Apr 17, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>This just in, from Daytona 200 winner, former racer and television commentator David Sadowski:<BR><BR>Just had to drop you a line regarding Michael Hannas' commentary on Sears Point. <BR> <BR>Knowing that the circuit is in the process of a "major face-lift" and the management has been open about communicating with the motorcycle racing industry leaders reporting the new changes, with rider approval. Michael Hannas steps up three weeks out of our visit to Sears and reports a detailed evaluation of the new changes that is troublesome. Hannas' report is obviously unbiased and you know he will continue to ride at Sears Point. Despite the fact that he has risked not winning the popularity contest at this year's event (I commend his bold honesty) is Hannas on the level with his observations? Raises some questions in my mind that I have to ask.<BR> <BR>First--Why have the other riders that commented on the track not seen what he sees? (I know the answer, but plead the 5th!)<BR> <BR>Second--Who is sought after from the AMA to inspect and suggest motorcycle-racing-related safety issues. (Usually it is the local hero who is contracted by a factory team and is apprehensive to "Rock the Boat")<BR> <BR>Third--Most of what is suggested by the chosen pro is just that, a suggestion. There is no standard established in America that specifies what a racetrack needs to look like to have a professional motorcycle racing event. In my experience with track evaluation, having been the "Chosen One" on numerous occasions, and having written proposals with drawings before the construction process began, I know the battle lines pretty well. Despite my suggestions to have concrete walls and Armco Barriers not erected or moved away from the track at almost every venue in the U.S., they (racetrack designers & engineers) keep building the circuits in America to suit the sanctioning bodies of automobile racing, and their track standards. Specifically to attract an F-1 or IRL car race to the track under construction in most cases. <BR> <BR>Questions--Can a standard be established in America that suits both the auto & motorcycle racing communities? I'll answer:<BR> <BR>A. Hell No! We (the motorcycle racing community) can't agree in one accord about much, and we give conflicting, off-the-cuff assessments when inspecting the tracks. Motorcycle races are low priority when safety is concerned at most tracks. Decision makers have no idea what a Superbike, 250 GP, Supersport, Pro Thunder or (OH MY GOD) a Formula Xtreme bike is like in anger around their tracks.<BR> <BR>B. Who will spend millions of dollars to make necessary changes for Motorcycle events? (Especially those who have just overhauled a facility)<BR> <BR>What can we do? <BR> <BR>1. Buy more Air Fence and have a respected cornerworker (Non-butt kisser) involved with a retired Pro (Non-butt kisser)working on solutions to these safety issues.<BR> <BR>2. Stop accepting a single row of haybales in front of a wall that is on the outside of a 140-mph corner.<BR> <BR>3. Look at every turn with "catastrophic brake failure" in mind when assessing run-off and intersecting traffic. (Bikes highside and "Right" themselves most of the time and brake failure is a reality!)<BR> <BR>4. Become united on track safety issues by mandating factory riders to take the AMA and OEM leaders on a "Hot Lap" around the circuits with overheated tires.<BR> <BR>I have other thoughts and questions, but this will do for now, I'm getting too excited, or am I?<BR> <BR>Hannas--You're OK in my book!<BR> <BR>David Sadowski