June 06, 2008

Breaking News: AMA Follows Own Rulebook

Heard the story about Paul Lima, the privateer that the AMA wouldn't let race at Glen Helen because his bike, an off-the-floor Husqvarna TC450, wasn't "legal" for AMA Pro Racing? No? Well, you can read a shortened version that hits the facts at Racerhead today. DC wrote,

Okay, the strangest thing I’ve seen all week is the beating one or two folks on Motodrive are giving the AMA for not letting privateer Paul Lima enter his Husqvarna 450TC at Glen Helen. It began when the bike had not been homologated by the AMA because the paperwork had not been sent in, and there are less than the mandatory 400 units in the country to be able to race them right now in AMA Motocross. One critic called the AMA “retarded.”

Retarded, lol. Okay, I wouldn't go THAT far. I concede that following the actual rules are a refreshing change for the AMA. We certainly wouldn't want a privateer racing a super-secret, one-off factory rocket ship in the National Championship, would we? The very last thing we would want is Paul Lima getting a huge holeshot and and running away from James Stewart because of his AMA-illegal, non-homo(logated) Husky. I mean, that would be bad for... business? What?

Frankly, the strangest thing I'VE seen all week was this single sentence,

But what if Kawasaki pulled out a handful of ’09 bikes with a nuclear power plant, titanium frame, electric start, cup-holders, the works? Would the AMA have treated them any differently? No way.

I read Racerhead for stuff just like that. Warm irony.

I happened to see the renegade Husky in person at Glen Helen, and it stood out simply because it was different. Certainly the Husky-classic red tank/white fenders look was attractive enough, and the bike seemed to have a stance that was both aggressive and exotic, but you can see it at any Husky dealer, if you can find one. Everyone knows Husky is a low-volume manufacturer... how the heck is it fair to hold them to the same homolo-whatever count as the huge ones? Sure, the AMA stuck to its guns at Glen Helen, but in a weird way they wound up dissing the marque that arguably brought motocross to America.

As far as AMA "rules" go, I've had more than a few thoughts about them, mostly unpleasant, as recorded here in a look at ten rules from the 2006 AMA rulebook. Ironically enough, that rulebook banned supercharging and turbocharging, and limited engines to single cylinders, but never ruled out nuclear power plants, so... I guess it makes sense that Kawasaki would first be required to make an even 400 such bikes available for sale in the U.S. before a single one could take a starting gate drop at a National. Oh, progress... must you always be stymied by the "rules?"

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