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Oct 2, 2001

Problem At Loudon 1998 Was Lack Of Haybales, AMA's Barrick Says

In a phone call to Roadracing World headquarters Tuesday afternoon, October 2, AMA Pro Racing's Ron Barrick said that the October 2 post--an Opinion piece comparing what happened at VIR last weekend to what happened at Loudon in 1998--was not accurate or fair.<BR><BR>Barrick said that he ordered haybales to cover the wall that Tom Wilson hit at Loudon in 1998, immediately after Wilson was injured. No tire stacks were available, Barrick said, because they were being used to cover other sections of wall at New Hampshire International Speedway.<BR><BR>Barrick's contention that no tire stacks were available directly contradicts NHIS Motorcycle Safety Director Jerry Wood's version of the 1998 incident; Wood said tire stacks were available but were not immediately moved into position for fear that rain water that had collected in the individual tires would run across the racetrack and create further problems and delay practice and qualifying.<BR><BR>In his phone call today, Barrick admitted that the haybales he ordered did not arrive at Loudon prior to Miguel Duhamel hitting the same section of wall that Wilson had hit, with the same type of disastrous results.<BR><BR>Barrick also said, referring to our post dated September 29, that racer Jamie Hacking should have notified AMA officials that he had hit a bare steel barrier during testing at VIR; Hacking said Saturday that he had hit the same bare steel barrier during testing at VIR August 13-15 and told VIR General Manager Jack Abbott that the area needed Air Fence coverage.<BR><BR>And according to Barrick, Abbott said that Hacking did not hit the steel barrier in the same place on Saturday as he did in August, and the area Hacking hit in August was covered by foam blocks on Saturday.<BR><BR>Barrick said that the AMA was receiving an unfair share of criticism regarding Hacking's two collisions with the bare steel barrier at VIR, given that other organizations had raced at VIR without padding in front of the bare steel barrier Hacking hit Saturday--including WERA and F-USA--and, in the case of WERA the weekend prior to the AMA National, well after Hacking hit the barrier in August.<BR><BR>"Hacking should have notified the AMA instead of the track manager," Barrick said.<BR><BR>(The major point of the Opinion piece was that rider safety should always have priority over maintaining the event schedule.)