PICKERINGTON , Ohio (Feb. 13, 2004) — On Tuesday, in a two-to-one decision, a three-person appeal board overturned a 10-point deduction which had been assessed to Kevin Windham at Round two of the AMA Supercross Series for what AMA Pro Racing MX/SX Series Manger Steve Whitelock considered was overly aggressive riding. AMA Pro Racing CEO Scott Hollingsworth comments on the situation:
“In a pre-season meeting with managers of the major supercross teams the notion of overly aggressive riding was brought up. All of the teams present felt that rough riding was becoming a problem and AMA Pro Racing was asked to take a harder line in this area over concerns that riders would be subject to increased injury if it went unchecked. In the past we have assessed monetary fines but the team managers all agreed that this form of punishment was losing effectiveness with the riders, some of whom are making hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries and endorsements.
“The AMA Supercross Rulebook has a provision that grants the race manager the option of deducting points for serious rule infractions. The teams all agreed that we should begin invoking points penalties instead of fines in serious situations.
“Steve Whitelock informed everyone at the riders meetings that rough riding wouldn’t be tolerated and that they would be subject to points deductions if they engaged in it.
“At Phoenix, when Kevin Windham collided with David Vuillemin, Steve felt that Windham had made an unsafe move so a ten point penalty was assessed. We did, and still do, support Steve’s decision. It was consistent with the rulebook and what had been discussed with all the riders and team managers on several occasions.
“Windham appealed the decision. Under current AMA rules governing the AMA Supercross Series, appeals (depending on their nature) can be rejected, mediated by AMA Pro Racing’s Director of Competition, or sent to an appeal board. Given the serious nature of this particular infraction and the fact that there were points involved, we decided to grant Windham’s appeal.
“Obviously, we think the appeal board made a mistake here. However, the appeal process is in place to rule on major disputes and we knew that by accepting the appeal in the first place the chance existed that it could be overturned. We were comfortable with that possibility.
“It’s important to remember that the original intention in all of this was to force riders to think twice about their actions on the track. We think that point has been made. With a couple of exceptions, the racing since the points deduction has been much cleaner without any sacrifice in closeness and competitiveness. In fact, most agree that the racing is better, because everyone is focusing on racing. Of course there’s going to be a certain amount of contact and bumping in motocross and supercross — that’s the nature of the sport and we accept that. It’s blatantly dangerous or aggressive riding that we’re looking to eliminate.
“Some have asked us ‘what now?’ in terms of points penalties and I say that nothing has changed. Steve Whitelock and his crew will continue to call the race as they see it with the goal being to create an environment where the best, safest most competitive racing can occur. In their ruling, the appeals board stated that our program to stop overly aggressive riding is necessary and with merit. That’s our responsibility as a sanctioning body and we will continue to do our job with that mindset.
About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship, the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship and the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Raciing, visit www.amaproracing.com.