M1 PowerSports, the company that promoted AMA Pro Superbike events at Road Atlanta, Homestead Miami Speedway and NOLA Motorsports Park, confirmed Friday that it will not be promoting events in 2013. Instead the company will focus efforts in this year on bolstering AMA Pro Road Racing’s television broadcast arrangement on CBS Sports Network and working with other promoters and racetracks on sales and promotions for their respective events. It is also gearing up to promote races again in 2014 with Road Atlanta and NOLA Motorsports Park as the most likely venues.
With its successful background in promoting past World and AMA Superbike events, M1 PowerSports was viewed as a potential savior to the beleaguered AMA Pro Road Racing Series. While all three of M1’s events last year were generally considered among the best promoted races in the series, the races as a whole lost money. Additionally M1 PowerSports main financial backer Jeremy LaTrasse, of Twitter fame, decided to back away from the partnership with M1, although he still sponsors the Roadrace Factory Red Bull team.
Cameron Gray, CEO of M1 PowerSports, said they were hoping to get a Road Atlanta date done for this year, but were unable to negotiate a date this late in the season.
AMA Pro Racing also issued an updated 2013 road racing schedule on Friday, May 24, 2013, removing a previously announced TBA date sometime in August or September. It appears after talking with Gray, that the possible TBA was to be Road Atlanta.
“Road Atlanta was a great success,” Gray said of last year’s event. “It was great working with the track staff there. We’re bummed that we’re not going back. Last year we had 75 vendors and overall it went fantastic. Even up to the last couple of weeks we tried to keep a date open, but it just got too late in the game. We can’t ask a track to keep a date open indefinitely and one of the issues we ran into this year was with a lot of the sponsors I go after a big selling point is the TV package and everything just came together too late.
“My focus has been working with Chet [of Chet Burks Productions, who put together the television package for AMA Pro Road Racing], getting all the contracts squared away and managing the clients for Chet. That will continue to be what I focus on most this year and we’ve got two or three tracks we’re looking at [promoting] for next year.”
Gray believes with a television package in place, the chances of M1 promoting races next year are greatly increased.
He believes successful races could be held at Homestead Miami Speedway and NOLA Motorsports Park, but perhaps at different times in the season.
“Miami could have some legs, but I feel the city would have to get behind that event,” Gray explained. “I don’t know if last year was a fair assessment of the race because of the bad weather. Being in the tropics it can rain anytime down there. That and we were trying to buy advertising during the election, which a rude awakening. We paid six figures just in radio [advertising].”
“New Orleans was a great track and great people to work with. They want us back. We would really like to have an event there in the spring. You just don’t fight football down there. And that gives them more time to put in more seats or bring in temporary seating and covered seating. It’s a big event town so I see NOLA as having very good potential for a return there.”
In addition to hoping promote Road Atlanta and NOLA again next season, Gray said M1 has solid backing from sponsors to the point that they would like to expand in 2014 and perhaps add a few more races.
“We want to get things going now and let people know where we stand and that we are coming back and get things rolling early so we can get Road Atlanta and NOLA back on the schedule in 2014. We also have a lot of experience at VIR [Virginia International Raceway] and with the new management maybe there’s something we could do there. That’s one track where we have sponsors already telling us if we come back they’re on board. I love VIR and we always had a great crowd there. Again, I’d have to get that passed by the AMA, but I would like to see that as an option.
“And I know myself and AMA Pro Racing would love to go to the Northwest if we could find a track that would work. We came close to doing a test at Portland International Raceway. There are so many motorcyclists up there and they are hungry for an event. And there’s a new track being built up in the area call The Ridge. You look at how the community up there supports the motocross race [Washougal] and the Seattle Supercross and you just have a strong feeling that a road race would be a big success.”