This week in US powersports racing.
MotoAmerica Welcomes Steel Commander as Title Sponsor of Superbike Series
MotoAmerica, North America’s premier road racing series, is pleased to announce that Steel Commander Corp has inked a three-year contract that will see them as the title sponsor of the MotoAmerica Steel Commander Superbike Championship for the 2024, 2025 and 2026 racing seasons.
Steel Commander Corp. is now the title sponsor of the MotoAmerica Steel Commander Superbike Championship after inking a three-year deal with the series. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Steel Commander Corp, with its corporate headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida, is an all-American Steel Building manufacturer shipping factory-direct to all U.S. territories and offering a combination of expertise, innovation, and dedication to quality and customer satisfaction. Steel Commander Corp offers a comprehensive range of solutions for the commercial, industrial, residential, garage, storage and other industries with a combined experience of over 60 years.
Steel Commander Corp was the title sponsor of the Steel Commander Stock 1000 class in 2023, beginning with the second round of the series at Barber Motorsports Park. Steel Commander also sponsored Gabriel Da Silva in the 2023 Steel Commander Stock 1000 class and the Superbike Cup division of the Superbike series.
“Steel Commander came on board with us this past season as the sponsor of the Stock 1000 class and their enthusiasm for racing and our series made them a MotoAmerica favorite right away,” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “Steel Commander stepping up as the title sponsor of the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship really shows their commitment to the sport and to our series. We’re excited for the 2024 season to get started and to continue our relationship with Steel Commander Corp. I’d also like to thank Medallia for their support of the Superbike class these past two years.”
“We are thrilled to once again partner with MotoAmerica and announce that Steel Commander Corp will proudly serve as the title sponsor for the 2024-2026 Steel Commander Superbike Championship,” said Shawn Fisher, CEO, Steel Commander Corp. “Building on the success and excitement of our inaugural year as title sponsor for the Steel Commander Stock 1000, we’re eagerly anticipating another exhilarating year of high-speed races as the title sponsor for the Superbike Championship. We are proud to share our commitment to motorsports and MotoAmerica, and we can’t wait for the upcoming race season. Steel Commander will also be offering a 10 percent discount on pre-engineered metal buildings to any MotoAmerica affiliate or ticket holders of the 2024-2026 race seasons.”
COLTON HAAKER RACES TO P2 FINISH AT SECOND ROUND OF AMA ENDUROCROSS SEASON IN ARIZONA
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing duo Colton Haaker and Ryder LeBlond pieced together convincing performances at Round 2 of the 2023 AMA EnduroCross Championship in Prescott Valley, Arizona, racing to P2 and P4 results, respectively, in the EX Pro Class.
Competitive from the moment bikes hit the technical circuit, Haaker charged to the second-fastest time during the high intensity Hot Lap session, before rocketing out of the gates onboard his FX 350 to take the holeshot in moto one. A race-long battle for the win saw him cross the line in a closely-contested second place.
Another fast start in race two had Haaker inside the top three, again battling for the lead across the 11-lap duration. A three-way fight for the win saw him claim P2 once again, which set him up nicely entering the final EX Pro race of the evening.
From there, Haaker captured the holeshot in the third and final moto, maintaining a strong pace toward the front of the pack, which saw the five-time AMA EnduroCross Champion collect P2 in the final outing, resulting in second place overall for the night.
“This race was a real step forward for me and the team,” commented Haaker. “We’ve put a lot of work in from the last round, and I have a good feeling that we’ll be putting the pressure on for this championship. The track was fast here – faster than last weekend – and the bike felt really good here… I gelled with it all day. All-in-all, I’m motivated to make it happen this season!”
Teammate LeBlond shadowed Haaker during the Hot Lap session, registering the third-fastest time, before racing to a hard-fought third-place ride in the opening encounter. A difficult start in moto two saw LeBlond push to a P6 finish, climbing his way through the field to achieve the result. P4 in the final race earned LeBlond fourth overall, positioning him fourth in the standings.
“It was an okay night here, overall,” recalled LeBlond. “After the last race, I really wanted to back that up with another podium, although we kept it pretty consistent here with a fourth-place finish. I was a little under the weather entering this round, so I’m comfortable with my night, and can’t wait to go again at the next round.”
Rounds three and four of the 2023 AMA EnduroCross Championship take place inside Hero Arena, Idaho, on October 27-28.
EX Pro Results – Round 2
1. Jonny Walker, Beta, 1-1-1
2. Colton Haaker – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 2-2-2
3. Cody Webb, Sherco, 4-3-3
4. Ryder LeBlond – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 3-6-4
EX Pro Championship Standings
1. Jonny Walker, 60 points
2. Cody Webb, 46
3. Colton Haaker – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 43
4. Ryder LeBlond – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 39
CRAIG DELONG AND ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING CROWNED 2023 GNCC CHAMPIONS
In what has marked a stellar season of 2023 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) competition, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong has clinched his first-career XC1 Open Pro Championship at Ironman’s 12th and final round of the season in Indiana.
Entering the finale with a sizable advantage on his side, DeLong was in prime position to capture the premier class title, needing nothing more than to earn a consistent haul of points in order to secure the overall number one plate on his FX 350.
On that request he delivered, launching to a second-place start, before posting a steady, calculated ride on the technical and fast-paced terrain. An eventual eighth-place finish at the conclusion of the three-hour affair was enough to be crowned this year’s champion.
In what has been an exceptional year for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing standout, DeLong recorded three overall wins across the season, including his first in class in Round 3 at The General GNCC. Upon standing on the podium a further three times, victory at the penultimate round in the Buckwheat 100 proved a pivotal moment for the series, providing a small buffer entering this weekend.
“What an incredible season, with all the different winners at each round,” DeLong reflected. “There were plenty of ups and downs, but we were in a good position heading into the break tied with the points lead, and then to come away with a bit of a buffer after winning the previous round was huge. All-in-all, I can’t thank the whole team enough – I came into this season with the goal to get a couple of round wins, and together we managed to accomplish much more than that! This definitely hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m excited to back it up in 2024.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Trevor Bollinger continued to climb back toward peak form throughout the closing rounds of GNCC, recording a 12th-place finish at Ironman, where it was evident that he’d made further steps in the right direction.
After sustaining a broken scapula early in the season, Bollinger returned to action at Round 8 of the series, with a pair of sixth-place finishes at Rounds 10 and 11 marking his season-high results, also equipped with FX 350 machinery.
“I started off well today, I was around fifth and made my way into fourth early on, although just ran into some unfortunate issues that cost me a lot of time,” said Bollinger. “From there, we got things repaired and I tried to rally as best as I could, but I just lost too much time to make anything happen. I feel really good right now, glad to be healthy, and am excited to go into the off-season and prepare for next year.”
Ironman GNCC Results
XC1 Open Pro Class
1. Josh Strang (KAW)
2. Steward Baylor Jr, (KTM)
3. Johnny Girroir, (KTM)
8. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
12. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
Overall Championship Standings
1. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 246 points
2. Steward Baylor Jr, 235 points
3. Ben Kelley, 215 points
4. Jordan Ashburn, 201 points
17. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 50 points
PODIUM SCORES FOR FMF KTM FACTORY RACING AFTER IRONMAN TO COMPLETE GNCC SEASON
FMF KTM Factory Racing Team riders Johnny Girroir and Ben Kelley delivered podium performances, respectively, following the final round of the 2023 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Championship at Ironman, with Girroir taking third position in the finale, while Kelley claimed P3 in the final XC1 Open Pro Class standings.
Circling the first lap in eighth position, Girroir put in a steady climb throughout the six-lap duration, making an assortment of passes that positioned him in third by lap four. From there, he would continue to chase down the leaders and would eventually finish the race with a well-earned, third-place podium result.
With that, Girroir concluded a successful XC1 Open Pro Class rookie campaign with eighth overall in the series classification, racing to a single round victory and a further three podiums to signal his debut season in the GNCC premier class riding the KTM 350 XC-F.
Johnny Girroir: “Today was a dogfight all day! We started off a little bit slow, but after the pit stops we really picked up the pace and found our way into about a six-man battle there for a while. Ultimately, it came down to the three of us out front, and that final lap was crazy as we went back and forth a number of times, and I ended up with third place. This was a great way to finish off the season, so now we’ll just keep building and come out stronger for next year!”
Teammate Kelley powered his KTM 350 XC-F to a top-five start in Indiana, before fighting his way into P2 by the second lap. A struggle to keep the leader’s pace following the pit stop saw the 2021 champion drop to sixth position, which is where he would finish the round at Ironman.
Kelley proved to be a formidable championship contender throughout the entirety of the 2023 GNCC season, holding the points lead on multiple occasions, and collecting two round victories over the course of the series, along with an additional three podium finishes. As a result, he was ranked third overall in the standings.
Ben Kelley: “Today was a big step in the right direction. This was the most comfortable I have felt on my bike all season long, and it showed, as I had the speed to make it from the mid-field and to the front by the second lap. After the pit stop, I struggled to hold the pace necessary, and dropped back over the last couple of laps. I fought until the end, finished with sixth place on the day, and third overall in the standings. The track here was super-fast, lots of big holes, and the lead pack was in a freight train today! I’m happy to head into the break now and come back stronger next year.”
KTM-supported Steward Baylor added a second-place finish to his 2023 campaign at Ironman, finishing the season runner-up in the overall championship. Additionally, the next generation of KTM racers, Ryan Amancio and Canyon Richards, finished with a 1-2 result in the YXC1 Super Mini Sr. Class points.
XC1 Open Pro Results – Ironman GNCC
1. Josh Strang, KAW, 2:41:00.439
2. Steward Baylor Jr, KTM, +1.143
3. Johnny Girroir, KTM, +1.895
6. Ben Kelley, KTM
Overall Championship Standings
1. Craig DeLong, 246 points
2. Steward Baylor Jr, 235
3. Ben Kelley, 215
8. Johnny Girroir, 145
TOP-FIVE FOR FMF KTM FACTORY RACING’S TRYSTAN HART IN PRESCOTT VALLEY AMA ENDUROCROSS ROUND
Round 2 of the 2023 AMA EnduroCross Championship roared into the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona, on Saturday, with FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart racing to a consistent top-five finish in the EX Pro Class.
Hart began his weekend by setting the sixth-fastest time during the Hot Lap session, before a tough start in the opening race had the Canadian racer charging his way through the field. Following a spirited effort, Hart claimed fifth place in moto one.
After a circulating the opening lap of moto two in 10th place, he again sliced his way through the pack, navigating the rocky, log and tire-filled terrain to make a collection of passes that saw him end the race in fourth place, setting him up for a consistent result entering the final outing of the night.
Another start just inside the top 10 saw Hart race to a seventh-place finish in the third and final main event of the round, resulting in a hard-fought fifth place overall to complete the second round of the AMA EnduroCross season.
Trystan Hart: “Well, round two of EnduroCross is complete here in Prescott and we finished with another fifth-place finish overall. That makes it three fifths in a row – kind of a record for me right now! – although yeah, just struggling a little bit at the moment… I know that we’ll overcome the slump soon and be back to winning!”
Rounds three and four of the 2023 AMA EnduroCross Championship take place inside Idaho Falls’ Hero Arena between October 27 and 28.
EX Pro Results – Round 2
1. Jonny Walker, Beta, 1-1-1
2. Colton Haaker, Husqvarna, 2-2-2
3. Cody Webb, Sherco, 4-3-3
5. Trystan Hart, KTM, 5-4-7
EX Pro Championship Standings
1. Jonny Walker, 60 points
2. Cody Webb, 46
3. Colton Haaker, 43
5. Trystan Hart, 32
AMA Congratulates 2023 AMA Road Race Grand Championship Special Award Winners
fter an exciting weekend of road-racing action at the 2023 AMA Road Race Grand Championship, which ran Oct. 19-22 in Daytona Beach, Fla., the American Motorcyclist Association offers its congratulations to the multitude of winners from the event.
Standing apart from the rest, however, was Trenton Keesee, whose victories in the 400 GP Expert and ASRA 400 Expert classes secured him the 2023 Nicky Hayden AMA Road Race Horizon Award, which is earned by the racer best equipped to excel in the professional ranks.
“Trenton is lightning quick on the track, and that was apparent this weekend,” AMA Track Racing Manager Ken Saillant said. “Beyond his success as a racer, Trenton is a wonderful kid with a great head on his shoulders. I expect nothing but success for him as moves up to the Junior Cup full-time next season.”
The Melbourne, Fla., native also collected podium finishes in the 400 GT Expert, AMA 400 Expert, 400 Supersport Expert and 400 Superbike Expert classes during the event. After his strong weekend of racing in Daytona Beach, Keesee was proud to obtain the highest honor in amateur road racing.
“I am humbled and honored to have received this award,” Keesee said. “Nicky Hayden has been one of my heroes since I was little. It is an amazing feeling to have my hard work and effort acknowledged. I am going to put in maximum effort on and off the track to make sure that I live up to this award.”
Elsewhere at the event, Chyler Weatherford — a native of Southwest Ranches, Fla., and previous Amateur Racer of the Year winner — claimed the Expert Racer of the Year Award, largely thanks to his victory in the AMA 1000 Supersport Expert class.
Palm City, Fla., native Dave West secured the Amateur Racer of the Year Award after winning the Unlimited Superbike Amateur class and picking up podium finishes in the Unlimited Supersport, Unlimited F40 Amateur, AMA 1000 Supersport Amateur and AMA 1000 Supersport V40 Amateur classes.
Claiming the Vet/Senior Racer of the Year was Antal Halasz of College Point, N.Y., who won the AMA 600 Supersport V40 Expert and AMA 1000 Supersport V40 Expert classes during the event.
AMA Pro Racing Announces Preliminary 2024 Progressive American Flat Track Schedule
AMA Pro Racing announced today the preliminary schedule for the 2024 Progressive American Flat Track season. The 16-round slate features an ideal balance on multiple fronts, including in terms of style, legacy, novelty, geography and pacing.
Last season, the series introduced a more compressed schedule with an evolving emphasis on each of the sport’s four disciplines, encouraging alternating runs of form and championship comebacks. The result was one of the most compelling and electric Grand National Championship title fights on record. The ‘24 schedule builds on that blueprint while having a flavor all its own.
“The 2023 schedule brought Progressive AFT back to major metropolitan markets and motorcycle rallies, while also introducing new venues and event promoters that helped us bring the sport to first-time fans from coast-to-coast,” said Gene Crouch, CEO of AMA Pro Racing. “As we look forward to 2024, the next phase of our growth strategy for the sport is based on cultivating long-lasting relationships with promoter partners and securing multi-year agreements around successful events. In addition to bringing consistency to the annual calendar for the series, this approach will allow promoters to establish date equity in their events, cultivating growth and engagement in the fanbase year after year.”
The season will play out during prime motorcycle riding season, once again opening with a Daytona Bike Week doubleheader at Daytona International Speedway in early March and once again concluding in early September. The first half of the year provides little time to catch one’s breath with five all-action Short Tracks set to be waged over the first six races. The middle of the campaign then shifts into Half-Mile mode while a pair of late season TTs and Miles will factor heavily in determining the title fights.
The 2024 schedule not only pays homage to the championship’s storied legacy by featuring high-profile rounds at its most iconic venues, such as the Labor Day weekend doubleheader at the legendary Springfield Mile and the iconic 77th Peoria TT, but it also introduces fresh, first-time experiences with brand-new events, including the Silver Dollar Short Track in Chico, California.\
Other highlights include the DuQuoin Mile, which cast its magic once again last season by delivering a race that saw four premier-class riders representing three different manufacturers battle to the checkered flag, as well as the return of the Texas Half-Mile at Texas Motor Speedway, which will take place alongside the Goodguys 14th LMC Truck Spring Lone Star Nationals Car Show.
Yet to be announced events include an all-new TT and the return to a fan-favorite Half-Mile for a spectacular 2024 season finale. Announcements about the TBA events and ticket sales will be issued in the coming weeks.
The provisional 2024 Progressive American Flat Track schedule follows:
1. March 7, 2024 – DAYTONA Short Track I, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL
2. March 8, 2024 – DAYTONA Short Track II, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL
3. March 23, 2024 – Senoia Short Track, Senoia Raceway, Senoia, GA
4. April 27, 2024 – Texas Half-Mile, Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX
5. May 4, 2024 – Silver Dollar Short Track, Silver Dollar Speedway, Chico, CA
6. May 11, 2024 – Ventura Short Track, Ventura Raceway, Ventura, CA
7. June 15, 2024 – Orange County Half-Mile, Orange County Fair Speedway, Middletown, NY
8. June 22, 2024 – Bridgeport Half-Mile, Bridgeport Speedway, Swedesboro, NJ
9. June 29, 2024 – Lima Half-Mile, Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH
10. July 6, 2024 – DuQuoin Mile, DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, DuQuoin, IL
11. July 28, 2024 – Peoria TT, Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL
12. August 6, 2024 – Black Hills Half-Mile, Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD
13. August 10, 2024 – TBA, TT
14. August 31, 2024 – Springfield Mile I, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
15. September 1, 2024 – Springfield Mile II, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
16. Early September, 2024 – TBA, HMShare