JOE KOPP GIVES DUCATI FIRST-EVER AMA DIRT TRACK VICTORY
by Richard Rossi
(Prescott, AZ) Joe Kopp, wearing his Arai Corsair-V racing helmet in the new Aoyama Corse graphic’s appropriately-themed red-white-green “Italian” accent colors, gave Ducati its first-ever AMA Grand National Twins race aboard his Lloyd Brothers Motorsports bike in the 2010 season opener at the Yavapai Downs Mile in Prescott, Arizona on May 2nd.
He did it with an amazing draft pass at the flag to beat Sammy Halbert's Harley-Davidson XR750 by just .024 of a second after 20 laps on the less-than-perfect track. Ducati’s win wasn’t just history-making in its own right, it also ended Harley-Davidson’s streak of 134 consecutive victories in GNC twins-class racing. The previous non-Harley wins were both by Hondas: Rich King at the Joliet Half Mile in 1998, and the late legend Ricky Graham’s Springfield Mile win in 1993, the year Graham won the championship that would be his last.
The race also featured the usual dominating pack of Arai racers in the top ten:
3rd - Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
4th - Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
5th - Chris Carr (Harley-Davidson)
6th - Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson)
7th - JR Schnabel (Harley-Davidson)
Here are more details of Kopp’s winning Ducati, courtesy of Lloyd Brothers:
LLOYD BROTHERS MOTORSPORTS TAKES ITS FIRST EVER TWINS GRAND NATIONAL FLAT TRACK VICTORY IN 2010 TWINS SEASON OPENER
Joe Kopp takes the ENI USA R&M / Lloyd Brothers Motorsports / Pegram Racing / Latus Motors Ducati Hypermotard- powered flat tracker to victory in Arizona.
Johnstown, OH (2 May 2010) – Lloyd Brothers Motorsports, Inc. is excited to have taken its first ever Grand National Flat Track victory in Saturday’s Yavapai Downs Mile. Saturday’s Ducati victory marks the first time that a readily available, production engine has won a Grand National Twins race in 29 years. Limited production, flat track race-only Honda RS750 and Harley-Davidson XR750s have won every Twins National since 1981.
In the season opening round- and Ducati’s third ever attempt at winning a modern era Grand National- Joe Kopp proved that a modern production engine can win a Grand National Flat Track race. The Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati Flat Track Project began only a year ago, when Ducati Superbike rider Larry Pegram approached friends and flat track team co-owners David and Michael Lloyd about the potential of Ducati’s air-cooled engine as an ideal flat track platform.
Pegram Racing and Lloyd Brothers Motorsports joined forces to build a stock-framed dirt track bike from a Ducati Sport . After a quick shakedown by Pegram the bike entered the 2009 Springfield Mile, where it immediately proved a formidable opponent to the dominant Harley-Davidsons qualifying for the 18 rider main event directly from the heat race. It has been close to 50 years since a stock framed motorcycle qualified for a Grand National Twins Mile main event.
After a summer of modifications- including the addition a custom VMC racing chassis- Pegram entered the Indy Mile and missed the main event by one position in the semi qualifier after recovering from a 120 mph low-side crash while in qualifying position in the heat race.
Incorporating everything learned over the 2009 season, the bike now races in its third generation of development. In Saturday’s season opener 2010 rider Joe Kopp took the lead at the start and ran a fantastic race, only facing competition from Sammy Halbert, whom he drafted past on the final lap to take the checkered flag by .025 seconds.
Lloyd Brothers Motorsports, Inc. is supported by:
ENI USA R&M producers and marketers of Agip lubricants, Pegram Racing, Latus Motors, Motion Pro, Arai Helmets, Penske Racing Shocks, Ducati USA, K & N Engineering, M4 Exhaust, Saddlemen, Daniel Kalal, Vortex, Diamond Chain, VMC Racing Frames, Flat Trak Fotos, Race Image, Vesrah, Yuasa Batteries, Eurosports.net, Durelle Racing, Fox Performance, Moto Concepts.