Red Bull Rookies On Track At Indy

Red Bull Rookies On Track At Indy

© 2008, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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YOUNG RED BULL ROOKIES CUP RIDERS SHOW VETERAN SKILLS AT IMS INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, July 3, 2008 Hayden and Frankie Lee Gillim did not mind the passing rain showers over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, July 3, as the two brothers were among the 23 Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup teen-agers eagerly anticipating their chance to test the new road circuit. Having grown up in Owensboro, Ky., located about four hours southwest of the historic venue, the Gillim brothers jumped at the chance to mount their KTM 125cc bikes when the skies cleared shortly after 12:15 p.m. Both 13-year-old Hayden and 15-year-old Frankie Lee admitted even if the rain had continued, it still wouldn’t have stop them from making laps around one of the world’s most legendary tracks. “I actually feel more comfortable in the rain, having started off on the dirt tracks,” Hayden Gillim said. The Gillim brothers began perfecting their craft on Midwest dirt tracks when they were given their first XR50 and XR70 minibikes at Christmas in 1998. In fact, the two could not get the gas in the bikes quick enough as they took the test drive that day and raced them in the snow. That passion for racing is a common thread among this elite group of young riders. Last October, 600 junior racers traveled to Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama for an opportunity to qualify for the 23-member Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup team. Red Bull also manages a similar European series of 24 riders, the MotoGP Rookies Cup. The top 10 riders from each series will square off in a Red Bull Riders Cup event Sept. 13 at IMS during the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race. “There will be a lot of family out here watching me because it’s close to Kentucky,” said Frankie Lee Gillim. “I’m real pumped to come out here and race.” The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup has provided plenty of excitement in its first three races of the season. Last time out, on June 8, Argentina’s Leandro Mercado captured the seven-lap event over Jake Gagne of Ramona, Calif., by .0019 of a second at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Benny Solis Jr., of North Hollywood, Calif., earned victories in the first two races of the season at Barber Motorsports Park and Infineon Raceway in California, respectively. Series points leader Solis is looking forward to racing at Indianapolis. “This is my first time here at Indy, but it’s obviously a famous track that has a lot of history,” Solis said. “The idea of riding here is a lot of fun. The track is really good, and the stands are all so big.” All 23 riders, who range in age from 13 to 16 years old and represent seven states and six countries, pilot identical KTM RC 125cc bikes. The six-speed, 45-horsepower machines weigh approximately 300 pounds with the rider and can reach maximum speeds of 125 mph. Each rider also has the luxury of learning from a motorcycle racing legend in rider coach Kevin Schwantz. 1993 500cc World Champion Schwantz, from Houston, mentors the talented group of teen-agers on and off the track. In attendance for the first two days of MotoGP testing, Schwantz was able to educate the young riders Thursday about particular areas of the track and the racing lines the MotoGP test riders chose to take. “Overall, Kevin said they all thought it was a really good track and liked it a lot,” Hayden Gillim said. On the track, Solis said Schwantz often leads the pack on his bike through the first few laps of the test session and then falls back to work with each rider. “I can’t help but talk about Rookies Cup with a huge smile on my face,” Schwantz said. “They’re all such great students. When it comes to motorcycle racing, they’re trying to learn as much as they can as quick as they possibly can to become a faster and better racer.” With the help of Schwantz, most Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup riders will look to move on to the MotoGP Rookies Cup in Europe before graduating to the Red Bull MotoGP Academy in Spain. There they will learn to pilot the world’s top racing motorcycles. For now though, these 23 riders are interested in becoming the world’s top teen-age motorcycle racers. “Basically, what I’m trying to do is not so much competing against the other (AMA Rookie Cup) riders but I’m going to try to do what I can against the European riders coming here for the race,” said Bermuda native Toriano Wilson. And as Hayden Gillim pointed out, Indianapolis is a perfect circuit for the world’s finest to race. “I’m really psyched about racing here,” he said. “And it’s cool for us that we only had to travel a couple of hours to get here.” *** Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets: Tickets are on sale for the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sept. 14, 2008. Tickets can be purchased either online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time; on the phone by calling (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or (317) 492-6700 locally between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ticket Office on the first floor of the IMS Administration Building at 4790 W. 16th St. in Indianapolis from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. All tickets for this event are three-day tickets, with both reserved and general admission seating available. More, from a press release issued by Red Bull: SPEEDING IN THE RAIN: RED BULL AMA U.S. ROOKIES CUP RIDERS TAKE TO FAMED INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY FOR MID-SEASON TEST Indianapolis, IN (July 3, 2008) — The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup riders tested at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Thursday, in advance of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP race, September 12-14. The race weekend will feature the Red Bull Riders Cup. The special match race will pit the top-ten Red Bull AMA Rookies against the top-ten Red Bull MotoGP Rookies. The young racers were able familiarize themselves with the circuit despite wet conditions at the recently completed 2.62-mile road course. Twenty two of the Rookies took part in the one-day test, with Luciano Ribodino out because of an arm injury due to his Infineon Raceway crash earlier this season. “It’s really cool being here,” said Cameron Gish, from Shingle Springs, Calif. “I wanted to go over there and kiss the bricks on the front straight. There’s been a lot of history made at this track and we all feel fortunate to have a race here. For me, it was tough getting used to the track in the wet this morning. I haven’t ridden a lot in the wet but you can tell the layout of the track is really going to be fun. I can’t wait to come back here and race in the dry.” “I am looking at it as something special,” said Jesse Stevens of Lawrenceville. Georgia. “Only a select few ever get to race at Indy so I was glad we got the opportunity to test and then we have the race here in September. The track is cool but it’s a very new track. It’s what I would call a technical circuit and very challenging.” Colombian Tomas Puerta has some local ties to Indianapolis. Puerta has trained in the Indianapolis area this season during his time in America. “It’s very nice here and I really like the area. I came here to the Indy 500 last May and we had a great time at the race and at the museum, too,” he said. ‘Today I found the road course challenging but fun. It was difficult riding in the rain today but I was happy with my progress. I am excited and hoping to do well at our race here in September.” Under the tutelage of 1993 World Champion and Rider Coach Kevin Schwantz, the Rookies did not concentrate on setting quick lap times but familiarized themselves with the circuit and riding in the rain. “I thought the guys did a great job out there. We had a couple of tipovers, but only one bike that wasn’t running again by the end of the day,” said Schwantz. “It’s tough riding any course in the wet, but some of the best learning about a circuit I ever did was in the rain because it really points out the spots where you lack grip. It was a team effort with the mechanics keeping everything running so the Rookies could make the most of the track time we did get. The circuit itself is first-class. On our bikes, it will be a blast for the guys to ride. We all knew the approach the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would take for motorcycle racing, and they have done a fantastic job.”

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