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Dec 18, 2009

Reader Reaction To Various DMG/AMA Pro Racing Issues, Including The Poll On Rolling Restarts


Via e-mail:

Come on guys, try to be a little less biased. I'm right there with you on how DMG has screwed up but lets not let our feelings get in the way of accurate news posts.

Your lead in comment to the posting today was very misleading and made the reader believe that DMG was now going back on their previously stated decision to use clutch starts and forego the rolling start.

If you read the DMG material, it is very simple to see that they are reaching out for comment on...How to restart after a red flag where more than 2 laps have been completed. This is an additional point in the rule book and has nothing to do with the previous posting that they are getting rid of rolling starts at the "start" of the race.

I use you as a source of info daily, but sometimes you leave me shaking my head on how biased or unsupportive you can be with your comments.

I give them kudos for reaching out and letting the riders/entrants make the decision on this, rather than their typical closed room process.

Randy Cobb
Nipomo, California


Via e-mail:

Now tell me again why Al Ludington is still Technical Director, AMA Pro Racing, or why he is even still with AMA Pro Racing?

Greg Sickmeier
Indianapolis, Indiana


Via e-mail:

Thank you for your fine newspaper, website and the integrity you bring to the sport.

I have been riding Motocross and Sport bikes for 43 years and have been following all road racing since 1973. I am concerned that the illness in Washington, D.C. is spreading to motorcycle racing.

I was forced by conscience to let my AMA membership expire after 12 years when it became apparent that AARP was their business model and racing was definitely out. (Already have an AARP card.)

I had grumbled for years about the overlapping of classes and the lack of parity between factory and privateer efforts but still loved the racing.

DMG has apparently finished driving most of the nails into AMA road racing's coffin with the latest news about the purses.

Here is my question...Did DMG take TARP money?

That might explain the T-Ball mentality towards competitive racing they have taken.

Why even race at this point...Just mail everyone a trophy and save the trouble of scheduling.

I am again eagerly anticipating the upcoming WERA season.

Thanks for reading.

Jeff Roberts
Moto Wrench
Kennesaw, Georgia


Via e-mail:

RE: History Lesson: What Happened When AMA Pro Racing Didn't Make Rider Safety A Priority

...Do they make rider safety a priority now?

A timely and interesting reminder that things have not only "not" got any better but from most accounts much worse for all aspects of America's premiere motorcycle road racing series.

Economics will ebb and flow as they always have but the passion and commitment of our sports participants - be it spectators, builders and riders will never diminish. It is exactly why the current choices being made by the AMA are so far removed from reality.

Everything is fine until there is push-back. Even in the richest of economies this is true, so it is no different now to use economics as an excuse for reduced safety, bizarre class structures and unwarranted changes. As an unwelcome but "current reality of the sport"... This position is flawed.

Every time riders have joined ranks and collectively stood ground for the betterment of the sport - be it safety or spectacle - the AMA have patently pushed back. Whether it is aggressively or subtly it is the habitual position of those in control. It is no different I guess in other sports and other countries but somehow the ensconced position of the governing body in American Road Racing (despite the changing of the guard) is much more... American. A collective bargaining position is most often seen as one step closer to socialism and one step away from the capitalist ideal that seems to invade the AMA like no other.

Don't get me wrong - I am not saying that generating revenue is evil. One just has to look at the success of Formula One to see how that can work.

And, that is telling.

Formula One is made up of the FIA (Governing Body), FOTA (Manufacturers/Constructors), F1Group Ass. (Rights holders and promoters), and GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers Ass.). In reference to the "History Lesson" it is also telling to note that every single individual in power in these groups - as far as I can tell - is a former racer. All the way from Bernie to Max Mosley to the team presidents of FOTA. They all come from humble - I raced a car around a track backgrounds.

When Pedro de la Rosa, Mark Webber or Fernando Alonso (current chairmen) speak up, they are not branded irresponsible trouble makers out to ruin the sport with no knowledge of finance and economic realities... They are respected and listened to.

These groups all understand the core reason for that wonderful huge stupendous show they put on... they know what it is like to sit down, strap in and go as fast as they can and stare down a wall or two. Most coming from backgrounds when it was normal for a driver to loose more than a few friends a year. Interesting that one...

Each one of these groups fight - agree - battle - support each other but they all manage to create a sport that enhances the spectacle and experience, protects the interests of the teams, and protects the drivers safety. It never works out perfectly every time but each group is empowered when they need to be.

I am a bit uneducated with the current AMA Pro Racing (kinda hard to follow) but I think with the AMA we have.... the uhm.... AMA and perhaps a loose organization of riders that has always been looked down upon with disgust by the powers that be... "how could they want us to change? they don't know OUR reality, riders are just wanks..." and in my limited experience have always been slowly or rather abruptly squashed with impunity. Current events this year have highlighted this position greatly. Like him or not Colin Fraser knows what it is like to throw a leg over a bike but he has had an uphill battle for any effective change.

It is why riders who speak out are most times vilified and look upon as trouble makers. Mat Mladin would never have been able to say what he has or done what he has done to aid the discussion of rider rights without the tremendous talent and success he has had. And, yet he is still branded a outspoken.... rebel in almost every reference to his career. that is not the media's fault so much as it is the AMA's for not supporting him. He had to be that way to be heard. Any lesser of a rider has never been taken seriously and worse yet subjugated for doing so. John Ulrich has surely seen his fair share of push back but being in a position of some political and editorial power has managed to remain somewhat unscathed - I am sure he would say otherwise. But, a rider looking for a ride, any ride, or small team trying to make the grid will be much more apt to be quiet. Even Michael Jordan's comments have been largely looked down upon. So he knows basketball... but he knows a lot about sport and has an opinion that carries some weight. When he says it is a battle... with the kind of money he can bring to the sport???

I guess my point is - change has to be total and complete - control over the sports safety and riders have to rest realistically with an independent (idealistic) governing body, riders must have a respected voice, and the sport needs to be promoted and managed by someone who not only knows how to build the brand but "believes in it". Believes in racing a motorcycle around a track. And, knows what it is like to hear that "sickening grinding/scraping noise."

The only thing I hear that is sickening and grinding... is the noise that continually comes out of AMA Pro racing... ouch, now that was uncalled for, right? I guess I care or else I wouldn't have written this.

Dean de St. Croix
Waterdown, Ontario, Canada


Via e-mail:

Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.


And again.

And yet again.

Bring it up as many times as are necessary.

It is a sorry state of affairs that the same issues are still present year after year, regime after regime...

I admit I do not know how to run a racing series but the system/program DMG has in place seems totally screwed up in classes, in racer safety, in program, in goals for rider development and in just about every way.

I am struggling to find things they are doing well or even competently.

Is there any hope?

George Leavell
Gilroy, California


Via e-mail:

I just cancelled my TV.

I'm too busy riding and wrenching for movies. After discovering the
excitement of road racing I found scripted sitcoms boring. When Keith Code
personally funded broadcasts of F-USA races in the early 90s I installed a
satellite dish so I could watch the races I could not get to in the flesh.
More and more races made their way to the TV, so I've had cable ever since.

After reading today's news I canceled my TV service. All it brought me was
AMA races anyway, since MotoGP and WSBK are on the web.

I had high hopes for DMG. I remember the creation of CCS, and its
integration into the AMA series. I remember Roger Edmondson winning his
lawsuit against the AMA. I was hoping he would improve the AMA road racing
scene. Hasn't happened. Like a U.S. President Edmondson is something other
than a King.

NASCAR owns DMG and Edmondson is an employee of DMG. Whoever is making the
decisions, they are making the wrong ones.

Why would I pay money to see Superbikes that aren't as hot as some of my
friend's street rides? Why would I pay money to watch races with the rules
rigged so Harley can have some win ads? Why would I pay money to watch
races when the rulebook only applies to non-Harley racers? How am I
supposed to reconcile the way Mladin had two wins pulled because of
irrelevant markings on his Suzuki's crank with suddenly declaring a
racetrack-only Buell legal for the same "Production based" class?

DMG only bought a series; the sport will go on without them.

Scott "Roserunner" Baldwin
AFM #47(retired)
AMA #618007(Earned Life Member)
Santa Rosa, California


Via e-mail:

How do you tell someone that you've had a longstanding relationship with that the spark has died? If you're DMG, you change the rules/purse to manipulate the structure for the entire American Superbike grid.

The current climate can only be described as a Dear John letter with a Post Script that says "Love ya, but not enough to keep ya." For riders like myself, Scott Jensen, David Anthony and others, the decision by the Daytona Motorsports Group to restrict, and virtually eliminate the purse for the American Superbike placements from fourth on drives home the message that the romance is over.

Oddly enough DMG expects the Privateer to pay to play in "the Show". They expect us to consent to all entertainment, media and digital rights for free, while they work towards profit. They also expect the privateers and their sponsors who have worked tirelessly to promote, advertise, and contribute their time and money to a once vigorous racing series to continue to do so with absolutely zero payout and in the case of American Superbike"¦a limited shelf life.

After some soul searching I cannot find one reason why I or any privateer could justify racing American Superbike in the AMA. The purse money is vital to every privateer and in most cases a life support system to keep our programs afloat. I find it equally disconcerting that one could go to a club racing event and in one weekend make more manufacturer's contingency money than say Josh Hayes if he won an American Superbike race.

The bottom line is that DMG wants their cake and eat it too, at the cost of every rider, team and vendor of the AMA.

Davie Stone
Cave Creek, Arizona


Via e-mail:


It is with the utmost sadness that I report that AMA (Pro Racing) as we know it is officially dead"¦"¦

It lived a long life, it brought joy to millions, it will be dearly missed"¦

It fought a tough battle with the deadly disease known to the world as DMG"¦

God only knows what the future has in store"¦..

Robert Prange
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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