TV producer Chet Burks has been around this motorcycle racing game for a long time, but there’s excitement in his voice as he talks about the coming season of AMA Pro Road Racing that will air on the CBS Sports Network beginning with the next round of the series at Road America, June 1-2.
Although the press release issued by AMA Pro Racing wasn’t clear on just how many of the races will air live, Burks, the president of Chet Burks Productions, assures us that most will be live.
“Basically 90 percent of the Superbike races will be live, if not more, at this time,” Burks said. “[Daytona] SportBike is one-hour delay and the reason we’re doing that is to go back to back. We just think we can keep the viewers who want to see all of this. That’s the way we’re thinking this thing, try to keep the guys watching it for a couple of hours. And the pre-game show will be right before SportBike. Sometimes it will all be live, but for logistical reasons, some of it will be taped too.”
While most believed that there wasn’t going to even be a television package in 2013, Burks and crew kept working at it.
“I think we can really do a good job,” Burks said. “A lot of people helped on this. A lot stepped up to the plate. A lot said they were going to step to the plate and backed off at the last moment, but we’re going forward. I think the future is pretty good on this thing. I really do. It’s pretty damn good racing and there are some good kids coming up. There are a lot of things to fix in this thing, but you’ve got to take it step by step.
“If we can get the community to back this thing, it can be a huge marketing tool for a lot of companies.”
One of the things that gets Burks excited is the pre-race show, a show designed to bring viewers up to speed on what’s happening in the racing they’re about to watch.
“The pre-race show is going to happen because of GEICO, Yamaha, 1-800-Motorcycle… a lot of little companies that are coming out and throwing some money at this thing,” he said. “This is like racing, it costs a lot of money and we are going to lose substantial money on it this year. But if we get this done this year and start working on next year, I think we can turn the corner on a lot of the bumps in this.”
Burks has also announced that World Superbike announcer Jonathan Green will be the lead announcer in the booth. The Brit will be joined in the booth by five-time Daytona 200 winner Scott Russell, with Danielle Teal handling the pit reporting duties.
“We’ve got some good people behind this,” Burks said. “Jonathan Green is good. He can tell good stories and he can build heroes. I think we’re starting fresh and it will be good. If we just get some companies to believe in us a little bit more, I really think this could go off. It will be an interesting summer.”