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Jun 17, 2001

AMA Plays Hardball With Riders And Starts 600cc Supersport Race At Loudon Without Allowing Warm-up Session, And Without Pros

AMA Pro Racing Director Of Competition Merrill Vanderslice "played hardball" (in Grant Lopez's terms) with riders in refusing to allow a warm-up session to judge track conditions after using jet blowers to dry off the track at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, resulting in no professional riders taking the grid.<BR><BR>The race started with 12 riders, mostly LRRS locals, on the grid and as this is posted the leader is Scott Greenwood followed by Paul Hopkins, John Salemi, Matthew Silva and Roland Williams.<BR><BR>According to AMA Media Relations Contractor Larry Lawrence, officials were concerned with getting the race in before it resumed raining and believed they had to get the race going quickly.<BR><BR>Attack Suzuki's Tom Kipp took a warm-up lap and pitted, reported to his crew that the track was fine, but declined to race because of the way the situation was handled.<BR><BR>Lopez also wanted to race, but declined to do so because of the way Vanderslice handled the situation, Lopez explaining later that the confrontation could have been entirely avoided with better communication and less dictatorial tactics by AMA officials.<BR><BR>John Hopkins also wanted to race but decided not to because he was denied his request for a warm-up session.<BR><BR>The race was red-flagged with the leader on his 20th lap when several crashed in short order as it started to rain again.