Optimism on Road Race Resolution

Paul Carruthers | September 14, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, SEPT. 14 – Those hopeful for a peaceful resolution of the current stand-off in AMA road racing will find solace in the fact that Daytona Motorsports Group CEO Roger Edmondson and American Honda vice president Ray Blank met today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and they did so with civility and, ultimately, productivity, according to both parties. And the result may be a resolution to the current uncertainty that surrounds the series – uncertainty that was given new life by last week’s announcement by the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) that they were standing by in case an alternate series was deemed necessary by its shareholders.

“I would characterize the meeting as very productive and very constructive, I believe, for both of us,” Edmondson said in a phone conversation this afternoon after attending the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. “We entered the meeting with the past put behind us as much as two humans can. I think we entered the meeting with a common goal and that was the good of the sport and the best interest of our mutual and respective businesses. We resolved, I believe, several issues of which we were not in accord and, most importantly, I think we clarified several areas where perhaps we had misunderstandings where one person said one thing, meant one thing and the other person heard another thing. I felt it was absolutely worthwhile.

“The biggest problem was that we ran out of time, but I was encouraged about that because we had a lot to talk about and we were able to keep things moving forward in an effort to bring everything to a resolution. We’ve agreed that we are going to circle back when we get back to our respective offices early next week and continue to move things forward. He’s [Ray Blank] travelling out of the country shortly and I’m traveling to Salt Lake City next week for a sports car race, so the following week we will pick up with whatever is left to be done. Hopefully, we will be in a position to announce things at Laguna Seca.”

One of the things that Edmondson has realized is that a horsepower-restricted 600cc Supersport class (or what DMG calls Daytona Superbikes) won’t be supported by at least two of the manufacturers, Honda and Suzuki, and Kawasaki doesn’t like it either. And he’s adjusted his stance on that.

“I would say that there is truth to that [DMG dropping the horsepower limits on the class] because I’ve been willing to put things on the table to determine what is important to him and what is really important to me and we discussed a lot of details,” Edmondson said. “I think at this point it’s not productive to get into a discussion about the details because the end result is what everybody is looking for and how we get there is… I think it will be easier to get to if we just have the freedom to, and don’t take this wrong, but sometimes the press helps makes things happen. In this case I’d prefer if everyone just cooled their jets and report it when it does happen. I think we’ll all come out of it better.”

Edmondson expects that all we be resolved by the final round of the AMA Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca, September 27-28.

“In 13 days from now, I’ll fly out to Laguna and I’d like to think we’d be in position to a do a dog and pony show in the press room that Saturday, but it would be misleading to tell you that we are in full accord. We are not,” Edmondson said. “We have some areas that we have to resolve, but that’s how these things go and the parties are talking. The best part is we both have a common goal and a common target.”

Blank responded in an e-mail, stating that he also came away from the meeting with optimism.

“In the spirit of cooperation, Roger Edmondson of DMG and I met today to discuss Honda’s position regarding the proposed AMA Pro Racing road race series,” Blank wrote. “A constructive dialogue was struck, and while there is much to do in a short time to prepare ourselves for the impending 2009 season, we believe we can strike an accord that will prove satisfactory to our most important partners, from our race fans to our facility owners and operators as well as our sponsors. We are encouraged at the opportunity ahead.”

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.