The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) will be relaunching AMA Pro Road Racing as MotoAmerica.
Seldom has such a dryly worded press release contained such an exciting bombshell of information.
Yesterday, the American Motorcyclist Association announced that it's had enough of the Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG) sullying its good name. It's taken back the rights to the AMA Pro Road Racing series, hired a consortium of the smartest guys in the industry, and will be relaunching the series as MotoAmerica. When we said that American Road Racing would find a way to survive, this is exactly what we meant!
The AMA will sanction the MotoAmerica series, which will be run by a group called KRAVE. Its members include former 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey, Chuck Aksland, who managed the Team KR MotoGP effort for 20 years and was a vice president at Circuit of the Americas, former Roush Performance man Terry Karges and Richard Varner, an entrepreneur, custom motorcycle manufacturer, and Karges' partner at Champions Moto.
The new series is being billed as a North American championship, with AMA and FIM #1 plates to be awarded each season, which opens the possibility of racing in Canada as well as the United States. That's great news for American and Canadian riders alike, who have struggled separately to attain the sort of notoriety needed to ascend to the international level.
A crucial detail buried in the press release is that, while classes and rulebooks are far from being written, they are intended to "conform to prevailing international standards." What that means in detail could be a Superstock/Supersport/Superbike lineup to mirror the WSBK series, or a Moto3/Moto2/Superbike lineup like the Spanish CEV series or some hybrid of the two. The Moto3/Moto2 option would take some time to adopt, since there currently isn't anyone in North America building prototype chassis, but Attack Performance does have some experience.
Any of those options would be good news for North American race teams, who will finally be able to compete on machinery not drastically different from that used on the world stage. This means that the series will provide a more linear comparison for talent scouts and opportunities for US riders to wildcard in world championship rounds.
While rebuilding a viable North American road racing series atop the ashes of what DMG systematically destroyed will be no mean feat, they will at least have the advantage of goodwill. Fans have been waiting for a change of this magnitude for almost seven years, and with guys like Rainey and Askland at the helm, there is good reason to believe things will improve dramatically.
The KRAVE group has a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. With less than six months before Daytona, they have to decide on classes, draft rule books, solicit sponsors, negotiate with tracks and a lot more. Perhaps most crucially, they need to reopen lines of communication with manufacturers and teams, getting their input and buy-in to make sure that the series gets off on the right foot. And on top of all that, they need to be shopping for a media package that will ensure fans can actually watch the races in a timely manner with coverage that doesn't insult their intelligence.
While it cannot yet be said that the long nightmare of DMG's abuse of American road racing is over, there is now a discernable light at the end of the tunnel. There will be growing pains as the paddock adapts to its new masters, but we can be assured that at least the people in charge have the knowledge to address the task at hand and the best interests of racers and fans at heart.