Superbike championship arriving on full-throttle
by Doug Radunich
May 29, 2008 | 540 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kawasaki Superbike team rider Regis Laconi looks over the Miller Motorsports Park race track Thursday. This weekend’s HANNspree FIM Superbike World
Championship race will be held at MMP, making Utah the first location in four years the series has been in the United States. <br>-- photography / Troy Boman
Kawasaki Superbike team rider Regis Laconi looks over the Miller Motorsports Park race track Thursday. This weekend’s HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship race will be held at MMP, making Utah the first location in four years the series has been in the United States.
-- photography / Troy Boman
slideshow
The single-largest sporting event ever hosted in Tooele County is set to take place this weekend with the running of the HANNspree FIM Superbike World Championship at Miller Motorsports Park.

The Superbike series is considered the third-largest racing series in the world, behind the Formula One World Championship and the MotoGP World Championship. This weekend's race at MMP will be broadcast on 95 networks in 173 countries, with 120 million people worldwide expected to watch.

"This event will draw the biggest crowd we've ever had out here, and most of the people will be from out of town, out of state, or out of the country," said MMP Media Manager John Gardner. "We're won't know exactly how many will come until people starting showing up, but it will definitely be the largest crowd we've had."

The weekend will include a total of seven races Friday through Sunday, but the main event will be the two Sunday races of the HANNspree Superbike World Championship. Other races this weekend will include the AMA Formula Xtreme Series on Friday; the first race of the AMA Superbike Championship and the AMA Superstock Series on Saturday; and the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship and second race of the AMA Superbike Championship on Sunday.

To comprehend the magnitude of the Superbike race, you have to think globally, according to Gardner.

"You can only imagine the impact this will have on Tooele County when 120 million people are watching it on their TVs," said Gardner. "The Daytona 500, which is one of the biggest racing events in America, only has about 19 million people watch it. This event will really put Tooele on the map."

Valley hotels and motels are booked solid for this weekend, and restaurants are anticipating long waits for tables. Dan Applegate, owner of Tracks Brewing Company, said his restaurant has seen a major influx of customers from all over the world already this week.

"Summertime is usually a slower time for us during the year, but the Superbike event has reversed that this week," he said. "Even though we've been really busy, the staff has been loving it because they get to meet so many kind and interesting people from all over the world. Usually any time there's a big race at Miller Motorsports Park, it changes everything here and impacts us hugely."

Susan Cummings, office assistant for the Tooele County Chamber of Commerce, said she has already seen many Superbike attendees come into the chamber office for information on activities, restaurants and other businesses around Tooele County.

"We have had people come in non-stop these last two days to pick up things like brochures and maps on Tooele County, and several of them have been from out of state," she said.

This weekend's race will include a total of 28 racers from such countries as Italy, Spain, Japan, Turkey, Australia, France, Germany and Czechoslovakia. Gardner said several of them are considered to be household names outside of America.

Troy Bayliss, a well-known Australian racer who won the Superbike World Championship in '01 and '06, is expected to be one of the front-runners this weekend.

However, Garnder said the competition should be intense.

"For the last few years, we've seen racers beat other racers by less than a second," he said. "You can never tell who will win. We've got a dozen guys here who are capable of winning, which is unusual, and none of the guys have knowledge of this track yet. On Friday morning, they will learn their way around the track before they have to race later that day."

MMP currently has a contract in effect to have the Superbike event take place there for the next three years, which Gardner said will help establish Tooele as a premier spot for racing. He said that right now the track is actually better known in Europe than America.

"More people who live in Tooele County need to recognize that they have one of the finest racing facilities right in their backyard, and we're also a family-friendly facility," he said. "Miller Motorsports Park is now a pretty big deal on both a national and international level, and locals really need to check out our facility if they haven't already."

dougrad@tooeletranscript.com

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
report abuse...

Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin. Abusive comments and users are subject to removal without notification.