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Oct 2, 2001

Updated Post: AMA Pro Racing Admits Mistake, Reinstates Chris Normand's Pro Thunder Podium Finish

Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>Following Roadracingworld.com coverage of Chris Normand's wrongful disqualification from a third-place finish in the AMA Pro Thunder race at Virginia International Raceway, AMA officials have reinstated Normand's finish.<BR><BR>Normand was disqualified for being underweight, when in fact no minimum weight applies to his motorcycle, a Suzuki SV650.<BR><BR>Normand received separate phone calls from AMA Pro Racing's Ron Barrick, Rob King and Merrill Vanderslice on Tuesday, October 2, and all three apologized for their mistake.<BR><BR>"Ron called me, Rob King called and Merrill Vanderslice called me," laughed Normand in a phone call to Roadracing World headquarters. "They all called. Ron called me first and said, ‘We made a mistake. We don't have an excuse for it, and we're sorry.' He said that they are writing me a check right now for the purse money, and they are working on getting the points straightened out. He also said that they are contacting Thomas (Fournier) on getting me my trophy.<BR><BR>"Rob King called me next and basically said the same thing, that he was sorry for the trouble. He said that he was blown away by it because the rule bulletin was by him and he didn't even realize it at the time. He was also thanking me for being so nice and not raising a bunch of hell there at the track. At the track, I was like, ‘Well, if that's the rule then I wasn't playing by the rules.' Because I didn't read the rulebook or anything. I didn't think you could cheat on an SV.<BR><BR>"Then Merrill called me up and just confirmed what Ron and Rob said. Merrill was the one who really made a big deal to say that there was no excuse and that they would put something into place so that this doesn't happen again. ‘We made a mistake,' was what he was telling me. He apologized too. All three of them apologized and congratulated me. He did seem like he felt bad about it. All three seemed very sincere in their apologies. I just didn't think Merrill would call me. I mean, he's the big guy, right?<BR><BR>"They didn't say anything about the AMA putting out a press release about the situation. I didn't ask, I didn't want to seem like I was demanding an apology or anything. That doesn't matter to me. I just want my little moonshine still back."<BR><BR>Trophies at Virginia International Raceway were hand-made miniature replicas of old moonshine stills. Originally the AMA event was to be called the White Lightning 150 in reference to moonshine running that took place in the Southeastern U.S., according to VIR General Manager Jack Abbott. The "White" was dropped to make the name more politically correct but the moonshine-still trophies remained and were regarded by most podium finishers as a unique trophy worthy of keeping on display on the mantel.<BR><BR>In a message left on Roadracing World's voice mail system at about noon EDT, Tuesday, October 2, Barrick said "You are correct. Tech made a mistake. We are correcting it. We are contacting the rider and apologizing."