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Should Kevin Schwantz Fans Boycott CoTA MotoGP Race? Updated with Response from CoTA

American hero Kevin Schwantz was treated atrociously by Circuit of The Americas’ personnel last week, apparently in retaliation for a lawsuit filed by the former 500cc world champ concerning promotion rights for the upcoming  April 21 MotoGP debut race at the facility.  As he explains in his statement below, he was at the track to coach Blake Young when he was thrown out and threatened with arrest if he returned. Here is the statement Kevin Schwantz issued:

“I have read several reports regarding my attendance at the MotoGP test last week in Austin. I would like to make this statement:

I had been in Switzerland over the weekend where I was the guest speaker at the St. Gallen University. I returned to Texas on Tuesday evening and on Thursday I was at CotA for the MotoGP test, with a proper credential supplied by the Attack team, to coach Blake Young. Additionally I was an invited guest of the LCR Honda team.

While there, CotA security informed me that CotA management requested I leave the track immediately and was not welcomed at the circuit. CotA’s security force also accused me of criminal trespass and warned I would be arrested the next time I entered the track.

This comes as a tremendous disappointment to Honda, Blake Young, and myself. Especially because I am single-handedly responsible for bringing MotoGP to Texas and for the initial design of the facility to accommodate MotoGP racing.”

Should Schwantz fans boycott the event? We understand legal disputes, but this seems uncalled for. In response to a request from MD for a statement, Ali Putnam, Media Relations Manager – Circuit of the Americas, sent the following email:

“It is well known that Kevin Schwantz filed suit against Circuit of The Americas last year, and that case is working its way through the legal system.  The MotoGP test that was hosted by the Circuit last week was a private event, and open only to participating teams and invited media.  Mr. Schwantz was not invited to attend the session by Circuit of The Americas, and as a private property owner, the Circuit determines who has access to its facility. 

Mr. Schwantz does not have any relationship with Circuit of The Americas.  He is not one of the investors who spent $400 million to design and build the facility. 

Finally, Circuit of The Americas is the organization responsible for bringing MotoGP to Texas through its promotional agreement with the commercial rights holder Dorna.”

73 Comments

  1. BlueSkyGuy says:

    I wouldn’t choose to miss a race because of someone else’s issue. Buying the ticket and wearing a 34 on some level is like a oxymoron. Stuffed shirt politics, ego driven legal action and two buck will get you a coffee in my book. Go to the race, wear sunblock (spf 34 if you must), and enjoy the day because those “important” folks don’t know or care who you are. Respecting someones talent to ride is one thing, hero worship should be reserved for hero’s.

    • Hefner says:

      You sir, are exactly what’s wrong with the world. We should all in fact, be doing the exact OPPOSITE of what you suggest. Do you even know the back story here? And those “Important” folks don’t know or care who you are, but they care VERY much if you show up at the track. Your decision to not go to the track, or to not watch the event on TV hits them where it hurts most, in the pocketbook. And hero worship? Are you serious?!? What’s wrong with calling CotA to the carpet for their gross mishandling of an industry Icon (if not hero)?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I wouldn’t choose to miss a race because of someone else’s issue. Buying the ticket and wearing a 34 on some level is like a oxymoron. Stuffed shirt politics, ego driven legal action and two buck will get you a coffee in my book. Go to the race”

      no, we either all move forward together as a collective or not at all. the military doesn’t leave men behind. you think we can learn anything from from that…?

  2. PJ says:

    For those who are already comitted to going, there are alternate ways to enjoy the race and enjoy Austin without spending Money at Cota.. look for alternate plans/ideas to pop up.

  3. Norm G. says:

    have you guys seen the latest gesture from the “lady campbell” at laguna seca…? :)apparently there’s some interesting pics on kevin’s facebook page from a guest ride during the pridmore school held there yesterday.

  4. Dale says:

    Texas has a lot going for it lately. Austin is cool. Cota was being considered…

    Cota has a PR emergency, not yet fatal but time to bring in the Pro’s from Dover. A quick resolution benefiting all parties seems to be called for here.

    Daytona was Rockin’!

  5. Gary says:

    It sounds like a PR fiasco for CotA … but there are two sides to this story. I’m sure of it. I am patiently waiting for the media to report both sides.

  6. BigJames says:

    Doesn’t Texas have another track that was built and never used, or used only a handful of times then basically abandoned? They have a “track record” then, so let them have a pair of empty tracks unused tracks. Was planning on going, not anymore. Will spend my money at Barber’s or Road Atlanta or Indy or one of the many other places that actually understand the motorcycling community. Then again, not real fond of Dorna to begin with…

  7. George Catt says:

    Separate the politics from the racing. KS and COtA got a beef with each other? They’ll settle it in court. I agree COtA was wrong to chase him off so publically, but their track, their call.

    I’m going for the races, not the debates.

  8. Provologna says:

    I would boycott everything Dorna till they apologize and let Schwantz reenter.

    Two teams racing in the event gave our dear beloved Kevin the necessary credentials to enter the track. Dorna stating they can kick anyone off their private property is obviously technically correct. Trespassers can and sometimes are arrested.

    Similarly though, I don’t know why the teams don’t sue Dorna for cancelling credential authorization. The civil authority to hand out credentials is obviously stated in the written contract. Does the contract state in writing that Dorna can cancel any credential at any time? Maybe yes, maybe no. If no, Dorna has some ‘splainin to do. BTW, Dorna’s very stupid actions can only (IMO) help Kevin’s civil case.

    It’s legal to sue anyone for anything. It’s what you do when you feel like someone has wronged you civilly. KS has not threatened anyone or anything related to Dorna. He simply seeks legal justice for an alleged wrong.

    Dorna sounds like it’s run by a bunch of pricks.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I would boycott everything Dorna till they apologize and let Schwantz reenter.”

      apology schmology. they can cram their apology, i want CASH.

  9. Alon Walker says:

    Well, Wall Street goes racing…..big surprise the results are the same. Surprised Rossi hasn’t spoke up for his friend…

  10. ride2live says:

    My family and I have attended IndyGP since it started there. We’ve always had a great time and enjoyed ourselves. I was pretty excited to hear GP was going to Austin since it is only 4 hours away, about 7 hours closer to Indy. I am affiliated with several track day enthusiasts here in Shreveport/Bossier. I have heard nothing but let down after let down about the COTA facility. Many people prepaid to do track days there only to be told they would be doing Motorcycle track days, they built the track and didn’t want to degrade the specialty of the surface by letting everyone ride on it. Now this with KS, I’m starting to think that a 11 hour drive to a facility and city that appreciates the venue may be worth it. COTA needs to wake up its the fans that make or break you, not Dorna.

    • Bob says:

      I was looking forward to a CMRA calendar date. I figure that Motorsport Ranch (Houston and Ft. Worth) let the CMRA into their country clubs twice a year, why wouldn’t CoTA do the same. But at a $50,000 minumum to rent, it won’t happen.

      As for destroying the surface, they did say that, didn’t they? Indy says the same thing and they only host 3 events per year. I’m sure nascar brings in more dollars to Indy than F1 will bring to CoTA. Indy can afford to only host 3 events as they have a museum that helps pay the bills and a historical landmark status that helps with the tax rate.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I’m sure nascar brings in more dollars to Indy than F1 will bring to CoTA. Indy can afford to only host 3 events as they have a museum that helps pay the bills and a historical landmark status that helps with the tax rate.”

        that and they’re “old money”. working for a living vs. 18 rounds on the golf course. what would you pick…?

  11. Scotty D says:

    I had to make a decision, Indy or Austin. After this mess My Wife and I and the 3,000 we usually spend when going to a MotoGP event will be going to Indy. COTA had better understand, the MotoGP community is tight and when of the icon get’s hurt, we don’t forget. Mr. Schwantz, I saw you race when you were just a kid and you were as amazing to watch then as you were when you were World Champ. I’m sorry this is happening to you

  12. Yamasarus says:

    What is really ironic here is that I ran into Kevin at the Charlotte IMS show and we discussed the COTA MotoGP and not once was anything negative said about this event. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of a conversation with Mr. Swantz you will walk away knowing that you have just met a man who loves racing in the deepest way. I can never imagine him doing anything that would harm racing. It is really a sad situation. COTA has lost points with me…….

  13. Rennie says:

    Texas is the home of capitalists prostitutes. KS should have tried another state where the biases and laws at least approach fairness. Boycott is better than torching:)

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Obviously KS has some capitalistic whoring tendencies of his own, or this wouldn’t even be an issue, now, would it?

  14. Wally says:

    I think Duncan’s comment above is spot on!

  15. dANO says:

    I agree with Frostbite! I already bought my airfare, and hotel. No turning back now. That’s not to say that I can’t bring a sign that supports KS. Not going to the race would not only hurt COTA, but it would hurt our (the USA) reputation as motorcycle fans and motorcycle proponents. Look at the coverage of the US GP’s. The stands look empty. When I was at Indy a couple years ago they herded everyone into one little section on the finish straight so it looked like the stands were full when the camera was on it! Pathetic! For the life of me, I can’t understand how the US can get 120,000 rednecks in a venue to watch cars go round and round, but we can’t do the same for an elite, cutting edge sport followed passionately by over 2.5 billion others, world wide. WTF is wrong with this country?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “That’s not to say that I can’t bring a sign that supports KS.”

      fair enough, but i WILL be looking for that sign. get to work. you don’t have much time.

      re: “I can’t understand how the US can get 120,000 rednecks in a venue to watch cars go round and round, but we can’t do the same for an elite, cutting edge sport followed passionately by over 2.5 billion others, world wide.

      first off, we have to stop calling them rednecks. while i’m sure many of their necks are in fact “red” :), nascar’s popularity is what it is because it’s scope has grown BEYOND being enjoyed by just people who fit that narrow stereotype. us continuing to call them names as the plug is pulled on our programming, just shows were jealous of their willingness to come of the dime in support of their sport. bottom line, instead of paying our bills and showing support, we paid “lip service”.

      re: “WTF is wrong with this country?”

      nothing wrong with this country, just everything wrong with it’s motorcyclists. specifically there aren’t any “motorcyclists” left…? they’re all just your run o’ the mill wal-mart consumer now (the lovin’ feelin’s been lost). line up the behaviors side by side and you can’t tell one from the other.

  16. Duncan says:

    ” I was at CotA for the MotoGP test, with a proper credential supplied by the Attack team, to coach Blake Young. Additionally I was an invited guest of the LCR Honda team.”
    Kevin was their on work, Circuit of America can turn back to dust and it won’t be missed by me.
    DT

  17. Jack says:

    I’m out! Lets all go to Indy instead.

  18. Philip says:

    What I’d like to know is if Kevin Schwantz thinks we should boycott? I am going. I hate the way that 34 is being treated and think the partys should settle the suit quickly. I really don’t think COTA has any idea how important Schwantz is to so many MotoGP fans. He’s Dale Earnhardt important. Rossi and Dorna should in some way intervene to resolove this. I saw Schwantz win Assen while at a bar in Leon Spain in 1991, from that moment on I have been a MotoGP fan.

  19. CowboyTutt says:

    I find Kevin S. to be very articulate and appreciate all he has done to create COTA. I do think he has been screwed and I won’t be attending. -Tutt

  20. Profe says:

    Kevin Schwantz deserve at least an apology for many reasons. First he was there not as a rider but with “proper credential supplied by the Attack team, to coach Blake Young”. Second he was “an invited guest of the LCR Honda team”. And third, if wasn’t for him Texas will not even had that racetrack, or a MotoGP event at all.

  21. Fred M. says:

    The boycott should be all fans of MotoGP racing. Screw the ignorant cowboy yahoos and their $400million facility. Cancel the MotoGP race and leave the whole place empty.

    • Kim Mousette says:

      Very well put Fred M. If you have any respect for these guy that have built the road racing in to what it has become. Screw them and there track. Kevin asisted them and worked his butt of to bring Moto GP to the US. They are nothing but a bunch of selfish dirt bag wantabes and I hope they lose their asses!!!!!

  22. SmokinRZ says:

    As a native Texan I have to question the long term viability of this venue. Football is all the locals care about. I suppose being midway beween the coasts will bring in the rest of the country but with what the hotels are charging I hear it is cheaper to go to Europe to watch a GP.

  23. BK says:

    Kevin knew he was going to get barred. This is just an ego-driven PR stunt. As mentioned above, we’ll just let the lawyers get rich on this one.

  24. DorsoDoug says:

    And the attorneys will continue to prosper…

    • Kim Mousette says:

      Better then CoTA Prospering, I would rather see them lose it all then treat an icon like Kevin the way they are!!!

  25. Ricardo says:

    “We reserve the right of admission” that is the beauty of the legal system isn’t it? everyone has that right and CoTA (called or uncalled for)excercised their right as any other citizen or business is allowed to.
    And what did Kevin expected? a welcome party with drums and everything for suing CoTA?

    • Kim Mousette says:

      Obviously your comment is of the same calaber as the greedy dirt bags, you have to know the sport and have to have followed the sport to know the respect these racers deserve, they didn’t race for money they raced because its their lifes blood!!!!!

  26. Pat says:

    I got a better idea! Boycott all Car races! Focus on attending more motorcycle events! So, that they will have to take more notice of the motorcycle community. United we stand devided we fall! We are the minority my brothers! They don’t give a rats ass about the motorcycle community! We need to overwhelm them with our support and love for motorcycles like they do in Europe and until then we will not be taken seriously.

  27. Martin says:

    Someone will make a killing selling Kevin Schwantz t-shirts at the gate!

  28. Gg says:

    Those 400mln investors have obviously erased words like “legend” and “respect” from their budgets – sorry, meant dictionary

  29. Hefner says:

    I’m not going to quibble about whether or not it was appropriate to boot Schwantz from the test. The fact that he has a pending lawsuit seems like a justifiable reason to deny him entry, but to then go on to use the excuse that he was not invited is patently false, and CotA definitely comes off as the petulant child in that regard.

    What’s far more worrying than his handling at this test, is how the whole mess got started to begin with. I can’t recall the specific details, but the gist of it was that Schwantz had the rights with DORNA to promote the event, but that because an agreement wasn’t met by a certain date, his rights went away, and DORNA terminated his contract. The lawsuit is regarding why the deadline wasn’t met, and all evidence points to CotA going to DORNA and saying “Hey, just delay this out a little further, and we can chop of $millions by excluding Kevin” and DORNA played along.

    Note that THE EXACT THING played out with COTA and F1, which ultimately led to a successful lawsuit by the wronged party, so I expect that Kevin will ultimately get his check.

    So yes, I will be boycotting CotA. But by that same logic, shouldn’t I also boycott DORNA? If WSBK wasn’t owned by them as well, that would be easy…

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “If WSBK wasn’t owned by them as well, that would be easy”

      okay, you should be starting to see more clearly WHY ezpelata now has control of WSBK. this was not something that just “happened” (oh by the way) at 4:59pm on a friday…? i contend this came to pass as the result of deliberate and protracted behind the scenes machinations on his part.

    • al banta says:

      Hefner, by far the most intelligent comment on this situation, thanks!

    • Kim Mousette says:

      I love hearing that. I was the first one to post onCoTA’s page on Wens. morning and they have gotten nothing but negitive comments since as this is what they created by acting so childish!!!!

  30. frostbite says:

    As an observer from a far away country who does host MotoGP and WSB races, all I can say is that you Americans should be over the moon that you have a World Class Racetrack to be used for Motorcycle Racing – Legal wrangles are never a pretty thing and I don’t know all the details and really don’t want to ….

    Embrace the MotoGP and any other motorcycle racing that is to be held there – BUT if so inclined then DO show your SUPPORT for Kevin Schwantz – He has earned the right to be respected in, on and around any race track in the world – WEAR your T-Shirts, Fly the Banner/s, and perhaps organise a “We support Kevin Schwantz” Stand, Display, Group and let the fans of MotoGP around the WORLD know it – After all there wil be the usual TELEVISION being broadcast around the GLOBE – You guys are renowned for being Entrepreneurs, well take the OPPORTUNITY that avails itself and make something POSITIVE come out of it and SHOW you SUPPORT for MOTORCYCLE RACING in your Great Country and Kevin Schwantz AT THE SAME TIME – The World will be Watching ….

    I wish you success in this Quest…..

    Regards –
    frostbite

    • TimC says:

      “I don’t know all the details and really don’t want to ….”

      Then take your hippie post and go away. Sheesh. If KS was being a whiny baby with no leg to stand on that would have some relevance (not that I think that, in fact given the evidence/details that I do know – hint – my opinion is against COTA and I won’t be one bit interested in giving them one cent).

      OH, and DISABLE your CAPS LOCK key PLEASE.

  31. Brian says:

    what a worthless and disrespectful response from CoTA.
    I’ll stick with events at Laguna thanks.

    To think that he won’t even be able to attend the race in April? Just horrible.

  32. BOSCOE says:

    Frickin’ outrage! Schwantz is being screwed and his treatment is shabby. Racing organizations suck – and I’m a racer. I back the boycott. Without riders, they have no product to sell. But when we’re old and broken, they tracks want to toss us aside.

  33. Norm G. says:

    re: “Mr. Schwantz does not have any relationship with Circuit of The Americas. He is not one of the investors who spent $400 million to design and build the facility.”

    correct, his investment came in the form of his “time” and his “name”. last i checked both are recognized and accepted forms of equity here in america. one mr. jordan (also retired) still gets paid handsomely for his association with hanes and numerous other brands.

  34. Norm G. says:

    whether or not kevin had promoter rights is unclear, however i do believe (as has been stated in the press many times), he DID have involvement at a minimum in the track design and his name was being used to attract interest/funding. that means he’s due renumeration as a consultant. nobody works for free. and if you haven’t paid him, i suggest someone (this means you mccombs) get out your checkbook and tidy up. in the sage words of ray liotta: screw you, pay me…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP_GOoBPKfQ

    sure, he may have started out giving of his time gratis, with the good faith that the people he was dealing with, knew and respected who he was in the world of motorcycling. except these were car guys (hello, 97 percenters) who know dickus nor give a rats about bikes. the probable hope was this would ultimately see him receive his payout with a 1st year promoter contract, with a follow up of basing his notable Schwantz School at cota. that’s all shot to hell now. he probably didn’t care a lick about a paycheck for the track design.

    this all likely began out of pure altruism on kevin’s part and a genuine desire to FINALLY (sheesh it’s been a long time coming) see america with a proper circuit. he would’ve been interested regardless of where in the country it was being built, the fact that it was slated for texas was icing on the proverbial cake.

  35. bo hand says:

    they were definitely using him to create a audience, now they insult him, i would definitely boycott the race.

  36. George says:

    COTA was short-sighted, juvenile and unprofessional in ejecting Kevin Schwantz last week during the MOTOGP test.

    Kevin earned and DESERVES COTA’s respect as a Texan WORLD CHAMPION!

    Kevin’s involvement in any aspect at events at COTA should be applauded as it brings more attention to COTA events.

    As for boycotting, I know it made me reconsider attending the F1 race there this year.

  37. johnnelee says:

    Does COTA management have future litigation concerns (from Mr. Schwantz) or future litigation plans of its own involving Mr. Schwantz?

    If they have any of the above, I imagine that their legal adviser(s) were the drivers behind the request/demand from COTA that required Mr. Schwantz to leave the facility. As I have no information regarding these issues I would not boycott the other riders efforts.

    IMHO, MC road racing in America needs our support more than Mr. Schwantz needs our support.

    • TexinOhio says:

      As posted on another motorcycle news site (not sure if I can post their site info here) a lawsuit is the catalyst for COTA giving KS the boot from the test. I’m torn as a Texan myself about who said what with this situation.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “IMHO, MC road racing in America needs our support more than Mr. Schwantz needs our support.”

      i’ll do you one better. the MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY in America needs our support. without this foundation THERE IS NO roadracing or Mr. Schwantz.

  38. Vrooom says:

    Can’t imagine not supporting K Schwantz on this issue. Public apology and acknowledgement of his role in bringing Moto GP to CoTA, or good luck finding fans to attend.

  39. stinkywheels says:

    I REALLY wanted to see the GPs at Austin. Then I saw the screwing that Kevin was getting from COTA and FIM/DORNA. Schwantz has been working on getting everyone to Texas and is getting screwed by everyone there. Sorry, I might watch it on TV, maybe.

    • Bob says:

      I took this stand immediately upon hearing of them bending Kevin over. He got the ball rolling. But he isn’t an investor. He did have his own business reasons for being involved though, which have effectively been made null and void as of a year ago.

      Still, this is definitely childish retaliatory treatment because of the lawsuit. A real shame as it’s 2 hours away from me too. I have a better view from my sofa anyway. I also really hate that massive, view obstructing building on the main straight.

  40. Brian says:

    He is a legend, and no matter how things ended, the whole concept of CoTA would never have even started without his getting things started in the very beginning. I wouldn’t go unless they apologized publically for this.

  41. Russell T. says:

    It does appear the COTA admin acted with improper emotion, which I would think the Attack and LCR teams should take personally, to have mistreated their invited guest. I’ll be interested in seeing what other facts arise. As for fans boycotting, I don’t think COTA would notice or feel an impact. Public statements through the media by Attack and LCR would have a lot more impact.

    • Kim Mousette says:

      I have been working with sevral GP racers and you will be suprised at how many of them are already Boycotting until this is made right. To find out more about the lawsuit google Kevin Schwantz V CoTA!!

  42. takehikes says:

    Who you going to believe him or Texans? I’m boycotting until things are proven otherwise.

    • Jim S says:

      Uhm… Scwantz IS s Texan moron.

      • Norm G. says:

        easy, easy. now is not the time for in-fighting. there’ll be plenty of time for name calling when the judge makes his ruling. :)

      • Kim Mousette says:

        LMAO!!!!!!!

      • TimC says:

        Here I sit, buns a-flexin’, giving birth to another…

        Sorry, had to. (Born in Dallas, raised in armpit known as Oklahoma, the above is common bathroom stall graffiti if you didn’t surmise.)

  43. ApriliaRST says:

    Yeah. Boycott.

  44. gpfan says:

    I’ll be there (already bought the outrageously expensive tickets and parking permit), but I’ll be wearing a Schwantz #34 tshirt.

  45. MGNorge says:

    If it is as portrayed then Schwantz has every reason to be mad. Should fans boycott the track? That’s up to them but it wouldn’t be uncalled for. As the late, great Rodney King once said, “Can’t we all just get along?”.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “As the late, great Rodney King once said, “Can’t we all just get along?”

      no, not until the check clears.

  46. RAD says:

    From everything I have read on this subject , seems to me COTA has used Kevin .
    Mr. Schwantz I stand behind you 100% .