AMA Pro Road Racing Update, Part 1

Fewer races and no TV—yet.

Josh Herrin leads Josh Hayes and Martin Cardenas at Mid-Ohio

AMA Pro Racing recently issued a string of press releases related to the 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing schedule, as well as changes to its class structure and rules. Read individually, these releases suggest more questions than answers, but viewed as a whole, a bigger picture is beginning to take shape.

Thus far, AMA Pro Racing has named five double-header events. Daytona International Speedway will once again host the opening round of the series March 13-15, maintaining a traditional three-day format (with the Daytona 200 running on Saturday afternoon). Round 2 at Road America (May 30-June 1) will also be a three-day affair, but Barber Motorsports Park (June 21-22), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (July 19-20), and New Jersey Motorsports Park (September 13-14) will instead run compacted two-day programs.

“The two-day schedule was created as a cost-containment effort for both promoters and teams,” said AMA Pro Racing Director of Communications Gene Crouch. “Because of the economic climate right now and what’s going on in the industry, there’s not as much interest from third-party promoters to host events as there has been in the past. We want to create a racing environment that fits with where we’re at right now as a community.”

Last season, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca hosted two AMA Pro Road Race events, round 5 in conjunction with the MotoGP World Championship and round 9 with the Superbike World Championship. This year, Mazda Raceway will hold round 9 of SBK on July 11-13, one week prior to the AMA races at Mid-Ohio, but, to date, there’s been no official mention of an AMA presence at the California track. Likewise, Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, put on round 6 in 2013, but when that track announced its current-year events calendar, AMA Pro Road Racing was not part of it. At this time, no AMA nationals are scheduled at tracks west of the Mississippi.

A television package has not been announced, either. AMA Pro Road Racing’s agreement this past season with CBS Sports Network was revealed last April, during the 11-week break between rounds 1 and 2 at Daytona and Road America.

“The original television release said it would be a multi-year deal with Chet Burks Productions and CBS Sports Network,” Crouch said. “That is still true. We have assigned the television rights to Chet Burks for the 2014 season. Chet is hammering away and working on securing financing to provide the same level of coverage in 2014 that he did in 2013.”

Overall series title-sponsor GEICO Motorcycle and individual class-backers National Guard (SuperBike) and Motorcycle-Superstore.com (SuperSport) have left the series. Harley-Davidson and Vance & Hines, however, have increased their monetary support for the spec XR1200 class, and GoPro will once again sponsor Daytona SportBike. Dunlop and Sunoco remain the spec-tire and -fuel suppliers for the series.