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1998 AMA Speedway Meeting

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1998 AMA Speedway Meeting

Just got back from the AMA meeting. It was a good meeting, lots of good news and positive thinking.

Attendees included: Promoters from Auburn, Cal Expo, Chico, Pleasanton and Portland, Oregon. A letter from Jason at Owego was read out too. Missing was representation from Livermore, but it was reported that he had intended to come. Costa Mesa were invited, but are choosing to run non-AMA again in19 99. 2 Junior Speedway representatives 3 rider representatives, Bart Bast, Jim Sisemore and Vance Felicio John Grant, the Auburn referee Ed Rose, owner of some of the best prepared bikes around and sponsor of Jim Sisemore. A lady from A&A Racing Service Inc. (Tire supplier)

Each track reported its activities from the 1998 season. Auburn had another good year. This must be the only track in the whole world which has continued to grow its number of spectators every year for the last 5 years. The promoters announced the distribution of a very healthy points fund down to 10th places in all three divisions. Cal Expo hopes to break even this year and has plans to advertise more. Auburn and Cal Expo have their 1999 season fixture list .

Chico has for years held successful races, but not speedway. They tried their first Speedway event at the end of the 98 season and it was a well organized success. They are thinking of fitting Speedway in the Saturday holes in Cal Expo's program, then running some Saturdays at the end of the season. I dont know where this leaves Livermore. There are still a few Saturdays around August and September. Portland's season ground to a halt half way through last year. This year they have a new track about 20 miles south of town and a provisional schedule. Then there was a bloke who is putting together a brand new covered track at Pleasanton, CA. This is indeed good news, its only 35 miles from my house and could eventually lead to a solution to the 6 month cultural vacuum that we all have to suffer every winter. He is initially looking into running an opening meeting there on Saturday, March 27, and considering trying to run on Wednesday nights. The one thing that wont help that is the traffic. There is a very large population in the bay area, but the road system is grossly insufficient. Livermore and Pleasanton are among the worst possible places to try to get to during the rush hour, during weekdays. Fortunately most of the riders live on the Sacramento side and the roads from that direction are not as bad. It could well turn out to be the tool to resurrect Speedway in the bay area.

The US still has 4 slots in the Overseas Final (despite us only sending 3 candidates last year) an under 21, and an ice championship representatives to select. THere was a good discussion about what could be done to help US riders in the Overseas final. One school of thought was that we (US Speedway and the AMA) should be doing more to help aspiring US riders by buying them air tickets and renting them the right machinery to compete when they get there. The other way of looking at it is to turn it over to the UK resident Americans. These are they guys who have made the effort to get the necessary experience to contest the World CHampionship. They have the right experience to get past the Overseas final, and the right bikes and the accomodation etc. etc. Both arguments have merit. I do think that we (US SPeedway and the AMA) should try to help out the under 21 contender.

One very noticable change for 1999. It was suggested and agreed that riders will have a number fitted on the front of their bikes. The purpose of this is to help the spectators identify each rider. All part of creating customer satisfaction. We were shown some examples of the kind of number plates that can be attached to the front of a bike. Work still has to be done to define the minimum size of numbers that must be displayed. The examples shown looked very smart, but I suspect will be more expensive than many shoe-string budget riders can afford. No doubt the local grocery store will be pleased with the new market for paper plates and felt tip pens! We ended up by reviewing the rule book. Some of the verbage in the rule book looked like it hadn't been reviewed for a few decades. This was to have been a 5 minute task but lasted a couple of hours. The value of the 3 riders and a referee was really shown here, when such topics as tape touching penalties were discussed.

All in all it was an interesting and informative way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

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