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May 21, 2019

​MotoAmerica Removing Superbike Superpole Session From Two-Day Event At Utah Motorsports Campus (Updated)

Garrett Gerloff (31) earned pole position by winning the EBC Brakes Superbike Superpole session at VIR. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

MotoAmerica is removing the EBC Brakes Superbike Superpole qualifying session and making some other changes to the schedule for its next two-day event June 15-16 at Utah Motorsports Campus, in Grantsville, Utah.

The changes were announced in a bulletin issued only to competitors and entrants today. That bulletin read, in part: “Thank you for your feedback on the two day schedule. We listened to your comments and made a few adjustments.

“First, we have removed Superpole from the schedule, an updated qualifying procedure will be posted for EBC Brakes Superbike Class. This allowed us to swap Supersport and the EBC Brakes Superbike sessions on Saturday to allow for more time between the Supersport Qualifying and Race.

“Finally, we shortened but added a session for both Twins and Stock 1000 competitors. It is currently planned to alternate the session format for these classes. For example, Stock 1000 has two sessions on SATURDAY at Utah and one on SUNDAY. At Sonoma the tentative plan is to swap and have Twins Cup participate twice on SATURDAY and once on SUNDAY.”

Following its first two-day event May 4-5 at VIRginia International Raceway, MotoAmerica sent stakeholders survey forms to collect feedback on the new two-day event schedule.

Roadracingworld.com was unable to contact MotoAmerica COO Chuck Aksland to get additional information prior to post time.

For reaction from stakeholders, Roadracingworld.com reached out to Richard Stanboli, owner/crew chief for Attack Performance/Estenson Racing Superbike racer JD Beach, who said, “I wish they would’ve done both [Superbike] races on Sunday and left Superpole. That would have spread the load a little bit better, I think, and not given up another competition, I guess you could call it. Superpole is always kind of exciting. I think people like watching Superpole. I know I enjoy it.

“Now both [qualifying] practices are going to be Superpole [sessions] for us instead of test sessions. In [this new] two-day run you kind of eliminate the test sessions because both have to be qualifying sessions. You’re not just shooting for top nine [to get into Superpole]. We’re kind of relaxed during those runs. Now the pressure is going to be higher and for sure crashing is going to be higher.”

For more reaction to the changes in MotoAmerica’s two-day event schedule, Roadracingworld.com contacted Chris Ulrich, Vice President of Operations for M4 ECSTAR Suzuki Superbike rider Jake Lewis and Supersport riders Bobby Fong and Sean Dylan Kelly, who said, “I’m kind of indifferent about it. Superpole is fun. It’s an interesting format, but in the end with this type of schedule it’s really taxing on the crew and the riders and everyone else.

“I understand why we’re doing it and I support the reason why we’re doing it, which is to save some money for [MotoAmerica] and some money for the teams. I whole-heartedly support that.

“It’s [Superpole] one 15-minute session. It adds some excitement to the show, but in the end it’s relaxing the schedule slightly for a couple of the other classes. Giving more time to the Supersport guys between their qualifying session and race is a good deal for them. It takes a little bit of the stress off. My team was caught out by that at VIR with Sean. He crashed during qualifying, it took a long time for his bike to be brought back to the pits, it had some significant damage, and our guys weren’t able to repair it properly before the start of Supersport Race One.

“This new schedule is fine by me. Maybe they’ll get more feedback and have another look at the two-day schedule again after the Utah weekend and make more adjustments. I think it might be cool to have a short Superbike Superpole race on Saturday to set the grid for two shorter Superbike races both on Sunday.”


Update: 

MotoAmerica COO Chuck Aksland returned Roadracingworld.com's phone call shortly after post time. When asked about the feedback from stakeholders and the resulting changes to the new two-day event schedule, Aksland said, "The basic premise of most of the feedback was Saturday was pretty busy for everybody, including our staff. There was no lunch break. People wanted to have a little bit of a break at some point during the day. 

"And also we noticed in Supersport there was a problem with Sean Dylan Kelly and there wasn’t really enough time to react to a major incident and get ready for the race. 

"And the Stock 1000 and Twins Cup guys had some input on what they would like to see. So we made the adjustments.

"We have four of these [two-day] races, and I think getting the feedback was good, and we’ll develop them accordingly, and see how this next one goes, and see what people think, and if there still needs to be more adjustment we’ll look at that as well. It’s a busy couple of days but there’s pros and cons to it. So we’ll just keep working at it." 

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