and gave him his bike. Corey took off doing what appeared to be three or four pretty fast laps"¦.then all of a sudden, he was losing traction. He said he almost lost it in a few times and that the bike was pushing all over the place and that he could never get any real confidence in his machine. He wanted to push the bike more, but either the suspension or the tires were going away. Given that they were only given 9 laps, Corey did all he could with what he had, he didn't want to waist time going in for an adjustment. Some of the other US kids did come in to see if anything could be done and they were just sent back out. When Corey was done, he told a technician that his tires were gone. He got the same response and they took the bike back from him.

After his ride, he was allowed to go back with his mom and a family friend who was able to go along for the trip. When they heard what Corey said, they put the math together and realized that these bikes have over 90 laps on them by the time the US kids were able to get one them. Another parent whose son races Metrakits here in the States, says that all of the bikes suspensions were set up to work with a very light 10 year old. The only thing they were doing to the bikes was gassing them up or blowing them off if they crashed.

I'm no expert, but I know we can't get 90 laps our of our race tires and I know there are varying weights and riding styles in those bikes. Did they set those bikes up for the kind of rider they were looking for, who knows? The ones he was riding on had been ridden on all day"¦had at least 90 laps on them. By the luck of the draw (two days in a row), the Americans got to go last for the day and from what I'm hearing, none of them were on pace, but only 4 8 seconds off of the best times, which is good considering the circumstances.

Corey felt that he could have done better given the same variables that the kids at the beginning of the day received. There were no official times posted or information given. Even after the try out, no one is given the opportunity to ask questions. Like I said, no decision was made as of yet, but no matter the decision, I'm proud of all of the kids who went over there and hung it out on the line.

Jeremy Pupillo
Liverpool, New York