James Rispoli - Up Close
"Having FUN, Winning Races and doing what I love to do; going FASTER!!!"
I ended 2007 as an expert amateur with (16) National Titles and (18) #1 national plates. I also accumulated (22) National Podiums and collected (2) AMA Overall Grand Championship Titles in the 250 modified class, the 505 modified classes and finished 2nd nationally in the 450 mod class. I also started competing in the WERA road race series on AMA Supersport spec GSX-R600 equipment to start to come up to speed on the equipment used in the series. It was my first time out as a new expert on the 600’s and I earned a top 10 finish my first race. Since then I have focused additional time road racing and was able to put in a solid performance for the 2007 year. I won a total of (7) WERA road racing championships as a rookie on top of my 2007 dirt track championships.
My 2008 season started out very challenging when I lost my mom in an operation mid February just before we were going to leave for Daytona. Daytona was always a family affair and in 2008 it was going to be hectic since I was running dirt track as well as landed a road race ride to compete in the Rolex Moto-ST series. My older sister and brother encouraged my dad and I to head down and race. I did and I was able to perform well. I won all my dirt track races as a pro-sport starting at Savannah and continued at Volusia as well. In addition, I was competing for the first time on the Daytona speedway with a road race Kawasaki 650 with my team Cycle Dynamics and we won the Daytona 300. It was awesome to be on the podium at Daytona’s Victory Circle at 16 years old. It was really cool and I dedicated all my wins to my mom, sponsors and teams. The Daytona Motorsports Group did several articles on me too.
In 2008 I started racing WERA National road races in April, but was picked up by Lloyd Brothers Motorsports to race their new Aprilia 550 in dirt track so I changed focus to have some FUN and continue to hone my skills. This was a factory Aprilia ride and I couldn’t pass it up, even though I also had an offer to race the White’s H-D XR 750. I knew I was giving up the championship going with an unknown brand but the publicity I received as well as the publicity I could give my sponsors was enormous and well worth it. I ran the only completely stock twin in the Basic Expert class and it was surely a challenge. I managed to race most of the dirt track series after I received all my points in the basic expert class and managed a 6th place overall in the series missing 4 races. In addition, I was able to qualify 2nd, three times and in the biggest race of the year, Indy; I finished an astonishing 2nd against the potent factory framer bikes of legendary tuner Bill Werner.
In 2009 I have been picked up by Weirbach Racing dirt track team to run the new pro class in AMA/DMG series at a majority of the high profile tracks giving my sponsors great exposure. We never intended to run the whole series. I also ran a few select WERA Road Races. In addition, I was planning on debuting in the AMA Supersport class for road racing providing I was having some good results in WERA. I decided to focus heavily on the dirt track pro title instead of just some select races and just missed out on the championship and took second place overall nationally. I also went to Road America and debut in the AMA Supersport class and took a great fourth place finish there with my team NPS Racing. My results at Road America got me an invite to race with team Roadracingworld.com/M4 at the Laguna Seca AMA/MotoGP round. This was the first time with the team and bike and again had an outstanding result of fourth place, this time fighting for the last podium spot and missing out by less than one second.
The last achievement was to chase a land speed record which I was able to do with the help of sponsor Cycle Dynamics. I rode a custom fabricated 650cc Kawasaki twin to an AMA National record of 149.100 MPH. It took four days to do it but we finally got it done. It was a great experience and I really feel what I learned there about aerodynamics, distance/speed/wind will help me in both road racing and dirt track especially on the fast big tracks.
I am grateful for all the support I had this year and sincerely look forward to another bigger and better season in 2010 where I will focus on the AMA Supersport East series and do select dirt track races if the opportunity arises. Cycle Dynamics has already offered me another land speed record attempt on a new platform in 2010.