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Dec 14, 2001

A Pro Thunder Racer Asks A Very Good Question

This just in:<BR><BR><BR>First of all, I'd like to thank you and your publication for doing a great job with the Air Fence Fund and keeping an eye on the unscrupulous bandits currently running the AMA. You are truly looking out for the best interests of national-level racing and more importantly, the racers.<BR><BR>I just finished perusing the AMA's press release dated 12/4/01 (actually issued 12/14/01) regarding rule changes for the 2002 road race season. Since I occasionally race the Pro Thunder class and have only one road race bike, I took particular interest in the new rule that allows Pro Thunder spec. machines in the 750 SuperSport class. Although I do not completely understand the logic behind this rule change I am somewhat happy about it since I will benefit from it effectively doubling my track time. (I can almost hear Kurtis Roberts incessant whining about backmarkers and slow guys in practice as I write this. Thankfully he won't be riding a 600 much next year and won't often be in 750SS practice.)<BR><BR>As I selfishly stated, I like this rule because it benefits me. The problem I have with it is the way it is written, particularly the last line: "The Pro Thunder minimum weight limit of 380 pounds will apply." I am somewhat confused by this simple verbiage. If you had no knowledge of the history of the Pro Thunder weight limit rule or the actual Pro Thunder minimum weight rule as it stands now this would be a perfectly clear statement and there would be no room for confusion or misinterpretation.<BR><BR>History:<BR>-In the late autumn of 2000 the AMA announced a rule change that would require ALL machines racing in the Pro Thunder class to weigh a minimum of 380 pounds.<BR><BR>-The announcement above was not taken lightly by many of the competitors, particularly those racing Suzuki SV650s or custom single cylinder bikes that would have had to add significant amounts of weight to their machines that were already at a power deficit compared to Ducati 748s or semi-factory Buells in the class. Many of us wrote letters to the AMA and everyone else we could think of to try to get the rule reversed.<BR><BR>-Success! On February 9, 2001 the AMA released a bulletin that removed the Pro Thunder weight minimum from the following "displacement sub classes": "Unlimited displacement single cylinders" and "600cc-850cc 4-stroke liquid cooled twin cylinders (except desmodronic)"(sic)<BR><BR>-At the V.I.R. round in September 2001, Chris Normand rode his SV 650 to 3rd place in Pro Thunder. AMA tech promptly disqualified Normand for being under the weight limit at the post race inspection. They didn't even know their own rules! After a lengthy battle w/ the AMA Nornand was reinstated as the 3rd place finisher and months later they actually revised the results on their website to reflect this.<BR><BR><BR>Bottom Line:<BR>The point of this overly-drawn-out ramble is this: The new rule is stated as "The Pro Thunder minimum weight limit of 380 pounds will apply." Does this mean that ALL Pro Thunder spec bikes running in the 750SS will be required to have a minimum weight of 380 pounds? OR Does it mean that the Pro Thunder minimum weight RULE will be used as it stands now, with an exception for the aforementioned "displacement sub classes"?<BR><BR>Thank You,<BR>Tyler Sandell<BR>Seattle, WA<BR>WMRRA #13<BR>STTARRS NW #1<BR>AMA PT #51<BR>(I hate it when people add this kind of ego-boosting crap to their sig line but I want you to know that I am an actual racer albeit, a slow, old guy.)<BR><BR>PS: I will be sending an edited version of this letter to AMA Pro Racing.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>In reaction, this in from Dustin Moore:<BR><BR>Regarding AMA rule change release: 750SS class<BR><BR>I am a racer like many out there who heard earlier this year that the AMA was considering allowing the Buells and Ducati 748s in the 750SS class. I think this is the one of the more ridiculous things I have seen them do to date. My reason is very simple, and really applies more the the Ducati 748 than the Buell. <BR><BR>In my opinion (competitive or not) the displacement of the Buell does warrant its involvement in 750SS, assuming Harley could produce a competitive "SuperSport" version of their bike, or be allowed the similar blatant advantages as they have in the Pro Thunder Series (and still they don't win the title ?????). <BR><BR>Unless I am mistaken the 750SS class is a theoretically a "Production-based SuperSport" class, and there is NO WAY a non-748RS Superbike will have any chance to win. Therefore by allowing 748RS Superbikes(Pro Thunder Spec minus slicks) to compete, it is possible given the right conditions and rider that the 748RS will win a race or even several. But the point is, it is no longer a "Production" or "SuperSport" class and that defeats the purpose of its rule base. <BR><BR>This is a simple matter in the European, FIM, WERA, and FUSA-sanctioned events, and I cannot understand why it's so complicated for the AMA to understand/accept that 600-750cc water-cooled Twins belong in 600SS, and 751-1000cc water-cooled Twins belong in 750SS. And obviously the manufacturers of these Twins should be subject to the same "production Supersport class" rules that the Inline-4s are. But this decision is absolutely RIDICULOUS. Yet one more thing added to the AMA's pile of gross mistakes in the management of this sport.