East Bay Native Gets AMA Ride with Michael Jordan
SONOMA, Calif. - It wasn't long ago that Lafayette
native Steve Rapp was a struggling motorcycle rider, working part-time
as a bell-hop at the Lafayette Park Hotel in the East Bay.
Now, he's riding in the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) for one
of the biggest sports figures in the world: Michael Jordan. Yes, that
Michael Jordan. Jordan, an avid motorcyclist, joined the AMA last season
at a minimal level with rider Montez Stewart in the Pro Honda Oils
Supersport class. He's kicked it up a few notches in 2005 with a
three-rider team, having signed Rapp and veteran rider Jason Pridmore,
to go along with Stewart.
Michael Jordan Motorsports will run the full season, including a stop at
Infineon Raceway, May 13-15, for the Kawasaki AMA Superbike Showdown,
presented by Supercuts.
"Basketball is his first love but motorcycles are something he's enjoyed
but didn't have the time for when he was playing," said Rapp, who will
focus on Superstock, but will also race Superbikes in 2005. "Now that
he's retired he has the chance to get back into it."
Rapp is off to a rapid-fire start this season, sitting in sixth place
overall in the Repsol Lubricants Superstock class, and eighth in
Superbike. He is coming off a season-best finish of third place in
Superstock in Fontana last weekend. He also had two top-10 efforts in
Superbike in Fontana.
Jordan attended the race at Infineon Raceway in 2004 and is expected to
visit the Sonoma Valley again in May, this time with a much stronger
team. Pridmore, who will compete in Superbike, is the 1997 AMA 750
Supersport champion, as well as the 2002 AMA Formula Xtreme champion. He
is rehabbing from an early-season injury and it was not confirmed
whether he would compete at Infineon Raceway.
"Michael is so fired up about racing and he's so excited," Pridmore
said. "Is there really anyone bigger or better to help the sport grow
than Michael Jordan?"
"I was getting ready to sign another contract with another team and I
got the call from Jason (Pridmore)," said Rapp, a graduate of Acalanes
High School in the East Bay. "He asked what I was doing for 2005 and I
told him I was about to sign. He then told me about Michael Jordan and
that sounded pretty good. It all worked out."