Here we go!
For the link-impaired:AMA Pro Racing Responds To Erik Buell's Comments
Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
This just in from AMA Pro Racing:
Your website recently published an interview with Mr. Erik Buell concerning AMA Pro Racing’s replacement of Buell Pro Thunder with the BMW BoxerCup at Daytona. It’s clear from the interview that Mr. Buell was under the impression that AMA Pro Racing replaced the Pro Thunder Championship with a BMW BoxerCup Championship - an incorrect assumption. For the benefit of your readers, a single round of the BMW BoxerCup Series, managed by BMW and sanctioned by UEM, will run in conjunction with the AMA Superbike race at Daytona. AMA Pro Racing has not added another class to its Superbike Championship.
Mr. Buell’s comments regarding Merrill Vanderslice, AMA Pro Racing and me are patently false. I assure you that Merrill and I are not liars or lunatics, and that AMA Pro Racing is not “out of control.” In fact, the growth experienced in the AMA Superbike Championship in recent years validates generally good management by our organization. Since 1999, estimates show that our live television audience has doubled, our average event purse has increased approximately 32% and our race tracks are safer. Significant investment has been made in personnel and equipment to improve operations and credential holders can comment on rules prior to their enactment. The result? The 2003 AMA Superbike grid is likely to be the most competitive in the world and the Championship is well-positioned for continued growth. That Mr. Buell chooses to describe these results as “out of control”, “bizarre” and “a tragedy” shows a self-interested perspective all too common in sports today.
Mr. Buell’s comments concerning Buell Motorcycle Company’s support for the series and the implication that AMA Pro Racing forced rules changes upon the class are a contradiction of his letters to AMA Pro Racing dated October 5th, 2000 and July 19th, 2001.
In his October 2000 letter, Mr. Buell describes the then current trends in Pro Thunder as “disturbing” citing:
1) “the number of brands on the grid is down” 2) “the number of brands on the podium is way down” and 3) “expense of the class is up.” Continuing, “Triumph is out, BMW is out, Moto Guzzi, Laverda, etc. Buell is the only one left trying to support the class”
In that letter, Mr. Buell requests two changes to the 2001 technical rules for Pro Thunder, those being:
“water-cooled multi-valve twins limited to 750cc, and a weight limit of 380 pounds for all bikes.” He then states: “Quite frankly, if the current rules for Pro Thunder continue for 2001, we will probably pull out”.
New technical rules for Pro Thunder based on comments from competitors, the road race advisory board and Mr. Buell were subsequently enacted. Those new technical regulations met Mr. Buell’s stated objectives.
In his July 19, 2001 letter, following-up discussions with AMA Pro Racing technical staff, Mr. Buell ranks combining Pro Thunder and 750 Supersport (now Superstock) as his “far preferred” alternative, stating that:
“we are willing to step up to this challenge and invest in the future of the class. This could include class sponsorship and/or team sponsorship to ensure competitive motorcycles are on the track for a good show.”
Subsequently, Pro Thunder equipment was made eligible for competition in the 750 Supersport (now Superstock) class. Therefore, Mr. Buell’s statement in his interview that he informed AMA Pro Racing “we won’t be able to run in that (Superstock) class, it’s a different level from where we are” is simply untrue. Is he suggesting now that he no longer plans to invest in the future of the class?
It gives me no great pleasure to discredit Mr. Buell in this manner, but his unwillingness to correct the record leaves our organization no other option. We are all passionate about racing. That very passion drives us to focus our lives on this sport. In this case, it appears Mr. Buell’s passion overpowered his judgment and his remarks were inaccurate and unfortunate. Mr. Buell owes AMA Pro Racing an apology.
CEO, AMA Pro Racing