AMA Pro Five Minutes With Steve Rapp
AMA Pro: The hot topic right now is that you’ll be riding as a wild card on a CRT bike at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the MotoGP race. Tell us how that came about.
Steve Rapp: Well, It kind of came about through Richard Stanboli. It was something he’s wanted to do for a long time now. He’s more of a design and innovate kind of guy, but the AMA Pro rules have kind of limited what he can do. When MotoGP made the rule changes for CRT bikes, he decided that it was something he’d like to pursue. He called me and asked if it was something I would like to do, and I to him I’d love to do it. That’s where it started, and we’ve been running from there. He’s had some designs since before this came out, so I think he’s had it in mind, you know?
AMAP: Can you tell us about the bike at all?
SR: Richard would be better to tell you about the bike than I would. I don’t know much about it, because it doesn’t exist. [laughs] It’s currently in his head. It’s a steep hill to climb, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. I think it will be a fun project to be involved with, but it’s going to be a lot of work. To start building a bike in April for a July race is kind of wild.
AMAP: So you rode Daytona on the Attack Performance/Motorcycle-Superstore.com/ LeoVince/M1 PowerSports “Black Ops” machine… Who came up with that name?
SR: I didn’t and I don’t know who did, but I like it! I think they wanted to promote Attack Performance, Motorcycle-Superstore.com, LeoVince and M1 PowerSports for Daytona, and we wanted to give them as much exposure as possible. We got a call from Don Becklin of Motorcycle-Superstore.com saying that he wanted to help us get to Daytona. That was two weeks before the event. So, Richard got the bikes together and got them down to Daytona. For us to show up last minute like that, I think it went pretty well.
AMAP: We’re heading to Road Atlanta for the Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta. Tell us your thoughts on it.
SR: We took at least one year off from that track, but I like it a lot. I’ve had good success there in the past. The first AMA Pro race that I won was at Road Atlanta, it was 750cc Superstock. I’ve always liked Atlanta, as we’ve been going there for awhile and it has a lot of history. Richard built some fast bikes and it’s got some long straightaways, so that should help us.
AMAP: Give us your thoughts on M1 PowerSports getting back into the industry and promoting.
SR: I think it’s the best thing that can happen. Cameron Gray and M1 PowerSports have a history of promoting the events well and getting a lot of people to the races. That’s what the ultimate goal is – to have a lot of people attend and have them want to come to the races by having cool stuff going on. That’s what they do well. You can tell from the past that when other people try taking over to do what M1 does, they don’t have much success. The M1 guys are motorcycle enthusiasts, so that’s the best thing you can have. They love the sport and want to see it grow and have people come to the races, not just make money. Not having them last year hurt the sport, but I think this year’s going to be much better.
AMAP: Have you seen everything they’re bringing to the track?
SR: I can’t say I’ve seen all of them, because they have so much that they’re doing, it’s hard to keep up with. I know they have a lot of cool stuff. They’re giving people, other than just seeing the races, a lot of bang for their buck. They’ll have concerts and so much going on at the event.
AMAP: Is there anything you’re looking forward to doing when you’re not at the racetrack at Atlanta?
SR: Well, when we’re not at track, I’m either thinking about being on the track or resting to get out there again. I don’t have a lot of free time when I’m at the track, but what I remember about Atlanta the most is how big the crowds were and how enthusiastic they are.
AMAP: Has Cameron talked to you about being in the dunk tank yet?
SR: [laughs] The dunk tank hasn’t come up yet. If I see him coming, I’ll definitely hide.