Bike racing legends to hit Copper Friday |

Bike racing legends to hit Copper Friday

Youth riders test out Superbikes on a SuperMoto course. CycleFest at Copper Mountain starts

Saturday and will feature legends like Jeremy McGrath, Scott Russell, Jeff Ward, Mike Metzger and Kevin Schwantz.|Special to the Daily| |

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Thirty minutes east of Atlanta, Ga., Superbike legend Scott Russell sits on 150 acres of land. He’s carved race courses into the hills and bermed out areas where most folks hide swimming pools, but he’s a biker. These guys are walking Apple computer ads. They think different.

Russell will be one of many racing legends, including Jeremy McGrath, who will attend CycleFest at Copper Mountain, which starts Friday. The main competition will feature pros of various disciplines gunning it out of the start of a Supermoto race, which features dirt and asphalt tracks, jumps and 180-degree turns.

“It will be serious,” said Russell, who will be going for a share of the $20,000 purse. “Everyone coming out there has been a champion before. They don’t like to lose.”

While Russell spends most of his time relaxing these days, guys like Mike Metzger (who will be at Copper) are competing in the Games in Los Angeles. Russell says he’s done with those days, but still wants to see if he’s as fast as he was when he won the Daytona 200 a record five times.

“I’m just enjoying my time,” he said. “I’ve spent 15 years running wild and traveling a lot. I’m just trying now to figure out how to associate with real life.”

Enter Kevin Schwantz, a world GP 500 champion in 1993. He, along with Jake Zemke and Jeff Ward round out the elite field. Others will join them. They will be lucky to withstand these kind of superstars.

“I think the best thing about Supermoto is the fans can get so close to it,” Schwantz said. “It’s not a big race track. You’re not in the bleachers and stands a mile away from it.”

Schwantz also resides in Atlanta, as well as Edwards, but spends most of his days teaching at the Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School. Wannabe racers learn the tricks of the perilous trade.

“We teach them how to ride motorcycles safer and better,” Schwantz said. “We require one year experience. we teach it on a race track. IT’s by no means intended to make racers out of everybody.”

And what about a racer teaching safety?

“Safety was about the last thing I was known for when I raced,” he joked.

Locals have taken notice to the upcoming event. Sean Mills, parts manager for Summit Motor Sports in Breckenridge, calls himself a “motorhead.”

He soups local motorcycles with custom tires and engines. He knows the thrill of speed. After all, Mills owns 12 bikes.

“The faster the better. The more shiny the better,” Mills said. “This will be a very unique sport for people to watch. It’s got the excitement of road racing and the unusual aspects of motor cross.”

The event, which begins Friday with a ride from Denver to Copper, continues through the weekend.

The SuperMoto races are scheduled to start Saturday morning with preliminary runs. Finals will be held Sunday.

Ryan Slabaugh can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext .257, or at

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