Episode 44 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is very special, because we have our very first guest on the show, Michael Lock from AMA Pro Racing. Some of you might know Lock as the man behind the freshly rebranded American Flat Track series, and he has deep roots in the motorcycle industry, leading the US efforts for Ducati and Triumph, as well as working for Honda in the UK and across Europe. As such, we had a very interesting time picking Lock’s brain about the current state of the US motorcycle industry, what is wrong with road racing, and what he is doing with flat track (with a bevy of side topics along the way, of course). You will want to grab some provisions before hitting the play button on this show, because this one is super long (two hours) – we just didn’t want to cut out any of Lock’s insights.
As discussed previously on Asphalt & Rubber, flat track racing in the United States will have a comprehensive makeover in 2017. The series will be rebranded as the American Flat Track Series, and the calendar expanded to 18 rounds. At the Superprestigio in Barcelona last weekend, the CEO of the American Flat Track series, Michael Lock, sat down with Asphalt & Rubber to discuss the reasoning behind the changes. The expat Englishman came to flat track with a unique perspective; that of an outsider. He was an Englishman abroad, and brought fresh eyes to the problem of trying to grow flat track racing once again. The single biggest change is to simplify the structure of the championship with the GNC1 class now just for twin-cylinder engined bikes, with the GNC2 class using the smaller singles.
Episode 43 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and the show covers this past weekend’s Superprestigio flat track race in Barcelona.
Talking about the Superprestigio and flat track racing in general, Neil Morrison, Steve English, and David Emmett are joined by American freelance motorcycle journalist and photographer Andrea Wilson, who brings her unique insight into the sport of to the podcast.
The show covers first the action-packed day in Spain, where some of the biggest names from multiple two-wheeled racing disciplines competed for the ultimate in bragging rights.
After analyzing Marc Marquez’s victory over Brad Baker, the show takes a turn to talk about flat track racing in the United States, and the changes that the American Flat Track series is seeing for the 2017 season.
Packed with insight, we think you will enjoy this special episode immensely.
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Flat track racing in the United States is getting a makeover, with AMA Pro Flat Track changing its name to American Flat Track (AFT). This change comes during an interesting time, with flat track racing seeing a renaissance in its two-wheeled racing spectacle.
Reading our minds, the press release from AMA Pro Racing says that the rebranding comes as “the dawn of a new era for America’s favorite motorcycle sport,” which also comes as American Flat Track also ushers in a new class structure for professional flat track racing.
As you would expect then, AMA Pro Racing is also announcing its new racing classes for the newly named American Flat Track series.
There will be an AFT Twins class, with two-cylinder motorcycles, 650cc to 999cc, which will cater to the series’ top riders; and then there will be an AFT Singles class, with 450cc single-cylinder machines, which will serve as a feeder for the AFT Twins class.
AMA Pro Racing has a new CEO, and it’s a name you will likely recognize. Consulting for AMA Pro Racing through the 2015, Michael Lock will now take the reigns of the France Family’s two-wheeled racing organization.
This announcement means that Lock will replace Michael Gentry as AMA Pro Racing’s de facto leader, who will continue with his COO position within the company, effective November 1s, 2015.
“Adding Michael Lock to the executive team shows our commitment to elevating professional motorcycle racing in North America,” said Jim France, Principal of AMA Pro Racing. “His expertise will be critical to the long-term success of the sport, and we are excited to have him join the team.”
It seems DMG has made its second smart decision in recent memory, the first being to sell its interesting AMA Pro Road Racing to the KRAVE, which started the MotoAmerica series.
What is this new “smart” decision, you might ask? The hiring of former Ducati North America CEO Michael Lock as a strategic consultant AMA Pro Racing.
Certainly a contentious name in the Ducati dealer network, one cannot deny however that Lock brought growth to DNA (not to mention Triumph) during his tenure, and that he understands the importance of branding and public perception — something DMG clearly does not have at its core competencies.
UPDATE: Michael Lock has announced that he has taken on the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Think, an electric car manufacturer.
Asphalt & Rubber broke the news last week that Michael Lock was leaving Ducati North America before the company even knew it, and now the news that Michael Lock is leaving Ducati North America is finally official. Leaving the company in two weeks at the end of July, Lock will be moving on to pursue other interests.
Ducati Holdings Vice President of Sales Cristiano Silei will takeover at Ducati N.A. in the interim, as the company looks for a new CEO. With such short-notice on Lock’s departure, we’re left pondering why the successful CEO is leaving the company, more as we find it. Press release after the jump.
UPDATE: John Paolo Canton, Ducati PR Manager, has responded in the comments that Lock was last spotted slaving away in his office, and it’s business as usual in Ducati North America.
With all the commotion going on today, our last piece of breaking news is the developing shake-up that’s going on at Ducati North America. Presumably involving the departure of Ducati North America CEO Michael Lock, we’ve been told changes at Ducati N.A. are occurring at the highest levels. All day we’ve been unable to reach anyone at Ducati’s Cupertino office, so we cannot confirm the report at this time…hey guys, pick up your phones!