Group B Rally Tribute

When I was in High School in the mid 80’s I remember ESPN showing the World Rally Championship and was always amaized at the car control these drivers had.  To this day I firmly believe the most talent car drivers in the world are Rally drivers.  The rally cars, more than any other four wheel form of racing comes the closest to motorcycle roadracing for me in the control and the ballet that is required to excel.  

0-60 in under 3 seconds on the dirt, 5-800+ horsepower while weighing under 2500lbs, even today these cars inspire awe.  I still find the Lancia 037 to be one of the most beautiful and purposeful cars of that era, even if it wasn’t the quickest, or most reliable.  If you are a fan of this era, YouTube is a treasure trove of great video.

Team USF1 Presented By Vaporware

Today on SPEED, there was a televised press conference hosted by Bob Varsha that had Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson announcing they they had “officially” formed a Formula one team know for now as USF1.

The team will be based and operate out of Charlotte, North Carolina, though they will have some sort of shop in Spain as well it’s being reported.  The presentation was a bit slick with the first six or seven minutes were pre-taped highlights promoting American involvement in Formula 1 since the late 50’s.  There were then some Q&A where Ken and Peter managed to never answer any of the questions asked.  There was a call in from Mario Andretti and a pre-tape package from Dan Gurney sprinkled in.

When asked why Charlotte as a base of operations, Anderson insisted that their was more resources and relevant technology for building an F1 car within 50 miles of there, then in the area where most teams are based in the UK.  Also with less than half of the races based on the EU continent their is no real advantage to being based their anymore.

For me this presser raised more questions than it answered, and here are some of the things that I came away with.

  1. The team is sponsored by Vaperware.  Not Compuware, because if it was Peter Karmonos would have insisted on Kwame Kilpatrick being put in charge.  Had this happened USF1 would have had the best hospitality since Kwame would have insisted on an unending supply of hookers, hoe’s and Cristal, but that’s a different rant for a different day, and pretty much an inside bit.
  2. In actuality there were no sponsored announced though it is rumored they have $65mil in funding as of now.  They will have “technical partners” but again no one mentioned.
  3. One of the sponsors/technical partners is likely to be FedEx since they were mentioned in passing as how they could get back to North Carolina faster from parts of Europe than teams based in the UK could due to air shipping.
  4. They have no engine supplier as of now, though they do have RFP’s out.
  5. They have no chassis designed as of now
  6. They have no shop space leased or purchased as of now, though they may be buying a closed down NASCAR shop in the next few weeks.
  7. They have no drivers now, or even a short list.  They ran down just about every young American drivers name, save the Riley Boys, when asked about it.
  8. If you are interested in working for the team, don’t bother, they are only going to hire cronies they have worked with over the years.
  9. SPEED/FOX/News Corp is heavily involved in the team, may handle all their media based on comments and hints in the press conference.

Based off of this presser, I have some questions.  

  1.  How much back door money is coming from Bernie and Max to pull this off?  Peter Windsor is in pretty tight with Bernie, and an old adage goes, if you want to know what Bernie is thinking, just listen to what Peter is saying.  
  2. Mario and Dan Gurney are putting some of their reputations on the line coming out so large in backing this deal, makes me think it has some legitimcy, but you never no.
  3. How the hell are these guys going to be ready for race 1 in 2010 if they haven’t even started yet,

As a bit of a flyer here, and while sounding crazy, I’m also being serious too.  If USF1 scores Toyota as an engine supplier, then the NEED to get Kyle Bush as their driver.  Daniker need never get within 1000 miles of the car.  

Bush might be the most talented American driver currently under the age of 35.  The kid can flat out drive about anything, any time, anywhere.  We’ve seen him be successful in all tiers of the NASCAR program, he did well on the dirt @ Eldora for Tony Stewart’s race, and I bet you put him in an open wheel car he’d kick ass there as well.  Speaking of Tony Stewart, if was ten years younger and about 50 lbs lighter, I’d say that he should be the primary driver.  Tony is like AJ Foyt and Mario, they could drive anything, anywhere at anytime.  Tony is way to preoccupied with his many ventures and not missing out at the all you can eat buffet to be bothered.  Kyle is very much in their mold in talent and temperament.  It would be just a joy to see Kyle over there ruffling everyones feathers and making the Montoya era seem like the most gentlemanly of drivers.

Let hope that this thing succeeds but I think you will be able to call me Mr. Blue, since that will be the color of my face from holding my breath.

Imola 2002 Edwards v Bayliss

Two Wheel Tuesday for this week is MASSIVE!  With the opening round of the World Superbike series less than two weeks away, I thought something to get you revved up for the season is called for.

There was a lot of talk about a “Duel In The Desert” between Rossi and Bayliss, but I ask you, could it live up to the “Throwdown At Imola”?  Remember the WSBK title battle between Edwards and Bayliss?  Troy had dominated the first half of the season opening a huge lead in the Championship, but come just past mid season at Laguna Seca, The Texas Tornado caught fire and went on a winning streak and come the last round of the series there were just a couple of points separating the two, the championship would be decided in the final round at Imola.

What we got were maybe two of the greatest races ever as these two went at it with everything they had and left it all on the track!  I’ve watched this clip of race two maybe a hundred times (no joke) and I still get excited to watch the pass and repass moves.

Sit back and crank it up as we relive real Days Of Glory!

 


Imola 2002 Edwards v Bayliss from Eric Trytko on Vimeo.

DMG DOUCHEBAGGERY

There have been a few things that have really set me off about Roger Edmundson’s Reign Of Terror in the last couple months.  One is minor but important, the other is just inexcusable incompetence.

 

No I’m not going to go on about the cut in purse and bonus money that was announced last week, that’s just an economic reality.  Besides, did anyone think that was truly going to happen at those levels?

 

No what has me hacked off are the reassignment of race numbers from riders to teams, and the broadcast schedule for Daytona.

 

For as long as anyone can remember in motorcycle racing a number has been associated with a rider throughout many international series, including the US. As you go through the years 21 was Eddie Lawson, 34 was Kevin Schwantz, 7 was Barry Sheene, while he started out as 11, 155 became Ben Bostrom’s number 69 is Nicky Hayden, 41 Nori Haga and of course 46 has been burned into out collective conscious as Valentino Rossi.

 

Now, thanks to the influence of “The Beach Front Mafia” just like NASCAR, the numbers belong to the teams.  So, for 2009 #2 won’t be Jamie Hacking, it will be Ben Bostrom, except in Daytona Sportbike where he’ll be #1 along with Jake Zemke,  HUH???? How can you have two number ones for a class that never existed before,  The convoluted thinking is that since Daytona Sportbike combines the FX class and the 600SS class that you combine number ones make one red and one black.

 

Seriously, are you kidding me? If you can’t get something so small and basic as this right, how can we expect you to get ANYTHING right.  While some of the riders haven’t spent years building a personal brand around a number like Valentino, there is still a value attached to it.  When you see #16 go buy, will you automatically associate that with Jake Zemke??  Some of the teams have been smart enough to grab the traditional numbers of the riders, Rog Hayden will still be 95, Tommy Hayden will be 22, Miguel will be 17, but many riders will have new numbers for 09.  Yes it’s small, but it’s all the small things that add up to big things down the road.

 

Item two is the TV schedule for Daytona.  Roger was all happy and joyful when he announced that he had a new TV deal with SPEED a few weeks ago.  What was not said is that the only coverage of Daytona will be for the 200.  No American Superbike, no SuperSport, not a bit of the new hyped SuperPole.  On Friday, March 6th at 8:30PM EST you get the 200, and that’s it!  In years past we got to see ALL the support races, but no more.  Thursday the 5th at 2PM while he SuperSport race is running, SPEED is showing a replay of the NASCAR race from Las Vegas.  Then, at 3:30 when the American Superbike race is going off, SPEED will be showing Truck U.  Finally when SuperPole for the 200 is taking place, under the lights at 6:30, SPEED will be broadcasting Unique Whips!

 

Talk about your major EPIC FAIL!

 

Look, I DO understand the economic realities of TV, especially during this current economic unpleasantness, but give me a break, while the motorcycle audience isn’t the largest one you have, it’s your most loyal and vocal, toss us a bone here, would you mind?

Official Top Gear America D.O.A.

In a stop in Sydney Australia for a Top Gear Live appearance, Jeremy Clarkson confirmed that Top Gear America would not be going forward.  It is a pretty good clip with some of the usual stuff you’d expect from Clarkson and Hammond.

I’m torn about this.  In some ways I’m sad that we won’t have our own version of the show, in other ways, I’m happy because the chances of the show not being totally screwed up for America TV were pretty slim.

Anyway, enjoy this.

Two Wheel Tuesday

Don’t book this one as permanent feature, though I think it will be, but going forward I think we will try to feature some older two wheeled action that sticks out at us.

For the first installment we will head to Ireland, circa 1989 where we see a TZ250 do battle with an RC30 Honda and a RGV500.  If you were a fan of the original Formula USA series, a real “run what you brung” series where 500GP bikes went up against GSXR 1100’s running on methanol to Turbocharged CBR900RR’s then you’ll love this. The great Chris Carter is the lead announcer.  Thanks to Graham over on the COMPoST list for finding these!