© 2017, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by David Swarts
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Two motorcycles will be making their debut in the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike class during this weekend's Wiseco Superbike 100 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the KTM RC8R and the EBR 1190RS.
Some may think the EBR [Erik Buell Racing] 1190RS that Geoff May will ride this weekend is merely an updated version of the Amsoil EBR Buell 1125RR he has been racing since the start of the season, but that is incorrect, according to EBR founder Erik Buell.
"It's really a fresh start," Buell told Roadracingworld.com in a telephone interview. "We're just like any other team rolling out a brand new bike they bought at the beginning of the year at Daytona, even though it's mid-season.
"They are just production bikes we took right off the line. If you go down to our dealer right down the road you'll see how crazily similar they are. They've only had a couple of weeks to prep those two bikes.
"They are trying to start out with a pretty conservative setup. The bikes basically just have a base gasket pulled out and then the race ECM [Engine Control Module] and race muffler and then the bodywork [fiberglass in place of the stock carbon-fiber, added]."
Even the suspension and brakes on the EBR 1190RS are 100% stock, except for settings to suit May, according to Buell.
The KTM RC8R that Chris Fillmore will ride is a different story, however, as it is very similar to the machine Martin Bauer and Matej Smrz are using to win German/IDM Superbike Championship races, complete with a sophisticated Magneti Marelli electronics package.
"The nice thing about it is the IDM Superbike rules are almost identical to the AMA's [rules]," said Mitch Hansen, owner of HMC Racing and leader of the HMC/KTM Superbike Race Team. "They're doing really well with it now, and the bike is almost the same as their bike. We've done some different things with the electronics and some different things with the motor, but very similar. So we think we should be competitive. We hope we will be.
"It's Superbike, so the electronics is probably the most important thing, other than getting the motor up to par. We think we're in the ballpark with horsepower compared to some of the inlines [four-cylinder motorcycles], but it took a little help from Austria and a little help from some of my friends in Italy who have some electrical experience."
Hansen, who led the HMC Ducati teams in AMA Pro Superbike and Formula Xtreme, said the current Superbike racing project is a collaboration between KTM North America and KTM in Austria to test the waters in AMA Pro National Guard Superbike with the possibility of joining the series full-time in 2012.
Hansen said his dream would be for his rider Chris Fillmore to finish in the top 10 in the Superbike races at Mid-Ohio. Asked if he had any special aspiration of beating the EBR 1190RS, another big V-Twin Superbike, Hansen said, "I really just want to see how we stack up against the inlines."