Friday, September 5

MAJOR CHANGE IN US ROAD RACING

 AFTER seven years under the control of the Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG), the United States national championship series has undergone a major change, with two announcements detailing those changes made on September 3.

First, DMG issued a release saying it was handing back the rights to run the series to the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA) and the KRAVE Group.

Then the AMA issued a lengthy statement saying it is to sanction “a new North American road racing series” which will be known as ‘MotoAmerica’.

In its statement, DMG, which has controlled the AMA Superbike and Supersport Championships since 2008, said it was “transferring sanctioning, operational, promotional and commercial rights for professional motorcycle road racing to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and KRAVE Group.”

DMG’s final AMA Pro Road Racing event will be held at New Jersey Motorsports Park on September 13-14.

After that, DMG no longer will conduct and promote the professional road racing discipline.  However the company will continue to sanction AMA Pro Flat Track, Motocross and Hillclimb.


KRAVE
So what is this KRAVE Group?

It is a partnership that includes three-time World 500 Champion Wayne Rainey along with former Team Roberts race team manager Chuck Aksland, Terry Karges and Richard Varner.  It is based in Costa Mesa, California and takes its name from an amalgam of the first letters of its principals: Krave, Rainey, Aksland, Varner.

After 20 years as manager of Team Roberts, Aksland had most recently served as Vice President of Motor Sport Operations at Circuit of The Americas, which hosts one of the two MotoGP rounds in the USA.   

Terry Karges is a former motorsports marketing executive and team owner who spent 17 years at Roush Performance before being named Executive Director of the Petersen Museum.  Richard Varner is described as a “motorcycle manufacturer, energy sector entrepreneur, philanthropist and businessman.”  He owns Streetmaster, a company building specials around the Hinkley Triumph Bonneville engine,  (for more on Streetmaster, click here  http://www.streetmaster.net/)

MotoAmerica is “an affiliate of KRAVE Group LLC,” the AMA press release informs us and also goes on to say that “MotoAmerica will promote and manage the commercial aspects of MotoAmerica, which will be sanctioned by the AMA and FIM North America.”

MotoAmerica?
This is where things get interesting.  You will note there is no mention of ‘Superbike’ or ‘Supersport’ in the name of this new series, and the fact it is called ‘Moto’ America has already drawn inferences that the new series is going to be Euro-centric, copying the World Championship GP series classes:  Moto3, Moto2 and perhaps even a derivative of MotoGP.
What is also interesting is the fact the series will be sanctioned not only by the AMA, but FIM North America, the North American Continental Union of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, the international body for motorcycle sport.
But the AMA is already the FIM’s United States’ affiliate, so this statement raises further questions about the direction in which MotoAmerica will head, although this is partially answered by the next paragraph in the AMA press release.
“The KRAVE Group owns commercial rights to the MotoAmerica Series and will award AMA and FIM North America No. 1 plates to series class champions,” the release says, adding: “The group will sell sponsorships, develop other commercial relationships for the series, secure tracks, create the calendar, process crew and media credentials and have responsibility for fan engagement.”

AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman is then quoted as saying "if you are an amateur or professional motorcycle road racer in America, if you are a fan of road racing or if you are a company that does business in this industry, this is an exciting day."
"Our goal has always been to entrust the promoting and commercial rights for professional racing to a talented, dedicated, well-capitalized professional entity, and the KRAVE Group certainly offers all that and more," Dingman added.

Rainey, an AMA two time Superbike Champion and Motorcycle Hall of Famer, thanked the AMA for facilitating the acquisition.

"The AMA was instrumental in this deal coming together, serving as negotiator and mediator at all points of discussion," Rainey said.  "We appreciate the efforts of Rob Dingman throughout the process."

MotoAmerica, in consultation with the AMA, will develop classes, the rules of competition and event procedures. While details of the rulebook are still in development, classes and events will conform to prevailing international standards.

"The structure of our agreement with the AMA serves the goal of developing riders to be successful on the world stage," Rainey said.  "It allows a framework that supports advancement from youth competition to novice, from novice to Pro-Am, from Pro-Am to National Championship contention and, for the best of the best, an opportunity to race for a world title."

AMA Role
The AMA’s involvement will see it provide officials at each round of the professional series and develop an enforcement, appeal and rider license procedure. The AMA will be responsible for issuing professional road racing licenses for the series.

The AMA, as the U.S. affiliate of the FIM, sanctions FIM-affiliated events in the United States.
The AMA, along with the Canadian Motorcycle Association, administers FIM North America, which sanctions continental-level series and championship events in North America.  The AMA also sanctions amateur motorcycle competition in the USA, a role the AMA has fulfilled since it was established in 1924.

"The AMA's roles as FIM affiliate and amateur sanctioning body make it a critical piece to establishing a clear progression for America's road racing community," Rainey said.  "We're eager to build a fair, exciting and commercially viable professional road racing series not just for today's stars, but for those who will stand on top of the podium for years to come."

Dingman added: "The MotoAmerica/KRAVE Group has shown throughout the entire process that they have the best interests of the AMA and its members in mind. They not only accepted financial responsibility for the series, but the relationship requires the MotoAmerica Series to sanction its events with the AMA."
What this means is that the AMA will continue to receive a revenue stream from the series.