PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 4, 2004) — AMA Pro Racing announced today that it continues to explore whether or not it will send a team to the 2004 Motocross of Nations (MXoN). While making the announcement AMA Pro Racing Supercross/Motocross Series Manager Steve Whitelock said the team-selection process took an unexpected turn last week which necessitated a review of the situation. ¿We¿ve been considering the possibility of sending a team for weeks now,¿ said Whitelock. ¿We¿ve had conversations with all the top riders, team managers and manufacturers. We had reached a point where we had a team in place, and in fact were preparing the announcement, then suddenly the team we had assembled dissolved.¿
The Motocross of Nations is comprised of three-man teams from around the world. Generally, current top-ranked riders are invited to race on behalf of their countries. Some top Americans who were considered to be logical picks to represent the United States said they wouldn¿t participate in the event. This year¿s MXoN is scheduled to be held in Lierop, Netherlands on Oct. 1-3.
¿Even though some riders had declined, we had commitments in place and had organized a strong team. Unfortunately the landscape changed and we are back to square one,¿ said Whitelock.
Whitelock acknowledged the riders who have come forward volunteering to race at the MXoN. ¿A few riders have publicly stated their willingness to ride and we think that¿s admirable,¿ stated Whitelock. ¿Unfortunately, the situation is not that simple. Along with the willingness of the riders, we must have a strong commitment from the manufacturers who sponsor them to prep and maintain equipment. That part of the equation is also in question right now. And, it¿s not even about being guaranteed a win, it¿s about ensuring the American team has, at the very least, a reasonable chance of success. Considering where the situation lies right now, that `reasonable chance¿ is in doubt. We must have assurance that each rider will have access to the best possible equipment. To go up against the world¿s top riders on anything less is not an option.¿
Whitelock also recognized the fans who have contacted AMA Pro Racing urging that a team be organized. ¿We have received plenty of e-mails and letters from passionate fans who want to see an American team under any circumstances,¿ continued Whitelock. ¿We empathize with that passion but it¿s our responsibility to make the decision that¿s in the best interest of our riders. Bowing to public pressure and throwing together an under-supported team is not in the best interests of anyone, particularly the sport of motocross in the United States.¿
Whitelock stated that the situation could go either way at this point. ¿Frankly speaking, we need to acknowledge the possibility that we won¿t be going in 2004,¿ said Whitelock. ¿However, we¿re going to continue working on it until all reasonable possibilities have been exhausted. If we can create a scenario that makes sense we¿ll go. Otherwise, we¿ll turn our attention to 2005.¿
About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Chevrolet Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship, the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.