Photography by Gold & Goose
A group led by three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey will lead U.S. road racing into the future with what will be known as MotoAmerica – an AMA and FIM-sanctioned series that will be up and running for the 2015 season. The series will replace the existing Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG)-run AMA Pro Road Racing Series with the Ohio-based AMA re-acquiring the sanctioning, promotional and commercial rights from DMG, which had purchased the rights to the series from the AMA in 2008. MotoAmerica will be promoted and managed by the KRAVE Group LLC, the group that is spearheaded by Rainey.
The group is also known to have the backing of Dorna, the rights holders to the MotoGP World Championship. Dorna’s CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has stated in interviews that he was hopeful of Rainey putting together a U.S.-based series that would help American road racers reach the top level of the sport they used to dominate.
The KRAVE Group is a Costa Mesa, California-based organization that includes Rainey, the three-time 500cc World Champion (1990, 1991 and 1992) and two-time AMA Superbike Champion (1983, 1987); Chuck Aksland, a former racer and 20-year manager of Team Roberts who most recently served as vice president of Motor Sport Operations at Circuit of The Americas; Terry Karges, a former motorsports marketing executive and team owner who spent 17-years at Roush Performance before being named executive director of the Petersen Museum; and Richard Varner, a motorcycle manufacturer, energy sector entrepreneur, philanthropist and businessman.
The KRAVE (an acronym from the founders’ last names – Karges, Rainey, Aksland, Varner) Group owns commercial rights to the MotoAmerica Series, which will award AMA and FIM North America number-one plates to series class champions. The group will sell sponsorships, develop other commercial relationships for the series, secure tracks, create the calendar, process crew and media credentials and have responsibility for fan engagement, according to a release issued today by the AMA.
“If you are an amateur or professional motorcycle road racer in America, if you are a fan of road racing or if you are a company that does business in this industry, this is an exciting day,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman in the release. “Our goal has always been to entrust the promoting and commercial rights for professional racing to a talented, dedicated, well-capitalized professional entity, and the KRAVE Group certainly offers all that and more.”
Rainey, an AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer, thanked the AMA for facilitating the acquisition.
“The AMA was instrumental in this deal coming together, serving as negotiator and mediator at all points of discussion,” Rainey said. “We appreciate the efforts of Rob Dingman throughout the process.”
The AMA will staff officials at each round of the series and develop an enforcement, appeal and rider license procedure. The AMA will be responsible for issuing professional road racing licenses for the series.
MotoAmerica, in consultation with the AMA, will develop classes, the rules of competition and event procedures. While details of the rulebook are still in development, classes and events will conform to prevailing international standards, the release states.
“The structure of our partnership with the AMA serves the goal of developing riders to be successful on the world stage,” Rainey said. “It allows a framework that supports advancement from youth competition to novice, from novice to Pro-Am, from Pro-Am to National Championship contention and, for the best of the best, an opportunity to race for a world title.”
The AMA, as the U.S. affiliate of the FIM, sanctions FIM-affiliated events in the United States. The AMA, along with the Canadian Motorcycle Association, administers FIM North America, which sanctions continental-level series and championship events in North America. The AMA also sanctions amateur motorcycle competition in America, a role the AMA has fulfilled since it was established in 1924.
“The AMA’s roles as FIM affiliate and amateur sanctioning body make it a critical piece to establishing a clear progression for America’s road racing community,” Rainey said. “We’re eager to build a fair, exciting and commercially viable professional road racing series not just for today’s stars, but for those who will stand on top of the podium for years to come.”
Dingman added: “The KRAVE Group has shown throughout the entire process that they have the best interests of the AMA and its members in mind. They not only accepted financial responsibility for the series, but the relationship requires the MotoAmerica Series to sanction its events with the AMA.”