The inaugural combined AMA/World Superbike weekend at the facility west of Salt Lake City, Utah has been honored as the “2008 Organizer of the Year Award” by World Superbike promoters FGSport. That the track won the award against a number of long-established facilities, and on its first try, is testament to the enthusiasm and cooperation shown by the staff, led by former track CEO/General Manager Alan Wilson. Wilson stepped down at the end of this season, but is expected to help run the 2009 race weekend.
The facility has been popular with riders and teams since first opening in 2006. Not only has track management gone out of its way to be accommodating, but the track is one of the safest, if not the safest, on the AMA calendar. For its efforts, the track was named Motorsports Facility of the Year by the Professional Motorsport World Expo in Cologne, Germany at the end of 2006.
This year there was some controversy over the decision to run the AMA races on the 4.5-mile Full Course and the World Superbike double-header on the shorter 3.048-mile Outer Course. It denied the inevitable comparison of AMA vs. World Superbike and also denied the WSB riders the long track, which the AMA regulars said was more fun and challenging. In the end it didn’t matter, and the crowd was treated to a pair of surprise wins by Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Carlos Checa in World Superbike and unsurprising wins by Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ben Spies in the AMA races. Spies has since moved to Yamaha’s World Superbike team and his only U.S. appearance will come in this May’s second running of the AMA/WSB weekend.
The event got a further boost by being embraced by Utah. Gov. Jon Huntsman, an avid motorcyclist and racer himself, along with the Utah Sports Commission, was instrumental in making the race a success. The governor hosted an event for the riders at the state capitol building on the race weekend. Checa presented him with his signed helmet after the Spaniard’s surprising double victories.
In honoring the track, FGSports released a statement citing Miller’s “high level of professionalism, the efforts made and the endeavours of the staff all guaranteed a high level of standards from an organizational, promotional and sporting point of view.” It went on to say, “It is a wonderful achievement for any circuit to win this award, but it is exceptional to win it after one year of co-operation with FGSport.”
“I express my warmest and most sincere congratulations to the circuit management and all its staff and wish them the very best for the season ahead,” Paolo Flammini, FGSport CEO said.