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MD Readers Respond to American Honda Pulling Out of AMA Roadracing Series for 2009

A couple of days ago, Gabe wrote about American Honda’s recent announcement that they would not be competing in the 2009 AMA Roadracing series. With recent management changes; the upstart of a new competing series; and lots of rule changes, the fate of AMA Roadracing in 2009 seems relatively unknown, as there is no clear indication of who will be racing where and who, if anyone, will be watching the races. As we have done many times in the past, we called upon our faithful readers to give us their thoughts on the new rules and classes for AMA roadracing. Here, in their unedited form, are the responses:

  • I do not believe that Honda and Suzuki are pulling out for economic reasons as they state. I believe they are unhappy with the DMG rulebook, and though I supported the factory teams’ position earlier this year, I feel that DMG has made enough concessions to get on with it. Yamaha is going to field a team, and if they can live with the rules, then the other factories can too if they so choose. I own several sport bikes, and will be shopping in the Spring, but based on their decision not to race, there will not be a Honda or Suzuki on my shopping list. That’s an economic reality.

  • I don’t like the AMA rules for Superbike. Maybe they want to restrict
    the power of the 4 cyl engines enough so a Harley can compete and win
    like they did on Drag Racing.

    In my opinion all motorcycle manufactures should boycott it by not
    participating on the AMA races, and by competing in the US Superbike
    instead. But since i am not a manufacturer i do the only thing i can
    do … don’t go to see the AMA races.

  • One factory team with two riders….
    Reminds me of FX with Honda, or Supersport with Yamaha.
    Spies and Mladen walked away from everyone the last several years because they rode harder.
    Now it will be two other blue bikes off in the distance.

    AMA racing will be added the F1 in 2009 that I won’t bother to record anymore.
    World Superbike looks like the only competitive series left standing!

  • It is a bit too soon to say what the new class are going to be like. I think it is a shame the factorys don’t give it a try before they throw there little fits. This could make racing quite interesting next year. Yamaha seems to be set to jump in there & try to steal the show. If Suzuki will do for Jordan’s team what it can, like Honda is with two teams, then they will have people up there to fight for wins. We will have a all new show to watch this year with all new winners. The fall out will be cool to watch, with Ben Spies giving it a go with the world guys. Now if Suzuki was to show up in SBK with Mat on his bike there would really be some fighting in SBK (they where testing for some reason). I can say I can’t wait till the flags drop in the spring. The AMA is all new , SBK we have Ben to cheer for (maybe more), & we got Nick on a Duck this year in Motogp, Collin not sure what will happen to, such a good start last year (one tire to rule them all). So much to see so little time to get to watch……….

  • Frankly, DMG was stupid for attempting to NASCAR-ize the Superbike series. Both Supersport & Superbike have always relied heavily upon factory support as well as factory teams. The OEMs clearly believe that you win on Sunday and sell on Monday, and the NASCAR like rule changes were going to change that paradigm. There’s no real brand identity in NASCAR anymore, and DMG was trying to do the same thing to Superbike. These rules effectively put the power in the hands of the sanctioning body, not the participants.

    There’s an old saying, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Well that’s exactly what DMG did here, and I hope they fail miserably. Perhaps if the OEM series succeeds with USSB, maybe that will give the F-1 mfgrs the backbone they need to take on Bernie Ecclestone & Max Mosley – and this would be a good thing for open wheel racing.

  • The initial feel of this change is unfortunate but the more shake-ups in U.S. bike racing the better. As a bike racing enthusiast I have found myself not even bothering to set the VCR the past few years to catch AMA racing. The Yosh Suzuki show gets boring after the first couple of years and having only 5 riders with a snowballs chance in hell of winning in every race is just pathetic. Less big factory involvement and rules that allow more riders to have a chance of winning is a good thing for racing. People are resistant to change, but this will ultimately prove to be good for the fans. SOMETHING big had to change.

  • Professional motorcycle road racing is dead in the United States…
    We now have competition among the well-to-do and well-connected. Rider skill?
    Engineering excellence? Crew expertise? Nah… They no longer play a part.
    How sad!!!!
    This is the country that produced Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Revin’ Kevin, KR Jr, and Nicky Hayden. 14 of the last 30 World Champs in the ultimate motorcycle racing class were from the USA.
    The new ‘Pro-Am’ series will never produce a World Champion!!!
    I will not follow this new atrocity that they are trying to pass off as “AMA Superbike”.

  • My first impression is the new rules are a step in a better direction.
    They seem not to favor anyone. To me, it seemed that the past few
    seasons, the classes were divided up between the factories. Suzuki
    had Superbike. Kawasaki was given Superstock, Yamaha was Supersport,
    and Honda had Formula Xtreme. My overall desire is to see alot of
    relatively fast bikes up front racing for the lead. The past few
    years did not offer that kind of racing in the AMA. If thats what the
    rules brings, Rock On!!!

  • This is no suprise at all, a few weeks ago Al Ludington was announced as the technical director of dmg/ama. If that didn’t give this away I don’t know what else would have. Honda can blame the economy all they want, I am sure it did not help any. The fact of the matter is honda, is no longer the same honda it was in the 70s, 80s or even 90s. They are totally out of touch with what the motorcycle consumer want. If honda really believes that the economy is really that bad, you have to ask why would they release the DN01, a 680cc v twin, automatic,14,500 scooter. You could buy a civic for about the same price. Who might I add is going to buy that. The reallity of this is what ever the class of motorcycle, atv, scooter, pwc, some other manufacture has a better quality product for less money. Honda did not even follow the 2 year update on its sportbike cbrs for the first time that I can remember. Adding c abs to a sport bike that already is out of the price range for its marketed buyers does not count as an improvment. 2009 vfr800 unchanged for last 7 years, 2009 st1300 unchanged for last 6 years, 2009 goldwing add tire psi moniters and xm radio, discontinue the base model which was 19,000 some dollars, so now base model is some 22,000 dollars, at [ bad economic times] is a little hypocritical. New for 2009 crf230m, add some street tires to the very poor selling that nobody was asking for plus 200 dollars to the crf230L. Compare the Kawasaki 250m and the Honda 230L, they are about the same price, however the Kawasaki is 10 times the bike. You don’t have to take my word for it, just go to any Honda motorcycle shop and see for yourself, The only bikes they are selling are 2005s, 2006s, and some 2007s. The Honda Warehouses are still full of these units, Last I checked there are hundreds of 2006 arx1200 still in the warehouses. So I guess that means that they will be selling the new 2008 Arx 1500’s in 2010 or 2011. Could you imagine going to a Honda car dealer and seeing 2005 and 2006 accords or civics for sale. At the 2008 Honda convention in Las Vegas, Honda reps said that, they have a lot of 2006 and 2007 Model vtx1300 still left over and that is why they did not make any change to the 2008 vtx1300, Adding a touring sticker to the fender of a vtx1300r model and dumping in a pile of your Honda accessories that did not sell, and making the dealer install them does not make a new model, but is does create the vtx1300t. So all of 2008 gas prices soared and salesmen across the country some how sold all of the out dated, still with no fuel injection, vtx1300. There were none left come august, It was hard to get much of anything from honda, they were sold out, So what do we see for 2009, the same vtx1300 for the last 6 years, but with a 500 dollar price hike. The 2009 vtx1800, discontinued. So let me get this straight, last year they discontinued the vt600 and vt1100, so if you want a honda crusier, you can get a cmx250 rebal, [ suzuki has a gz250cc that is fuel injected for less money], you could buy a vt750 with a nice carburetor, basicly same bike for the last 5 years or more, or the now flagship outdated, carbureted, unchanged since 2003 vtx1300. You honda reps can’t sell this crap to dealers , how the hell do you want dealers to sell this to customers., Great job Big Red. Speaking of Big Red, another boat anchor the dealerships will be selling in 2011, the 2009 overpriced, underpowered, muv700 Big Red. Taking the Motor out of there Flagship atv, that has been basicly unchanged since 2003, and is the only atv model, save the 250 recon, that you can not get Hondas wonderfull powersteering on. You can get it on the dated air cooled carburated forman 500, the very dated, new for 2009 with no drive selector switch and higher price tag 500 rubicon. You can even get it on there new trx420fpa, for a mear 7,300. { for a 420?], But not there flagship model trx680 rincon. All this in bad economic times huh? Or how about the 2008 trx700xx, That dealers still cannot sell as they are getting there 2009 models. Or the 10000 dollars in accessories you have to keep in stock for the Big Reds that you are selling, I mean warehousing for honda, while they charge you flooring. So what does honda do, anounce that they are shutting sown the motorcycle plant in ohio, for a new state of the art facility in japan, and what is the first new model coming out of this wonderful place, could it be the new vfr, or a new st1300, how about a new crusier the fill all the gaps in you line up, nope, the 2010 honda Fury Chopper. Chopper, does anyone even watch OCC anymore. About 5 years to late Honda. What engine would they put in it, none other than the vtx1300, with fuel injection, drive shaft, unpainted engine case that look like crap, even yamaha 650 crusier engines are painted. 200 rear tire, with 5 colors and the option of abs, yes abs on a 13,000 dollar chopper. I am sure those will be flying off the sales floors. Simple fact Honda don’t blame the economy, In 2 years all these models will be discontinued too, because of lack of sales, just like that great rune of yours. Why. Open your eyes, nobody was asking for any of these in the first place. Update some of the few models you still have in demand, before you createnew models. So stop crying the ecomony blues or go get inline for your bailout.

  • I want a race series where the teams run stock bikes that any of us
    could buy off of the showroom floor.

    Let them run on race tires and make adjustments to the EFI and
    suspension, but require that they document the changes on an official
    web site. Mandate that the fuel and spark maps be downloadable at no
    charge and that any interface and software required to flash them into
    the ECU be available for less than $100. Any non-stock springs used
    for the race bikes need to be made available at a modest cost
    (equivalent to factory springs).

    That would let privateers be competitive, keep costs down, and prevent
    manufacturers from sliding a full-on race bike under a stock looking
    fairing. When a consumer buys a bike because of its winning record,
    he/she should be getting that bike, not some look-alike that’s nothing
    like the bike they’ve been watching on TV all race season.

  • Most people will probably agree, DMGs introduction into things; with it’s heavy handed tactics and dictorial announcements, did not make a good first-impression. But as things progressed, they seem to be ready and willing to come to a compromise with the OEMs on rules packages and how things would be run. Anyone who has followed roadracingworld’s account of things, however, should know that the OEMs then changed thier wants and needs, forcing DMG to bend over backwards a bit too much just to try and appease them. The resuld was DMG basically saying ‘here is the compromise, take it or leave it.’ To thier credit, the rules package seems to be a pretty good deal. It levels the playing field for the privateer, it gives some good incentive in the form of cash payouts for someone to show up and try and run, it allows something for everyone to have an actual opportunity to run at the front without any one manufacturer to cherry pick and dominate, and it seems to keep costs and speed down for the AMA marketplace and trackspace.

    If the OEM’s do not want to play, that is thier problem. Was a team like Yosh Suzuki singled out for thier success, in some respect-yes. Does that mean change shouldnt occur for the sake of the larger sport’s health-no. If Suzuki, Honda, or anyone else feels that they are the best in here the USA, then showing up in a reformatted AMA Superbike series should not matter. The OEM’s left world superbike thinking they did not need to participate there either. Now they all have come back, hat in hand, ready to compete knowing that they need that series to keep thier names in the marketplace and it gives them a chance to win vs. MotoGP where the only teams truely winning are Rossi (and a thankful Yamaha) and Ducati.

    All that being said, I am sure the economic factors are surely hurting things as well. This year, i anticipate the AMA looking like WSB did the year after the spec-tire rules went into place. A bunch of ‘privateer’ type teams competing for wins vs. one factory yamaha squad.

    If it is on Speed TV, I’ll be watching…

  • didn’t go thru the rule book, but understand that the teams are quite upset with AMA. Personally, I think the rules should be copied from the already popular and successful series over the pond (i.e. World Superbike and World Supersport). This would mean that the manufacturers could develop bikes for both series in a financially acceptable manner. Riders could also be traded across seamlessly and the number of participants could also increase, giving us a better show. For example, British privateers could come over for a few races if their bikes are prepped for the British superbikes and try out their skills on great tracks…If the rules are similar. Another thing I’d like to see is AMA or USSB come north of the border for a few races…Mosport, Calabogie or Tremblant for example could give a more international flavor to the sport… Canadian riders are already doing a few races a year anyway with AMA…why not absorb PARTS CANADA championship into a new USSB format?

  • Well, this season is like the perfect storm. Bad ecomomy and a major change in the series. I still feel that the racing will be great and I will go. I will miss the “factory bikes” and “riders”, but we must also remember all the complaining we did just last year about the Suzuki Cup. It’s changed now, so let’s support it and see what the changes bring us. We may not know all the names, be we will see better racing for sure. Nothing wrong with that!!!

  • The whole DMG, AMA, Superbike racing debacle is just plain stupid. Yeah things needed to be reworked, but why bite the hand that feeds you? By alienating the manufacturers that you hope will race in your series, you pretty much make the whole deal a non-starter.

    I’ve said it before and it just seems so obvious what DMG should have done. Adopt the World Superbike rules for the Superbike class, spec tires or not, so all the manufacturers will join the party. Leave the Supersport class alone, it works, why mess with it? Oh yeah, one thing you can do, no factory riders, just the support teams and up and comer riders. Formula Extreme? Love the idea, a run what you brung class, just exclude every bike that is legal for the Superbike and Supersport class, adjust the weights based on number of cylinders, and let em rip.

    I’m an engineer by trade, and I try to follow the simple KISS rule in my engineering plans, Keep It Simple Stupid! The DMG people should have done the same. I’m glad I saw the last AMA race at Laguna Seca in September. I’ll come back when these guys get it figured out, assuming they do. Maybe a road trip to Utah for World Superbikes this year instead?

  • Real simple the proposed rules and classes that the AMA/DMG have laid out hold no interest to me whatsoever.
    I went to races to see the bikes and the riders go at it , now with Hp limits no real factory stock bikes or even what i would call FMX
    I loved supersport-superstock -fmx and superbike. Yes i know that the first 2 were already on the chopping block.
    Spec tire= blah
    way to much of a nascar feel to the whole thing of which i am no fan of
    as i see it by the time they are done we will not be able to tell the bikes or the riders apart except by they’re numbers
    shame to see it go.
    I have been a fan since i was 13 going to Daytona at the very least each year, i am now 48 going on 49 and guess what?
    I will not be attending, watching any of the AMA races this year for the first time in a very long time.
    I sent letters to the Presidents of each of the tracks we normally trek to each year Barber-Road Atlanta and Daytona
    as i figured i had no response, it’s ok I will just watch a little World Superbike and spend my money on some track days and other things other than anything that the AMA might profit from

  • I don’t think Honda was ever really with the DMG program at all. Neil Hodgson is the only AMA road race rider they have a contract with, they had no crew chief and no race team. Only R&D members at a tire test where there was only 2 other superbike riders participating. The economy is just an easy way out of what they saw as a very small return on their advertising dollar, because when it comes right down to it racing is advertising. American Honda can utilize the efforts of the Erion and Corona teams along with the results of WSB and Moto GP. Honda marketing can turn any win into a positive. The average American consumer will not noticing their absence in AMA or for that matter the difference in series. Also consider Ben Spies recent comment at the WSB test in south Africa “We had more fans here for testing than we do at some races in the States”. A pretty sad commentary on the state of AMA RR in the USA.