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In America, Ralph Staropoli Is Leading The GP Life

AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association) events include a thriving scene for two-stroke 250 GP motorcycles, but getting to the top step of the box requires passing through Ralph Staropoli.

The 59-year-old’s supremacy is similar to that of Rich Oliver during the last few years of AMA Pro two-stroke competition. When Staropoli first entered the 250cc GP class, he had the greatest AMA Pro national result of ninth. However, after 20 years, the Coloradoan had ascended to Oliver’s level, which is the highest praise in American two-stroke road racing. And this person is not limited to a two-stroke 250.Continue reading.

Why This Person?

I have two reasons for wanting to write about Staropoli: First, in his comeback to road racing, he has adopted a very professional style. Staropoli gave up racing, much like a lot of other AHRMA competitors, because of time, financial, and emotional constraints.That was back in 1998, Ralph.However, he held onto his 250 and began playing again after a few years.

Even though it’s essentially a one-man show, this person brought back the excitement of motorcycle racing with a technique that matches factory efforts. We’ve all learned that “dabbling” in a dangerous venture isn’t a wise strategy (more on that later). Undoubtedly, an inspiration to all of us. The takeaway from Staropoli is, “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” The outcomes of this all-in strategy are self-explanatory.

The only real incentive to participate in amateur racing, according to Staropoli, is joy. All of us have experienced the joy of “garage therapy” when tinkering with our own bikes, and Ralph jumped right in, making global connections with experts in the two-stroke world and capitalizing on the continuous development of two-stroke racing in Italy, Portugal, France, Germany, and the UK.

But he did more than just make connections; he became well-versed in all the aspects of running GP motorcycles at the front of the pack. He has won with both his Yamaha TZ250 and Honda RS250, which were both custom-built and heavily modified at his shop.

“I wish I knew then what I know now,” remarks Ralph. Since my AMA days, motorcycles have advanced significantly; kit components are now accessible, and I know how to build these bikes up. I just was ignorant at the time. Thanks to improved understanding and tools like data recorders, detonation counters, and exhaust-gas-temperature measurements, I no longer get seizures. For his two-strokes, Staropoli handles every aspect of bike manufacture, including crankshaft setup.

When World Championship 250cc Grand Prix racing shifted to Moto2 with four-stroke Honda 600s in 2010, it would be simple for many in America to assume that the growth of two-stroke road racing came to an end. It would seem from that idea that American 250 racers were barely making ends meet with equipment that was decades outdated. Visit an AHRMA round to see the fallacies of this notion!

In addition, Staropoli takes pleasure in the camaraderie that comes with racing, particularly when he is with good friends like Adrian Jasso and Dave Frick, who share pit lanes and ride comparable bikes. Ralph declares, “When racing isn’t fun, I’ll quit,” but like many of us, he eventually comes to understand that road racing motorbikes offers a challenge and a sense of fulfillment that are hard to come across in other situations.

Ralph played competitive soccer for years before attending college on a sponsorship. He has skydiving certification. Being a specialist in the defense business, he possesses enough money to purchase a fast automobile, yacht, or motorcoach. However, what other sport incorporates the thrill, talent, rivalry, cutting-edge technology, and social component of two-wheeled racing?

While real challenges are becoming more difficult to come by in America, Staropoli is once again eyeing the international racing scene after COVID barred them from traveling over the pond. Events with just two strokes are Europe’s draw. This is significant since Staropoli often faces four-stroke vehicles that “make a lap time” more differently than a 250cc two-stroke while competing in American club competitions with CCS/ASRA.

Greater Than Two Hits

Nestled inside the immaculate pit area of Staropoli is a four-stroke Honda NSF250R, which seems to be a Moto3 bike for the average rider, right next to his TZ250 and RS250. Produced in America by Rising Sun Cycles (, bikes and support are available for this little single since 2012.

According to Staropoli, “these NSFs took a while to catch on, but they’re getting more and more popular.” At 180 pounds and 42 horsepower, this bike is excellent straight out of the box and costs around $14,000. The greatest and most enjoyable bike I’ve ever ridden. Excellent feedback from a man who owns the greatest RS250 and TZ250 cars in the nation—and, some would say, the world.

Stewart Aitken-Cade, Dave (Frick), Adrian (Jasso), and I decided to hold them in stock when we received the NSFs, and that arrangement lasted for around a year. A really enjoyable year. I informed Stewart that “the dam has broken” after he adjusted the brakes on his bike, and things have since grown even better.

Bring your A-Game if you join any of the three or four AHRMA classes that the NSF qualifies for, since in 2022, Staropoli’s name topped all finishing charts. That was 28 victories from 28 starts.and in 2023, the run will still continue.

More synonymous with fun than a 500cc GP bike?

Let’s start with these specs: 270 pounds and 185 horsepower. Are you grinning yet? These are the key features of the ROC YZR500, which rather surprisingly recently joined the Staropoli racing scene.

Ralph takes control of the narrative. “I was discussing Honda kit components with my buddy Andy Sawford in the UK. Andy advised me to get in touch with Jorg Schollhorn, a man in Germany. The most recent 500cc National Champion is Jorg. We spoke four or five times a week after becoming buddies. He says one of our acquaintances could be selling a 1992 ROC 500 (ROC manufactured chassis for Yamaha YZR500 four-cylinder engines).

A true mover in international road racing venues, this guy is a skilled craftsman, a past National Champion in many classes, has extensive factory contacts, and builds two-stroke motorcycles for well-known racers. While constructing this ROC for himself, he discovered something much better, leading Jorg to speculate that the ROC may be for sale.

It was the ideal bike for AHRMA’s Open Two-Stroke class, where anything goes as long as it does the ring-ding thing, and it was a fantasy that most of us share.

The bike made the journey from Germany to America, and this coming weekend it is expected to make its premiere in the Laguna Seca AHRMA round. For those of us fortunate enough to see the 500cc GP motorcycles that rocked Monterey at Laguna, this ROC 500 will serve as yet another amazing throwback opportunity presented by AHRMA.

Of course, everyone would want to own a former 500 GP motorcycle, but most of us lack the necessary funds. That isn’t the point, however. At all budget levels, the AHRMA paddock is replete with stories much like this one. Many of us are finally riding the bike we have always wanted, or many of us are going back to a bike we have always loved.

In my instance, I’m riding a Speedwerks FZR600 for around 0.0002% of Ralph’s expenditure, going back to a bike model that not only makes me happy now, but also made me happy thirty years ago. The ROC will provide Staropoli with a brand-new obstacle to prepare for and overcome while riding—and that challenge is a major part of what makes us happy. There is joy in the AHRMA paddock.

The Associate

Anyone who has raced is aware of the hard effort that goes into it. Long nights spent preparing, even longer trips across Texas, and unforeseen difficulties with trucks, trailers, wheel bearings, master links, and faulty gasoline (how much time have you got?) create hurdles. These difficulties might become too much to handle on their own. Sheri Mursick, a cross-fit celebrity and real right-hand man (person?) of the Staropoli racing team, and Ralph just tied the knot.

This new team member brings up an important topic that I spoke with Roadracing World Founder & Editor John Ulrich about. No matter what it is, he continued, “there’s usually somebody in some paddock somewhere who knows everything you need to know and will give you the information you require.” Physicians, attorneys, master craftsmen, artists, and so on. and are often willing to assist. We love motorcyclists. The Hall of Famer knows what keeps so many people coming back to race and ride: the people. Ralph Staropoli will remain a formidable competitor due to his and Mrs. Staropoli’s collaborative efforts in deciphering the secret of winning races.