On June 16, 2008 I wrote an opinion piece about comments made by Roger Edmondson in a recent newspaper article concerning motorcycle racers. We had some interesting responses to the articles from our readers, which you can read below in their unedited form.
- The guy is obviously a jerk and to be honest AMA has not exactly been an exciting series to watch for some time. Sounds like he’s going to be one of the final nails in the American motorcycle racing series coffin. With MotoGP making an appearance at Laguna and WSB coming to Miller Motorsports Park, racing fans thankfully have more exciting options. Manufactures seem to be focused on MotoGP and WSB as well hence the lack of competition (for the different makes) that has been the standard in AMA for years. What I would like to see is MotoGP and/or WSB make a couple more appearances in the States which could very well happen since turnout here for those races thus far are good.
- Great article, and well timed. Thanks for putting it out there. So far, Mr. Edmunson has been a great proponent of racing…in World Superbike. He may well end up with a privateer-only operation in the US, with few or no “name” racers.
- You are right on in your piece about Edmondosn and the DMG taking over racing. Thanks for standing up for the riders.
- Your piece on Edmondson’s quote about moto-racers having a tiny comfort zone is right on the money. Edmonson is a blowhard who cost the AMA millions in legal challenges over race sanctioning a few years ago. The exact reason I ended my membership in the AMA. Now he’s in charge of domestic motorcycle racing. Only bad things can come of this. Don’t let him off the hook.
- Your article on Roger Edmondson’s attitude and comments was dead on, very well written, and showed a great deal of professional restraint for which you are to be commended. Excellent job!
- This article brings to mind the battles that Kenny Roberts fought in Europe to make Racing safe and profitable for the racers of that day that were merely being exploited by the FIM. I believe Mr. Mladin is merely trying to do the same thing. Maybe he needs the help of the rest of the AMA paddock.
- If motorcycle racers have “a comfort zone the size of a gnat”, perhaps Mr. Edmondson believes that NASCAR racers have no comfort zone, whatsoever. After all, they travel at high speeds like motorcyclists, but they won’t get near an immovable object (such as a
wall) without being in a cage fortified by specially designed steel structures, and strapped to a specially designed racing seat by a five-point harness.
NASCAR also won’t run if there’s any moisture at all on the track, while I’ve seen MotoGP races in saturated rain conditions, and a World Superbike race in driving, heavy rain.
- In general I agree with your premise the spokesman is generally out to lunch. However, I do not agree that tracks are the reason that Europe does much better with motorcycles as sporting events.
In the US we have a whole host of factors that lead to dismal attendance at motorcycle races. I can think of a few, distance to tracks, price of tickets, lack of a coherent set of races we identify with, and now a real contest for my discretionary funds due to rampant inflation in fuel prices to go places. The motorcycle cruiser crowd is more into things like bike rallies that are really entertainment events centered around a lifestyle I have no interest in.
The squid racers in the US who regularly around here kill themselves trying emulate the latest crop of MotoGP riders on our highways in general turns lots off on bike riding. Unfortunately, the general populace in the US has given all forms of motor racing, 2 and 4 wheeled the “dirty, smelly, noisy and unclean” label and have what they consider better alternatives.
Motorcycling in the US is much more diverse than the European model, (thank goodness). And the distances to cover in our much less densely populated country (not so much on the east coast) make it much more expensive for race teams, and spectators alike.
- Where can we get this weezils email address & whoever he reports to? Sounds like a lose/lose situation here. Why did the AMA give up ProRacing to a guy like this??
- If one looks a bit farther back in the history of track safety, then Sir Jackie Stewart comes to mind.
It was his initial overtures for improving track safety for F1 30 years ago that has made the F1 venues some of the safest in history. It is time for similar actions to be taken. Matt Mladin is one of the many motorcycle champions who have raced in the US and Canada who could, and should, be a spokesperson for motorcycle safety at ALL tracks where motorcycles are run. Not just pro circuits. One only has to look at the suitability of many of the local tracks in the US and Canada to really get a better understanding of where risks are being taken. Loudon is not so bad in comparison. Those of us who ride track days for the love of the sport stand to lose just as much as the paid professionals with far less acclaim. Is there someone with sufficient credibility within the motorcycle community who will stand up and say “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.”
- I agree with you regarding Roger Edmonson…
I was living (and amateur RR-ing) in Europe when KR took on those who boasted “We’ll call the shots”, and he won. Because the fans pay to see the riders not the promoters.
I do however take a MAJOR EXCEPTION to your comment…
“Safety is what Europe requires, and this is part of why Europe completely out-classes us here in the United States when it comes to the quality, popularity and attendance at motorcycle roadracing events.”
Ed, that comment is patently false and I assume that is because you have never raced in Europe nor attended the IoM, the Irish RR Series, nor any local/amateur road races. “Road” races in Europe still take place on roads in many places and on many levels. I’ve raced in Europe; I visit Europe yearly to attend the races and I communicate daily with folks who race and ride in Europe right now. Have you ever been to track day in Europe? I have and they are quite an experience – nothing at all like the over-regulated affairs in the States that are limited by attorneys and litigation.
The average rider like you and me who lives in Europe has far more admiration for the IoM riders (and other similar competitors) than for the GP/WSBK riders. Of course, they follow all forms of racing. European Racing out-classes American racing because riding is a part of the European fabric of life; motorcycling requires single-minded dedication that Americans don’t have for such a risky/challenging pursuit. Unless, it is indoors, easy to park, easy to sit-down, easy to get junk food…
Ya’ get my drift. Yeah, Supercross and Monster Trucks are great draws!!!!
They are nearly as easy as turning on the boob tube….
Think it over! Go experience ‘real’ European riding and racing.
Then re-write a more authoritative article about why Roger Edmonson is an idiot, and why we need someone like KR (and Matt simply isn’t) to re-build American Racing! I was hoping that MJ’s participation would have an impact, but…
Thanks for reading,
- I’ll keep this brief as I am quite sure you will be getting lots of email about Mr. Edmondson. His comments are so reprehensible and denote such an underlying disrespect for the participants in the sport his DMG group is suppose to represent, the future of motorcycle racing in the USA is now in great doubt. The NASCAR like homogenizing and emasculating rules of ‘Daytona Superbike’ were bad enough, but now this. I fear that the AMA has turned over its racing future to an incompetent.
- “DMG is doing it’s best to continue AMA’s dysfunctional efforts regarding sanctioned motorcycling in America.” DMG and a NASCAR association, SCARY! DMG relates to no one but itself while NASCAR is being sued for corporate indiscretions. Once again, competitors expressed concerns do not count.
- You picked up on one, but not the most ridiculous statements, those concerning making tracks which only race in the dry as rain-or-shine events.
In particular, he LIED about other racing bodies racing in the wet, and completely ignores track safety issues.
Ask anyone who’s done a wet trackday at Infineon and they can tell you just how dangerous that track would be to race in the wet.
- . . . well stated Mr. Edge. (I hope Roger Edmondson and DMG pay heed.)
- Kudos on a great editorial. I would like to see racing between all the factories a la WSBK instead of the Yoshimura dominated AMA SBK but the more Edmondson speaks, the less appeal I have for the DMG run AMA.
- I’ve got a small nit to pick. The correct quote is “the proof of the pudding is in the tasting.” If the proof was actually in the pudding, it would be rather messy.
- While I agree with what you are saying about tracks should be as safe as possible, and that ANY racer, 2 wheels or 4 should never be considered a sissy, I think you missed the mark a little bit in your article.
There is no reason for you to call out auto racers because “they won’t get near an immovable object (such as a wall) without being in a cage fortified by specially designed steel structures, and strapped to a specially designed racing seat by a five-point harness.” The fact of the matter is there are more racers injured/killed per capita in those “specially designed steel structures” than bike pilots so one could argue THEY are more of the risk taker.
The other thing I disagreed with was your perspective on why bike racing isn’t popular in the states. The fact of the matter is there are too many options for Americans for ANYTHING to get as much of a hold on people as it does around the world, Nascar being an exception to the rule. Sure we show up in the playoffs or when there is a big tournament but how many people do you think follow college basketball before their office puts out the final four brackets. We as Americans are lucky to have as many options as we do but again all that means it the buck gets spread a little thinner. It doesn’t help that we have an attention span of a gnat.
Thank you for your time and effort you put into your web site. I read it every morning…
- Morning Dirck, Well put. Nice shot!
- Excellent editorial.
When I go to Mid-Ohio every year I want to see motorcycle racing but I don’t go to see crashes. As someone who has done a trackday there I can tell even at my slow-ass pace, in the dry, that there are some unsafe turns there. Especially the turn that leads in to Thunder Valley.
If I go and it rains I’m disappointed if they don’t race but I understand. It’s not worth the substanstial increase in risk to anyone’s life and/or livelihood to entertain me.
On another note, I never saw the results of the Japanese 4 cylinder versus alternatives article.
Keep up the good work.
- What a brilliant piece. Good thing you guys are not afraid of this boofhead and call it as you see it. I am a resident of Australia and have been to Moto GP at Laguna three times, have seen Nicky and Stoner win, and in 1995 saw Gobert win one and Corser the second SBK event. Off to Indy Moto GP this year to that famous part of your country to see the best at play. Maybe you could invite Mr Edmondson along to show him how a real show operates…… Go the Aussies in AMA.
- I agree that His words may have been a little negatively directed towards motorcycle racers. Without a shadow of a doubt, motorcycle riders, especially racers are some of the most daring, risk taking people on the planet. Maybe he is experiencing a higher stress level due to the amount of money he may have to spend to bring racetracks in the U.S. to the standards that europe has accomplish. The problem I believe is the non-motorcycle riders mantality here in the U.S. In other countries people ride motorcycles more than cars. Americans are too comfortable driving around in there big SUV’s. My hope is that american’s come to the realization that gas prices and traffic are going to continue rising. Motorcycle can eliminate alot of the expense and congestion. Also the AMA’s announcers are not the greatest (No offense to Freddie Spencer). The coverage is good but lacks the persona and glorification that Motogp or WSBK does. There format is much different. I hate how the american announcer are almost preaching to us there knowledge of racing fundamentals as if were idiots. They should take notes from the British announcers. I am a motorcycle fanatic and a proud american in the armed forces.