Monday, July 20, 2009
Get Buell out of AMA road racing until it can play by the same rules as everyone else
Look, I promise -- I don't hate Buell motorcycles. Well, I don't want to hate them, anyway. But when Sanctioning body DMG (who I'll get to in a minute) allows the mega-torquey, 1125cc Buells to compete against 599cc Kawasakis, Yamahas, Hondas, and Suzukis in the Daytona class, I can't help but feel more than just a little resentment -- especially when Buell dominates the race weekend, as it did over the past few days at Mid-Ohio.
But wait. As if those wins aren't enough insult to endure for the four primary manufacturers who have propped the AMA series up over the past 25 years, DMG also decides to allow a non-homologated, purpose-built, Buell race bike into the newly stripped down Superbike class. The ridiculousness of what's being permitted is almost farcical.
Thus far, I've been pretty quiet in my criticisms of DMG (Daytona Motorsports Group) since they took over the series last year, largely because I knew there would be growing problems, logistical challenges, and a myriad of other dynamics that could possibly take years to correct and otherwise smooth out. Sure, I had a few gripes from the get-go, but kept my overly opinionated yap shut because I was confident that DMG would do its best to build a level playing field. Looking back, I guess I was mistaken. Much like the sanctioning body before it, DMG seems incapable of (and unconcerned with) adhering to the regulations set forth in its own rulebook, which the guys at Superbike Planet were quick to point out a few days ago.
In retrospect, some of the slack the Ducatis were given over the years to make them competitive in American road racing now seems inconsequential compared to what is being handed to Buell on DMG's silver platter of preferential treatment. DMG was supposed to restore series credibility. But in some ways so far, they've done more than their predecessors in damaging it further.
The bottom line is that these Buells should be excluded from AMA road racing until they can play by the rules. Some will say I'm asking for the impossible since V-twins generally suck and tend to be inferior to other engine designs in all but a few racing applications, and I might be prone to agree (especially when I'm in a mood such as the one I'm currently in). But if anything, both DMG and Buell need to fully understand that no one looks good when a Buell wins one of these races. The series is marginalized, American motorcycle manufacturing looks like a laughing stock, and the winning rider looks like a schmuck.
The fifth-grader who's been held back twice should feel no sense of glory when he wins all the blue ribbons on field day. The same goes for Buell. We'll very soon be seeing self-lauding ads by them in all the moto-magazines regarding their recent 'successes' in AMA road racing, the advertising equivalent of a third-world dictator erecting a monument of himself. Try not to laugh when you see the first one appear in print.
Better yet, try not to cry.