An official statement reads 'All motorcycle manufacturers polled by AMA Pro Racing have responded positively to moving to the proposed class structure. Based on their feedback, AMA Pro Racing anticipates a growing diversity of machines will be competing in future seasons. Likewise, the AMA Pro Flat Track paddock is gearing up for the future class structure and many teams have requested a period of time to prepare and to actively participate in the detail of the new rules package.'
We've debated these rules changes quite a lot on this blog (here, make sure you click to read the comments) and we've found out more rumours.
1. The most likely reason, it seems, for the postponement is a hold-up in building work at Daytona Speedway. We've been told the idea is for the Daytona short track to move from it's current stadium to the enormous NASCAR Speedway where the Daytona 200 motorcycle race is held. A dirt track oval will be built in the infield, and viewed from some of the 200,000 seats (probably about 3% of them), just like the Daytona Supercross race is during the same time. The track will suit twins, and as Daytona is one of the only short track races left in the GNC calendar, until the late addition of Las Vegas this season, that all suits the move to twins. To reiterate, this is just what Sideburn has been told while digging around, not an official announcement.
2. But, you wonder, what about Peoria? Right from the second the AMA announced the proposed plans there was a echo of 'I wouldn't like to race a twin around Peoria.' I've always said I'd love to see that spectacle (but they don't pay me enough to ride that thing). The simple answer is, Don't race Peoria, drop it from the GNC schedule and let it become a one-off race like the Isle of Man TT, a race riders from other series attend away from their regular schedule. The AMA would agree to never clash with it and another promoter puts their all into promoting Peoria as a winner takes all one-off.
It could even be better for the Peoria Club than the current set up, and they can still run it on 450s. The cream of the dirt track community will need 450s to compete at outlaw races and other series throughout the year (like the well-supported Steve Nace All Star Series; Willow Springs; SCFTA; CFTA etc), so it's not going to affect their budgets and all the GNC 2 guys are going to run on 450s so you have a full support class too.
3. We're told, by a well-informed insider, the final piece of this long-term planning jigsaw is a move from tracks like the current Daytona and Peoria to only tracks that can house corporate guests and those people willing to pay for VIP treatment. Again, I don't know how much of this is an official direction or brainstorming that is not yet fully-formed, but we'll contact the AMA in the near future and try find out.
This direction seems risky. How many corporate guests are there out there? Perhaps the idea is Ducati, Yamaha, Kawasaki, H-D, Indian, etc all have corporate looking teams and then the local dealer network each pay for a suite to wine and dine their best customers, but I'm guessing.
It seems like a proposal that would work well in a presentation meeting, but getting people to part with their money to view a sport that has seemed so grassroots for so long might be difficult.
* JARGON BUSTER
If you're new to the sport you might not know what this all means, so I'll put it in more general motorcycle racing terms.
AMA - the American Motorcycle Association, whose Pro Racing division governs the National championship. They make the rules, run the racing on the day, give out the licenses and decide who hosts the races. AMA are to flat track what Dorna is to MotoGP.
GNC - the Grand National Championship. There are lots of dirt track races and regional series, but this is the big one. The GNC is to flat track what MotoGP is to road racing.
Outlaw race - nothing to do with Hells Angels, generally a race that isn't part of the AMA series.