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Mar 5, 2001

Buell Riders Talk About AMA Pro Thunder Rule Changes

<BR>Several Buell racers at Daytona talked about changes AMA officials made to Pro Thunder rules in the off season.<BR><BR>"The plan is to run both (F-USA Buell Lightning and AMA/WERA Pro Thunder) series," said Harley-Davidson/Buell of Fredricktown's Bryan Bemisderfer. "We're at a disadvantage at Daytona in Pro Thunder versus the Ducatis, but I think at tighter tracks we can do well. The rule change (limiting Ducatis to 750cc) is gonna help us. Now we can keep the Buell in a horsepower range where they can live."<BR><BR>"There will be no Pro Thunder for us. The AMA turned that into a Superbike class," disagreed Hal's Performance Advantage/ Daytona Harley-Davidson/ Buell's Richie Morris. "Whoever has a $100,000 motorcycle will win. I'm not gonna do that for a $1400 purse. There were a few of us chasing the Ducati 748RSs on standard 748s with 800cc kits, but now the AMA has made that impossible."<BR> <BR>"It's (the Buell) really not too competitive at the Pro Thunder level," said Steve Luxem in his return to Buell racing after a year layoff. "I've never run Pro Thunder, but you can just see what the 748s can do out on the track. I saw how much work (Shawn) Higbee had to put into his bike, and it made it a time bomb."<BR><BR>Jeff Johnson raced the Harley-Davidson Twins Sports series and then moved on to Buells when that series ended. Johnson said, "I'm not doing Pro Thunder on my Buell due to a lack of sponsorship for a separate effort and the whole break up of the Pro Thunder series with some races going to WERA. We wanted to go to Road America at least, our home track, but now we can't due to it being dropped from their double header Superbike program."<BR><BR>Buell racer Greg Avello echoed Johnson's thoughts saying, "I would've hit two or three Pro Thunder rounds with my Buell, but the ones I wanted to do were Road America and Mid-Ohio. I think the AMA should re-think not having Buells at Road America. The Buell Lightning series seems to pay off better. Plus when it's Buells against Buells, it's more fun."<BR><BR>AMA officials did listen to the concerns of some Pro Thunder racers when they reversed themselves and eliminated a new minimum weight limit for all machines that would have outlawed anything but Ducatis and Buells. The weight limit would have seen single-cylinder machines and Suzuki SV650s add 70-100 pounds of ballast.<BR><BR>And a day after RoadracingWorld.com published quotes from a Ducati official pointing out that Ducati is at a disadvantage because it has no representation with the AMA, AMA Road Race Manager Ron Barrick called Ducati North America Race Manager David Roy and offered him a place on the AMA Road Racing Advisory Board.<BR>