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Aug 2, 2001

Promoter Insisted That Ciccotto Delay Surgery To Race At Suzuka

Mike Ciccotto's plans to have a screw inserted in his broken wrist on Wednesday were derailed Tuesday when Suzuka Circuit officials insisted that he put off the surgery and ride in the Suzuka 8-Hour this weekend. Suzuka Circuit contributed to expenses associated with bringing Ciccotto and the Hooters Suzuki team to the race, apparently believing that having a team sponsored by Hooters--complete with Hooters girls as umbrella girls--will boost attendance by spectators.<BR><BR>According to an e-mail to Roadracing World from his manager, Norm "Lawdog" Viano, Ciccotto "flew from Minneapolis to LA on Monday, and had completely rearranged all of his flights so that he could fly to Doc (Dave) Kieffer's yesterday, have a screw put in his wrist today, then make it to Suzuka in time to be there in support of the Hooters team for the weekend.<BR><BR>"But the Japanese (including one of the managers of the track!) called his cell phone at like 3:00 a.m. and told him he must attend the race immediately and that he must try to ride this weekend. We fought it verbally for a few hours, as Ciccotto needs to have this surgery done ASAP and get as much recovery time as possible before Pikes Peak so he can get back in the hunt for the Pro Thunder Championship like he was before. But they pretty much strong-armed and guilted him into doing it. Apparently they have promoted this Hooters team and Ciccotto pretty big over there for the event (like as much or more than the 'big' names), which is kind of strange (but cool). And I think one of the guys at Ti Force was at Loudon and maybe Road Atlanta too, and saw him dominate those two races - so they want him there on the track, even if just for as long as Mike can tolerate the pain. So he'll ride a little bit this weekend and put in an appearance - something I'm a little worried about. But he'll be Mike and put in a good apprearance. Then come back and have surgery at Dr. Kieffer's immediately.<BR><BR>"And by the way, he didn't crash and remount during the Pro Thunder race at Brainerd as (announcer) Richard Chambers had originally broadcast -- he had a spark plug wire come loose and had to come in for a few before rejoining to finish 7th. He's bummed because despite of his wrist injury, he feels he could have run with (Jeff) Nash and been on the box, beating (Tom) Montano. There's a pretty good gap now between Ciccotto and Montano in points, but that's before they subtract their two worst rounds."<BR><BR>