Kenny Coolbeth, the three-time AMA Grand National Champion, will ride the Kawasaki brand under the Chaplin Kawasaki banner for 2011 in AMA Grand National Singles events. Coolbeth will continue as the sole factory Harley-Davidson rider in Grand National Twins competiton.
"With David Bettencourt [of Bettencourt's Honda/Suzuki in West Bridgewater, Massachussetts] passing away, I knew I'd be changing my Singles program," said Coolbeth as arrived home this evening from a session of ice racing. "David did so much for me for so many years and once he passed away my deal with the dealership kind of fell through.
"Kenny Ives [of Chaplin Kawasaki] approached me the same year Bettencourt did, but I already had the deal. He's just kept in touch with me over the years. He's a really nice guy. The dealership is only an hour and half away from my house so it's pretty cool."
Coolbeth went on to explain that his deal with Harley-Davidson hasn't been signed, but everything is set and he'll be on the factory Harley-Davidson squad, a team he signed with in 2006.
Chaplin Kawasaki, a New England-based dealer, will provide Coolbeth a fleet of race ready machines for the season. Their store will help to market the sport of flat track and bring a new sponsor to the arena. The dealership has been in existence for over 65 years, both Burt Ives and his son Kenny operate the multi-brand dealership including E-Tron, Polaris and Triton. On their website, eBay store and at the shop, this high traffic dealer is excited to support flat track racing with Coolbeth. Chaplin is confident that
Coolbeth will find the Kawasakis to his liking, matching his talent to the machine and looks forward to much success in the season ahead.
"I've had the Kawi's for months now and I love them," Coolbeth continued. "We already have the chassis set up the way I want them and right now the engines are on the bench and they're just working away at getting them ready. The bike feels really good already, so I'm eager to get them to Daytona and put them to the test."
Kawasaki riders have had considerable success in the AMA Grand Nationals in recent years, primarily with Henry Wiles in GNC Singles and recently with Bryan Smith in GNC twins. The addition of Coolbeth on a Kawasaki in GNC Singles events such as Daytona and Peoria, will add even greater recognition for the company among flat track fans.
Coolbeth is slated to debut on his new Chaplin Kawasaki's in the AMA Grand National Short Track events at Daytona International Speedway in March.