The “historic” Loudon Road Racing Series (LRRS) will soon become the New England Motorcycle Road Racing series (NEMRR). The change comes as a result of new ownership.
For years, the series has been owned by New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). But now, NHMS has transferred the series to longtime racers Eric Wood and John Grush. The duo had previously been co-Executive Directors of the series.
In the future, Wood and Grush say they intend to reinforce the things that made the series great. And they plan to institute changes to ensure the future of the series and motorcycle road racing in general.
In a telephone interview to Roadracing World, Grush said:
“We want to get back to a club feel. We think it got away from a club feeling and became more of a corporate feeling. We want it to be a welcoming [environment] to help grow the sport.”
“There are so many barriers in the corporate world. NHMS is part of a big corporation [Speedway Motorsports, which also owns several other NASCAR racing venues] and they have more exposure, and because of that they have lawyers dictating a lot of the rules, like the age kids can come into the sport.” – John Grush to Roadracing World
Attracting younger riders
Eric Wood, the series’ other owner, thinks that the series needs to appeal to younger riders to ensure its continuation and growth:
“A few years ago, we kind of developed a pathway to racing for younger riders in New England that really wasn’t there before. If you go back just a few years ago, we [LRRS] had no youth participation in the sport, almost none. If you looked around you saw a paddock that mostly had gray hairs.
“I’m not sure how to re-engage [the Millennial] generation, but I know that we can appeal to kids. So, our goal is to fill the paddock with as many kids in the 12- to 17-year-old range as possible. We went from five years ago having one or two kids racing and now we’re tapping on a dozen of them. It doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but if the trend continues my goal is to have 20 or so kids. And that’s 20 or so kids that are going to have this bug for the rest of their life.” – Eric Wood to Roadracing World
Wood and Grush say that they are working to ensure customer service and a streamlined registration process. Under their new plan, pre-registered racers can proceed directly to technical inspection when they arrive for a race weekend. Also on their agenda is the development of a new “for fun” racing class for new riders.
Wood has a wealth of experience in racing and in bringing people to the sport. He is the President of the Penguin Racing School and an advanced course instructor since 1994. Wood also possesses two decades of national racing experience and a significant background in mechanical engineering. As the President of Woodcraft Technologies, Eric runs a company specializing in components made specifically for motorcycles and motorcycle road racing.
Eric is also a national level competitor and has won three national racing championships. He has also taken 5 wins at the AMA national level.
So when Wood talks about motorcycle road racing and bringing people to the sport, he knows what he is talking about. For the new NEMRR series, he is concentrating on getting people to come to the track. He thinks once they’ve gotten a taste of the fun and excitement, they will be hooked for good. Eric explained:
“We really believe in our heart of hearts that if people get the opportunity to taste it and see it and experience it in a low-pressure environment they will understand the real reason most of us race instead of just doing track days. With that in mind, we may bring in a kind of class structure that was similar to what we did with our Penguin Riding Schools.
At the end of the day we had a “‘fun race.” It was described as being for fun. Just go out there and take the green flag and take the checkered flag, and if you want to start from the back of the grid, no problem. It’s low, low, low pressure.”
“Over the course of three years of doing that at Penguin, we brought in a ton of people. Some of the people we brought in have become cornerstones of our racing community. We want to see how we can do that within the confines of a NEMRR race weekend.” – Eric Wood to Roadracing World
Congratulations to Eric Wood and John Grush on the beginning of NEMRR. Here’s to developing new motorcycle road racers in the future.