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Mar 13, 2002

Last-minute Age Rule Change Excludes American Team From Sidecar World Championship

From a press release issued by organizers of the Superside FIM Sidecar World Championship:<BR><BR>Rule Change Excludes U.S. Team<BR><BR>Murray excluded on age rule<BR><BR>A last minute announcement shocked the Superside paddock on Friday, March 8 at Valencia, excluding the U.S. champions, Rick Murray and John Scott.<BR><BR>The recent delivery of the 2002 FIM rulebook included rule 1.10.1, the end of which states: "The limit for the maximum age finishes at the end of the year in which the rider reaches the age of 50."<BR><BR>With no prior warning of the changes to the rule from the FIM, Murray had no way of knowing that he wouldn't be allowed onto the Ricardo Tormo circuit at Valencia for the first event of the 2002 Superside season.<BR><BR>The RGM team were understandably devastated at the news that destroyed their chances of competing at the highest level. To their credit, they continued to prepare the machine in the hope that this ruling may be overturned.<BR><BR>"We were all prepared to come and race and do the best that we could. The goal was to qualify, race and finish and Friday morning we found out that the rules had changed and that I was too old to drive", a dejected Rick Murray commented.<BR><BR>"We spent the rest of the weekend with Gary Francis trying to see if he could get them to change it, and we're still waiting to see if they will change it. <BR><BR>"We will be at Monza if the rules get changed. The machine will stay here in Europe, but we'll go back to the U.S. and we'll come back as we can."<BR><BR>Passenger John Scott was frustrated at the ruling, and their inability to do anything about it during the race weekend.<BR><BR>"I sympathise and I understand Rick totally. I think the thing that annoys us is that the rules were that if you were fit to race, and you've passed the doctors stuff, you were fit to race. Just making an arbitrary age is unjustifiable.<BR><BR>"Making that an issue after Rick had got onto a plane is just inexcusable. Rick was on his way! He was on a flight and couldn't even turn back. And that's just not the way of running a professional business. So I think that is just really poor form", Scott said in frustration.<BR><BR>"On a personal level, I am really upset, of course. Just sitting here watching this going on is frustrating. We spent a lot of time, a lot of money, time off of work, organization etc, just to sit and watch a race. It's frustrating!" he continued.<BR><BR>Despite not being able to compete against the world's best, the RGM Racing team spent the weekend experiencing the Superside paddock at Valencia. Mixing with the teams, talking about set-up, tires and suspension, and enjoying the Superside hospitality for the weekend was all that they could do.<BR><BR>"With the inability to race out of the picture, this was one of the nicest weekends that I've ever had. The people were so great, the teams, the staff – it was very enjoyable", said Murray.