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Jun 16, 2008

More On DMG's Approach To Rider Safety Issues, And Racing In The Rain Everywhere


Via e-mail:

I must take exception to the inclusion of the MRA in the following statement by Roger Edmondson: "Further, I note that AMA Pro Superbike, MotoGP, World Superbike, World Supersport, British Superbike, AFM, ASRA, CCS, CMRA, LRRS, MRA, MOTO-ST, WERA, WSMC, etc. all race in wet conditions at race tracks all over the world."

The MRA does, in fact, hold races in the rain at the majority of the venues where we compete. However, I feel the inclusion of the MRA in this statement implies that we hold races in all conditions at all tracks, without exception, and this is not accurate.

Recognizing that racer safety is paramount, the MRA takes into consideration both the unique characteristics of each facility and the feedback from our riders when determining if any particular venue is safe for wet competition. Based on this input, there is one facility on our schedule that has been deemed unsafe for wet competition. Issuing a blanket statement that we would compete there in all conditions, regardless of rider input, would undoubtedly cause a significant negative reaction among our members.

Glenn Conser, President
Motorcycle Roadracing Association
Fort Collins, Colorado


Via e-mail:

So, according to Roger Edmondson, the only constraints on whether or not a track is ridden in the rain is whether riders are "comfortable racing in wet conditions" and "deserve the opportunity to exhibit their skill doing so." Is the home track of his ownership group, Daytona, going to host racing in the rain? I would guess that wall in turn 10 at Infineon is closer to the apex than the wall in NASCAR turn 4 at Daytona, so Daytona must be safer, right?

I love riding in the rain, I love watching wet races, and I wish the AFM raced in the wet. But sure not at Infineon. The track has made huge improvements in safety, which I thank them for as a rider, but the AFM still deploys hundreds of feet of Airfence to protect against potential wall impacts. In the dry.

Seeing anyone hit a wall, Airfence or not, is absolutely sickening and there are far too many spots at Infineon where that could happen easily in the wet. I have never been to Mid-Ohio, but I will respect Mladin, Spies, Hacking, Zemke and Bostrom's opinion that it's possible there as well.

Red flags, ambulances, back boards and helicopters are not a good show for the legions of fans Mr. Edmondson is expecting.

Will Toft
AFM #859
Fairfax, California


Via e-mail:

The statements by DMG about racing in the rain at Infineon are ridiculous. Many of the rain hazard areas, notably turn 10, can not be fixed without relocating a state highway on the other side of the property.

Ask Chris Siglin. Ask him about Infineon when it is wet. Ask him about turn 10. Ask him about what it is like to spend a week in intensive care, because the AMA let the race go on for too long before throwing the red flag due to rain.

And ask Brian Parriott about DMG's response to legitimate safety concerns at Iowa Speedway: a course that should have NEVER held a motorcycle race in the first place, and if MotoST had a robust rider safety committee, would never have held a motorcycle race.

Yes, Mr Edmondson and DMG will reduce their fine by 50% after someone ends up in the medivac chopper, that's about the limit of DMG's concern for rider safety.

Which all leads me to think: F--- DMG, F--- the broadcaster's schedule, F--- DMG's sponsors, F--- VIAGRA plastered all over the side of the bike. F--- it all! This is DMG showing it doesn't care about rider safety.

And a series that does not care about the safety of the riders is a series which can not and should not be supported by the fans.

As a fan, I have been to the races at Sears Point (err, Infineon) since 2001. But if the "rain or shine" rule is in place in 2009, you could not pay me to attend.

Nicholas Weaver
Napa, California


Via e-mail:

It seems DMG and its principal Roger Edmondson are the latest in a long line of autocratic oriented sports management figures. Think of others whose history is to (try to) hold all the face cards and get what they want by bullying: People like Bruton Smith, George Steinbrenner, Jerry Jones, Al Davis and, yes, the France family come to mind, but there are many others on the national as well as local scene - and others in motorcycle racing of course.

I'm not sure why sports management seems to draw these people.

I've spent most of my life in an industry where the prevailing management approach is to include those who are impacted by a decision, in the discussion and decision-making process. It's an act of respect for their part in the success or failure of the larger enterprise.

Yes, it takes extra time to have meetings and communications procedures that do this. Whether it's worth it depends on whether you prefer having a prevailing atmosphere of trust and respect or adversarial turmoil and angst. You could also say that it depends on whether the enterprise is about all the people or just the boss - the Trail Boss driving the cattle to market.

Based on DMG's announced change to next year's classes, and to the wet-race decision, it's pretty clear which model Mr. Edmondson and DMG follows.

So how many years is on that contract between the AMA and DMG?

And I have to say that his reference to the current Rider Safety Council members and how they were selected has to be a classic - in the tradition of a classic Bushism: "There seems to be a tendency to pick fast people with the implication that being fast means a greater level of intellect. And I don't happen to subscribe to that." many years did you say is on that contract? My sympathies to us all.

Lynn Betts
Springfield, Illinois