Kurt Marmor has about raced it all in AMA professional racing. A veteran of road racing and Supermoto, Marmor is now back racing in his first love of flat track.
It’s not hard to understand how flat track was the first form of racing to get his attention; after all he grew up in Springfield, Illinois. “When I was eight-years-old my dad brought me to the Springfield Mile and I was hooked,” Marmor said. “I went flat tracking in 1991 and did that until about ’95 when I went road racing full time.”
Marmor had decent results on the pavement. He worked his way up through the WERA and CCS club ranks before turning pro. He raced both AMA 600cc and 750cc Supersport and eventually found his greatest success aboard a Ducati in the old AMA Pro Thunder class. In 2002 he scored a career-best ninth in the Pro Thunder race during the World Superbike weekend at Laguna Seca.
Then when AMA Supermoto was launched Marmor was out there racing against the likes of Jeremy McGrath, Travis Pastrana and Jeff Ward. He picked up sponsorship from Gas Gas, but the entire time he was racing Supermoto Marmor’s was thinking about trying to find a way back to flat track racing.
His route back to flat track has been unique. Instead of going the normal path of getting a Harley-Davidson XR750 and slugging it out with the rest of the Harley riders, Marmor decided to go a different route.
“I was never a big Harley fan,” Marmor admits. “I was always a fan of Bubba Shobert and Ricky Graham when they were on the factory Honda team and I thought that was a great time in racing where there was a real battle between brands. I wanted to bring that back and that’s why I decided to race a Ducati.”
Marmor started with a Ducati 749 then got together with Mike Owen with J&M Racing who built a custom frame. The bike was then delivered to Dale Lineaweaver in Oakland, Calif., to make it into a genuine Grand National machine. (A cool story about the Ducati project can be read here.) After only one quick run through on an industrial center parking lot, Kurt rolled the bike out on the track for the May Springfield Mile.
“We had a little issue with head shake that first time out, but we feel like with figured that out,” said Marmor. Even though the bike didn’t make the cut that first weekend, at least the project was up and running.
Since Marmor is on a 749cc bike, he doesn’t need to run the restrictor plates say for example the 1000cc Ducati of Larry Pegram’s has to run. He can also run it as light as he wants. The way the frame is designed Marmor says the bike is so balanced that it feels like a Single when you throw it into a turn.
Marmor made the program at Bulls Gap and Grove City and at the Indy Mile Marmor’s Ducati was running well, but the fuel pump went out. Unfortunately at Springfield, Marmor’s leg got caught in a hole on the gummy track and it broke his leg. He tried to qualify anyway, but without being able to put his left leg down in the turns he was at a major disadvantage.
Marmor’s Ducati 749 is backed by Castrol, Monster Energy and Lineaweaver Racing. It is definitely a beautiful machine. Hopefully development will continue on the bike, Kurt will get healthy and someday soon he’ll be able to qualify for a national. It would be great to see a machine this unique on the grid of a Grand National.