Lake Oconee has become the welcome retreat and home base for a professional
motorcycle road race team, Liberty Waves Racing. We compete in the AMA
Superbike Series, explains rider and racer, Eric Pinson. Like the PGA is
to golf, AMA is to motorcycle racing and serves as North America’s highest level
of pro competition. We race street bikes at tracks all across the country, from
Daytona International Speedway in Florida to Laguna Seca Speedway in Monterey
series draws top riders from around the world, adds Kirsten Haas,
the team managing director and owner. At the season opener in early
March at Daytona, there were riders from more than a dozen countries,
nearly 100,000 spectators and the main event, the Daytona 200, was
Building Winning Streak
After the excitement of earning its
first podium finish in its three year history at this season’s opening
race in Daytona, Liberty Waves finished second at the Superbike Showdown
at Road Atlanta on April 4. The team is in full swing getting ready for
the Superbike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park May 2 through 4 where
it hopes to continue the winning pattern. The Team races in the Moto
GT1 class on bike #41. Moto GT is an endurance race in which two riders
trade off to complete as many laps possible within two hours. Bikes are
subjected to weight and horse power restrictions to ensure that riders
compete on an equal playing field. Competitiveness lies more with the
skills and strategies of riders and crew vs. technical superiority of
equipment. We’re excited about our upcoming races, claims
Pinson, at Daytona we pretty much led the first half of the race.
After falling behind with a tire change issue, we caught up to third
yet, adds crew chief Jamie Spinks, we did it on an American-made
Buell, the first Buell to podium an AMA pro event at Daytona. Buell
is the sport bike division of Harley-Davidson. The team races the 1125r
model which was provided by Antelope Valley H-D Buell in Lancaster,
It With Cow Bikes
The support of Dairyland Cycle
Insurance was also instrumental in the success of our season debut,
comments Haas. Their commitment to our program and belief in us has
empowered us to be extraordinary. Take, for example, the team’s
branding. Last summer, Dairyland challenged us to help make their
phone ring, states Haas. Maybe it was the inspiration of Putnam
County’s backdrop of rolling green meadows with black and white dairy
cows that set the idea. We painted the race bikes to look like dairy
of the teams fleet of five race bikes resemble Holstein dairy cows.
Fans love it, claims Haas, The bikes draw women and children and
generate a lot of attention. Pinson comments, I have come to
enjoy getting mooed and can, in clear conscious, say that all puns are
intended. Better yet, more people are calling Dairyland to get
weekends offer plenty of action, drama and recreation. Typically
drawing 40,000 spectators, road race courses are in scenic settings and
allow viewers the freedom to roam around and catch race action at
different vantage points. The tracks are 2 plus miles of curves, swoops
and straight-aways. Riders accelerate to speeds of nearly 200 miles per
hour, winding in and out of turns, up and over crests with only a
leather suit to protect them if things do not go according to plan.
It is truly awe-inspiring, states Haas, once I saw my first race,
I was hooked.
When this adventure started a little more than three years ago,
reflects Haas, I did not know a
thing about motorcycles or racing. Eric told me he raced. I
was skeptical. I resisted telling him that I was marketing person.
Eventually, he drew it out of me and exclaimed that racing was all about
Intrigued, Haas visited his race website and saw the opportunity to not
only to help him from a marketing standpoint, but expand her skills in a
I gave him some feedback, which led to collaboration, then friendship
which has evolved to a strong relationship today.
racing explains Pinson. I’ve raced since I was eleven -- first on
dirt bikes, then mountain bikes and now street bikes. A native of
Conyers, Georgia, Pinson started competing on the professional level at
age 16 in supercross. After a bad crash and a broken leg, I turned to
mountain biking for rehab and stuck with it for a while. He rose to be
a top 5 contender on National and UCI World Levels and was a NCAA
champion in dual slalom. Competitive mountain biking allowed me to get
a scholarship and finish my college degree in business management.
college, Pinson moved to California and competed in Supermoto – a
discipline that blends dirt and pavement riding. His 2002 performance
in Superbikers 2 SUPERMOTO earned him a spot On First USA TEAM to
compete internationally in Mettet Belgium. Afterwards, he pursued a new
competing locally at Willow Springs Motorcycle Club Road Race Series as
part of Bill Bartell’s Harley-Davidson Team. Riding a
H-D Sportster, he
finished 3rd overall highest points in Club’s Heavyweight Twin Expert
Class Championship. He moved on to AMA pro racing and competed in
select events. In 2004, he was the first in 25 years to qualify and
complete an AMA Pro Main Supersport Event on a Triumph.
impressed by Eric’s race history and as I got to know him, I couldn’t
help but admire his passion for racing. He knew what he wanted which
inspired me, recalls Haas who was at a point of her career where she
was complacent but hungry for something more meaningful and rewarding.
When Pinson’s arrangements to race the 2007 season fell apart, Haas
stepped in. I asked him what it would take for him to race. He told
me a motorcycle. So I bought one. Eight weeks later, we were at
Daytona for the 200.
name, Liberty Waves conveys the team’s journey. While discussing a name
for the race bike, Haas and Pinson were driving along I 20 and passing
Liberty, Alabama. I was struck by the unexpected sight of a Statue of
Liberty towering above the tree line along the Alabama highway and I
said Liberty. It stuck, explains Haas. The waves comes from my love
of water and the urge to create progressive momentum.
the past three years, the team has made a mark on the series. Spinks,
Pinson’s long time friend who had helped him during his mountain bike
racing career, came on board as the team’s crew chief in 2008.
commitment really helped improve our competitive standing, comments
Haas. The team rose from 30th in the season opener and
posted several top 20 finishes. Completing and earning points at all 11
rounds, the team achieved overall point standings just shy of the top 20
in the most competitive class of the Series. Furthermore, the team grew
More and more people wanted to be involved states Pinson,
on average, we had a dozen yellow wave team shirts filling our race
paddock at every event. With spare hands, the team reached out and
supported another independent rider, Eric Haugo, and has included him
under the Liberty Waves umbrella.
We’ve met a
lot of people, made a lot of friends and forged some great
relationships, adds Haas. In addition to gaining the partnerships of
Antelope Valley H-D and Dairyland Cycle Insurance, we’ve struck a great
collaborative bond with DeKalb Technical Institute’s Department of
Motorcycle Service Technology for technical advice, tuning and crew
members. Spinks adds, We’re getting great support from industry
suppliers and vendors like Buell, RaceTech, GPR Stabilizers, Royal
Purple and more. It is tremendous how people want to help us keep mooo-ving.
In addition, companies outside the motorcycle industry have stepped up
to help such as MidSouth Steel, a steel fabricator / erection company
and The In House, a vinyl wrap graphics designer and supplier.
Cow bikes aside, it is probably safe to say that Liberty Waves Racing is
unlike any AMA pro race team. Haas comments,
easy-going and fan-oriented. We aren’t as intense as other teams in the
race paddock. Although operating with a smaller budget than most
teams, Liberty Waves’ riders are competitive and perform. Haas adds,
get told that our riders are too old because they are in their 30’s vs.
their teens, we’re
too fat, our bikes are too stock or weak, as an owner, I do not know
enough, our crew is too green which irks me. Then, I think of Seabiscuit, the race horse in the 1930s and like Seabiscuit, we just
will not go away. We will not quit. I may not know much about motorcycles, but
I know that racing is more about heart and soul than anything else.
elaborates, We take racing and on-track performance very seriously,
but, we understand a bigger picture – that racing is entertainment and
it is supposed to be fun for fans. Haas adds, I’d like to think that
we champion the prevailing American spirit – that anything is possible
when you believe in yourself, work hard, and keep believing.
helps us stay centered, states Pinson, is our ability to have fun,
enjoy each other and connect with fans. By staying true to ourselves
and persevering, we inspire others and enhance their race weekend
will be racing through October when its season will conclude with an
8-hour endurance finale at Daytona International Speedway for the Moto
GT class. As summarized by Pinson, We’re going for the championship.
It’s not going to be easy, but we’re in for the battle and we’re ready.
more information about the team and ways you can help support their
championship quest, contact Kirsten Haas at 770-842-1091 or via email at
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