Aug 15, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Via e-mail:<BR><BR>Watching the race on TV certainly isn't the same as being there, but as a racer there were a couple of things that really surprised me about the weekend's action. <BR><BR>When Nicky's RC-51 burst into flames, it was frustrating to see a cornerworker casually sauntering over to the machine, turn around and get a fire extinguisher, and mosey on back to the bike. Then Speed showed a shot of Nicky trying to put out fires on the bike while fighting the cornerworker for possession of the extinguisher. Where's the sense of urgency? These teams don't have money presses in the back of the trucks...salvaging as much of a downed bike as possible is as important to them as it is to me, I'm sure. Plus a fire on the course isn't a minor occurrence...it was enough to merit a red flag on the course. <BR><BR>As far as Aaron on the track...naturally he would be pretty wound up on adrenaline after getting his bell rung like that, especially after being put on his head by a loose cannon crashing in front of him. But I imagine he was quite shocked that there was a smoking RC-51 on the track and no one was doing anything about it. Like I said, TV doesn't tell you much...but it looked like the red flag was not thrown until Aaron threw himself. The TV view made it look like the advertising banners were blocking the corner station's view of the downed bike. And this isn't the first time we've seen a horizontal RC-51 burst into flames, so it's a doubly dangerous possibility. <BR><BR>From a viewer's point of view Aaron may have overreacted, but maybe he didn't. I'm not about to condemn the guy for what he did after being run off the track, seeing a smoking bike lying in a visibly obscured part of the track, after having to kick the haybales off himself at Mid-Ohio while trying not to bleed to death only two weeks before. I hope he doesn't get reprimanded, especially after the determination it took to ride all those events he did this weekend. The red flag would have flown with or without him, but this way it happened before more riders closed in on the downed bike #80. <BR><BR>Of course, there are three sides to every story, but that's what it looked like in my living room. <BR><BR>Clint Fleckenstein <BR>CRA #87 <BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Wow...did Sadowski get up on the wrong side of the bed or what? Tony's comments were straight forward and are right on the mark. ..Aaron ran onto an active track and laid down. I can only surmise that Aaron and David must be close. He and Drebber were making excuses for Aaron from the moment he pulled the stunt. They certainly tried to spin the follow-up, rinky-dink track, Greg White interview. <BR><BR>Tony, by the way, has been at the forefront in taking action to make safety happen and has helped improve our racetrack immensely <BR><BR>David's comment's are emotionally charged and without merit. He ought to think before he hits the send button. I hope that this knee-jerk reaction is atypical. <BR><BR>Fred Olsen <BR>Pittsfield, Maine<BR><BR><BR><BR>Wow, I check in everyday here for news/gossip... but this takes the cake, Tony Iannarelli seems to make a couple of rational opinions and ole Sadowski rips him a new one!?!? ("you are an idiot") <BR><BR>Give me a break, while Yates' acts at VIR are entertaining and somewhat admirable, they should come with some kind of punishment to prevent this WWF thing from happening again.<BR><BR>Additionally, "that's why they have <BR>superstock....run with Jimmy Moore then move up".......That is funny chit Dave , now we can watch more 8 rider races............Dog away, I have a life.<BR><BR>Matt Carlyle <BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Without getting into the name calling that Mr. Sadowski feels is necessary, I'll just give a brief background. <BR><BR>I've not been around road racing as long as Mr. Sadowski, but I have been racing for almost 9 years. During that time I have always been a strong advocate of safety in road racing. I made both an individual donation to the Roadracing World Action Fund to buy Air Fence/Air Modules, and also organized a group that purchased 2 full sections for my local track. I've also pushed for other safety related items over the years, but my point is simply that track safety has always been an important issue to me. <BR><BR>I searched for the Roadracingworld.com post you're referring to, but the only one I found is the one titled, "A River of Blood: Aaron Yates Talks About His Mid-Ohio Superbike Crash". If that is the one you meant, then all I can say is that his accident was unfortunate and the fact that he was pinned under the bike must have been horrible. I agree completely that it sucks that we have to race at tracks with little or no run-off room, but that is the current situation of racetracks in America. <BR><BR>Regardless of that unfortunate incident, however, I see nothing in that message that supports laying down on a live track. <BR><BR>Apparently, quite a few people agree with me on that point as you can tell by an AMASuperbike.com poll. At the time I'm writing this, almost 60% of the votes say it was, "Easily the most careless, selfish and blatantly dangerous move I've ever seen in a race".<BR><BR>As far as Yates' efforts to improve rider safety, that's great. I applaud his efforts and know full well how hard it is to see something that is potentially dangerous on a track and be unable to get it corrected. It may give us some insight as to WHY he did this, but it still does not justify laying down on a live track. <BR><BR>While Yates' actions through traffic was a very minor point of my original email. I will respond to your comments above. <BR><BR>As racers, we both know that it is the faster rider's responsibility to get cleanly around the slower rider. As you have rightly stated many times during broadcasts, those lappers are out there going as fast as they can and often have no idea that they are about to be lapped. The best thing they can do is to maintain their speed and course and be predictable... if they do that, the faster rider will usually get by cleanly. <BR><BR>Having said that, we also know that sometimes you make a pass that was a bit hairy and might have spooked the lapper - possibly even causing them to crash. When that happens, you suck it up and apologize. Nothing I've seen on TV, or heard from other racers that have raced with Yates, would indicate that he apologized afterward. This was the reason for my comment. <BR><BR>As for the Blue Flag, I agree the AMA should use it. As a racer, I would rather know ahead of time if someone is going to lap me. Not because I will alter my line, but because it will reduce the "spook factor". <BR><BR>As for riders running Supersport bikes in Superbike, I agree they should stay in Superstock. I imagine crappy purses in that class are what encourages rider to step up to Superbike (not that those are much better, but that's a whole different subject). Regardless, blame the AMA for bad rules - not the rider you're about to lap. <BR><BR>The simple answer is to lower the percentage over the POLE TIME (again?), but that brings up the whole other issue of too few riders on the grid. Contrary to your statement, I don't think "I know it all" and will go on record to state that I don't have the answer to this problem. <BR><BR>And lastly, you say Yates should be commended? <BR><BR>I sincerely hope you're referring to PREVIOUS efforts on his part to improve safety. If you're saying that laying down on a live race track is a commendable action, then I think you may have bumped your head one too many times over the years. <BR><BR>As far as I could tell, the three riders that went by Yates after he got up, were still racing. They had not seen a Red Flag. This means that Yates intentionally laid down on a HOT TRACK, which put himself and those riders in danger. <BR><BR>I still maintain that this is WRONG... regardless of anything else that might have happened prior, such as Himmelsbach's incident, which is also inexcusable and something the AMA should have to answer for. <BR><BR>And just to be clear. I am NOT stating that Yates' actions are what brought out the Red Flag and that is why he should lose the points and finish position. I am saying that he should be stripped of his points and finish because of his actions. <BR><BR>Tony Iannarelli <BR><BR><BR><BR>I was extremely disappointed to read David Sadowski's immature name-calling antics and reply to Tony Iannarelli, regarding Aaron Yates' actions at VIR during Race One. <BR><BR>Iannarelli is correct, there is simply no excuse for what Yates did. If any one of those three riders had crushed Yates' sternum with a front wheel, Yates would be a front-runner for a Darwin Award. Imagine the headline: "Motorcycle Racer Killed After Voluntarily Going Spread-Eagle On Track During VIR Superbike Race." <BR><BR>As I watched the race, the amount of time that Yates spent lying flat on his back with no regard for oncoming traffic had my jaw on the floor. Stunning, and very dangerous. A live race is not the forum for protesting, people's lives were put at risk. <BR><BR>Why does a racer of Yates' immense talent do such a thing? Seeing Kevin Schwantz or Colin Edwards grab an oil flag and start waving after falling in goo is one thing, but you certainly don't very often see a factory Superbike racer strolling out on the tarmac then dropping flat onto his back in front of a horde of oncoming motorcycles. <BR><BR>Didn't the World Superbike Championship cancel the last race weekend of the '93 season in Mexico (handing Scott Russell the title in the process) because people were invading the racetrack during practice/qualifying? VIR '02 looks like the same old, same old to me. <BR><BR>Regards, <BR>Rick Williams <BR>Sacramento, CA