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1999 AMA Speedway Motorcycle Racing


AMA Meeting December 18, 1999
From: Gary Roberts gary_rob@ix.netcom.com
Bill Amick, AMA VP of events and entertainment
George Rich, AMA representative
Another AMA representative from WA
Dave and Mark Joiner, Fast Fridays (Auburn) promoters
John Grant, Fast Fridays (Auburn) referee
John Gregg, Fast Fridays (Auburn) deputy referee
Dane and Cher Besneatte, Cal Expo promoters
Scott Calahan, Cal Expo referee
Duane and Carol Yarrow, Junior Speedway representative
Steve Martynse and wife, Junior Speedway parents
Steve Carrillo, Junior Speedway father
Howie Zechner, the S. Cal video man
John, the N. Cal. video man
Ed Rose, Active sponsor
Bob Hicks, rider and producer of new silencer
Gary Roberts, Internet reporter

Some of the above comprise a committee. Others were spectators. Around the time when I finished recording this, Microsoft Word locked up on my computer and I had to start again, thus have missed details of exactly which attendees formed part of the committee.

The committee will meet on July 23 to discuss the rule book. The book was distributed and everyone was invited to review it and send back comments. Agenda details must be submitted by July 1for the July 23 meeting. follow up meeting in September.

Bob Hicks showed us a new muffler made by NC Design. It is constructed of carbon fiber, stainless and aluminum and pop riveted together,. Each part is replaceable. It is 3/4 lb. lighter than a conventional silencer. Weight further forward than a conventional silencer. The price will be slightly less than the conventional silencer. Advantages are that it is lighter, repairable and cheaper, It is also quieter when noise measurements were taken at 4500rpm at 0.5 meters: The Fast Fridays (Auburn) requirement is 90 dB at 100 feet. Further tests on noise will be performed. Assuming this is OK, approval will be granted to use this new silencer this year.

Currently the approval of silencers is at the discretion of the promoter. It will remain that way, but promoters agreed to go for a common list.

Currently accepted silencers are Briggs, DMC, Dills, DFO, Need to add King, Jawa, NC Design (assuming it meets requirements).

Junior bikes use scaled down versions of the above. John Grant confirmed that several Junior bikes do not meet the standards. Duane Yarrow took an action to start working on getting these fixed. No mandatory rules will be defined at this stage. It is at the discretion of the promoter and the Junior representative, but long term, these machines must adopt silencers that conform.

There will be no changes on tires. Same tire specs as last year. Barum has changed its name to Mitus (?) There was a long discussion on what the rules mean about only tires that are currently available being used for racing. The question was about the interpretation of availability. If a tire is unavailable on a particular night, it does not make it generally unavailable. This has been an issue at rider meetings.

A review was presented by each promoter of the 1999 season Fast Fridays (Auburn): Fast Fridays reported a very successful year. It has continued to grow. $5381 went to AMA. Total rider purse was over $68K and 3K went into the point fund. There were a lot of hidden expenses, such as rider insurance which cost over 20K There were 25,676 paying spectators for 1999. This is up 2000 from previous year. In addition the number of riders and the amount of money collected at that back gate, was the highest ever. But Fast Fridays still consider that there is plenty of room for growth. Qualification for the Overseas final slots will be different for the 2000 season. There will still be 4 slots. This year the 2 highest scoring US based riders will get 2 slots and the 2 highest scoring European based riders will get the other 2 slots. It was emphasized that this arrangement is for the 2000 season only. The criteria for American final qualifiers will be addressed on an annual basis. The goal is to maintain the following:
1. to keep path open to US riders.
2. to present a top event for US spectators
3. to offer assistance to European based riders who are not used to the track.
If US based riders don't want to go, the selection moves down the list of US based riders.

The US has been given a slot in the World under 21. It was agreed that Billy Janniro will represent us. The UK based American riders have agreed to help him over there. Fast Friday is working on doing a legends night. A tentative schedule was distributed, which will be shown on the SpeedwayBikes.Com web site within the next week or so..

There was no representation from Canby, OR

Chico is still enthusiastic to do Speedway in 2000. The promoter was disappointed in rider participation for this year. There was concern from the riders about the safety of the track. Improvements are being made.

Costa Mesa does not intend to sanction with the AMA for 2000. Howie Zechner, representing Costa Mesa stated that they will have 25 events, 2 for juniors

Cal Expo reported that spectator attendance was 22% increase over the previous year. But they still finished up an average of $1300 out of pocket for each event run. They are hoping to break even this year. They are looking for new attractions for 2000. They hope to attract the So. Cal. riders who are up for North vs. South. In 1999, they paid $20K in purse money. No overage payments were made. For the 2000 season they are waiting till June 10, so they don't have to repair the track after the June 3 horse show. Currently August 5 is not available. Negotiations are on for that night with the people who have rented the entire Cal Expo facility for the night. Its possible that the renter will not need the Speedway arena.

There are rumors of possible new tracks in Reno, Carson City and Gardnerville at some time in the future. Near Cincinnati there is a person with a few Speedway bikes who may start something in the future.

There is a new practice track at Lincoln. Its slightly larger than Fast Fridays (Auburn). $10 a day. Open every second Sunday. 7 miles west of the airport.

The cost of AMA sanctions is as follows:
$100 for regularly weekly event.
$500 for special events, State Championship, American Final
$1000 for the National

Speedvision Logo

We discussed a National Championship SERIES. Speedvision is interested in televising it. A 2 event series is not enough. It may be a problem getting the European based riders over for it. The AMA have been working with Speedvision for the series, in the hope that other AMA tracks would materialize. For 2000, the AMA National Championship will be at Fast Fridays (Auburn). Bill Amick will try and see if Speedvision are interested in doing a one night TV recording.

Champion Speedway in Owego, NY is still "stumbling" along. Jason Bonsignore is out by himself geographically and his hockey career takes a lot of his time. He is interested in developing a National Championship SERIES, he has concerns over the American Final structure, because of the events that lead to Sam not qualifying last year. He plans to run between 6 and 9 events in 2000. The enthusiasm is still there.

The American Final

The American Final is now called the North American World Championship qualified round. The AMA is encouraging us to get riders from Canada, New York, or anywhere else in North America. Fast Fridays (Auburn) is very much open to this and is working with the AMA to seek representatives from these areas.

The Junior Speedway Program

Duane Yarrow reported that Junior Speedway had been running well. The rule book says minimum age of 10 years old. We have been going based on ability, for competent 9 year olds. John Cook has discussed what is being done in Sweden. Apparently 125cc two stroke stock engines are used No steps will be taken to adopt this idea at this stage. It is necessary to limit to number of classes to run, in order to maintain a manageable program. The Junior Speedway structure is seen as a big success. It was through that making changes at this stage would be a mistake. For the same reason, the idea of introducing a 350cc class for Junior Speedway, that was suggested by this distribution was rejected.

For a rider under 16 years old to ride a 500, a special exception clause exists, for extraordinary circumstances. The rider must have the approval of the rider representative, the referee and the promoter. Jon Curry rode a 500 at Chico last year and this is now acknowledged as a mistake and will not be repeated in the future.

At some time in the future, the AMA is considering the introduction of an AMA Junior Speedway Horizon Award. The award is for outstanding achievement.

Owner/Sponsors would like to be added to the rider mailing list. He also would like a rider payout sheet and a rider points sheet. If the rider's prize money is to be sent to the owner /sponsor, the rider has to send confirmation to the promoter.

The point system from each track is to select the top 16 for each track championship. The point system from all the tracks is totaled for selection of riders for the National Championship.

Fast Fridays and Chico have a points fund. This is from $2.50 collected from each rider entry. At the end of the year this is distributed for the year. Cal Expo can not afford to join this.

Bill Amick has suggested a Jack Milne trophy. Jack was the first American World Champion at any motorcycle sport. It would have to be approved by the AMA. It would have the names of all American Speedway champions engraved on the bottom and be displayed on the AMA museum.

The 1999 Overseas Final is in financial difficulty. The riders were not paid at the meeting. Dave Joiner and the AMA eventually sorted it out. The competitors have still not been paid, but it should happen in the near future. This was a further motivation for selecting only 2 US based riders going to this years Overseas Final.

The AMA funds a team manager in Europe to support the team cup. They also fund motocross, trials, road racing and junior motocross. They are now looking at combining Speedway to make promotional material (T-shirts etc) for "US Team Cup events" to raise funds.

A month ago, Dave Joiner met with Greg Hancock, Josh Larsen and Dukie Ermolenko participated and decided on a "Speedway Team USA" concept too.

AMA doing a market survey to see how many people would be interested in going to the UK for a week around the time of the British GP.

Dave Joiner suggested there would be more interest in people in the Eastern States wanting come to the California for the AMA National.

Ed Rose asked that we tear down engines to check capacity size checks more often. It has not been done for convenience reasons.

Interesting statements and facts:

"Speedway is a loss leader for the AMA" - Bill Amick

Dave Joiner said "If a sponsor comes along with $1565 for prize money and $500 for the points fund in exchange for getting recognition for his business for an event, I would sign him up" A comment from the back of the room added "Shit, for that money, you would marry him"

"We like Speedway and it's a good way to spend a lot of money. We'd like to make a success of it because we are too stubborn to quit". – Dane Besneatte

Official Jawa Site

JAWA produced 483 bikes, in 1998, including Speedway, ice and long track.

Something I omitted to put in the meeting report was that in an offline conversation with Bill Amick, he gave me the names and E-mail addresses for the editor of the AMA magazine and the webmaster for the AMA web page. I shall be contacting them both and offering my services to provide information about what is going on with Speedway and links to our web site. This will hopefully give our sport more visibility.
- Gary Roberts

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