May 4, 2001
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During the mandatory riders' meeting held during Friday's lunch break at Sears Point, several issues were covered by AMA Superbike Operations Manager Ron Barrick.<BR><BR>The first issue on Barrick's agenda was a proposed change to turn one. In the past, AMA officials have always used cones to create a false apex in turn one to keep speeds down in the corner, which has historically had minimal run-off. With the new turn 11 offering a shorter run to the corner and more run-off room now available outside the turn, Barrick proposed changing the apex of turn one to open up the turn to a configuration that the local club, AFM, runs.<BR><BR>The topic was debated back-and-forth for some time. Riders in favor of a change to the AFM-style turn one were led by racers local to Sears Point like Brian Parriott and Steve Rapp. Riders against the change included riders who were already fast on the existing track, such as Anthony Gobert, along with riders who wanted to avoid a mess similar to the multiple chicane changes seen last year at Pikes Peak, such as Chris Ulrich.<BR><BR>The debate seemed to die out when Miguel Duhamel said that he felt turn one was the best that it's ever been, and that if it was going to be changed, it should have been changed before Thursday promoter practice.<BR><BR>Some riders expressed sarcastic shock that AMA officials had actually pushed the wall back in turn one, but then asked why a wall remained in turn two's impact area. Renovations made to Sears Point to improve rider safety and spectator viewing areas opened up more run-off room outside of turn two, the first right-hander on the track. However, as Mike Ciccotto pointed out, there is still a concrete wall in that new runoff area.<BR><BR>The wall is made up of portable concrete sections protected by haybales and tires. Ciccotto asked why the concrete wall was even there when haybales and tires would do the job of slowing down a rider without the unforgiving results of impacting a concrete wall. In response, Barrick promised that he would look into the situation with the wall.<BR><BR>The situation of overshooting turn one during qualifying was addressed and riders who do not manage to make turn one will not have their lap time counted. Mat Mladin lost his pole position at the Sears Point AMA National in 1999 when he overshot turn one on his fastest lap.