Digital Edition Subscribers: Read Roadracing World Magazine Now >   |   3-Month Trial Subscription >
Roadracing World.com - An Online Service of Roadracing World Magazine
SHARE:
Apr 9, 2002

Updated Post: More Reader (And Racer, And Cornerworker) Reaction To AMA Pro Racing Fontana Officiating

From Darryl Bustamante, who signed himself "Motorcyclist at large, Former AMA member, Disgusted race fan, Empty pockets due to concession prices":<BR><BR>"It was indeed a shame to watch probably the greatest race for second place in history, and a Cinderella story for Doug Chandler fall flat due to obviously awful AMA officiating in race two. I have never seen fans on their feet and shouting as much during a race in over 18 years of attending events. In the area where the crashed bike in question was, there was sufficient personnel and time to move the bike out of the way to avoid a red flag condition. During the Extreme race, I guess no one noticed Roger Lee watching the race from the turn one airfence and deemed it necessary to halt that race.<BR><BR>"It was a sad day indeed for the fan, the racers and definitely for Doug Chandler, that unprofessional race control by the AMA has driven a wedge further between the fan and AMA members alike. Oh, and don't leave out the prices at concessions for food and beverages that were beyond the boundaries of robbery. <BR><BR>"I give a full thumbs down to the AMA and the Fontana Speedway."<BR><BR><BR><BR>From Shandra Rubchinuk: "Chuck Chouinard got stripped of his second place finish at Loudon. He was mocked at by an AMA official for being over weight and we saw his large size make what the AMA lied about seem believable. I wish more people were standing where I was when the AMA took his second place. I saw with my own eyes how Chuck was treated and how he reacted. Though he could have handled it a bit better, when you race with so much heart and accomplish the impossible, it feels that much worse when it gets taken from you for a reason that was no added advantage and one that Chuck was not aware of. Those who are fortunate to get to know Chuck, know that the AMA falsely accused him. They suspend him from the AMA and then use him in an advertisement. Now to add to the political BS of AMA Superbike Racing, Ben Spies doesn't lose his finish? Is it because Chuck doesn't play the role and say what people want him to say? Or was the starter just upset because of his supersticious tire warming coming up to grid? Maybe it was because he beat many teams that put an extraordinary amount of money and time into their bikes, riders and PR and Chuck puts his next meal on the line for the love of motorcycle racing. I thought that's what the American Motorcycling Association was supposed to be about. As much as I like many of the AMA riders, I am very excited that FUSA is coming to Loudon this year but more excited to know that the AMA is not."<BR><BR><BR><BR>From racer Peter Pellack: "In regards to all that has been going on this year and last with rules, officiating, and the way things are being handled I am no longer upset by the fact that I will not be able to attend one AMA race this year. With that said I am looking forward to my first year of racing with CCS/FUSA where to date I have been treated with unbelievable service and respect. Thanks for a place to vent!"<BR><BR><BR><BR>From racer Stephen Bowline: "It occurred to me while driving home from my miserable performance this past weekend at Fontana that the cost of not having Thursday practice is infinitely more expensive than the added expense of running it. I can't say that would have qualified had I had a couple more sessions, but I can say that everyone who came out for the Fastrack weekend had a huge advantage. And the cost of that was probably triple of what a day of practice would have been one day before the event.<BR><BR>"I mean, think about it. People that came out for Fastrack had to not only take that extra day off work than they normally would have, but they had to drive or fly back home and come back a week later. That plus the $200 for Fastrack is more than the Thursday practice cost ($100) I paid at Sears last year.<BR><BR>"Anyway, qualifying or no and cost analysis aside, it pissed me off that the AMA would just make this decree. I guess you can say it's a safety thing, but to me it seems like just a self-serving declaration made without regard and 'justified' by an outright lie."<BR><BR><BR><BR>From Andrew Monachella: "First, thank you for all the great reporting. I am the best informed race follower among my friends. Second, on occasion, I think that I am going to read some hatchet job by you about the AMA and then I read comments like the ones from today, April 8th, about the officiating at Fontana and you are vindicated again. Every single time you have been proven correct. I wish someone would put a leash on the AMA. I believe that road racing in the USA would be much more popular if it weren't being run by them. Thanks again for a great publication."<BR><BR><BR><BR>From Karl Marsh: "I am a former club racer, and I am an experienced cornerworker in the AFM racing club, AMA, FIM and AHRMA. I agree that from my perspective watching on TV, I saw several mistakes at Fontana but you can not blame AMA Pro Racing. It was their first time at that venue and the local crew there looked to be all car people. (Car people never go anywhere near a live race track, that's why the bike just sat there in race 2.) Hell they did not even have a crash truck. I almost died laughing seeing them, the car corner guys, trying to load Hacking's bike into a pickup.<BR><BR>"Anticipating a problem with the locals, the AMA aggressively tried to recruit AFM cornerworkers (and I assume other experienced motorcycle cornerworkers) to come down to Fontana, and a few did, but obviously not enough.<BR><BR>"The AMA has a standing deal with any licensed AFM cornerworkers. They will reimburse some of your air fare and give you tickets, camping passes, food, expense money and anything else you need when traveling out of town and working one of their road race events. Last year at Sears Point Ron Barrick told all of us, (the AFM crew), that if we wanted to work any of the AMA Pro road race events to contact him directly and he would make it happen.<BR><BR>"I can tell you from previous pre and post-race meetings that Ron Barrick and the rest of the people at AMA Pro racing are very serious about rider safety. He (Ron) comes over to various corners at breaks and asks about certain incidents trying to figure out why the crash happened and how he could avoid it in the future. He is constantly involved in repositioning Air Fence sections (thanks RW) and making sure haybales are in the correct positions. He is very good at what he does and managing the safety of the riders is his first priority. It is not possible for the AMA to have a traveling staff of cornerworkers for every venue. In fact they use the local crew pretty much everywhere they go. From this cornerworkers perspective, AMA Pro Racing is a first class operation.<BR><BR>"I can promise you this. When the AMA comes to Sears Point and Laguna Seca, all of the AFM workers will be there, and there will be no mistakes or unnecessary danger to the riders or unnecessary red flags.<BR><BR>"I feel sometimes that Roadracing World beats on the AMA a little too much, and think you need to put things into perspective. I saw some of the worst officiating ever at the F-USA race at Daytona last year when they should of threw a red flag and did not when it started raining. People were crashing left and right.<BR><BR>"I do really appreciate that RW raised the money for the Air Fence. It makes my job much easier when the riders get back up on their own."<BR><BR>(Editorial Note: "Put things into perspective?" See our editorial headlined "F-USA Finale Featured Worst Daytona Officiating in 26 Years", posted on Roadracingworld.com 10/23/01. We report screwed-up officiating, whether it is AMA or FUSA or anybody else. The answer is to not screw up the officiating, and to not use unqualified car-oriented cornerworkers, which seems to be the excuse you're making for AMA Pro Racing.)<BR><BR><BR><BR>From racer Jack Aksel of Axljak Racing: "Although I also deplore the lack of consistent officiating by the AMA at Fontana, is anyone actually surprised by it?<BR><BR>"My concern was with what I didn't see during the Saturday leg of the Superbike race. Although I saw plenty of Air Fence deployed around the track, I also noticed what appeared to be a horrible oversight in what I believe might be the turn 5 area. As the riders came out of the long left-hand sweeper (T4?) they're heading straight at a couple of sections of BARE concrete wall at about 130 mph according to Ski (TV race commentator and former racer David Sadowski) before they tip it into a sharp left. Obviously someone noticed this discrepancy and the area was covered by Air Fence for Sunday's events. Given the tragedy involving Ricky Lundgren on Friday, I just can't believe that this was allowed to happen. I know that there are plenty of people that are very concerned for rider safety and that they worked with the track to make it as safe as possible. I also understand that the AMA is very limiting in their approach to all things concerning racing. But I won't get to watch some of the best racers in the world come to my local track because it has been deemed 'unsafe' by AMA officials and some racers. (Yes I'm referring to the NHIS debacle). Yet, they were willing to race on a new track during questionable weather conditions with BARE concrete walls perpendicular to the racing line. I've also read quotes from racers about how nice and safe the new track at Fontana is. I'm confused. Did this really happen? Please tell me that I was hallucinating Saturday night. Hey, I know that the Fontana track is a big track with 21 turns and all. If the AMA needed some extra Air Fence to cover it I'm sure that NHIS would have considered loaning or renting some out. After all, they just spent another $50,000 for additional Air Fence. But seriously folks, what the hell is going on? Am I blind? Please tell me that I'm wrong!"<BR><BR><BR><BR>From former racer, now tuner, Bruce Lind: "So, AMA 'PRO' Racing does away with Thursday practice. They send out the entry confirmation with the schedule for the weekend indicating that the 250 Qualification will be by timed session instead of heat races as they have done for the last decade.<BR><BR>"The AMA rulebook states that classes using timed qualifying will have a 112% cut off.<BR><BR>"But, when the AMA imposed this on the Pro Thunder class a couple of years ago at Daytona, and it cut the field in half, they waved the requirement (after a large part of those eliminated had left the track).<BR><BR>"The rain effectively eliminated the Saturday 250cc practice session (12 minutes, come on).<BR><BR>"So 50% of the field was not allowed to start the main event.<BR><BR>"Limited practice time at a track most of them had never seen before. No direct, formal notification that the 112% cut off would be applied (yes, I know it is the responsibility of the rider to have read and know the rulebook, but like with disqualifications, the AMA does not seem to be able to apply their own rules with consistancy).<BR><BR>"Now those who want to cut classes and eliminate the 'weedwackers' can point to the fact that there are only 18 riders and machines that can make the cut and 'be professional' racing and that is too few machines to run a class for!<BR><BR>"I would consider it to be a conspiracy, but I don't think Vanderslice and Hollingsworth are that intelligent to have planned it out.<BR><BR>"Thanks for hearing my rant."