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Mar 1, 2001

First Person/Opinion: AMA Season Preview, Part Five

Part Five<BR>Buell Pro Thunder<BR><BR>Easily the most controversial class of the off-season, the Buell Pro Thunder class has gone through quite a few changes. First, Ducati 748s will no longer be able to displace 800cc as they have in the past. Second, the class will also be excluded from the AMA schedule on Superbike double-header weekends at Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio and Road America, and the dropped races have been moved to WERA Nationals in preparation for the entire class being removed from the AMA National schedule in the future. The rule changes will most likely reduce participation in the most diverse class. Pro Thunder regular, BCM Ducati's Bill St. John has already announced that he will not return to the AMA series.<BR><BR>Defending Pro Thunder Champion Jeff Nash will return with the Number One plate on his Advanced Motor Sports Ducati 748RS. Support from Ducati North America will allow Nash's teammate Craig Connell to return from Australia for a full Pro Thunder season. Connell's speed combined with the reliability of the AMS Ducati makes him the class favorite.<BR><BR>Series sponsor Buell will return to support the class and at least two teams. Don Tilley will return with his re-worked Buells and rider Tripp Nobles. Hal's Performance H-D/ Buell will also be back with two-time F-USA Buell Lightning champ Mike Ciccotto.