The MotoAmerica Team
MotoAmerica is the AMA/FIM-sanctioned organization managing the North American roadracing championship race series. Four of the sport’s leading proponents formed the KRAVE Group, LLC., in 2015 specifically to revitalize top-level roadracing in the U.S.
KRAVE is the moniker derived from the founders’ last names: Karges (Terry), Rainey (Wayne), Aksland (Chuck) and Varner (Richard).
Richard Varner (left) and Terry Karges (right) have shaped the business and marketing operations of KRAVE. Mr. Varner is founder and CEO of a major energy-sector shipping and transport company. Along with Terry Karges (right) Mr. Varner founded Champions Moto, maker of limited edition Triumph-based custom motorcycles.
Terry Karges is the executive director of the Petersen Automotive Museum, and before that was a vice president of Roush Performance.
If there is a spiritual leader of the MotoAmerica series it is another founding member of KRAVE, Wayne Rainey. Mr. Rainey is a three-time FIM 500cc GP champion.
Respect for Mr. Rainey’s leadership and vision, from people in both national and international racing, helped KRAVE form an entirely new organization capable of revitalizing roadracing in North America.
Chuck Aksland (left) is another founding partner of the KRAVE Group. He is a former racer and for 20 years was manager for Team Roberts (owned by three-time world 500cc GP champion Kenny Roberts). During his time with Team Roberts he oversaw development of the first American-designed and constructed race bikes for both 500cc GP and first-generation 990cc four-stroke MotoGP classes.
Bil Cumbow (right), although not part of of the KRAVE Group, is one of six members of the FIM Road Racing Commission Directorship. He serves as FIM/AMA Racing Director and liaison with the MotoAmerica series. He served as a United Airlines Flight Captain for more than 30 years.
MotoAmerica team members have deep personal connections to moto-racing. Randy Stem (left), MotoAmerica’s Paddock Supervisor, was also race director and operations manager for two national race series for almost 30 years.
Bill Syfan (center) is a former superbike racer who worked for Suzuki and Dunlop Tire racing groups. Serving as MotoAmerica’s grid marshal at this event, he was a certified FIM Clerk of the Course and was on the board of the Central Motorcycle RoadRacing Association.
Paul Carruthers (right), MotoAmerica’s Communications Manager, was a journalist and editor of Cycle News for 30 years, more than 20 years as senior editor. (His father, Kel Carruthers was 250cc GP World Champion in 1969, and two-time Isle of Man winner in that class.)
Without sponsors there is no racing. Each rider, racing team, individual racing event, and the overall series all need their respective sponsors who find value for their business and are willing to invest in the sport. Conor Barr (right) is Sponsorship Manager for MotoAmerica who helps motorsports corporations find the right value for their investment. Mr. Barr has 10 years prior experience as business development manager for both Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and for Circuit of the Americas. Here, he discusses the upcoming MotoAmerica season with Mark Gandy, Vice President and Director of Products (far left), and Brian Miller, both of Cortech/Helmet House – a major sponsor of the series.
Sheila Paul is another member of the MotoAmerica team with deep roots in moto-racing. A life-long rider, she spent several years in amateur roadracing and now competes in flat track. She is an instructor in both the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (street riding) courses and the Texas Tornado Boot Camp – founded by two-time World Superbike Champion and former MotoGP racer, Colin Edwards. Ms. Paul is responsible for tire control at MotoAmerica events; managing the technical inspection, allocation, and tire control documentation for teams and the tire supplier for each racing class. Like everyone I met on the MotoAmerica staff she provided the friendly help that got me oriented to the paddock and introduced me to other team members who help me get these photos.
MotoAmerica lets fans get closer to the action through programs that grant more access to teams and onto the starting grid. It all begins with an orientation at the beginning of the day.
Trophies – dozens of trophies – are unpacked and sorted ahead of upcoming awards ceremonies. With so many classes run over two days of racing, making sure everyone gets the right award at podium time takes care and organization.
Randy Stem, Paddock Supervisor for the MotoAmerica Series, plans for and manages the onsite activities for what is arguably the busiest and most congested area of every race event: the paddock area. Fifty or more teams will compete in a weekend. They span the spectrum from the most experienced professional teams arriving with semi-trucks loaded with equipment (and the riders’ motorhomes), to riders with limited resources who set up shop with a few friends and family, a trailer and a pop-up shelter for a pit garage. Suppliers, including tires (another semi load ), fuel (with its depot), and other sponsors with support facilities, hospitality tents, food vendors, fire and safety, media and broadcast crews. Move-in, racing, and decamping all happen in about three-and-half days.
Chuck Aksland visits each team’s pit garage early on the race weekend to make sure teams and their managers are getting the support they need. Here he is checking in on the Yoshimura Suzuki USA Superbike Team.
MotoAmerica staff and volunteers begin the day before the sun comes up to coordinate logistics between teams, track operators, media, and sponsors. Official activities begin with technical inspections at 7 am and last long after the conclusion of each day’s on-track activities. Team members debrief at the end of the first day and prep for the day to follow. The high level of team communication is evident in how smoothly MotoAmerica events are conducted.
Last day of preseason testing at The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. The late afternoon sun grazes the MotoAmerica semi, about to be loaded with the traveling infrastructure of the MotoAmerica series.