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Walter Walker- Industry Pro on Barber, King of the Baggers, and Turing a Passion into a Profession

Deputy Race Director for MotoAmerica and Director of Competition for the CMRA, Walter Walker, joins us from the road to discuss how they overcame the weather issues this past weekend at Barber, and his excitement for the upcoming CMRA and MotoGP races. He shares his thoughts on the King of the Baggers series, turning his hobby into a career, and MotoAmerica teaming up with Daytona in 2022.

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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.

Note: This transcript is generated by AI and will have inaccuracies.
[00:00:14.480] - Dave Sulecki

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 Dave Sulecki. And this week we have Moto America's Race Control lead Walter Walker as our guest, raising results from MotoGP. We have from Misano Circuit in Italy. Francisco Bagni wins it takes it ahead of Fabio Cuartero, who finished second, followed by NA Batiste. The big news for the weekend, then is Fabio Cuartero continues to lead in points, sitting on 234, followed by Bag Naya sitting on 186 and Yohan Mir in third with 167 points.

[00:00:54.520] - Dave Sulecki

Results from World Superbike and Catalina Barcelona, Spain. Scott Reading takes race one, the Australian rider on Ducati followed by Basanti in third, Renaldi and race two. Renaldi takes the wind, followed by Toprak Raz Got. Leo Glu in 2nd, 3rd was taken by Scott Readings. Points so far this year in World Superbike, Toprak Raz Got Leo Glu continues to lead sitting on 399, but it's a narrow lead. Sitting one point behind is Jonathan Ray, followed by Scott Reading on 339 in MGP. This past weekend, Jeffrey Hurling takes the lead and wins the first Moto, followed by Horhe Prato, followed by Roman Fabro taking third.

[00:01:36.480] - Dave Sulecki

Your point standings at MGP. Jeffrey Hurling is now your leader over Tim Geyser by one point. Hurling sitting on 371. Guys are sitting on 370, followed by Roman Fabara and third with 367 in MX two action. Tom Viel takes the wind, followed by Maxim Rene. Kd. Wolf takes third on his Husiana. Your point standing so far this year, Maxim Rene continues to lead on 403 points, followed by Matia God Anine and second with three and 32 and Yago gears and third sitting on three and 25.

[00:02:11.290] - Dave Sulecki

Big news out of MX GP this weekend. Antonio Kay Role has announced his retirement. He's had a great career and we're sorry to see you and go, but what a great racer. Results this last weekend from a very wet and wild MotoAmerica race at Barbara Motor Sports Park and Super Bike Race One camp Peterson takes the wind, upsetting Jake Ganes win streak and Matthew Sculpt takes second. Loris Baz takes third and race one. Race two, Matthew Sculpt takes the wind, followed by Bash and Gagne and third and race three.

[00:02:43.080] - Dave Sulecki

Gagne brings it back and is followed by Matthew Sculpts and third Loris Bash. So your final standings on the year Jake Gone taking the title with 445 points over Matthew Sculpts with 357 and Cam Peterson taking home third with 264 points in the Stock 1000 class. Jake Lewis wins it, followed by Michael Gilbert and Travis Wyman and third. So your final standings in Stock 1000. Jake Lewis sitting on 232, followed by Travis Wyman with 175, bringing up third. Corie Alexander with 173 in Super Sport action.

[00:03:21.160] - Dave Sulecki

Sean Dylan Kelly wins it in the first race, followed by Ritchie Escalante and second ones. Kawasaki followed in third by Stefano Masa in race. Gabriel de Silva wins it, followed by Sean Dylan Kelly and bringing up third Sam Loco. Your final standings on the year. Sean Dylan Kelly takes the title with 410 points, followed by Richie Escalante with 315 and second and third. Sam Lock off with 233 points. And the exciting Build Train Race program managed by Melissa Paris, had their final event at Burning in this last weekend, taking first in the Build Train Race program.

[00:04:00.530] - Dave Sulecki

Cj Lukash wins it, followed by Kayla Heisler in third. Trisha Doll so your final standings in the BTR series. Cj Lukash takes the title with 75 points, followed by Trisha Doll on 48 in third. Becky Gobel with 40 points this week's. Pitpass Trivia question is what motorcycle model is the longest running model manufacturer named the model brand in the year it was introduced. The answer to that question after our interview with Walter Walker.

[00:04:46.640] - Walter Walker
[00:04:59.720] - Dave Sulecki

Like to welcome back to Pit Pass Moto Walter Walker, who's a race control lead for Moto America. Walter, thanks for coming on the show, man.

[00:05:07.170] - Walter Walker

Yeah, thanks for having me.

[00:05:08.280] - Dave Sulecki

Just as a refresher for our listeners. I know you wear a lot of hats, but what exactly is Race Control lead for Moto American Sale?

[00:05:16.780] - Walter Walker

My official title is Deputy race director. I'm just the general do everything guy for the members of Race Direction. I'm the chief communicator, so all communications to the staff and to all the teams and everything goes through me that way. It's just one voice that people are taking their direction from instead of multiple people talking to the staff and the paddock and that sort of stuff.

[00:05:40.610] - Dave Sulecki

So imagine on any given weekend, there's a lot of people saying, Go ask Walter before they do anything a lot.

[00:05:47.360] - Walter Walker

Yeah. Most of my stuff is all over radios and headsets and that sort of stuff I'm talking on. I generally have, like four different radios in front of me and then I have a headset with a direct communication, the production truck for TV. So yeah, I have lots of questions, lots of answers. Let me get back to you with the answer. That sort of stuff.

[00:06:09.170] - Dave Sulecki

I imagine a pretty hectic weekend, but first and foremost, Congrats on the completed season for Mono America. You guys just had an outstanding year. You can't say enough about how well the series looked and felt as far as viewership goes and really a great job this year. You guys did an awesome job.

[00:06:26.620] - Walter Walker

Well, we really do appreciate that. And it's a team effort. I'm just one of the cogs in a really big wheel from Chuck and Wayne and the partners with Crave, all the way down to the grid staff, all the volunteers and all that sort of stuff.

[00:06:41.720] - Dave Sulecki

It's a huge team effort and it shows I think everybody there is not only part of the Mod America Race family, but they're enthusiast too, which I think kind of shows in the product that goes out to the public and the race fans.

[00:06:56.190] - Walter Walker

I agree. It's where we were having that very conversation yesterday afternoon and with the members of Race Direction and Nicole Cox, our operations director. And we all take so much pride in the product that we produce. And that's why we're all there. It's not a job. I guess you could say it's a labor love. Like you said, we're all enthusiast. We wouldn't be there if it weren't mean. God knows we're not getting rich doing it. I mean, we're doing it. I because we enjoy the sport. We want to make the sport better.

[00:07:27.940] - Walter Walker

And that's why everyone that's involved is involved.

[00:07:31.390] - Dave Sulecki

Yeah. No doubt it is better. I think that's the general consensus to everybody. I've talked to you that's watching the races and following Mode America either on the streaming service or on Fox. And you can really pick up the vibe is very positive. And I got to say, after you guys had pretty good season of weather all around for Moto America up until this last round in Alabama, I mean, what a challenge for you guys in the team and talk about that situation, how do you have to adapt what changes for you guys?

[00:08:05.990] - Dave Sulecki

Obviously that still went off. But is it much harder when you're dealing with that kind of weather?

[00:08:11.710] - Walter Walker

I can't even describe the stress that we were all feeling trying to anticipate what Mother Nature was going to throw at us next. And that's all you can do. We've got a lot of scheduled constraints that we have to we have to stick to with TV schedules, and which is really the biggest thing that we have to adhere to is we have blocks of time that we have to stay within to be able to get these things on for our live races to get those programs. And I mean, we're sitting here looking at the radar and scratching our heads.

[00:08:42.940] - Walter Walker

It's like what's going to do next. And then we start a race and then the sky would just open up. Unfortunately, we had a lot of crashes and a lot of stoppages due to the weather, but thankfully, no, no serious injuries. But it was one of those things. It's like what's going to happen next. And there was a collective deep breath once it was all over with. I was like, man, we got through that and we were lucky. Up until this point, last race of the year is always going to be the the most exciting in one way or another.

[00:09:14.340] - Dave Sulecki

It seems there's always got to be 1 meter, I think throughout the year.

[00:09:18.570] - Walter Walker

And it's yeah, for sure.

[00:09:20.780] - Dave Sulecki

And doing that and keeping the riders safe, which ultimately, you guys did a great job kudos to you guys for pulling that off and the team sure, you're going to have slide out. You're going to have situations where the weather is just going to overcome the tires. And luckily, like you said, nobody seriously injured. You just had a relatively slow rate rather than that a dangerous raise, right?

[00:09:45.360] - Walter Walker

We obviously listen to our competitors. We're getting input from them on track conditions and that sort of stuff. A rider rep, Michael Martin, was down pounding the pavement, talking to riders, getting their input. Our safety officer, Dan Econo, that's his job is safety. So he's first and foremost, he's monitoring track conditions. And when he goes out and does his inspection calls up to control and says, hey, we're going to have to wait. The track is just not possible right now. And then everybody goes to work. The staff there at Barbara Motorsport, Parker, incredible.

[00:10:21.080] - Walter Walker

The general manager there got him Mark. It went out and pulled off his shoes and his stocks rolled up his Pant legs to his knees, walk down into knee deep water to clear a clogged drain. Great. Personally did that to get us going again. And you just don't see that happen very often. I got of his position out there doing that kind of work. But, man, he jumped in speak first, literally and helped us get going again.

[00:10:47.950] - Dave Sulecki

Good to see everybody rolling up their sleeves and pulling out the event. And like I said, I thought it was great the way you guys pulled through and kind of switching gears a little bit. I see Moto Americas put out their 2022 schedule, which is awesome. And it's great to see. And I think probably the most noticed thing on the schedule is that Moto America is teaming up with Daytona for the 200 next year in March. So are you going to be at that event? Is that something you're going to be involved with?

[00:11:14.160] - Walter Walker

Absolutely. Absolutely. It's where we were. It's interesting. We were talking about that also this weekend. And right now, I think there's only four of us that are currently on the MotoAmerica staff that have actually been a part of running events at Daytona in the past. And myself, Don Organo and a couple of our other staff, I think I believe our starter and our pit out guy, and that's it the rest. This is going to be their first time going to Daytona, run an event, but it'll come together, guy.

[00:11:43.840] - Walter Walker

But there's so much nostalgia in history behind the Daytona 200, and it's really exciting to be able to go back to attract it. It's one of my favorites, both as a rider and as an official. It was always one of my favorites, and it's going to be really cool to be able to go back and run the 200. There just the history. It just means so much to the sport that going back is going to be great. Yeah.

[00:12:05.510] - Dave Sulecki

I couldn't agree more. And I think it's a great coming together to do that. And I see they've opened the rules up, too, for some of the bikes, they're basically going to international rules on the displacement. So that's going to make things even more interesting and competitive on top of the standard 200 rules, right.

[00:12:22.310] - Walter Walker

There's going to be quite an array of bikes that will be eligible for that for next year. And it's interesting to see how they're all going to match up. And Motor America works very hard in the FAM as well. Very hard to try to balance things out to to keep things competitive to where you don't have one platform that runs away from everything else. So they've done a really good job with that in Junior Cup and obviously in the 600 class as well to keep things balanced.

[00:12:47.920] - Walter Walker

So it puts it more on router talent and skill than just being able to pick the best motorcycle platform and then build it to the moon and then go out and win. That way, it keeps the riders the number one factor and what's going to win. And I think that's really important to the sport is to center the competition on the rider skills rather than just on the best equipment.

[00:13:10.880] - Dave Sulecki

Yeah. I hear what you're saying. Keep it more competitive that way. And I see also that they just completed a test to validate the Harley Davidson so they could run the King of the Baggers at that same weekend.

[00:13:22.720] - Walter Walker

Right.

[00:13:23.160] - Dave Sulecki

So that's going to be an interesting take to see the, you know, 600 pound beggars going around that banking. I just can't imagine.

[00:13:31.400] - Walter Walker

I'm telling you, I'm looking forward to seeing it myself. It's going to be something to see. And the baggers class has been a huge hit everywhere we've run it. It's brought in a lot of new fans to road racing, which is obviously what we need is to get more people either butts in the seats or people watching this on TV and that sort of stuff. But the baggers is a home run. When the partners, when they came up with that man, I was like I was scratching my head at first, but then to see the enthusiasm behind it, it's like, wow, that was a good move.

[00:14:04.370] - Walter Walker

Really good move.

[00:14:05.250] - Dave Sulecki

That is the name of the game butts in the seats and kudos to Moo America for coming up with these ideas and stirring up the the pot. As I like to say, now, you've done some work in the past. You've worked with the CMA, and I know they've still got events on their schedule. Are you still locked in on that? I think Oklahoma is coming up next.

[00:14:25.200] - Walter Walker

Yes, sir. Yeah. I'm actually driving back from Barber right now. I pull over at the truck stop to talk to you guys and and then I'm heading on home and then Loading our transporter tomorrow and then heading to Oklahoma on Wednesday morning to set up for CMR race this weekend. And as soon as I get back from that, I'm going straight to start to the Americas Pro MotoGP.

[00:14:48.300] - Dave Sulecki

That was actually one of my questions. And I'm glad you brought that up, because how cool is that? And I know it's a working weekend for you, but to be at that venue to see that caliber of raising that level of riders, I mean, that's going to be a stellar event to see.

[00:15:03.780] - Walter Walker

I'm thankful that it actually is going to happen because just a month ago, there was a lot of question marks on that thing about whether or not they were going to be able to get it done just because of all the different restrictions and that sort of stuff. And there's still going to be some restrictions. I mean, there's no Pac access prospect titles and that sort of stuff this year. But I mean, general admission to the facility is going to be open. It's not going to let anybody down into the paddock this year, but at least it's happening.

[00:15:28.140] - Walter Walker

At least it's happening. And I enjoy working that event. I've worked it every year since that they've had it. It's been a lot of fun. It's a lot of work. I mean, I basically do the same thing for Motor GP and in race control that I do for Motor America. So, again, it's a lot of work, but there's a lot of prestige behind being chosen to be a part of that team. I'm looking forward to it.

[00:15:49.580] - Dave Sulecki

That's awesome. And that just shows it. Like you said before being a fan of the sport and being able to work amongst the racers and the sport, it's really rewarding, I could imagine for somebody like yourself.

[00:16:00.580] - Walter Walker

Yeah, it definitely is.

[00:16:01.700] - Dave Sulecki

So with all that said, I mean, it seems like weekend and week out you're attending and working events and managing just pretty much the day lose of things that go on at a given weekend. What do you do in your rare downtime, Walter? I know usually we talk about your racing duties, but what are your hobbies and what do you get to do when you finally get to take a breather?

[00:16:21.220] - Walter Walker

Well, racing is my hobby, and I was fortunate enough to turn something that I really enjoy into a way to make a living, because CRA is my full time job. That's my actual nine to five. And then Moto America is my part time job. And when I do have some downtime, I try to spend time with my wife and my kids and my wife and my kids also work for CMA and then my two sons. They both race with CMA in a couple of other series throughout the year, spending time with the family, working on the boys, motorcycles and racing.

[00:16:56.060] - Walter Walker

And that's my life in a nutshell.

[00:16:57.800] - Dave Sulecki

Well, and that's rewarding in itself is I know I'm a racer father myself when my kids were younger. Anyway, that is a very satisfying thing to do and get your kids involved and be a part of it and watch them succeed in the sport that you love.

[00:17:11.740] - Walter Walker

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Both of my boys have done really well in road racing over the years and I'm really proud of their accomplishments. And we're actually I'm taking both of them to Daytona and October for the CCS Rice Champions. They're going to go out and try their hand out. There be their first time raising at Daytona. So we're looking forward to that. But yeah, I take a lot of pride in their accomplishments. I guess I'm living vicariously through them now because too old to raise myself anymore.

[00:17:40.550] - Walter Walker

But I certainly enjoy working with them and helping them succeed.

[00:17:43.660] - Dave Sulecki

And that is cool. That's very satisfying. And I know exactly where you're coming from. Well, Walter, our time is running out and I just wanted to thank you for spending time with us today. I'm Pitpass Moto and is there anybody you want to give a shout out that you work with or anybody from the team?

[00:17:58.240] - Walter Walker

Well, just everybody. I mean, all the staff and the officials, all the folks with the TV cruise and all that sort of stuff, all of our volunteers and our corner workers. Truly, it's an honor to work with all of them. It's certainly an honor to work with the partners with the Crave group with Chuck and Wayne. I mean, it's kind of a dream come true working for one of your heroes in Wayne Rainy and and I just want to tell them all thank you for all the hard work they put in and I certainly enjoyed it.

[00:18:28.930] - Dave Sulecki

Alright. Well, thank you, Walter, for taking the time and take care on your drive back, man.

[00:18:33.920] - Walter Walker

Sure will. Thank you, my lady.

[00:18:45.780] - Dave Sulecki

We would like to thank Walter Walker for spending time with us today this week's Pitpass Trivia question was what motorcycle model is the longest running model manufactured? Named the model brand in the year it was introduced. The answer is the Sportster from Harley Davidson was introduced in 1957 and was continually manufactured through 2016 and various engine displacements, but fundamentally the same motorcycle. What a great motorcycle in the long run and hats off to Harley Davidson for manufacturing that particular model. Upcoming Racing We've got World Superbike Round Ten at Juarez Andalusia Spade September 24 through 26.

[00:19:31.900] - Dave Sulecki

Gcc Racing Round Eleven Coming to Sunday Creek in midfield is September 25 and 26 MotoGP Circuit of America in Austin, Texas, October 3 MGP of Germany Round Eleven is October 3. Thank you again to our guests for being with us today and thank you for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow up in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate and view us. We really appreciate it. Make sure you also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit Pit Pat Moto.

[00:20:28.340] - Dave Sulecki

Com where you can check out our blog. This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Chris Bishop, Producer Leah Longbrake, and audio engineer, Eric Koltnow. I'm Dave and We'll see you next week.

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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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