Motoette -in forward motion

~A Man on a Mission~ My interview with Scott Harwood

Scott Harwood

Right before the end of this last year I had a prodigious opportunity to interview Pro racer Scott Harwood, a local boy from where I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Scott immediately caught my attention with his energized, outgoing and open personality conversing with him over the phone .  He did not hesitate to answer all my questions fully and completely and it was evident I had his full confidence, which made the body of the interview that much more relaxing. I hope you enjoy learning about Scott and his team Team Go-Scooter-Go Racing,  I wish them well on their venture to the British Isles and may it deliver him a dream come true.  

Scott Harwood is a talented multiple ASRA National Champion and AMA Pro Racer, with a personal dream to race the Isle of Man TT , a dream that will become a reality May 29, 2010.

Scott, with his “out of the box” approach and newly founded racing team, Team Go-Scooter-Go Racing will be heading out to the wee island nestled in between Ireland and England in the Irish sea, to compete in the 37.7 mile, 104 year old road race challenge. A road race which is considered to be one of the most dangerous racing events in the world.

MRR takes an up close and personal look into who Scott Harwood is, and why this 38 year old family man would want to delve into such a dangerous and potentially costly dream.

MRR- To start, when did you take up riding?

S. Harwood- “I started riding when I was 24 years old in 1995, where I grew up in San Jose CA.  I started riding the back roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains and was finding it wasn’t enough. When I moved to Arizona I got into the CCS South West Division in 1997. In the seasons 3rd race week at Buttonwillow’s GTU, I crashed and shattered my ankle, facing a career ending injury,  I was out of racing until 2004. But, 1997 was a big moment for me, because there were a couple of sponsors there looking to pick up a full ride. I was an amateur, racing in an expert/amateur race and had won just about every race prior.”

MRR- What inspired you to get into racing?

S. Harwood- “It was an unfortunate event with my friend and his girl friend. We were riding up into the Arizona hills and he had a bad accident, it was at that point I realized riding on the street wasn’t the best thing to be doing at the speed I liked to travel.”

 MRR- As a multiple ASRA champion and AMA Pro Racer, can you expand on the divisions you successfully raced in?

S.Harwood- “ I started back into racing full time in 2004 as an amateur again, in the Mid Atlantic region, I was living in Virginia at the time.  There I received my AMA Pro license in 2005 and went into the expert division, where I did my first pro event, AMA Kahuna Nationals. It was the Formula Extreme Division at the time, a 600cc class with unlimited modifications.  I had just bought a Honda CBR 600RR off the showroom floor, put some race body work on it and entered it, qualifying  24 out of 28 and placed 17th overall. I received some TV exposure alongside Miguel Duhamel, Jake Zemke, and even beat Danny Eslick, which was pretty cool.  After, I was given a full ride in the ASRA National Endurance Series from 2005-2008

Team Go-Scooter-Go Racing

MRR- What led you to the decision to compete in the Isle of Man TT?

 S.Harwood- “After the 2004 season doing the AMA and the ASRA team challenge series, I got picked up by Yochum Motorsports out of Wisconsin.  They saw me racing at Daytona and asked me to ride in place of an injured rider in the 5th round.  At that point I had only ridden Hondas; they wanted to put me on a Suzuki, a bike I wasn’t familiar with.  I went out and ended up winning the whole thing on a GSX-R 600 in the rain! That was the start of our relationship. I helped them win the National Championship that year for 2005.  They picked me up again in 2006 racing the Moon’s Super Cycle on a GSX-R 1000, the cool thing about that year was we won every race, 8 rounds, 8 wins! A first in history!

We parted ways in 2007, I got picked up by the team Mid Illini Motorsports and they put me on a Yamaha R6 and put me into the 1000cc GTO class, racing against 1000’s. That year didn’t go so well, and we finished 4th overall, it just wasn’t a good fit. So I went back to the original team I was with in 2008, which is now called Serpent Racing.  We won the GTO on another GSX-R 1000 the GTU class on a Ducati 848 and the over all challenge series was once again ours.

That brings us to where we are now, as far as why I want to compete in the Isle of Man TT. It’s something I have seen since I was a little kid; it’s a famous race that’s over a hundred years old.  Also, as a kid, my dad used to take me out the races at Laguna Seca, I always told my dad I was going to do something special and I’m making good on that now!”

MRR- You recently founded Team Go-Scooter- Go Racing this last September, was the team created for the Isle of Man?

S.Harwood- “It specifically was, yes. With the current situation in US road racing, with the AMA Pro Racing Division and DMG, we are really suffering here, factories pulling out left and right, and as much as I would like to support US based road racing , I just don’t think it’s possible. An every day guy like me, can’t afford to do it, the costs are too extensive. But if things do indeed turn around I would like to come back and compete in the AMA series.

Team Go Scooter-Go Racing was formulated out of thin air, by the culmination of all it’s members, with aspirations of creating a successful racing machine,  by giving up vacation time and savings by the team members, it’s truly been amazing.

As far as racing, I wanted to do this for my dad, to make good on a promise.. I think I’m ready to do it; it’s not something everyone does, or can do.  I’ve been told it takes a special type of rider to do the TT. I don’t know if that means you need to be crazy or being in tune with your limits or both.”

  

MRR- What are you doing to prepare for the Isle of Man TT?

 S. Harwood- “It involves DVD’s and video games! But seriously, I can’t go over there and expect to accomplish the experience with folks like Conor Cummins and Bruce Anstey.  They say it takes 3 years to really know the course, and being over here with less than a year makes it impossible to get that type of knowledge.  But what I do is use the resources available to me, with simulations, and games, the media, as crazy as that sounds! I use all the technology I can, memorizing all that I can.

I try to alleviate all possible mistakes. I plan on going out there a couple months prior to the race.  Drive the course, take notes, and try to re-simulate it. Locally,  my team is made up of myself, the guys I work with, and friends, all on a volunteer basis, and 100% American, which will be the first in history. We are currently doing Regional Rounds to develop the bike and team. Usually American riders that go to the TT have to share racing teams. I totally trust my racing team, I want to be able to work and communicate with my team explicitly, I feel it’s the key to our success.

My personal goal is to average 120mph, and be in the top 20 and with my team behind me, I’m confident we can do it!”

MRR- Statistically, most of the TT racers are single.  As a husband and father, how do feel you about competing in a racing event that is considered the most dangerous in the world?

S. Harwood- “It doesn’t enter my mind, it’s a click for me, with not an option to fail or get hurt. I’m a family guy, I love my kids, and I have total support from my wife, my kids, and parents. In the beginning my parents were not supportive of me riding, that’s why I didn’t start riding until I was 25, but now they understand my love for the sport and support it!

I fashion myself after John McGuinness and Joey Dunlop, after learning about the TT. The training John has, he doesn’t go to gym; he was an average guy with his family. And Joey, he was an odd sort, he smoked and he drank and wasn’t always politically correct, but he was the best of the best in racing. They are both my idol, they were able to separate their jobs from their dreams, but not lose one over the other.”

I think I’m looked at as a paradox, you won’t find me doing push-ups to be in the “zone”! I’m over 6 foot, 200 lbs, I smoke I drink and I don’t always eat the best, yet I won every race in 2006! I have people thinking “how does this guy who is not A-typical, do it? The sponsors love it, the fans love it and I love it!”

The team's new logo with Suzuki GSX-R

 

MRR- Tires and suspension are critical for a successful road race, who are you working with to formulate the perfect fit?

S. Harwood-“Trackside, Suspension & Engineering, which is huge right there, to have our very own team. You can only choose certain brands of tires; we are leaning towards Dunlop, because I won 2 out 3 championships with them. But, we will work with anyone who is offering “free!” I do have concerns with Pirelli’s, the way the carcass is made; it doesn’t have good flexibility on the front tire, where I tend to be hardest on tires. I will be riding the Suzuki GSX-R 600 in the SuperSport class and the GSX-R 1000 SuperStock class, and I’m confident TSE will dial it in.”

MRR- How do you plan on preparing for the unpredictable weather conditions on the Isle of Man?

S. Harwood- “The weather thing doesn’t bother me, I rode 24/7 whether it was raining or not. The unique thing about me, if it rains in a race, I don’t lose, in fact I’ve blown everyone away with my riding skills.  I know the physics of the braking property, and introducing lean angle. But, for some reason, rain can spook some riders, but it honestly doesn’t bother me.

MRR- And finally, how did you get the nick name “Scooter”?

S. Harwood-“Because my name is Scott, and it fit, my kids and friends were kind of calling me Scooter affectionately and so I kind of picked it up as far as the racing thing goes, and I thought it was a cool fit.  I even put it on my license plate on my Audi A8. We’re just having a good time, because that’s what it’s all about.”

 Footnote: Team Go-Scooter-Go Racing is still open to accepting and reviewing all partnership proposals for 2010, and encourages everyone to learn more about the Team and the Isle of Man TT project by visiting the Team’s website at http://www.go-scooter-go.com. Team contact info can also be found there as well. Be sure to keep up to date on the Team’s progress and journey to the Isle of Man, by following them on Facebook and Twitter, @TeamGoScooterGo.

 And hold on to your hats, because Go-Scooter-Go Racing will be making a formal surprise announcement at the latter part of February 2010. To quote Scott; “We will be bringing something to the Isle of ManTT that nobody in the history of the event has done before!”

~Cindi~

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February 10, 2010 - Posted by | Honda CBR 600, Isle of Man TT, Moto Race Reports, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, Scott Harwood, Suzuki GSXR

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