I respect much of what you say there, and agree with it.
So, often I get guys talking about "doing" and AMA event, and I'm like, "Why? Are you winning at the regional level as an expert? You're not ready yet. Wait until you're ready." So many guys just want to get on TV or whatever.
My take on it is that you have a group of riders. Indeed some of them are better and some of them are not as good. The back markers don't count. Anyway, this isn't car racing, so the rider plays a huge role in the program, otherwise, Nicky wouldn't be getting so much money.
Where we disagree is that I believe that there should be a set of rules that apply to everyone. Factory bikes, mine, and yours. If not, then where is the "competition". If you're supposed to have a pistol fight, and someone shows up with a grenade (and a grenade is not in the rules), then it makes the competition a farce.
The first AMA National I was at was in 1988 at Road America. I remember walking along listening to the announcer talk about how the "supersport bikes were like bikes that are available right off the showroom." A guy with his friends was walking by and made the off handed remark, "yeah, with a porting job..." I was a bit taken aback, as I'm a pretty straight shooter.
Needless to say, I found out over the years about the things that I didn't have that others did, and the blatantly illegal things that some guys had that are somewhere today.
I chased Todd and Mike around back in 1993 on no budget. I should have done like some other guys and just tossed a 2mm over bore kit in the bike, I could have got a "Two Brothers" pipe (really it was an HRC head pipe and collecter with a Two Brothers can on it, no legal because exhaust systems were supposed to be homolgized...), and then thrown the HRC black box at it. I might have been able to keep up enough that I would have learned a bit more, got a bit more attention, and blah, blah, blah.
Regardless, the playing field should be about the riders. Indeed, the teams have something to do with it. There is gray area that has to be explioted. I understand that, but the system is so far from anything reasonable that it really needs to be scrapped and have the name changed.
If everyone wants quick shifters and this is the big show, then Superbike should be the avenue.
Bottomline, Jim, you do a great job, and I can appreciate that. Others will whine and say, "Oh, I could do that if I had money..." You've done a great job. How many teams have an AMA Supersport win to their credit? For me, I had some reasonable aspirations, and a whole lot of dedication. My problem was no budget and I was to straight of an arrow to do some of the things that were clearly outside of the boundarys. Again, it might not have changed the result, but I could have been tighter in with the field. But I can say, and really few are able to say it, that I did a complete AMA program as the rider, driver, mechanic, PR
guy, etc., etc.