TM can’t race a Supercross because
they don’t import 400 bikes to the USA.
WHY DON’T ALL THE BRANDS
Although I currently own a
Yamaha, I am a big fan of the boutique brands like TM, Gas Gas,
Sherco, APC, SWM and Beta. Why
don’t I ever see any of these bikes
racing the AMA Supercross series?
It seems to me that those brands
would benefit from the exposure, and
the fans would enjoy seeing bikes
that they rarely get to see outside of
enduro and cross-country racing.
Not just any motorcycle can race
an AMA Supercross or National. Only
motorcycles that are homologated
by the AMA may be used in compe-
tition. Homologation is just a fancy
way of making sure that no rider
or team shows up at the races with
a special one-off machine that isn’t
available in its basic form to every
other rider in the race. In order for a
bike to be considered a legal produc-
tion bike, the manufacturer must pro-
duce and sell at least 400 units. And,
the manufacturer must make those
units available to the public all the
way up until August 1st of the racing
season that the bike was homologat-
ed for (unless the manufacturer can
prove that all of the available mod-
els were sold out before that date).
Additionally, 200 bikes must be in
the showrooms by March 1st and the
remaining number by June 1st. Only
the manufacturer of record can submit a machine for homologation—not
a rider or team. There is a $3000 fee
to get a bike on the approved list. On
a side note, no motorcycle over five
years old may be raced.
These homologation rules effectively make bikes from TM, Gas
Gas, Sherco, APC, SWM and Beta
ineligible to be raced in Supercross
or motocross, because they do not
import or sell more than 400 of any
given motocross model during a
calendar year. During the recession,
when bike sales took a catastrophic
nosedive, the AMA considered putting a small-manufacturer exemption
in the rule book for companies that
could not reach the 400 number but
are legitimately in business in the
USA. They weren’t doing this to
help the boutique brands; there were
fears that some of the big brands
might fall below the threshold. Once
that fear was alleviated by increased
sales, the AMA dropped the idea—
and with it TM, Gas Gas, Sherco,
APC, SWM and Beta.
The AMA stopped Mike Alessi from
riding on AMA National Amateur days.
MONDAY, BLOODY MONDAY
Can an AMA National rider show
up and ride the Amateur races that
are held a couple days before the
Nationals? It seems like they could
get in some extra practice that way.
It used to be legal, and Mike
Alessi did it several times to gain
experience on the tracks he wasn’t
familiar with. In 2008 it was declared
illegal. Under current AMA rules,
riders “may not participate in any
Amateur races or other racing activities on the same racetrack where
the AMA Motocross Championship
event is being held.” They can race
the track on the weekend before the
National, but not after Monday.
Never believe what you read on a pump
in Euro-land. It’s fibbing to you.
EURO VERSUS YANK FUEL
I’m confused by American octane
ratings. MXA always talks about
91-octane gasoline as though it
is the highest grade, but here in
Holland we have 93-octane regular and 95-octane premium. Why
do American bikes run such low
They don’t. American octane ratings are derived by adding the Motor
Octane Number (MON) and Research
Octane Number (RON) together and
dividing them by two. In Europe,
they only use the higher RON octane.
In truth, European 91 RON would
only be 87 octane in the USA. Your
95-octane premium is the equivalent
of American 91-octane fuel.