McCarty Miffed At AMA Decision

Paul Carruthers | May 1, 2004

Yamaha race team manager Keith McCarty was surprised that AMA Pro Racing announced yesterday afternoon that it was denying the team an opportunity to appeal the 25-point penalty handed down to both Chad Reed and David Vuillemin for using illegal fuel at round 14 of the THQ AMA Supercross Series at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, on April 17.

“I was very surprised and very disappointed with that,” McCarty said on Saturday morning at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. “I think we laid out a pretty good appeal and hit on several points and it was a complete surprise to see that they didn’t think that we laid out any points that were valid. I guess right now for us we have a race to deal with tonight and we’re going to get through tonight and then we’ll pick this up Monday morning.”

McCarty is hopeful that his company won’t give up on the issue, even if Reed does as expected and wraps up the supercross crown this evening in Las Vegas, a race McCarty will attend after flying to Vegas from Sonoma this afternoon.

”I would like to think that we would pursue this,” McCarty said. “I see this as a total shock. How is this something that is not something that should be in front of an appeals board? I would like to think that regardless of the outcome tonight, we would pursue this.”

McCarty said he hadn’t conversed with anyone from the AMA since he learned of the decision.

”I’m not sure who I would talk to,” he said. “I have to believe that anybody who is anybody there knows what’s going on and believes in it 100 percent. Otherwise I can’t believe they would issue a press release. I think the word they used to the guys was frivolous, that we didn’t prove any points. Again, there was a lot of detail given to them and I can’t imagine that they didn’t think we made any points that should be looked at. As far as proving them, that’s kind of difficult to do in our position at that moment. That’s what the appeal process is about. I’m very disappointed and surprised and we’ll work on it on Monday.”

The AMA release from yesterday is as follows:

AMA Pro Racing has announced that it will not accept appeals submitted by riders Tyson Hadsell, Chad Reed and David Vuillemin. All three riders were penalized for using illegal fuel at round 14 of the THQ AMA Supercross Series at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas on April 17.

In announcing the decision, Merrill Vanderslice, AMA Pro Racing Director of Competition stated that there was nothing in the appeals that would warrant convening an appeal board. “The appeals submitted by the riders never refute AMA Pro Racing’s finding that fuel tested after the Texas Supercross was found to be in non-compliance,” said Vanderslice. “Instead, the appeals attempt to cast doubt on the testing methodology, the validity of the AMA Supercross fuel requirements, whether or not their fuel impacted performance and the appropriateness of the penalty. Based on the language in the AMA Supercross Rulebook, none of this is appealable.”

According to the AMA Supercross Rulebook, appeals can be lodged under two circumstances: 1) a party which loses a protest can appeal for further review of the issue, and 2) an appeal may be lodged to challenge fines, suspensions and technical disqualifications levied by Race Managers and/or AMA Pro Racing.

“Obviously this is an unfortunate situation,” said Vanderslice. “However, after carefully reviewing all the facts surrounding this incident I’m confident that our initial findings are correct. The fuel in the bikes of Hadsell, Reed and Vuillemin from the Texas Supercross was not in compliance and the penalties applied are appropriate.”

Vanderslice added that fuel from the bikes of the same riders was tested after round 15 of the series and was found to be in compliance.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.