Petroleum conflict

Published April 30th, 2004





We admit – we don’t fully understand the leaded fuel controversey. Of course, cheating is not good, and should be punished. At the same time, everyone was floored by the charges and even more so the penalty for a rule just implemented this season.



Both Yamaha and the AMA published updates today. Here is the latest.



First, Yamaha appealed the ruling:



Cypress, CA (April 30, 2004) – David Vuillemin and Chad Reed, Yamaha factory riders, and Tyson Hadsell, a Yamaha privateer, filed appeals with AMA Pro Racing concerning the ruling and penalties levied against them as a result of the gasoline they used at the April 17 Dallas supercross. The appeals were filed on April 28, 2004. Their appeals address such issues as: testing protocol and procedures, test sample collection, potential contamination of the fuel samples and the AMA lead test standard.



Keith McCarty, Yamaha’s racing manager, stated, “Team Yamaha has made every effort to comply with all AMA rules, including the rule regarding the amount of lead in the gasoline used by Team Yamaha riders. Team Yamaha purchased and regularly tested its fuel with the AMA suggested fuel field test kit during the Supercross series. The fuel used by Team Yamaha at the San Francisco supercross was tested and received a passing result from the AMA. Since Team Yamaha received the AMA test results from the Dallas supercross, Team Yamaha had the fuel it used at the Salt Lake City Supercross tested by an independent laboratory for lead content. The test results for this gasoline were well within the AMA lead standard. The AMA has not provided Team Yamaha with a sample of the fuel that the AMA took from Team Yamaha at the Dallas supercross, despite our request for such a sample. We are concerned about many aspects of the AMA test results and procedure regarding the sample taken by the AMA at Dallas. Given that Team Yamaha purchased fuel that met the AMA standard and Team Yamaha’s regular and repeated efforts to verify its use of complying fuel, Team Yamaha is concerned that the results of the Dallas test may be the result of fuel contamination. Yamaha feels that the appeals of the riders are supported by the facts. Yamaha will fully support these riders through the AMA appeals process, especially in light of the fact that the penalty levied against these riders is highly disproportionate to the penalties assessed by the AMA against other riders for both fuel and other violations of AMA rules.”



Then, the AMA issued a response:



PICKERINGTON, Ohio (April 30, 2004) – AMA Pro Racing has announced that it will not accept appeals submitted by riders Tyson Hadsell, Chad Reed and David Vuillemin. All three riders were penalized for using illegal fuel at round 14 of the THQ AMA Supercross Series at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas on April 17.



In announcing the decision, Merrill Vanderslice, AMA Pro Racing Director of Competition stated that there was nothing in the appeals that would warrant convening an appeal board. “The appeals submitted by the riders never refute AMA Pro Racing’s finding that fuel tested after the Texas Supercross was found to be in non-compliance. Instead, the appeals attempt to cast doubt on the testing methodology, the validity of the AMA Supercross fuel requirements, whether or not their fuel impacted performance and the appropriateness of the penalty. Based on the language in the AMA Supercross Rulebook, none of this is appealable. According to the AMA Supercross Rulebook, appeals can be lodged under two circumstances: 1) a party which loses a protest can appeal for further review of the issue, and 2) an appeal may be lodged to challenge fines, suspensions and technical disqualifications levied by Race Managers and/or AMA Pro Racing. Obviously this is an unfortunate situation. However, after carefully reviewing all the facts surrounding this incident I’m confident that our initial findings are correct. The fuel in the bikes of Hadsell, Reed and Vuillemin from the Texas Supercross was not in compliance and the penalties applied are appropriate.”


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