Jul 10, 2001
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A videotape made by rider Mark Miller of parts of a confrontation involving New Hampshire International Speedway's Bob Bahre and Gary Bahre, AMA's Ron Barrick and Merrill Vanderslice and various riders makes the best case for never returning to the track, long-time track critics say.<BR><BR>The tape was made on Sunday, June 18 at the Loudon, New Hampshire racetrack and came into roadracingworld.com's possession on Monday evening, July 9.<BR><BR>Miller caught the controversial action while making a momento tape for his friends of pit scenes at the races. The majority of the tape shows various riders sitting around the paddock and talking among themselves and to cameraman Miller. The copy of the tape that roadracingworld.com obtained was originally made as a gift for roadracingworld.com-sponsored Chris Ulrich, who frequently trains with Miller. Miller did not make the tape as any kind of political statement.<BR><BR>In a section of videotape which will be posted on RoadracingWorld.com, Gary Bahre calls Barrick a "little coward" and an "a--hole" and says that the riders are in control and asks of Barrick, "why do we even have you?" On the tape, the Bahres repeatedly tell Barrick to order the riders to take to the track, which had been artificially dried using jet blowers after hours of rain. At no time on the tape are the Bahres seen showing anything but contempt for rider concerns in the situation.<BR><BR>On the tape, when rider Grant Lopez attempts to mediate the dispute between riders who were unsure of track conditions and the combined track and AMA forces, Bob Bahre angerly tells Lopez "there's no water anywhere" as he points at the pavement, ignoring the plea from Lopez, who desperately wanted to ride, for "10 minutes of practice to check it out."<BR><BR>"I'm sure there's water somewhere" on the track, Lopez says, trying to make the case for the short warm-up session he and other riders were asking for.<BR><BR>Vanderslice stands near both Bahres in the videotape and is seen speaking but hiw words were not caught on the videotape.<BR><BR>The abusive dialog directed at riders and AMA officials and caught on the tape stands in stark contrast to the relatively mild comments that led AMA officials to fine AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin $5000 and dock him a point, for, among other things, according to an AMA press release, "using profanity at times" and criticizing "an AMA official" as well as other riders and the racetrack itself.<BR><BR>At post time Monday night, roadracingworld.com was unable to reach any AMA officials to ask about the dual set of standards apparently being applied to riders vs. track owners. A phone call to AMA Media Relations Contractor Larry Lawrence had not been returned when this item was originally posted.<BR><BR>But in a Tuesday-morning e-mailed response, Lawrence wrote:<BR><BR>"I don't know what to tell you about the abuse that AMA officials took at the hands of the Bahres at Loudon. I wasn't aware of the situation. <BR> <BR>"Why can they use so much profanity and Mladin can't?<BR> <BR>"For one thing Mladin an AMA licensed racer and our two-time champion. He is a spokesperson for our series. The Bahres are not.<BR> <BR>"For another, the Bahres were speaking to Barrick and Vanderslice in a non-public forum. The fact that someone taped the incident does not mean that it was meant to be public. <BR> <BR>"Heated discussions at a meeting on a starting grid are very different from a press conference.<BR> <BR>"I'm speaking in generalities since I wasn't around and didn't hear or see the incident. I'm sure if it was as you described then some serious discussions will be taking place between AMA Pro Racing and the Bahres."<BR><BR>Relevant portions of the videotape will be posted on roadracingworld.com.