Doesn’t Like AMA, But Likes Mladin Less
First of all let my say that I don’t like the AMA and have never been a member. I have a hard time dumping my hard-earned money into an organization I disapprove of. Mladin is correct in stating the AMA as “disorganized” and they would have to do some major improvements before I would consider becoming a member. I’m sure if other riders had the balls, they too would speak up about their safety. But, then again, isn’t it the AMA’s job to provide safe racing conditions?
I have never been to New Hampshire International Speedway but will take Mladin’s words as truth about the conditions of the track.
I do, however, frequent Sears Point Raceway and have heard similar comments by racers about that track. Sears Point has been in the spotlight as well, for this same reason, and when it comes to improvements in the track you can bet it’s only done to improve the NASCAR turnout. I am sorry for being so logical, but why don’t they improve the track for ALL racers, not just some? Like increasing run-off area around the track? Wouldn’t NASCAR benefit from this as well? Of course they would!
The rest of Mladin’s comments and conduct, I don’t agree with. His lack of professionalism brings an immature quality to the sport. I don’t care for cocky, arrogant comments like the ones he made about Bostrom and Pegram. I think he should be fined for that kind of public conduct. The one thing that I hate is a racer getting an inflated ego just because his bike is working good this year(and last). Not to say he is not an excellent rider, but he will only be number one for a short time and the rest of the time, someone else will take his place. He should enjoy it while he can.
No Event Without Racers
Racers are the lifeblood of the AMA. Without them you do not have an event. Like most large corporations doomed to self-destruction, the higher you go in the food chain the more puny the worker’s voices become that is usually the beginning of their demise. Our sport is already dangerous enough at a local level with limited funds, local tracks, etc., without skimping on funds at a national level. We face a wall of tires just a few feet off the racing surface at most tracks. It is understandable, but not acceptable, that every local track does not make the improvements they should for racer’s safety because there is no collective voice. It is wholly unacceptable for national racers, who have stated their concerns repeatedly, to NOT have support from their own governing body!
The AMA SHOULD MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO LOBBY FOR TRACK SAFETY. If they did nothing else it would be ensure the survival of our sport. We have helped raise money for the Air Fences because someone up there is not looking out for us – when that should be a primary responsibility. If not, there will be another organization along the riders will defect to, which is already being talked about at a grassroots level, that WILL look out for our safety. We do everything we can to protect ourselves – safety wire, protective gear, etc., how can the AMA not do the same? To deny any racer’s voice, whether they be at my level – who have just started out or those who have devoted their life to the sport and are at the pinnacle – such as Mladin, is the unraveling of the fabric of our association. Get the priorities right guys and support the people who support you! We are putting our lives in your hands – get your hands out of your pocket and protect us or we won’t around and all you will pull out is lint!
What A Chickenshit Organization
Just listened to the taped interview that cost Mladin five large last weekend. You fined him five grand for *that*? What a chickenshit organization. When slut journalists print lies and the AMA is too busy defending untenable court cases to run a race schedule in an organized and orderly manner, what the hell else do you expect from your racers?
Mladin called it like he saw it. If you guys didn’t have your heads up your asses you’d either take his criticisms for what they are, an opportunity for you to improve what you do, *or* you’d send out a press release that addresses his statements with facts.
I fear the day that you guys get what you want: Motorcycle racers that are afraid or unwilling to tell it like it is. Ask yourselves what Gary Nixon would have said in similar circumstances. Count yourselves lucky. Very lucky.
Having said that, I would like to respectfully suggest that you refund Mladin the fine amount and apologize to him and the public for your behavior. You might be surprised how receptive we would all be to you guys trying to do the right thing.
Scott de Avelar Gilmore
Outraged At Tactics To Muzzle Riders
Having heard the complete dialogue resulting in your decision to fine and penalize Mladin I have to say that as a fan, participant and as an AMA member, I am outraged that the AMA continues to use these type of Naziesque tactics to muzzle riders and others associated with or competing in AMA sanctioned racing events.
The fact that Mat used language that may be borderline in some peoples’ opinion only helps illustrate the continued frustration people in Mat’s position have with sloppy journalism surrounding the most public figures in this sport as well as his JUSTIFIED frustration with the condition of numerous venues throughout the United States. Frankly, the use of the word “shit” has become such a part of the American vernacular I’m surprised it warranted comment in the first place.
I have ridden at and practiced at Loudon numerous times and Mat is correct, the track is in hideous condition and there are innumerable areas on the track that pose REAL and justifiable concern for competitors. Re-entering the lower part of the track from the upper section, particularly in the left hander just after the ‘tree house’, is just one area I am surprised hasn’t killed a rider or destroyed more bikes as a result of the extreme elevation loss immediately off the outside of the corner. Patched areas of pavement in the esses are also an area that should be looked at.
I am outraged at the behavior of the AMA at events this year, beginning with the gross mishandling of safety at Daytona (I was there helping to tune a friend’s TZ for the MBNA Pro 250cc GP and saw most the the incidents in question first-hand, the most grievous on the restart of the 200 from just feet away). This episode at Loudon, including Vanderslice’s continued strong-arming of participants and vendors in the paddock is an outrage and merits both a retraction of the fine/penalty and a public apology to all concerned and affected.
Granted, Matt is a public figure and his commentary should be tempered, but the situation in this case (sloppy journalism and misrepresentation of his own words in a public venue) justifiably warrants a strong response from him and you should allow riders to confront misquotes in whatever manner they deem necessary to set the record straight. Imagine your response to Cycle World or any other magazine publicly misquoting you. If there is any action that should be taken it is the removal of AMA sanction of ALL events at NHIS (as well as other venues coming under criticism this year) until suitable improvements can be made to the circuit(s).
Improvements that should be recommended by a joint committee of Pro Riders and AMA safety officials (and riders should outnumber AMA officials). NHIS should also consider the installation of their own Air Fence in areas of greatest concern on the track.
If Pro riders are concerned with safety at certain venues you can be assured that the risk to less-talented riders is even more acute in other events at the same track throughout the racing season (i.e CCS and WERA events among others). I urge you to reconsider your fine and penalization of Mat and furthermore urge you to reconsider your attitude and approach to safety in the sport altogether. As a sanctioning body the AMA is responsible to the riders and participants of the events FIRST AND FOREMOST. Fans, press, venues should always fall second their concerns.
CEO, Gray Matter Productions, Inc.
New York, NY
Leery Of AMA Motives
First of all, I’m not a current member of the AMA although I should be. I appreciate the representation that the AMA gives motorcyclists in this country. Your legislative work and legal battles are admirable most of the time. The racing arm of the AMA has fallen a bit behind in its bid to look after many of those motorcyclists. Racers are motorcyclists and their safety is as important as any other AMA Member you represent on the street, dirt, ice or what have you.
As a current club racer and former AMA racer I’d like you to know that I love racing and riding motorcycles. I’ve had the opportunity to race professionally, even with the AMA and I must admit that I’ve become more and more leery of the motives of the AMA Pro Racing section. I must admit that I don’t know the details of organizing and promoting a race. I imagine it’s fairly difficult and I commend those that work hard to accomplish this feat so that the fans have a race to watch. Racing allows Racers to promote their sponsors (all the racers?), the sponsors can get some exposure, the manufacturers can advertise their bikes, and the track and promoter can hopefully make a living.
What I don’t understand is that the AMA is a *nonprofit* organization that represents motorcyclists. ALL MOTORCYCLISTS. That includes the racers I hope. On the other hand, there seems to be certain members of the AMA (non profit organization), that are also members of a *for profit* entity within the same infrastructure (Paradama or something like that?). If this is the case, or something remotely similar to it, then it appears that a slight conflict of interest may be the case. How can the same group of AMA Officials work to look after motorcyclists and also look after a profit? Which is more important if push came to shove? Many AMA members, former members, and non-members are concerned.
Speaking of “push comes to shove”; I just listened to the MP3 file of Matt Mladin at a press conference during the recent AMA National at Loudon NH. The same press conference that he was fined $5000. He sounded miffed that the track is unsafe. From looking at the place, I’d agree that it’s lined with barriers and appears unsafe. He sounded miffed and spoke his mind. He was talking to journalists, about journalism and he spoke his opinion. He should not, and cannot be fined for speaking his opinion in this regard. I guess the word “shit” can be deemed a no-no, but a $5000 fine? On television, there aren’t children at many press conferences during sport events and athletes often use profanity while expressing their opinion. They bleep over the words and move on. I suggest you all do the same and get over it.
Mladin has the *right*, duty and obligation to speak his opinion about safety issues that involve him or other racers. Interestingly enough, his stated opinion about safety are the same issues that the AMA is supposed to watch for on behalf of Mladin and the other members of the AMA racing community. From my perspective, the AMA should say something about track safety before any racer brings it up. When racers do bring it up the AMA, as their representative, should act on behalf of the motorcyclists first, not last. That is the duty of the AMA.
That’s where the “for profit” entity becomes a conflict of interest. Which is more important; Racers/motorcyclists or the bottom line? My local racing organization is “non profit” similar to the AMA, only there is no “for profit” entity. Thank God for that because they can make decisions without being blinded by green, even if they have to cancel a race and lose money.
Oh, well, you can roam the pits and charge every racer $5000 for each use of a profane word.
p.s. Mladin ranted about being stuck behind Bostrom during qualifying. Too bad for Mladin. He spent an entire session getting in the way of Ben Bostrom a couple of years ago only he did so on purpose. Mladin can pound sand on that issue.
Mladin’s $5000 fine Is Utterly Ridiculous
After reading in print and then listening to Mat Mladin’s comments from the post-qualifying press conference at Loudon, NH, I can say in all honesty; a $5000 fine and one point deducted from his season points total is utterly ridiculous and is incredibly stupid. If AMA Pro Racing personnel want to talk about what is detrimental to the sportsmanship of the AMA Superbike Championship and what makes it look unprofessional, perhaps they should look no further than their own actions concerning this matter.
AMA Action Inexcusable
After listening to the Mladin interveiw I find the action takin by the AMA towards Mladin is inexcusable. Mr. Mladin used the press conference to address concerns reguarding the press. One would believe that all concerned were in attendance. I can think of no better place to express concerns of misquoting and mis-reporting.
As far as being critical of other riders Mr. Mladin described his fast lap and what happened on that lap, answering the question directly. Also expressing a concern reguarding track procedure which had a direct impact on the qualifying lap times. This “inside info” is just what fans like to hear. The view from the seat, so to speak.
The use of profanity is unfortunate to be sure, I agree it should not be used in this type of situation. However the AMA press release stating “using profanity at times” lead me to believe that much stronger and prolific use of profanity occurred. A more accurate description would have been “using a profane word”
While I do not always agree with Mr. Mladin’s comments I always respect his conviction and his willingness to express these convictions. The AMA should not be in the business of editing or censoring rider comments. They are the riders’ comments not the AMA’s. This is what fans want to be let in on. One can only imagine a list of acceptable responses to press inquiries being handed out at the next AMA riders meeting.
Gentleman and ladies of the AMA , smooth your feathers and do the right thing. Rescind your inexcusable action taken in this case.
Mladin Fine A Huge Mistake
After reviewing the tape, and comparing what was actually said in comparison to what AMA releases stated, it is my opinion that somebody within the AMA organization has made a huge mistake in the issuance of a fine to Mat Mladin. The hardest thing for any man to do is admit you made a mistake and ask the forgiveness of the falsely accused party. It is my sincere hope that the AMA will do the right thing, apologize to Mat Mladin, and work harder, and in conjunction with the racers involved for the advancement, safety, and future of motorcycle racing.
He’s Mad About The Chouinard DQ
Your treatment of privateer Chuck Chouinard at Loudon is grossly unfair. As a racer (USCRA Open Champion ’94, ’95, ’99 and team manager for Jonathan Spinney in ’00) and tuner I find your interpretation of the no-metal-removal rule to be absurd. I can understand your suspicion when your technicians saw marks. Those marks should have led you to take measurements to verify. To summarily disqualify a rider based on suspicion is wholly unfair.
As an AMA member and racer I urge you to overturn your decision. I would also urge the AMA to review its mission in regards to road racing. I fell your obligation should be to your members. Even those who don’t participate in the sporting side of motorcycling are becoming concerned with all of the bad press and illogical actions taken by your organization.
Keith D. Hussey
Reader E-mails To AMA On Mladin Controversy, Part 2
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Doesn’t Like AMA, But Likes Mladin Less