Roland Sands won the AMA 250cc Grand Prix race at the inaugural “Big Kahuna” at Road Atlanta in 1998. Seems fitting, then, that this weekend at Round 2 of the 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing series, first stop for the Big Kahuna Triple Crown, the winners in each of the four classes—SuperBike, Daytona SportBike, SuperSport and XR1200—will take home surfboard “trophies” customized by Sands.
Made by Hurley, the Roland Sands Design prizes are genuine, full-length surfboards, sans tailfins. A matte carbon-fiber-esque weave dominates the graphic design, with a wood-grain finish, itself shaped like a surfboard, prominent on the tops of the boards and providing space for the event title, respective class and sponsors, and, of course, a large numeral one.
“The design of the boards was really a team effort,” said Sands. “I worked with the crew at Motorcycle Superstore, and we came up with this wood, carbon, classic-surf-meets-racing-tech combo. Teaming with Hurley to get the boards done was the next obvious step. Those guys have spent a lot of time in the water, and we wanted these boards to not just look great but to work well in the surf.”
Unfortunately, Sands won’t be able to personally hand out the trophies; he’s in Japan to participate in a motorcycle show and promote his new apparel line. “I am bummed that I won’t be there,” he said. “Cameron Gray from M1 PowerSports had it all set up, and I was looking to break out my old Yamaha TZ250 to do some laps at lunchtime, but a trip to Japan has sidelined me.”
Counting his Road Atlanta victory, Sands won five 250 GP races in 1998 en route to earning the national title; AMA Pro Racing dropped the two-stroke class after the 2003 season. Sands is tied with Kevin Schwantz, Dale Quarterley, David Sadowski and the late Dave Emde with nine career national wins.
Reigning AMA SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes scored a Big Kahuna surfboard when, in 2009, he beat seven-time-titlist Mat Mladin at Virginia International Raceway. “It’s one of my favorite trophies,” admitted Hayes, adding that the board complements the décor in his home in Southern California.
Hayes added that M1 PowerSports has done a great job renewing interest in the Road Atlanta race weekend, making the event family-friendly and urging longtime fans of the sport to come out to the track located near Braselton, Georgia, and watch the competition. AMA Pro Racing last raced at 12-turn, 2.55-mile Road Atlanta in 2010. That year, Blake Young claimed two SuperBike wins, Martin Cardenas won both Daytona SportBike races and JD Beach swept SuperSport.
M1 PowerSports is also promoting the Big Kahuna Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, September 21-23, and the AMA season finale, the Big Kahuna New Orleans, at the brand-new, Alan Wilson-designed, 2.75-mile New Orleans Motorsports Park, October 5-7.
“I’m hoping to make it to New Orleans,” said Sands, “rip some wheelies and hand out surfboards.”
SPEED will televise same-day coverage of the Big Kahuna Atlanta this Saturday and Sunday. Check your local listings for broadcast times.