General George S. Patton once said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
Patton would have been a MotoAmerica Twins Cup fan. Not only has the Twins Cup entry list swelled from 9 entries in its debut event last year at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta to 39 entries for this weekend’s Suzuki Championship at Michelin Raceway Laguna Seca, but the ingenuity on display in the class has also grown exponentially.
Several riders spent the off-season feverishly working on making their bikes lighter, more powerful, and more aesthetically pleasing. Defending Twins Cup Champion Chris Parrish molded sleek new bodywork for his #1 Ghetto Customs Suzuki SV650, including a new tail section with a prodigious hump reminiscent of the old “SRAD” GSX-R750s that Mat Mladin made famous in the mid-1990s. He also custom-crafted a cold-air intake that makes his bike look a little bit like a pouting catfish, but the purpose of the gaping maw is single-minded: more horsepower.
Last year’s runner-up in the Twins Cup Championship Jason Madama has also tweaked his Yamaha MT-07 with all sorts of bits and pieces, from the forged aluminum O.Z. Racing Wheels to the modified YZF-R6 bodywork and all the mounting struts and hardware to attach it to his bike.
Having Ryan Shaun Smith as his crew chief gives Madama access to a treasure trove of one-off components. Smith owns and operates CarbonSmith, a fabrication shop that specializes in carbon fiber 3D-printed components. Madama’s MT-07 absolutely bristles with CF parts, from the clutch and lever guards, to the fuel cap that’s purposely dished to enable Madama to rest the chin of his helmet in the divot while on straightaways in order to get himself in a more streamlined position behind the bike’s windscreen.
One of the most complicated carbon fiber 3D-printed assemblies on the bike is the intake tubes leading to a capacious airbox positioned behind the engine’s cylinder head. The piece is a bona-fide work of art, but it’s real purpose is the same as the big air inlet on the front of Parrish’s Suzuki: more horsepower. As Parrish explained it, “These things are basically air pumps. The key is to feed the most air you can into the engine and then extract the most air you can out through the
exhaust system. That’s how you make horsepower.
Parrish and Madama are not done tweaking their bikes. Far from it. There is always something that can be made lighter or a part that can be improved. Both riders have similar goals, but their methods and means to achieve those goals are completely different.
And that’s just two riders in a 39-rider field. Imagine what other kinds of ingenuity are going on with the 37 other bikes racing in Twins Cup this weekend.
When MotoAmerica created the Twins Cup class, they said what to do, but they didn’t say how to do it. If General Patton were still around, that would make him smile.
No wonder the race class has had a 333% increase in rider entries compared with last year.