Jun 20, 2001
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Copyright 2001 Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>NHIS Motorcycle Safety Director Jerry Wood said Tuesday that he was shocked that AMA officials did not allow riders to take a short practice prior to starting the rain-delayed 600cc Supersport race at Loudon on Sunday. The resulting argument over five laps of practice kept 600cc Supersport regulars in the paddock while AMA officials ran the race with 12 mostly-local riders.<BR><BR>Wood spoke in a phone interview from his shop in Searsport, Maine.<BR><BR>"I was leading around the jet-blowers and as I was driving the truck along I was figuring that the next thing we do is practice," said Wood. "So when I came in I told (AMA Superbike Operations Manager) Ron Barrick that the track was ready for a short practice session. And I was baffled when he told me that there wasn't going to be any practice session. I couldn't believe that was their decision, to come up with no practice. That's just not right.<BR><BR>"A practice is a common-sense thing. Because the track has been rained on all day, we've dried it off, and short practice will burn the line in and get rid of any residual moisture that's left. I was really disappointed."<BR><BR>The decision to refuse rider requests for a short practice session was made by AMA Pro Racing Director of Competition Merrill Vanderslice. When rider Grant Lopez, (who desperately wanted to ride) tried to mediate the dispute and convince Vanderslice to allow five laps, he was angerly rebuffed by Vanderslice, who said of the riders, among other things, "They don't run the AMA, we do" and "It's us against them."<BR><BR>