Now that the dog days of summer are knocking on the horizon, most of the country has awoken from its winter slumber and is getting into the riding season swing. The snow is melting, the bird and bugs are out, and most of the country can start ticking the miles off. Without question, summer is my favorite time of the year—nothing quite highlights West Coast living like spring and summer.If you’re a fan of racing, then this is when all the various road racing championships form a perfect trifecta. On any given weekend, we might have MotoGP, MotoAmerica, or WSBK. As I write this, I’m currently indulging in all three, as it happens to be one of the rare weekends where all three series coalesce.
Being into sport riding and racing seems like a natural partnership. Canyon carvers, track day enthusiasts, and club racers all plonk down in front of their TVs to closely analyze their favorite racers’ moves on any given weekend.The flyaway MotoGP rounds have proved to be insanely exciting and have the kind of unpredictability that would make any bookie shed a few beads of sweat. New championship favorites have emerged, first-time race winners are stepping up to the plate, and the factory veterans aren’t showing the dominance that fans might expect. Beyond that, new racetracks and motorcycle redesigns have thrown more curveballs in the mix than a malfunctioning pitching machine.World Superbike is benefitting from changes and team shakeups that have led to its season-opening round being one of the most exciting WSBK races that I’ve seen in years, and that’s after a ridiculously competitive 2021 season. Close racing from start to finish is something that anyone can appreciate, and to be honest, who doesn’t love watching Toprak Razgatlıoğlu on the brakes?Our domestic MotoAmerica Superbike championship series is in full swing. We got a taste of what’s in store for 2022, with many paddock members participating in the Daytona 200, and MotoAmerica Superbikes sharing the track with MotoGP at this year’s Circuit of the Americas stop. Of course, the usual array of machines is enough to captivate any enthusiast, while the King Of The Baggers championship cannot be missed.Do Saturday morning cartoons still happen? It’s tough to imagine with network and cable television being on the outs for the last few years. We all have subscription services now, and can watch whatever we want on demand. But having this much racing available on a weekend morning recaptures that feeling of waking up early, clearing 10-year-old Nic’s busy schedule of video games and BMX bike riding, then chomping down on sugary cereal until I’ve had my fill. It’s a shock that I don’t have Type 2 diabetes.After having your fill of racing and carbohydrates, there is only one thing to do—ride. Having good weather at your doorstep helps, but racing always motivates, if only to talk to your buddies at the gas stop and mull over the various passes. If you let the conversation linger long enough, chatter about “silly season” will worm its way into the mix. You’ve probably dispensed of an afternoon between the ride and racing discussions. Add in a roadside meal, and that’s a whole day.Those are the well-spent days that long summer work hours can make you appreciate. Talking about the paddock is always a conversation starter between two-wheeled enthusiasts and, for me, it does act as a bit of inspiration. Analyzing my favorite riders’ movements, positioning, and techniques is a mental exercise; I know I don’t ride at their level, but is there anything to glean from what the best of the best do? Probably—I suppose it’s all good fun at the end of the day.We’re keeping this one short and sweet in the spirit of summer. Whatever your inspiration is, get out there and put it to use. Check those fluids, change those tires, and start putting down the first few miles of a good riding season.
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!