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Nov 15, 2001

Readers State Their Personal Opinions Regarding CCE Vs. AMA Pro Racing, AMA Trustees Being Held Accountable, Print Edition Errors And The Death Of Tony Wright

(Note: Letters from readers express the writers' personal opinions and do not necessarily express the opinion of

On The Battle To Take Back The AMA

Rest assured, my AMA vote will support your slate of candidates when I receive my January issue of American Motorcyclist with the ballot. As an AMA member, it infuriates me to see our dues being wasted, races mis-managed, and racers endangered by the irresponsible activities of a few entrenched boneheads. I would also like to know how to contact the distributors for Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and KTM to let them know my ticket money will stay with Clear Channel for the 2003 Supercross season. Can you provide an e-mail contact for these companies?

Art Astle
Claremore, Oklahoma

Editor's Note: Look for a contact on their respective websites.

AMA Trustees Should Be Held Personally Accountable

I just finished reading your post of 11/9/01 titled "Opinion: AMA Supercross Deal A Case Of History Repeating Itself, And Members Will Pay The Price" As an attorney, a member of the AMA and a racer , and based on the information provided in your editorial, I find it frightening how the AMA has conducted itself and continues to behave. What I find most appalling is that none of the AMA Board of Trustees involved in the Edmonson debacle were held personally responsible for behavior that smacks of severe breaches of fiduciary duty towards the members of the AMA who wound up footing the settlement bill.

I wonder whether anyone who represents the interests of the AMA members (not the board of directors or trustees) has looked into the legal and factual grounds for potential causes of action such as breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, etc. personally against the directors and trustees of the AMA for either knowingly or recklessly inducing a breach of contract with Edmonson. It is patently unfair to AMA members that directors and/or trustees may behave either willfully or recklessly, cause millions of dollars in damages resulting from a lawsuit, and then pass those costs onto innocent members--while walking away with their jobs and pocketbooks intact. Under most corporate statutes, directors and officers are not held personally responsible for negligent acts so long as the negligent acts happened in good-faith and the director/officer(s) at the time exercised some level of sound judgment; however, directors/officers may be held responsible for behavior that goes beyond negligence and crosses the line into reckless or intentional behavior, especially when that behavior involves self-dealing. When I think of the opportunity costs of the AMA litigation, I think about all the Air-Fence the settlement monies could have purchased. I wonder how many lives could have been saved through the proper application of those funds. And then I shudder.

Oliver Chami
WSMC #116
AMA #316
FUSA #716
La Jolla, California

On Clear Channel Versus AMA

I think its great that CC is stepping up their Supercross support but, my question is if this is a full-blown war with the AMA does this mean that they will also step up the support on the road racing effort?

Just thought I would ask to see if there was anything mentioned of the sort.

Keep up the good work!

Michael D. Cox
San Diego, California

Editor's Note: There is no sign of CCE Motorsports stepping up on the road racing side.

A Mistake In The Print Edition

In the article on the October 6-7 CCS Southwest races at Firebird East, (Roadracing World, December, 2001), Ray Hymer won the Expert Formula 40 Race

BTW, I should know he won -- I was the Amateur chasing him around the track... that is, until it started raining.

Wallace Roberts
CCS Amateur #969
Chandler, Arizona

Editor's note: Mr. Roberts is correct.
The correct Formula 40 Expert results follow:

1. Ray Hymer
2. Rick Stratton
3. Jim Cox

Glad He Got Mentioned In Print Edition, But Wants His Name Spelled Correctly

I wanted to say thanks for mentioning me helping out Ed Marchini and Dave Presler at VIR (Roadracing World, December, 2001). After the AMA race at Laguna Seca this year, Ben Walters Jr. was no longer riding my bikes. If things work out, I will be fielding an AMA 250cc GP team next year. Thanks for everything you do for the sport! BTW, my last name is spelled STARGEL with only one L.

Rocky Stargel
Stargel Racing
Gainesville, Georgia

On The Death Of Tony Wright At Putnam Park, When His TT125R Was Hit By A GSX-R750

I submit this information concerning the horrific accident at Putnam Park Road Course on the 28th of October that killed one rider and seriously injured another. I am the owner of Cycle Options LLC that sponsored the track weekend. We have enjoyed a two-day track practice each spring, and another each fall since 1984. At that time, Roadracing World's schools and track day schedule was quite small. Our schedule never appeared on this list because we neither lacked participants, or cared to expand. Initially, our track days were meant to replace the kind of riding and consequences that were happening on our favorite ribbon of roads in this region. Unfamiliar as I was to track day protocol, I knew to surround myself with racers (mostly in their forties and fifties) who had the experience to set procedure and safety issues. We constantly fine-tuned our program by comparing other schools and track day operators with ours. We have been given high grades by many in presenting a safe program. Participating Fast Trax instructors said that, of track days around the country, our track days were their favorite and they thought we dealt with safety issues very well. Coming from such professionals, I took this as the highest compliment. Our formula worked better than our expectations allowed.

Our lost rider, Tony Wright, had participated with us before and obviously was a thoughtful gentleman with talent racing his RS125. After receiving a racer's identity wristband and showing his Honda racer to the tech inspectors, he returned with a supermotard TTR125 Yamaha. The inspector questioned the ability of this bike to preform. Tony assured the inspector that he wanted to test its capability in the last session of the day, in the less-aggressive sport street riders group. The last sessions in the late-afternoon are light in attendance. To everyone's surprise, Tony took this bike out with the race group without approval that afternoon. I had just walked up to pit-out as this bike accelerated away. My first impression was that Tony's bike was not running well, like small "two-stroke" racer taking most of the straight to finally stop misfiring and rev. As Tony passed after the first lap, I saw him go by and said, "What the hell is that doing out there!". The corner workers had been on the radio discussing the slow rider. We were thinking, ‘Do we black-flag or red-flag him?' just as the collision unfolded in the next hundred yards. A pocket of racers came by Start-Finish with a rider's wind and view being blocked by two lead riders. Surprised by the speed difference over Tony's bike (riding in center of track), the lead riders flicked to each side without leaving the drafting rider time to make a choice. It is doubtful he had the three or four tenths of a second necessary to react before impact. I have reviewed this many times having the replay branded on my brain. The injured rider, Steven Scholz, is recovering from both badly broken wrists and a broken jawbone. He is expected to fully recover.

Safety issues are a constant. It is important to set procedure and always monitor for misunderstanding and misjudgment. We hire professionals to work corners for their experience and skill. We will rethink procedure if we continue our track days. We have received many calls expressing support to carry on. If I thought our sport would be better served by me bowing out I would, but I do not believe this.

Experienced riders who know better will make errors. Re: Scott Russell's start at the Daytona 200 last year. Our enthusiasm was saddened but not diminished by the loss of Joey Dunlop in Estonia.

We all appreciate YOUR efforts on safety issues, which are our first priority as well.

God bless Tony and Steven and God save our sport.

Kenny Baker
President, Cycle Options LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio

Post Note: My advisory teammate and good friend Jonathan White has won the National Championship in AHRMA's 250cc GP Class. He will ride with the Number One plate. We are all very proud and celebrate his victory.