A full schedule of AMA Pro Road Racing events will be held during Heartland Park Topeka's Tornado Nationals presented by BriggsAuto.com on a track that has been put through a full slate of modifications and safety improvements, including an important change planned for 2010 that has been made now.
Through the ongoing efforts and cooperation of Heartland Park Topeka officials, the AMA Pro Rider Safety Committee and AMA Pro Road Racing, the 2.5-mile Kansas road course is a full-year ahead of schedule in regards to suggested track modifications and improvements. In addition to a list of completed 2009 modifications, Heartland Park and AMA Pro officials announced today the Turn 1 Alpha wall - which was not scheduled to come down until next year - has been removed in time for the Tornado Nationals.
"As I have heard the news of what I was earlier told could not be done, I'm excited to hear that Heartland Park has decided to remove a wall in the Turn 1 Alpha section of the race track," said Rider Safety Committee member Josh Hayes. "As this was clearly the fastest area of the track, it was of the greatest concern. I haven't seen it with my own eyes, but to hear that the track took our rider safety on as such an important issue is something I hope more tracks look to mimic in the future. I'm excited to get to Heartland Park and start riding."
Hayes has won three AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited races this year on his No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1, including a sweep of both finals this past weekend at Mid-Ohio.
"Heartland Park Topeka has always strived to provide the best and safest racing facility possible," said Heartland Park Topeka owner Raymond Irwin. "In today's tough economy the timing of when changes can be accomplished is more critical than ever. However, when it comes to safety, all other issues take a back seat. We are excited about our event with the AMA Superbikes and we know that the Tornado Nationals will be a great event for both Heartland and our community. The most recent changes are just one step in our constant efforts to develop Heartland Park Topeka into a destination our fans and competitors consider a 'must attend' event."
Rider Safety Committee members and AMA Pro staff visited Heartland Park Topeka twice in the last few months in order to provide recommendations for modifications to the facility. The Tornado Nationals will be Round 9 of the 2009 AMA Pro Road Racing season, July 31 - August 2, and will mark the return of major-league motorcycle road racing to Heartland Park for the first time since 1991.