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Jun 25, 2001

New Hampshire International Speedway's Jerry Wood Responds To Criticism Of Racetrack

New Hampshire International Speedway Motorcycle Safety Director Jerry Wood issued this statement Monday morning, in response to cirticism of the racetrack.<BR><BR>"In response to the public accusations that no work has been to improve safety conditions at NHIS for motorcycles I would like to offer this summary.<BR><BR>"Three years ago NHIS changed turn one, turn eight and turn 10, removed trees and made other modifications working with the AMA's TRACK committee. Over $150,000 was spent on safety improvements. When the pro riders returned in 1999 Mat Mladin yelled out at a rider's meeting that the track had been made worse. Tom Kipp resigned the track committee in frustration. Mladin's statement proved to be false as times dropped and injuries were few.<BR><BR>"I went to the effort of asking Mladin what changes he would suggest and we went for a track tour. Doug Chandler and Aaron Yates soon joined us. They asked for the following additional improvements:<BR><BR>"1. More Air Fence in turn two.<BR><BR>"2. The wall in turn three be cut back on the left side and a gravel trap placed outside the exit<BR><BR>"3. The entrance portion of the curb in turn eight be removed and a gravel trap installed<BR><BR>"4. The apex of turn 10 be moved out away from the wall with a curb and line.<BR><BR>"At the end of the meeting Mladin was smiling and made the comment that with these changes we would have a fun track. New Hampshire International Speedway made every single one of the changes requested. In addition to the requested changes, NHIS purchased the state-of-the-art Air Fence Bike product that proved to work very well at saving the rider and the bike.<BR><BR>"When the Pros left last year (2000) the ONLY issue was the slippery spots (old sealer). That was addressed with the new, high-tech, very expensive, traction coating.<BR><BR>"The sealer was applied to all of the areas that had traction problems in the wet as well as any parts of the racing surface that had patches or changes in traction. That included the entire turn three and turn 11 areas. The parts that were NOT coated were good pavement with good, consistent traction in both wet and dry conditions.<BR><BR>"I felt that with the wet traction resolved combined with all of the new Air Fence from the Roadracing World/AMA project that the track would be in great shape wet or dry. Lap times dropped despite the tighter line in turn 12. <BR><BR>"I have been racing and working road racing events for 34 years and am proud of Loudon's safety record. In addition to the AMA National we run eight club events with about 1200 entries per weekend. There have been no wall-related injuries for the last three years.<BR><BR>"The Loudon course is tight and I will bet that it is demanding to ride a world-spec 180-hp Superbike there but the Pro riders are paid very well to do it. I watched Pascal Picote crash hard into the soft barrier and ride off, just like most people do. Our safety record continues to be one of the best in the country."