CAPTION: Sidecar team-mates Tracey Bryan (left) and Jo Franzen (nee Mickleson) are poised and ready to tackle the sidecar racing elite in the United States in July. Photo by Andy McGechan,

Riding the crest of a wave, Kiwi sidecar pair Tracey Bryan and Jo Franzen are now heading to the United States to test themselves against the elite in that part of the world.

Team-mates Bryan, from Whanganui, and her “passenger” Franzen (nee Mickleson), from Hamilton, finished a remarkable first-equal in the Formula Two Sidecars class at the recently-completed 2022-23 New Zealand Superbike Championship series and they reckon now’s the right time to find out just how good they really are, but on an international stage.

“We are currently racing the best we ever have,” said Bryan and the two women are justifiably brimming with confidence as they prepare to race at the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) Classic MotoFest of Monterey on July 14-16.

They will take the Carl Cox LCR F2 sidecar that they race in New Zealand to compete at the world-famous Laguna Seca circuit in California in July.

The rig is a short wheelbase sidecar with a LCR chassis and powered by a 2017 Honda CBR600 engine.

“I saw the event advertised on-line and began chatting with old friend Larry Coleman, a former American sidecar champion who will be the grand marshal at Laguna Seca, a position similar to what we might call the event steward. With additional encouragement from the event sponsor over there in the US, we were told to ‘just get yourselves over here’ and that’s really how it all came about.”

It turns out, in fact, that Coleman is a very good friend to have. Coleman is the most successful sidecar road-racer in the United States, having won three American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) national championships (in ’76, ’77 and ’79), and is a land-speed record holder in sidecar divisions.

He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2010.

Bryan (aged 50) and Franzen (33) said they were both “massively excited ahead of the trip”.

“We think we might be the only all-female sidecar team entered, although we understand there is a top all-female team that lives only about five hours’ drive from Laguna Seca. Apparently, they have not raced in a while, but we might reach out to them to see if they will race again at this event.”

Otherwise, it will just be men’s or mixed-gender crews that line up against the intrepid Kiwi pair in July.

“Everything just seemed to fall into place for us this season so far,” said Bryan.

“We are familiar and comfortable with the bike and it will be great to see where we fit in amongst the sidecar racers over there. We don’t come across racers from the US often.

“We’ve done a little bit of research on the track at Laguna Seca just by watching videos on YouTube, but otherwise it’s all new to us. The corkscrew corner looks interesting …”

The dynamic duo, representing the Carl Cox Motorsport NZ Sidecar Team, fly out of New Zealand on July 10 to get themselves set up for the big new challenge.

“We want to give a massive thanks to our sponsors for giving us this opportunity: Carl Cox Motorsport, City Honda Manawatu, Pro Tec developments, Sidecarshop, Super Finishing Ltd and Putoline.”

© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ