WAR OF THE WORDS
Controversy clouds the entry of the very special $40,000 Buell 1125RR into AMA/DMG Pro American Superbike racing. The objection is that rules clearly state that eligible machines must be road-
legal and available in quantity at dealers. Supporters say this is just a detail, as the special-order RR is “derived” from the 1125R, which certainly meets the rules.
But isn’t a full 2007 Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike, full of trick parts inside and out and not available in stores, also “derived” from the bike in the showroom? Do DMG’s dispensations to Buell mean that now all manufacturers may build “RR” models? As one industry veteran said this week, “We love RRs. Think of Honda! Big-buck RC45s, here we come!” If low-production, high-priced race specials are unleashed, doesn’t this negate DMG’s goal of making racing more affordable and competitive by requiring near-stock machines?
Here’s the problem: DMG wants more bikes on its podiums than just Japan’s Big Four plus Ducati. It also wants Aprilia, BMW, Triumph, Buell and maybe Mustang Scooter. Yet smaller companies lack the R&D resources to make their bikes competitive in nearstock form. That tempts DMG to dole out what I’m tempted to call “favors”-allowing one make a trick fork, another make the privilege of converting its cruiser belt drive to a racier chain. The race paddock has been told that the “bad old days” of expensive modifications are over, so this inconsistency (and the $40,000!) offends a great many people.
That leaves us with this question: Are racing rules like laws, applying equally to everyone? Or are they just a way for those making the rules to get what they want, adding “interpretations” as they go?
The appearance of unfairness hurts and offends just as much as deliberate unfairness itself.