New “MotoAmerica” Series to take over US professional roadracing in 2015

Wayne Rainey, Chuck Aksland, and KRAVE Group to run new US professional roadracing series, DMG no longer involved, AMA to sanction championship

wayne rainey krave take over ama roadracing series 2015

After a controversial six years of stewardship of the AMA professional roadracing series, the Daytona Motorsports Group has turned over the reins of the US championship to the KRAVE Group LLC, a partnership that includes three-time 500cc Grand Prix World Champion Wayne Rainey and former racer/manager of Team Roberts Chuck Aksland, it was announced today by the American Motorcyclist Association. The new North American professional roadracing championship will be called MotoAmerica, and it will be sanctioned by the AMA and the FIM North America, the North American branch of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, the international body for motorcycle sport.

The Costa Mesa, California-based KRAVE Group organization includes not only Rainey and Aksland (who most recently served as Vice President of Motor Sport Operations at Circuit of The Americas), but also Terry L. Karges, a former motorsports marketing executive and team owner who spent 17 years at Roush Performance before being named Executive Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, and Richard Varner, energy sector entrepreneur, philanthropist and businessman who is also CEO of Streetmaster Motorcycles, a custom manufacturer that builds flattrack-styled bikes using modern Triumph Bonneville engines.

It's widely known that MotoGP rightsholders Dorna are backing the KRAVE Group in its efforts to revitalize professional roadracing in the US, as Dorna considers the US a very important market (enough that at one time there were three MotoGP races in the US). Although sources initially told Sport Rider that Dorna was the financial muscle in the KRAVE buyout of DMG, others have informed us that KRAVE itself had the financial capital to buy out the rights to the American roadracing series, which DMG purchased from the AMA for approximately $10 million back in 2008. Sources have also stated that the series was bleeding money from the DMG at an increasing rate over the years, with this year's AMA Pro Roadracing series only consisting of six rounds and no television package.

According to the AMA release, the AMA itself helped facilitate the buyout. "The AMA was instrumental in this deal coming together, serving as negotiator and mediator at all points of discussion," Rainey stated in the press release. "We appreciate the efforts of Rob Dingman throughout the process."

Interestingly, the AMA originally sold the series to DMG as part of a directional change to get out of the professional motorcycle racing promotion business, and although the organization is finding itself involved again with professional roadracing, it will only be in a sanctioning role. "The AMA's roles as FIM affiliate and amateur sanctioning body make it a critical piece to establishing a clear progression for America's road racing community," Rainey states in the press release. "We're eager to build a fair, exciting and commercially viable professional road racing series not just for today's stars, but for those who will stand on top of the podium for years to come. The structure of our agreement with the AMA serves the goal of developing riders to be successful on the world stage. It allows a framework that supports advancement from youth competition to novice, from novice to Pro-Am, from Pro-Am to National Championship contention and, for the best of the best, an opportunity to race for a world title."

According to the AMA press release, it will also be responsible for issuing professional road racing licenses for the series, as well as developing an enforcement, appeal and rider license procedure. MotoAmerica, in consultation with the AMA, will develop the various racing classes, the rules of competition and event procedures. While details of the rulebook are still in development, “classes and events will conform to prevailing international standards,” according to the press release. Sources state this includes Moto2 and Moto3-style classes that will help North American racers more easily make the jump to international competition.

The DMG buyout of AMA Pro Racing back in 2008 also included AMA Pro Flat Track, Motocross, and Hillclimb, and the DMG has retained rights to those series.