Circuit of the Americas Vs. Kevin Schwantz UpdateFor stateside MotoGP fans, the 2013 championship brings additional excitement due to the addition of the new F1 venue, the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, on April 2. With the Texas venue on the list, MotoGP will visit the US three times – first with Texas, then Laguna Seca (July 19-21), and finally Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Aug. 16-18).
But the excitement of Austin MotoGP is clouded by a huge legal battle brewing between 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz’s company 3fourTexasMGP and COTA. This suit is heavy with “he said, she said” PR, and tends to get confusing.But to distill it in the simplest terms, essentially Schwantz claims that he brought MotoGP to COTA, but the track denies that, and says it is responsible (to read the latest on the legal battle, click here).And due to the suit, COTA is not allowing Schwantz, a Texan and one of the biggest American promoters of MotoGP, to attend Austin MotoGP.MotoGP fans – both in and outside the motorcycle industry – are a passionate bunch. And to protest this action, a couple of industry standards created the FreeKevin34 weekend, which has its own website and is being heavily promoted across social media.Following is the press release announcing the “FreeKevin34” weekend:In protest to the unacceptable treatment for the 1993 Grand Prix Champion, racing school master, Texan and all-around promoter of motorcycling and motorcycle racing, we are proud to announce the official FreeKevin34 weekend – April 19-21, 2013.Kevin Schwantz has been blocked from attending the Grand Prix race in his own home state due to pending litigation with the track. As a group of motorcycle racing enthusiasts, we are disgusted by that fact that the track management cannot put aside their differences for the greater good of the sport that they are capitalizing on, and peacefully respect a weekend of “no comment on the matter”, so that Mr. Schwantz can attend the very race that he assisted in promoting and bringing to Texas.The FreeKevin34 event encourages motorcycle racing fans across the globe to wear their Kevin Schwantz riding gear, hats, tee-shirts and apparel on the race weekend (April 19-21, 2013) to show their support for a Grand Prix World Champion, whose racing number was retired out of respect for his competitive spirit.An official “FreeKevin34” design has been developed, and is for sale, with all proceeds going to the Marco Simoncelli Foundation – one of Kevin’s chosen charities. Simply log into freekevin34.com to place your order and show your support for #34. Sales of merchandise emblazoned with the official FreeKevin34 logo will benefit the Marco Simoncelli Foundation.In addition, for those wishing to enjoy the race, but choosing to do so away from the track, they are invited to view Austin MotoGP with your fellow fans at The Gypsy Lounge at 1 in Austin, Texas. Sponsors including Leo Vince Exhausts, PJ’s Parts and Motovation have all donated door prizes to also benefit the Marco Simoncelli Foundation and show support for Kevin and the sport of motorcycle racing. The Gypsy Lounge will feature motorcycle-only parking for the event and is the unofficial post-race hang-out with a motor-cycle friendly staff and owner. For directions log onto gypsyloungeaustin.com.This is an independent event, run by a volunteer group of motorcycle, MotoGP, motorcycle racing and Kevin Schwantz fans. All proceeds will be donated and all sponsorships will go towards the goal of raising funds for the Marco Simoncelli Foundation. You can read (in Italian) more about the Simoncelli Foundation at marcosimoncellifondazione.it.To stay updated in details concerning the FreeKevin34 party – please refer to the Facebook link below, and help spread the word that motorcyclists are the first to step up for those who promote the sport, and that we feel “respect” is not a buzzword – it is an action.Twitter account holders hashtag: #freekevin34The Free Kevin #34 Facebook event page is public here.Sponsors:LeoVince USAMotovationPJ’s PartsLogo DesignGypsy Lounge
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.