AMA Indefinitely Suspends Tech Boss

Henny Ray Abrams | July 22, 2009

AMA Pro Racing has indefinitely suspended Technical Director of Competition Al Ludington for a profanity-laced tirade directed at road racer Johnny Rock Page in the tech shed at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last weekend.The confrontation took place in the tech shed after Page failed to heed the blue flags while being lapped in the fast turn 13 on the 18th lap of Saturday’s 21- lap American Superbike race. The lap prior to the incident Yamaha’s Josh Hayes had a lead of .141 of a second on Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates. The next lap it was .741 of a second. Hayes won by .183 of a second.Ludington wasn’t aware that Page, who is a tireless self-promoter, was wearing a microphone and that a video camera was recording the scene for his online reality show. The two-minute, 21-second clip surfaced on YouTube on Tuesday.

The clip can be viewed here:

Very early in the clip the following exchange took place.Ludington: “This isn’t about you dude. You f—ed up the best f—ing race of the year.”Page: “I held my line the whole time.”Ludington: “Dude, you don’t hold your line, you get the f— out of the way.”Page:” I held my line the best I can.”Ludington: “Dude, you raced the leaders and f—ed up the show. That’s what you did.”Page then asked what happened if someone passed him. Ludington demeaned him by asking, “For what 28th ?” Page replied, “I don’t care, I’m part of it. Doesn’t matter.””But you’re not it,” Ludington said, jabbing his finger at Page. “That’s what you don’t understand.”

 It was clear Page was goading Ludington and it was equally clear Ludington should have walked away. As the technical director, the on-track activity falls out of his purview.The AMA Pro Racing officials who were present at the test at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Tuesday were aware of the tape.The indefinite suspension means that Ludington won’t be at next weekend’s Thunder Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas.Ludington issued a letter of apology to Page and the racing community.He wrote, “I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to the fans of our sport, all AMA members, competitors, AMA Pro Racing officials and Johnny Rock Page for my behavior in the Tech Garage at the recent AMA Pro Road Racing event at Mid‐ Ohio.”My actions were out of line and detrimental to the well being and the growth of the sport that we all love. Mr. Page is a professional racer and should have been reprimanded for his actions in a professional manner. He was not, and the blame is entirely and solely my own.”I am regretful for offending anyone’s sensibilities, and I vow never to conduct myself in this manner in the future. We expect cordial dialogue and behavior from our competitors and, in turn, they should expect the same from us. I failed to livevup to this code of conduct.”The video didn’t surprise anyone who knows the gregarious Ludington, who’s always had an expressive demeanor, including during his long and successful stint as Miguel Duhamel’s crew chief at American Honda. It’s because of that background that Ludington is probably the most respected AMA Pro Racing official in the paddock.Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking was suspended indefinitely and fined $4000, also for conduct detrimental to the sport when AMA Pro Racing Vice President of Competition Roy Janson overhead Hacking speaking disparagingly of AMA Pro Racing as he was leaving the press room at Auto Club Speedway. With this kind of video evidence, AMA Pro Racing had little choice but to indefinitely suspend Ludington.Janson, who manages all aspects of the competition department, “will have direct oversight for at-event AMA Pro Road Racing technical operations in Ludington’s absence,” the AMA said in a news release.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.