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May 21, 2002

AMA Pro Racing Appeal Board: Buckmaster R7 Not Legal, But He'll Keep Formula Xtreme Finishes And Points To Date

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>An AMA Pro Racing Appeal Board ruled today that Damon Buckmaster's Yamaha YZF-R7 is not legal for the Formula Xtreme class, but that Buckmaster will be allowed to keep his race finishes and points earned to date.<BR><BR>The bike will not be allowed to compete again in Formula Xtreme, the Board ruled.<BR><BR>Buckmaster's YZF-R7 was protested following his win at the opening round for the Formula Xtreme class, at Fontana on April 7.<BR><BR>Critical evidence presented at the hearing included an e-mail sent to an AMA member by AMA Pro Racing Technical Manager Rob King, dated September 7, 2001, in which King stated that the R7 had been allowed to race in 2001 under special dispensation and that it would not be allowed to compete in 2002, when the new R1 was introduced.<BR><BR>Other evidence included an MSO for a YZF-R7 sold in the U.S., which was clearly marked that the bike was not legal for street use.<BR><BR>The Board rejected AMA Pro Racing's contention that the rule requiring machines to be sold for street use in the United States was unclear, and the contention that a bike being legal for street use anywhere in the world made it legal for AMA Formula Xtreme. The Board blamed Pro Racing for not better communicating with teams, and it was because Graves Motorsports Yamaha was not clearly warned that its R7 would not be allowed in 2002 that the Board allowed Buckmaster to keep his finishes and points earned to date despite finding the bike clearly illegal.<BR><BR>The Board also faulted the protesting teams and riders for not filing protests of the machine in 2001, and, when told that AMA Pro Racing officials would not accept protests of the bike in 2001, demanded the paperwork showing that a protest had been written and rejected. No such paperwork was produced.<BR><BR>AMA Pro Racing Director of Competition Merrill Vanderslice deflected blame for the controversy over R7 eligibility onto the AMA Pro Racing Board of Directors as it existed in 2001, claiming that he was forced to allow the bike to race, and that actually enforcing the rule was out of his hands.<BR><BR>AMA Pro Racing was represented at the hearing by Vanderslice, King and Ron Barrick. Others attending or testifying at the hearing, held at AMA headquarters in Pickerington, Ohio, included Keith McCarty of Yamaha Motor Corp., Morgan Broadhead and Pat Alexander of American Suzuki Motor Corp., Attack Suzuki's Richard Stanboli, Erion Racing's Kevin Erion and Mike Hale, Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's Keith Perry, and Corona Extra Suzuki's Steve Rapp.<BR><BR>The Appeal Board hearing focused on appeals filed by Hale and Rapp after their initial protests at Fontana were denied.<BR>
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