5 Questions With...
AMA Road Race Director Keith Kizer
Though he spent the last 18 years as owner and operator of the AMA/Prostar motorcycle drag-racing series, Keith Kizer is well versed in all forms of two-wheeled competition. At age 11 he raced flat-track in Houston, Texas (where he later worked alongside Kevin Schwantz at Hurst Yamaha and Marine), and he also dabbled in amateur roadracing before being lured into drag racing by his brother, Terry "Mr. Turbo" Kizer. Now he returns to his roots to fill the newly created AMA Road Race Director position.
1.How's the new job? Any surprises?
"I love it! I absolutely love it! One thing that did surprise me, though, was how badly the roadrace program needed a new management style. Morgan Broadhead [new AMA Road Race Manager] and I have turned it 180 degrees, I believe. We started by asking every racer, team and track owner what they disliked about the AMA and took it from there. Everybody who enters the paddock is our customer, and we treat them like that now."
2. There have been many personnel changes inside AMA Pro Racing over the last year. Do you have the right team in place now?
"The personnel changes we've made have been excellent. It's the perfect team, and honestly, it came together much sooner than I expected."
3. Do you have any big plans for the AMA Superbike series in the near future?
"My first concern is rider safety, and the Rider's Safety council has made huge changes this year. I can't take credit for that; it's been driven by the riders. I'll continue to work with them to help to pinpoint safety changes that need to be made to the tracks so we can make racing safer for them. We're also working on revamping our class structure-we're committed to the current structure through 2008, but we're working on new classes and rules for '09."
4. AMA has a broad mission with its three Rs: Rights, Riding and Racing. How important is racing to the AMA's larger mission?
"Racing is very important to the AMA, which is why it's invested in a complete overhaul of the racing department. All three Rs are equally important, but racing is what most people think about when they think about the AMA. Racing gets the most exposure-and the most criticism, too."
5. What was the best moment for you so far in your new position?
"The best moment so far was seeing the last checkered flag fly at Daytona. That event was very controversial in '06, and we came into it this year with a completely new staff and new people in every key position. All eyes were on us, and they were looking for us to make a mistake. We had some challenges, but when the event was over we made the right decisions, held our ground and put on a great event."
Bmw's R1200 Hp2 Sport Prototype Is Out In The Open From the look of this one, those of us who've been waiting for something sportier than BMW's current R1200S won't be waiting too much longer. Official sources say this carbon-skinned prototype is a test mule to evaluate various hot-rod parts in open-class European endurance racing. But since the HP2 Uber Enduro broke cover at the races, you may well be looking at the foundation for the first pure pavement member of the HP family.
Racier Telelever suspension leads the way, along with a set of Superbike-spec Brembo radial-mount calipers. Though the photo doesn't show anything Munich doesn't want you to see, the steel-tube space frame is a more resolute piece, carrying the rider on a carbon-fiber tailsection that negates the traditional subframe. Changes to the respiratory system should produce horsepower numbers well beyond the 122 BMW claims for the current R1200S. If the rumor mill is right, brace yourself for a 138-horse R1200 HP2 Sport that tips the scales a notch or two past 400 pounds complete with life-giving fluids. Expect to pay a bit more than you would for Ducati's $24,995 1098S Tricolore when the bike goes on sale late this year.
Whatever Happened To
Following successful experiments by automakers at the time, not least in Formula 1, the word "turbo" was everywhere in the early 1980s-on cologne bottles, tennis shoes and "turbocharged" personal computers. And, of course, there were turbo bikes from all four Japanese manufacturers. First came the Honda CX500TC and Yamaha Seca Turbo in 1982, followed by the Suzuki XN85 Turbo in '83 and the Kawasaki ZX750 E1 Turbo in '84.
Turbocharging is a simple concept. A small turbine, driven by exhaust gases, force-feeds pressurized air into the combustion chamber to substantially boost power. Manufacturers viewed this as free horsepower and a foolproof way to get big-bike acceleration from small-bike packages. It mostly worked: Kawasaki's 750 produced a stout 112 horsepower at the rear wheel, and turbocharging Honda's workhorse CX500 put it on par with a CB900F inline-four.
These factory turbos were exceptionally advanced for the time. Three of the four featured electronic fuel-injection (only the Yamaha was carbureted), and the Honda carried not one, but two on-board computers to monitor the EFI and ignition timing. Unfortunately, this complexity was one reason the factory turbos were short-lived, along with the unmitigated turbo lag that made the bikes difficult to ride in sport-riding situations.
By the end of the 1985 model year, after disappointing sales across the board, all of these factory turbo bikes had been discontinued and none have been produced since. Turbocharged motorcycles haven't completely disappeared, however: Modern streetbike drag racing is ruled by 500-bhp turbocharged Hayabusas, and major advancements in digital engine management and new technology such as progressive boost controllers have made turbos more user-friendly than ever. We're thinking now is a fine time for the OEMs to try turbocharging again. How's a 350-pound, 400cc, 175-bhp turbo sportbike sound to you?
Aprilia 'Hypermotard' On The Way?
If So, Sources Say It Will Be Powered By A 1200cc 90-Degree V-TwinPrilia is developing a large-displacement supermoto-styled machine similar to Ducati's wildly popular Hypermotard, claims a source within the Italian company. But instead of being powered by the tried-and-true 60-degree liquid-cooled V-twin from the firm's RSV and Tuono open-classers, the new bike is rumored to be motivated by a 1200cc version of the 90-degree V-twin powering the newly released SL750 Shiver naked bike. "It suits the bike better," the source said, though he didn't elaborate on why.
It's possible the 1200cc 90-degree Vee can match the power of the older 60-degree mill, but it's unclear if the new engine would be used in future RSV or Tuono models that may result from the soon-to-be-decided 1200cc twin rule in the World Superbike Championship. Aprilia will only say it will produce V-twin and V-Four Machines Going Forward.
Our cleverly designed and computer-aided digital image shows what such a machine might look like. Though details are sketchy, many parts could come straight from the Shiver, whose engine acts as a stressed member and which features a rear suspension design similar to that of Kawasaki's new Ninja 650. Look for an announcement on this and other new Aprilia models at this fall's Milan Show.
Strip-Show ST - Wild File
Butch Demerle wanted a lighter Honda ST1300. He got it.We've heard of folks removing ancillary parts to lighten their bikes, but this is ridiculous. This, folks, is a stripped-down Honda ST1300. When we first laid eyeballs on the thing at the 2006 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio, it took us 10 full seconds to ID it.
"I ride an ST1300 as daily transportation," owner Butch Demerle of Ohio told me, "and I wanted a lighter version. I bought a wrecked ST on eBay, yanked off the bodywork and subframe and just stared at it." Demerle wanted the bike to have exposed air cleaners, which meant the upper fuel tank had to go. A friend of his, Jon Cain, does CNC machine work, and helped him design the single-seat subframe, which contains a 1-gallon fuel cell,giving 3.4 gallons total. Other bits include an R6 seat, Pro Taper handlebar, CBR1100XX front fender and CBR600 radiator.
"The bike is lighter by more than 200 pounds," Demerle proclaims with a smile, "which helps it handle great and feel almost supercharged." He's right about that, as my 7-minute ride around the Mid-Ohio grounds attested.
More importantly, it's a hugely unique piece: "No one has one like it...yet!"