Steve Rapp and the Valvoline EMGO Suzuki two-seat GSX-R1000 Superbike covered all the bases during promoter practice Friday, May 21 at Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR), giving guest rides to reporters from newspaper, radio and television media outlets.
Liz Somers, a Copy Editor for one of Denver, Colorado’s major daily newspaper was the first guest rider on the 180-horsepower, 187 mph machine. “It was great. It was exhilarating,” said Somers. “It was fun to go around the track and feel how it feels to lean against the bike. Actually, I had my foot scrape the road a little bit. Now I know why they do it. It’s so much fun!”
Asked what she thought of the opportunity to ride on the two-seater, Somers said, “I think it’s great, especially for people who aren’t race fans, to give them an idea of what it is and how fit these guys have to be and how mentally prepared they have to be for the race. A lot of people don’t realize that. They think you just hop on a bike and go.”
Maureen “Mo” Redfern, co-host of KILO 93.4 FM’s popular morning show “Ross & Mo Mornings” in Colorado Springs rode second and said, “It was bad ass! It’s got to be the hottest thing I’ve ever done. It was unbelievably fun. The first lap was scary as hell, and then after a while I started to get into it. Actually, after nine laps I probably could have been a racer myself.
“I couldn’t believe how close we got to the ground in the turns. Oh my God! That is unbelievable. When it happened the first time, you think there’s got to be something wrong. The first thing that goes through you’re head is, ‘This is bad. This isn’t going to work.’ And it does. It’s amazing how quickly it works! So like I said the third time around I was ready. Then it quit.
“We’ve been talking about it (the two-seater ride) for two days (on the radio show), and I think we’ll be talking about it for two more days. If it was just been a promotion, we would’ve talked about just as long as we had to, and that would’ve been it, it would’ve been done. Now we’ll talk about it…in fact, I’ll talk about it for years now and how cool I am and how gay the guys (at the radio station) are because they didn’t get to do it. Yeah, we’ll talk about this a lot. It’s huge! It’s better than getting paid.”
Asked to compare her ride to other experiences in her life, Redfern gave a startling revelation. “Well, I did get to fly with the Thunderbirds once,” said Redfern. “But that was terrifying. They try to scare you and try to make you throw up. They mess with you. And Steve (Rapp) was very safe, very calm. I could feel that he was clam, and that comforted me a lot. He was just relaxed and everything was cool. Absolutely, this is much better, by far, than flying with the Thunderbirds.”
The final rider on the bike was Fox Sports Rocky Mountain television news anchor Chuck Garfien, who said, “It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I always look as a sport as something with a ball. This doesn’t have a ball, but there’s definitely athletics involved and the speed, the turns and the braking. It was an experience.
“I’ve always seen the races on television, and I never really knew what it was like to be on the bike. For the first time I’m now on the bike and see what these guys do, and they’re not just drivers, they’re athletes. I definitely have a new found appreciation.
“Steve (Rapp) was great, a great ambassador to the sport, and driver, as well. He made me feel comfortable, because going into it I was like a little ninny, like a little grandmother. But he and everyone on the team made it very comfortable for me, and I’m glad I did it.”