Nov 5, 2001
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Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>AMA Pro Racing CEO Scott Hollingsworth is actively trying to eliminate Thursday practice in his negotiations with racetracks for 2002 AMA National dates.<BR><BR>According to racetrack sources, Hollingsworth wants to use Thursday exclusively for track set-up, and has told race promoters that the day is needed, among other things, to set up timing and scoring.<BR><BR>Thursday practice is critical to independent riders and teams that cannot afford to rent racetracks for stand-alone test sessions prior to AMA Nationals, unlike factory Superbike teams.<BR><BR>In taking the no-Thursday-practice stance, Hollingsworth and AMA Pro Racing have ignored 76 AMA Pro Racing riders and another 57 mechanics and team owners who signed petitions supporting Thursday practice during AMA weekends at Loudon and Mid-Ohio this season.<BR><BR>In negotiations with racetracks and race promoters, Hollingsworth and AMA Pro Racing Vice President of Commercial Development John Farris have stressed the increases in attendance seen at AMA Pro Nationals in 2001 as being "a great value" and have talked about the need to increase purses to "attract more good teams." The pair have typically sought sanction fee increases in the range of 100 to 150 percent.<BR><BR>The argument that increasing Superbike purses will help attract "more good teams" is interesting since teams in AMA racing do not typically require riders to share any purse money with the team, unlike typical arrangements in various forms of car racing, which features dramatically larger purses.<BR><BR>Hollingsworth and Farris have also focused their attention on increasing Superbike purses when, ironically, the Superbike class is completely dominated by highly-paid factory Superbike riders, and it is support-class riders who most need additional income opportunities to continue racing.<BR><BR>Racetracks have resisted the huge sanction fee and purse increases due to uncertainty about the economy and worries that recent wholesale layoffs will result in a decrease in race attendance in 2002, rather than an increase justifying the fee increases. The tracks that have already committed to the 2002 series have agreed to some, smaller increase in sanction fee.