Yeah, that was one scary looking crash (enhanced by the proximity of the TV cameras). This was a shame, as I think Scott really wanted to do well this year. Now he'll probably retire, or face a long hard road back into competitive road racing.
Because the AMA isn't a true sancioning body in the sense you're thinking of. No one could show up in the stands, and the AMA gets paid.
Why? Because they get all the "back gate" fees, plus a promotor fee. Back gate fees are rider/crew entries, anyone wanting to race or be associated with a team, that money goes to the AMA. So, the more people they pack on the grid, the more money they make.
Conversely, when their show doesn't air on TV when/where it's supposed to be (like here in LA, it was supposed to be on ESPN at 2:30 but wasn't, though maybe it was a misprinting error beyond their control), or when no one shows up to watch, which is pretty much always the case, the AMA doesn't lose out.
Note, too, if memory serves, the AMA releases total gate numbers as attendence. So if you buy a ticked, go in Friday, leave, come back Saturday and Sunday, you get counted three times.
Even though i'm not really a fan of his, I really feel terrible for Russel. After wasting away his career on the hopeless VR1000 Harley, he finally gets back on a real bike and has real hopes of doing well and re-establishing himself in AMA SBK. Then his hopes are smashed in the very first race of the season. He must feel terrible. I hope he can maintain a positive attitude and come through this.
Blip is right about the multiple counting. Its common practice for the race promoters too (which is usually the race track). Speedvision does it and will sometimes include everyone in the paddock, track workers and volunteers.
There are some major differences between how a PACE/F-USA/SFX race is put on versus an AMA event. PACE acts the sacntioning body and the promoter (to my knowledge anyway). It doesn't hurt that their parent company owns tons of radio stations to promote their events.
Since PACE is also a promoter it is in their best interests to not only have a full grid (which is the AMA's primary concer) but also to have a large gate.
The AMA tends to rely on the tracks to act as the promoters. They seem to do very poor jobs, since their bread and butter is auto racing they don't seem to worry too much about roadracing IMO. Speedvision is the promoter for Road Atlanta and Laguna, both great events. Willow Springs also had a non-track promoter last year.
There have been some whisperings that the AMA should fall back to a sanctioning body and allow PACE to promote most of the AMA races.
Scott was paid very well to "waste away his career on the hopeless VR1000 Harley."
Apparently Harley didn't live up to their end of the deal making a competitive bike and Scott lost his drive. Which was too bad and it made him look bad, especially while Pascal consitently place in the top ten and even got the VR1000 on the podium.
I hated to see this....this changes the excitment that this year promised to deliver. It looks like a Suzuki runaway....good luck Gobie! I hope they can keep Aron Slight in the AMA!
Getting back to the crash....it could have been avoided, Scott should have never put his arm down and started to move to the right off the track....big mistake, anybody roadracing take note. Keep your arm(s) up high if stalled on the start and wait for the corner workers to get you out of trouble. Tragic.
Jackson, I fully aggree with your outlook on this. There should be a size limit to the number of racers on the track at once. And if you are a non-season rider there should be stricter prerequisites as well as a substatial race resume if you are not a team rider.
"Conversely, when their show doesn't air on TV when/where it's supposed to be (like here in LA, it was supposed to be on ESPN at 2:30 but wasn't, though maybe it was a misprinting error beyond their control)..."
It was on ESPN2 at 2:30, at least here in San Diego, which agreed with the published listings. Must've been a typo in your listings.
It was a horrific crash, and I'm surprised the other riders weren't more seriously injured.
Yeah, I had the same question while watching them run down the starting grid: "Are there really (60+?) bikes out on the track to start this race?" That second wave just shouldn't be there during a feature pro race like the Daytona 200.
I don't see any other way to count people. Most racing I've ever been to counts gate attendance as the number of people through the gate, totalled up for the weekend.
I go every day to watch racing, why not count me 3 times. If 3 different people go on 3 different days, they also count as 3 tickets.
But I agree there are too many riders, both in Superbike and some of the Supersport races. But I think it is at its worst at Daytona, where everybody wants to race on the big track.
Although the incidents in the 200 were contributed to by many bikes, the problems could have been avoided for the most part. Especially Russells mishap, which I'm hoping he'll come out and admit was his own fault.
I was suprised to see Scott stall it on the re-start. I was even more suprised to see him put his arm down and change his line. Anyone in roadracing knows what to do in that situation. I'm willing to bet that had Scott continued riding straight ahead, instead of drifting to the right, he would have finished in the top ten! If you were to ask Scott right now, he would tell you the same thing. I'm not blaming him, its just a racing thing. I pray for a speedy and complete recovery. Godspeed Scott!
Well, it can't all be factory superstars. John Pearson
wasn't exactly a newbie to the track, carrying the #1 750 plate for
Willow. He's one of the best riders I know. I hope Russell gets well too,
I was looking forward to seeing him on a competative bike too. As for John,
I got word today that he was walking around the pits afterwards.
What was Scott Russell thinking!? How does a guy become World Champion, AMA Champion, etc. and not know what to do when his bike stalls on a start? I hate to see any rider get hurt as bad as Scott Russell got it but he has only himself to blame. At the club level you are taught that in the event you stall or break on a start you are to stay where you are on the grid, wave your hands, and (as much as you can) make yourself small for your own protection and that of your fellow racers. I haven't seen the accident on TV yet but from where I was sitting in the grandstand it was clear that Russell turned his bike toward the side of the track thereby turning across the path of the oncoming racers. I'm sure Russell is kicking himself for not reacting properly now but lets not lose sight that his mistake took out 3 other riders. I hope they all have speedy and complete recoveries.