Reply To: I was wrong

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larry toby

No question about it, in theory, sanctioning is great! The question is what happens in practice. I admit I am new to karting so I?m willing to listen and learn. But I am not new to racing having spent four decades racing in hundreds of motorcycle events. Roughly half the races I participated in were sanctioned by the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) and half were not. From a fun factor, there generally wasn?t much difference in a race if it were sanctioned or not. From a wanting to race for a regional or national championship there were clear benefits for sanctioning. For the most part, I actively supported the AMA (I am a lifetime member) mostly because of the support it provided to the sport of motorcycling.

However, I have personally witnessed great failings of race directors for the AMA during important national events. At one particular event I was covering as an ESPN videographer, I personally caught on tape blatant cheating by a multi-time national champion who was also a friend of mine. The cheating changed the outcome of the national championship. For the sake of the sport I presented the evidence to the AMA racing director so they could correct the problem. They chose to ignore the evidence (said video can?t be trusted) and let the false championship stand. I always new the reason had something to do with the likeability of the racer in question. He was and is a great guy but he no longer has my respect. Precisely when a sanctioning body should have done something they looked the other way because they would have been forced to make an unpopular decision. Another national event I covered involved the need for a clarification on a rule that would determine the outcome of that event. The AMA race director at the event didn?t know how to make the call or wanted to make the call and simply let the voice of the local promoter make the call they way he choose. Of course, there are many other examples. I raise these simply to point out that going to sanctioning will not make all the issues go away. In effect, you trade one set of problems for another.

From what I understand, the AMA is much larger, more organized and more professional than SKUSA, IKF or WKA. I guarantee there will still be issues with sanctioning from any of these organizations. Please understand that there is greed within these organizations as there is anywhere else. While I remain close friends to many of the staff in the AMA it still irks me how they tried to take over Supercross (the profits anyway) from the promoters who do all the work. On the whole, I still think sanctioning (and all of its own problems) tends to be better than no sanctioning but there is no guarantee. These organizations must be held accountable. Don?t fall for their sales and marketing pitches. I think if we wanted to have sanctioning than we should make the organizations earn their money by demonstrating value. They should be here, visiting in Colorado, clarifying, doing and showing exactly what they will do for us in exchange for our monetary support. If they are not willing to do that they don?t deserve our money or respect. It would go a long way if they would simply start returning phone calls. Just my two cents worth.