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John Ewert- What's New at Road America for the 2021 Season

Communications Director for Road America, John Ewert, discusses what’s new at the facility this year (Cabin Homes! Showers!) and the variety of events taking place throughout the season.

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Pit Pass Moto Trivia Question:

When did Road America hold its first race, and when did the AMA bring motorcycle races to the track?

Check out the answers after our interview with John Ewert!




Pit Pass Moto is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Chris Bishop, Producer Leah Longbrake and Audio Engineer Eric Koltnow.

PJ Doran

Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest names in motorcycle racing right to you. I'm P.J. Dawran. And this week on the show, we'll be talking to Jon Stewart from Road America. This was a busy week in motorcycle racing this weekend in Motor America, racing from V.R. in the stock one thousand race one. We had Jake Lewis on top of Corey Alexander and Jeff May in the Supersport race.

PJ Doran

One Sean Dale and Kelly came out over Mesa, Stephano Mesa and Benjamin Smith in Superbike race. One Jake Garner brought at home ahead of Matthew Scholes and Josh Herron race two on Sunday in the Stock 1000 race, we saw Corey Alexander get the best Jake Lewis with Michael Gilbert bringing it home. Third in Supersport race to Richie Escalante, the reigning champ came out ahead of Shawn Dillon, Kelly and Stefano Mesa in Superbike Race two. It was Garnier again doing the double way to go.

PJ Doran

Jake Gonyea over Laura past, getting his first podium of the season, along with Matthew Scholes bringing it home in third in the Superbike class. That leaves us after two events with Matthew Scott's on top with eighty one points, Jake Garnier sitting second with seventy five and Josh Heron a little further back on sixty one in third. Sadly, the American Flag Trek series from Texas, the Texas Half Mile was canceled due to weather. World Superbike open their season at Aragón in Spain race.

PJ Doran

One saw Johnny Ray over Lowe's and Toprak rack rascally oglu in the Super Bowl race. We saw Jonathan Ray again ahead of Alex Lowe's and our home boy Gerlof bringing it home in third race to saw Redding on top of Ray and Lowe's in the Wise GNC C series wise Cajon pennant race for Middlefield, Ohio. That was round seven in the C one class, Josh Trank came out on top of Benjamin Kelly and Stuart Baylor, leaving the overall Ziyuan season points with Kelly on one fifty seven, Stuart Baylor on one forty eight with Grant Baylor on one twenty six.

PJ Doran

That wraps up our racing news.

PJ Doran

This week's past trivia question is when did Road America hold its first race and when did the AMA bring motorcycle races to the track? We'll be back with that answer after we talked to Rode America's Jan. Welcome to Pippa's today, communications director for Road America. John, you are I've really been looking forward to talking to you.

PJ Doran

We get to talk to you, it seems, every year about this event. But you, of course, with Road America have a lot of other events. How is this year shaken out for You Post's covid or coming out of covid? Because last year I know I had to present so many challenges for your facility.

John Ewert

Well, I think last year was definitely crazy for everybody, you know, and our thoughts go out to everybody that was affected by the pandemic, not only from from riders and people in the middle American family, but all across the globe. Really, we're excited. We have a lot of we're very fortunate this year. We have a lot of excited fans, a lot of great partners and sponsors and people just looking really to get out, do things.

John Ewert

Last year we had two races with Moto America, one with our fans. And then you guys came back again and we had and we had another one with Moto America and that was with fans. And both were just incredible events in their own right. So much definitely going on, so many different things last year. It's just nice to sort of be able to see more and more vaccines being out there with everybody, more and more people getting vaccinated, more and more counts obviously going lower.

John Ewert

So there's a light at the end of the tunnel and summers, we're on the cusp of that. So we anticipate having an incredibly full season. Moto America is definitely one of those facets of that tune, 11, 13, you know, coming up in just a couple of weeks because we're starting to get a warm up here. A lot of people want to get out and see things. They're excited to see all the various classes of racing, including the tin cup, the Junior Cup and King of the Badgers is very exciting considering this is kind of Harley Davidson country up here.

John Ewert

It was Harley being based in Milwaukee. So that's exciting to see kids 16 and under getting for free. So it's great for the family. It's a wonderful way to get out and about experience something. Camping is great about America. Campsites are selling and also everybody's really excited you. We have some strong ticket sales because that's definitely a little bit later in the summer. Another real fun thing about the event is the vintage Moto Fest, which is really cool because that's a riding bike show where you get to see everything from cafe racers to choppers to sport bikes, some race bikes from back in the day, supermoto, scooters and even some sidecars.

John Ewert

And they're all going to be judged by some of our friends and they get special awards. Plus there's a microbrew tasting, arm wrestling and lots of other things going on. So it's really a full weekend of Fun Road America and we encourage people to ride out. We're going to do a gear check. There is also specific areas for motorcycle parking so people can ride in and ride out for the day or ride in and camp for the weekend. And that's one of the things that's great about America, is that it's called America's National Park Food for a reason.

John Ewert

When the bikes aren't on track, you definitely feel like you're staying at a national park. So we're encouraged to see all of the robust ticket sales and campsites, sales and people looking to put the past behind them in regards to the pandemic come out. Watch the great.

PJ Doran

You've got a lot of new things happening at Road America. It seems every year there are meaningful and awesome updates at your facility. One that I stumbled across as I was reserving my RV campsite was that you have added, it seems, some camper cabins to the repertoire of available options there at Road America. Is that new for this season?

John Ewert

Well, actually, it's been around for a couple of years. Obviously, last year was strange for everybody, but we have about twelve cabins that are available. They're kind of like tiny homes and they're they're available along the front straight. And what's great about those, they have a queen bed, a little kitchenette, bunk beds and a full bath. So when you're riding, especially if you're touring across country on your Harley or your BMW or Yukari, like our good friend Greg White, there is more to America's doing.

John Ewert

It's always nice to have a good hot shower at the end of the day. So these cabins are a lot of fun. Encourage people to go online and see if they're still available on our servers. Now, additionally, Road America has been adding bathrooms in the paddock. We have several great bathroom areas around the facility, also with showers. So when you think about riding out to an event and camping for the weekend, it's nice to have something like that.

John Ewert

Convenient includes walking distance to where you're going to be putting up your tent for parking your motor home or your Pop-Up trailer or anything like that. So, yeah, we are investing funds back in the facility. We've resized some of our gates, such as gate three. We added restrooms in the paddock and we also added a new time scoring facility down to the Sea Tech Manufacturing Motor Flex, which is also cool because that's where junior post their event and minicup.

John Ewert

But it's always kind of cool to have that new facility for people to check out there. Also, there's our seventy five hundred square foot paddock shop, which is pretty much got everything to thank you, want and need, plus eleven concession stands dotted throughout the property. So you're not too far away from a nice cold Budweiser or some incredible food offered by a lot of our local establishments, local restaurants and local vendors.

PJ Doran

Yeah, I look forward to the dining when I'm at your track every year, I get one of Wisconsin's finest bratwurst and some of the best breakfast biscuits I've ever had in my life, what goes on throughout the year? Are there more motorcycle events? This one is clearly the crown jewel of motorcycle events at Road America this season. Do you have other club racing events? I know there are some vintage events perhaps that take place there.

John Ewert

Absolutely. Of our vintage moto fest is great. That's going to be going on the same weekend as Moto America. But we also have some club events, track days. We encourage people to definitely check out Road America, dot com and our calendar to see what's available. Motivated, obviously hosts to do. And then also you've got the Jessica Zwolinski riding experience, which is takes place over Memorial Day weekend. But if you're looking to get out and experience the performance characteristics of the bike track days, you're always a good way to look at that.

John Ewert

Marsyas Salute to cycle tour, which takes place during the Middle America weekend, is a fun way to ride your own bike around the track. So encourage people to sign up for that as well. Additionally, we have our Road America motorcycle schools where you can take everything from beginner to advanced. So let's say you moved up a step or two in your bike and you just kind of want to learn a little bit more about handling and collision avoidance and things like that.

John Ewert

Definitely. Look at our road American motorcycle schools to get some more experience on your motorcycle. And those are available throughout the season. And all those details are at Road America dot com. And we encourage everybody to go check it out to see what was really going on.

PJ Doran

Really look forward to this season's event for so many reasons. Last year was limited. A lot of fans of both motorcycle racing and I'm sure all the other types of racing that rode America hosts, fans have been dying to get out and see this stuff live. And, gosh, it's just going to be beautiful. I really think you guys made the right move. Was it is this something we can look forward to in the future, this two week perhaps bump back?

PJ Doran

Or was this potentially just this season the scheduling required or necessitated this slight adjustment to the historical weekend, the Moto Americas at your facility?

John Ewert

Yeah, I mean, usually it used to be sort of kind of the kickoff to the summer and you're sort of the end of May. But, you know, we've learned that obviously the weather starts to improve a little bit better in June. We learned a lot last year with having to move events around here, there to where it probably fits in better having it near kind of like second week in June. And hopefully we'll be able to keep that in mind.

John Ewert

Obviously, everything is very, very positive. Ticket sales wise, campsite wise. So that way, you know, if the weather does fare a little bit better, obviously there's some considerations on keeping it at the same date for the next year. And, you know, we really don't anticipate moving too many things around. We didn't have to move too many things around from last year to this year. The second date really helped us out a lot with MotoAmerica.

John Ewert

Learn that if everything goes well as far as weather wise and attendance wise and everything else, everybody has a good time. I mean, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. So we'll try to keep it the same for everybody and establish a new tradition. So that way folks can come up here second week in June, really enjoy some great motorcycle racing, see all their their favorite riders on the Moto America series and national side of things and and really get their fix to real excitement and speed your Road America, because it's not only a great place to check out some great racing, but it's a great place to spend the entire weekend with family and friends.

PJ Doran

Couldn't agree more. What else is on tap for your season this year at Road America? There's always exciting racing. What are what's the next big event that comes up?

John Ewert

Well, you know, we have probably the most diverse schedule in all of motorsports for tracks in North America. When you think about road racing, we've got everything from sports cars. Now, NASCAR Cup is coming on the Fourth of July with the jockey made in America 250 presented by QuikTrip. Plus we got the Henry one eighty Xfinity race. So July 1st and the Fourth is going to be incredible as far as Xfinity and NASCAR Cup going to be here.

John Ewert

Plus also you have IMNSHO which is the first weekend in August and then also we have Indy car which is over the Father's Day weekend. So really if you're looking to get your speed fixed in any form of racing from Indy car to NASCAR to Moto America to June Sprint sports cars and even vintage, we still have our booking vintage events, plus our large vintage bit of July weather tech international challenge with Brian Redmond and then also the Arun's Art on Wheels weekend would be a KDA world challenge came last year.

John Ewert

I believe this was their second year here and they're going to be here again near the end of August. So all you have to do is go to Road America dot com and check out our calendar. If you're looking to get a fix on any kind of racing, any form of racing, or if you just love in here and spend some time with family, friends, camping, hanging out, enjoying food and seeing some on track, there's always something going on at Road America.

John Ewert

We do five hundred plus events throughout the season and nine big major one. We've knocked one off of our schedule already with Esguerra moving into June sprint to the first part of June in MotoAmerica, that carries into IndyCar, the NASCAR and then vintage and then IMSA World Challenge and more wrapping up the season with the KDA InTech. So just incredible stuff we're looking forward to. Good weather warm skies and lots of people coming to see things and do things.

PJ Doran

Now that everything's opening back up, it seems that your track just continues to get better on an annual basis. John, as far as the fan experience, I think directly of the the paths the facility has developed and really honed in exactly what fans want to see near the track, making it easy for us to get around the track. We just truly appreciate all the updates you guys have made.

John Ewert

Yeah, I mean, we listen pretty closely to the fans, and that's one of our favorite things, taking that fancy back and learning how we can improve the experience overall as a whole from getting into the track to campaign, to spending time with family, to having a nice shower facility, a nice restroom facilities, great food amenities, lots of activities to do with family and friends during the off hours, such as disc golf and such as go karting and and other things like that.

John Ewert

So we encourage everybody always to just check out Road America dot com, pick the week that they want to be here, pick their favorite event to look at what's going on during that event. And you can also find things to do that are at Road America and also that area surrounding here in Elkhart Lake. So, yeah, there's always things to do. There is always a great way to just sort of get out and about and really just enjoy your summer up here no matter what your what your pleasure is.

PJ Doran

Well, thank you again, John, for joining us today on Pipas. And I personally, truly appreciate the event that you guys are putting on. It's the highlight of my summer. Can't wait to see it. Well, absolutely.

John Ewert

Guys, thanks for having me. And we look forward to seeing everybody here.

PJ Doran

This week's Pit Pass trivia question was when did Road America hold its first race and when did the AMA bring motorcycle races to the track? The answer is the first car race was held September 10 and 11 of nineteen fifty five. The AMA followed up with races at Road America in June of 1980, and they've been there round about June ever since. In upcoming Moto News Moto America heading to Road, America the weekend of June 11 through 13. Check it out.

PJ Doran

I'll be there in the paddock in the pits. Love to see a afte after their rainout will be heading the American Flag Trek series, the Chicago Half Mile this weekend, May the 29th Moto GP this weekend will return to action in Majella, Italy. Lucas Oil Pro Motocross opening up their season this weekend in Pala, California. World Super Bike on the other side of the planet, going to be at Estoril, Portugal this weekend. Five twenty eight three five thirty.

PJ Doran

And we also have round eight of the GNC series going on the Mason-Dixon round in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania. Thank you again, John, for joining us and thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode. Make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please write and review us as well. We really appreciate it. Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and visit Pipas Moto dot com where you can check out our blog.

PJ Doran

This has been a production of Evergreen podcast, a special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Chris Bishop, our producer Leah Longbrake, and audio engineer Eric Koltnow. Now, I'm P.J. We'll see you next week. Have a really good time.

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The Team

Dave Sulecki

Dave Sulecki is a 37 year industry veteran, and a lifetime motorcycle rider, racer, builder, restorer, and enthusiast.

P.J. Doran

Originally from the Midwest, but has lived and worked everywhere in the U.S., PJ grew up on the back of his dad's BMW motorcycles and in his sidecars in the 70s.

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