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Dec 3, 2002

Updated Post: AMA Says It Has Support For War With FIM

From a press release issued by AMA:<BR><BR>AMA GATHERS SUPPORT AGAINST FIM THREAT<BR><BR>PICKERINGTON, OHIO -- The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports that it has received support from throughout the American motorcycling community after announcing last Tuesday that it had been threatened with expulsion from the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) by that organization's president.<BR><BR>"We're gratified that we've heard so many expressions of support," said Robert Rasor, President of the AMA. "It's clear that a great number of motorcycling enthusiasts, competitors, industry representatives, and journalists stand with us in our fight to preserve the integrity of American motorcycling."<BR><BR>The FIM is the world-wide motorcycle sanctioning body based in Geneva, Switzerland, and the AMA is its sole U.S. affiliate. The threat to expel the AMA came from FIM President Francesco Zerbi in a November 20, 2002, letter to AMA President Robert Rasor. The letter was Zerbi's response to AMA Pro Racing's objection to the FIM's efforts to unilaterally impose its authority, rules and sanction on 15 of the 16 events in the 2003 AMA Supercross Series.<BR><BR>In last Tuesday's announcement, Rasor stated the AMA's agreement with AMA Pro Racing's objection to the FIM's actions, as well as the Association's support of AMA Pro Racing's efforts "to use all necessary means to protect AMA Supercross from unwarranted interference."<BR><BR>Later that day, in a related action, AMA Pro Racing announced that it had filed a lawsuit in federal district court, seeking an injunction to enforce an agreement stipulating that AMA Pro Racing has the exclusive rights to sanction 15 Clear Channel Motorsports' events in the 16-event AMA Supercross Series. A hearing in the case has been scheduled for December 17, 2002.<BR><BR><BR>A related press release issued by AMA Pro Racing yesterday:<BR><BR>HEARING DATE SET IN AMA PRO RACING CASE<BR><BR>PICKERINGTON, Ohio--Paradama Productions, Inc., d/b/a AMA Pro Racing, announced today that a hearing date has been set in federal district court for its case against Clear Channel Motorsports.<BR><BR>The hearing, scheduled for December 17, will consider AMA Pro Racing's request for an injunction, pending arbitration, to enforce the Supercross Sanctioning Agreement signed by both parties in March. In order for Federal District Court Judge James L. Graham to grant an injunction, he will have to consider the likelihood of success based on the merits of AMA Pro Racing's case.<BR><BR>"We're confident in our case and look forward to obtaining an injunction in court," said Scott Hollingsworth, CEO of AMA Pro Racing. "From comments recently made by Clear Channel Motorsports, it's obvious to me that they are in favor of allowing the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme) into the AMA Supercross Series in the role of a sanctioning body. Not only would this violate our agreement, it is not in the best interests of the series. One only need look at the recent debacle of the Motocross of Nations to see what that could lead to."<BR><BR>Clear Channel Motorsports issued a statement last week indicating that the case was between AMA Pro Racing and the FIM, and did not involve Clear Channel. "That is incorrect," said Hollingsworth. "This case absolutely involves Clear Channel. Our contract with Clear Channel Motorsports recognizes AMA Pro Racing's exclusive sanctioning rights to the series."<BR><BR>When AMA Pro Racing objected to the FIM, it threatened the AMA with expulsion, even though neither the FIM nor the AMA are parties to AMA Pro Racing's contract with Clear Channel.<BR><BR>"After our extraordinarily successful management of the AMA Supercross Series for 29 consecutive years, we will not accept being summarily edged aside," Hollingsworth added. "The behavior of Clear Channel is unacceptable, and we are asking the court to force the company to uphold its contractual responsibilities."<BR><BR><BR>Clear Channel's Statement, issued last week:<BR><BR>AURORA, Ill (November 27, 2002) - In response to the AMA's recent press releases and subsequent lawsuit, Clear Channel Entertainment - Motor Sports today released the following statement.<BR><BR>The statement released by Ken Hudgens, Clear Channel Entertainment's vice president of marketing.<BR><BR>"Clear Channel Entertainment -- Motor Sports is the promoter of the AMA Supercross Series and the THQ World Supercross GP Series of which the U.S. championship events are a part.<BR><BR>"AMA Pro Racing acknowledged and agreed to this 'series within a series' concept from the outset of our new contractual relationship with them last spring - in the contract itself, in our many discussions with them, and in their statements to the press.<BR><BR>"AMA Pro Racing apparently now has a dispute with the FIM, the international sanctioning body of which it is an affiliate, over whether AMA recognizes FIM's ultimate authority over the conduct of motorcycle racing sanctioned by its affiliates when such events are part of a world championship. That is not Clear Channel Entertainment - Motor Sports' dispute, and it will have no effect on the upcoming supercross season, which kicks off in Geneva, Switzerland on December 7, 2002."