Team M4 EMGO Suzuki apologizes to fans who attended the AMA season finale at Mid-Ohio and were disappointed by the delays and schedule revisions forced upon the event by area rain showers.
Miscommunication between riders and AMA officials resulted in a very low rider turn out for the anticipated Superbike heat races, which had already been rescheduled from Saturday until Sunday; Team M4 EMGO Suzuki riders were not entered in the Superbike class at Mid-Ohio. A key issue was that riders in the Superstock and Supersport classes did not get a practice session in the third version of the revised Sunday schedule. Riders wanted enough laps prior to their races to assess track conditions. Ultimately riders were provided with an out lap, three laps to assess track conditions and a cool-off lap immediately preceding each race.
All involved wanted to give the fans who had suffered through the poor weather a good show and safe racing, although arriving at an satisfactory solution was an arduous and trying affair. Ultimately, all four class finals plus the Superbike consolation race and an AMA Sports race took place on Sunday afternoon and produced great racing for the fans.
Putting on a good show for race fans while promoting rider safety has been a primary concern of Team Hammer during its 26 consecutive seasons of professional competition.
Unfortunately, during a press conference following the Supersport race at Mid-Ohio, Team M4 EMGO Suzuki riders Geoff May and Michael Barnes both allowed their frustration over the earlier events of the day to color their comments. Both riders regret the harshness of the tone of their comments, and the entire Team M4 EMGO Suzuki team is firmly committed to working with AMA and racetrack officials to improve communications and avoid problems in the future.
“We feel bad for the fans and they were in our thoughts the whole time. If it wasn’t for the fans, we wouldn’t be here and they are always important to us,” said Geoff May. “They inspire us and root us on and it makes us happy to put on a good show for them. My family flew in for the race and spent a lot of their money so I knew how they felt. Everyone wanted to see us race. It’s just a shame that the fans at the track didn’t know what was going on and there was some confusion. The riders have to stand up for themselves on safety issues and we acknowledge the AMA is doing their best to make the sport as safe as possible, too. Hopefully, everyone learns something from this and we won’t have a similar situation in the future. I know everyone will do all they can to avoid it.”
“First off, we’d like to apologize if the fans felt shorted last weekend at Mid-Ohio. We love the fans up there and look forward to every race at the track,” said Michael Barnes. “The riders might have been a little hard on the AMA and track staff last weekend in some of our comments. We know they try hard and do the best job they can. We appreciate their efforts. Sometimes, though, it seems a little strict against us riders and we get frustrated. No disrespect for another sport, but it’s not golf. When we have safety concerns, it isn’t just us complaining. We’re putting our lives on the line and sometimes the discussions get heated. I hope we all can move on and learn from this weekend to make the sport better. I hope there’s no hard feelings.”
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki is looking forward to racing for the Mid-Ohio fans again in 2007.