Honda has officially quit AMA/DMG Pro Racing, announcing that factory support will be withdrawn from the Corona Extra team. At the same time, the Daytona Motorsports Group is pursuing the inception of a Harley XR1200 spec class, describing that as a "priority." Holy crap, the DMG drama just doesn't end.
Honda is quitting for all the obvious reasons. AMA Pro Racing events continue to be poorly attended and scarcely televised -- no change since DMG's taken over -- while professionalism, organization and transparency have gone out the window. American Honda's marketing budget is much better spent promoting its products directly, while benefiting from the Japanese company's participation in racing that people actually watch, SBK and MotoGP.
Speaking about the bizarre interpretation of the rules that allowed the entry of the privateer racers-only Buell 1125RR in AMA American Superbike, American Honda senior vice president Ray Day said, "It is very difficult for me to comment on the AMA/DMG acceptance of the Buell in question as ashamedly it is evident we had an erroneous interpretation of both the rules and the homologation process." He then continued sarcastically, "This is an exciting new opportunity for all manufacturers and I am ashamed to have missed this chance through our inability to accurately analyze the current rules. Frankly, this could really be fun."
Before the dust from Honda's departure has time to settle, DMG is trying to create a new spec series for the Harley XR1200. Speaking on that subject, AMA Pro Racing president Roger Edmondson said, "The Harley category is quite clearly because we think it's ludicrous that that the largest selling brand in this country and the largest body of motorcyclists in this country are totally ignored when it comes to road racing. Those folks need a reason to buy tickets and help support our events. That's the concept."
DMG is also considering a series for the Ninja 250, although not with the same fervor, but has dropped talk of a 450cc single-cylinder class due to lack of manufacturer interest. Apparently, of the big four, only Yamaha expressed a faint interest in pursuing super-single racing.
While we do think a Harley XR1200 series would be neat, we're pretty tired of DMG and general and can only imagine that any series, no matter how immaculately conceived, won't be worth watching as long as DMG is managing it. From concerns about safety expressed by Mat Mladin to the lights going out at Daytona to various safety car scandals to the whole Al Ludington thing, all we see are reasons to tune out, not to tune in for good racing. We sincerely hope that somewhere, someone in the motorcycle industry is seriously thinking of ways to revive the USSB Championship.