AMA Tech Director Suspended for Chastising Backmarker for “F’ing up the Show” at Mid-Ohio

07/23/2009 @ 1:43 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

We don’t even know where to begin with this…The AMA Pro Racing has announced that it has indefinitely suspended Al Ludington for his interactions to Johnny Rock Page during Race 1 of AMA’s stop at Mid-Ohio. Page was accused by Ludington for not abidding to a blue flag (over-taking rider approaching), as Aaron Yates looked to get around the slower Page. Pretty standard stuff in racing, especially in the AMA where there can be a wide gap in lap times of teams and riders.

The issue here though is the handling of the matter, as Ludington goes off his rocker, threatening and cursing Page, all while misquoting the rule book. During his rant, what becomes clear is Ludington’s lowly perception of privateer riders. He also sheds light on how the AMA perceives roadracing in America. It’s a sad state we live in folks.

Without seeing the incident, we can’t say for certain that Page was in the clear. We’ll let others who follow the AMA series comment on that, but clearly Page seemed to think he was within the rights of the rule book.

What bothers us the most about this video though, is clearly Ludington’s perception of what AMA Sportbike racing is all about, and what the value of ALL the riders on the grid are in his eyes. Quotes like “You raced the leaders, and fucked up the show” and “What were you? 28th?…you’re not ‘it’ [the show]” make us cringe. Page is right, every rider counts on the grid, and what place he was running in the series shouldn’t matter on how the rules are applied to him. All an over-taking rider can ask of a lapped rider, is to stick to the rules, and hold their line as they get around them in a corner.

For the record the rules are as follows (Al, you might want to read these), Section 7 (Race Rules And Procedures 7.14 Flags/Lights) of the AMA racing rules states that:

“Blue Flag: Indicates to a rider that they are about to be overtaken. Riders are advised to keep their line and allow the faster rider to pass. Riders disregarding this flag may be blackflagged at the discretion of AMA Pro Racing.”

This incident is sadly an inside look of what the AMA racing series has become (and why we don’t cover it…well, sorta). It’s sad when a Technical Director treats the riders in a purely dollars and cents fashion. We can barely handle it when we see it from the marketing/advertising folks, but you want to think that someone in the Race Director’s office still loves the sport of roadracing for what it used to be. You stay classy AMA.

Al Ludington’s Written Apology on the Matter:

To the AMA Pro Racing Community:

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to the fans of our sport, all AMA
members, competitors, AMA Pro Racing officials and Johnny Rock Page for my
behavior in the Tech Garage at the recent AMA Pro Road Racing event at Mid-
Ohio.

My actions were out of line and detrimental to the well being and the growth of
the sport that we all love. Mr. Page is a professional racer and should have been
reprimanded for his actions in a professional manner. He was not, and the blame
is entirely and solely my own.

I am regretful for offending anyone’s sensibilities, and I vow never to conduct
myself in this manner in the future. We expect cordial dialogue and behavior from
our competitors and, in turn, they should expect the same from us. I failed to live
up to this code of conduct.

Once again, I am offering my sincerest apologies to everybody that was affected
by my poor decision to conduct myself in a non-professional manner.

Sincerely,

Al Ludington
AMA Pro Racing
Technical Director

Source: Motorcycle-USA; Thumbnail: CornerSpeedPhoto

Comment:

  1. Gezond Verstand? says:

    If AMA are serious about getting racing more interested, maybe they should look at the German IDM-series. Their categories are based on superstock rules, allowing very little modifications to the bikes and thus keeping cost down. And it will probably attract the manufacturers since it is an interesting class for them to train riders. Current Ducati MotoGP rider Nicolo Canepa is a former European 1000cc Superstock Champion.

  2. AMA Technical Director Gets Fired for Chastising Backmarker for “Fucking up the Show” at Mid-Ohio – http://bit.ly/uxqhm #mot …

  3. Like the signature modification :-D

    JRP did what he was supposed to do. Yates himself has been taken out by lappers moving over to get out of the way. That is why the rulebook says to stay on your line if shown the blue flag. A predictable slow rider is far more safe than an unpredictable rider doing evasive maneuvers off the racing line. Especially in the tightest, windiest portion of the track, where this was going on.

    Oh, and did anyone mention that there were still 4 laps to go when this happened?

    Josh expertly timed his pass to use JRP to block Yates, if anything LOL

    Luddington threatening to abuse his powers should be grounds for termination. (He was the tech director, and said in the video something to the effect of “if they don’t suspend you, you won’t have a bike to ride” meaning he will fail his bike in tech inspection if his bosses didn’t suspend him). I have no doubt if that had not been caught on tape, Luddington would have denied that to his grave.

    Here is some of the video:

  4. mxs says:

    Where do they find clowns like Luddington?

  5. Patrick says:

    AMA, and DMG have ruined the experience of watching roadracing in the U.S. The second class environment they provide leaves a bad taste in my mouth. There is no love for the sport felt when watching these events. They are looking for $$$ first, then putting on quality races second. Ironically its this order of priorities thats to blame for the whole system failing. For this reason I choose not to watch these races on TV for free, but rather pay subscription fees to watch racing abroad. I feel bad for the privateer riders as I feel they are most negatively affected by this poor leadership.

  6. Chance Gray says:

    AMA is Pathetic, Thanks Al for showing your true feelings for privateers! Your a sad man.

  7. Patti Anderson says:

    Clearly Mr. Ludington is wrapped way too tightly. He reminds me of a mall security officer who never made it on the real Police force. A wannabe. These kind of people never really understand until they get caught with the right proof and even then he can’t bring himself off his pedestal. I love the quote in his letter “I am regretful for offending anyone’s sensibilities…” In other words, if you think I’m an ass, it’s still your fault. How dare he use his power like that.

  8. Joe says:

    Alright, so far everyone here is posting up in JRP’s defense. I won’t. Sure he did stick to the rules about holding his line…but he also did everything he could to stay in front of the leaders! Holding your line is one thing, but allowing faster riders by is another. For those of you that did not actually see what happened on track, you can not comment about JRP being in the right or wrong. Sure you can say Ludington was in the wrong, because he was. He was suspended, but will more than likely be back in the series and being watched like a hawk. Indefinite does not mean permanent. Remember, Jamie Hacking was also suspended indefinitely, but was back a race or two later.

    JRP, nor anyone else with that video should have posted it. JRP should have brought the video to the AMA first to try to get the problem resolved. Instead, being the guy out for attention that he is, he has helped tarnish AMA racing even more than what they have done on their own. Respect is a two way street. To me it is clear that JRP has no respect for the organization that he is racing in just as Ludington had no respect for him. It is a shame, but it happens. JRP should pack up his AMA bags and go race in another series where he has a chance at doing something other than cause an issue. His reality show is clouding his judgment as a racer.

  9. Fernando Ortega UTAH ama privateer team tech says:

    The show…, The f’ing show, whatever happened with racing, politics and dmg are gonna kill the “sport” very soon, bunch of clowns…

  10. Bill says:

    Joe apparently works for ama/dmg. Backmarkers are a racing reality. You get by them. He did what the rule book says. HOLD YOUR LINE. End of storey.
    Joe ,there is a new paradigm here. Expect to see people screwing up on youtube.
    As for ”racing the leaders” , thats what he payed his money to grid for and was succesful in gaining a position,however lowley, on it.
    The ama/dmg are in this for the money. They have no other concern.
    I am boycotting any race that has to do with these idiots. To be quite plain : The ama / dmg are bad for motorcycle racing. They are car people. And the screwed up nascar as well.
    Fortunately real racing exists elswhere. You should watch some Joe just so you have a different perspective if nothing else.

  11. LutherG says:

    Suspended? That guy should be fired. Racing needs entrants, berating entrants for following the rules and enjoying a brief moment of dicing with the leaders isn’t the way to ensure racers spend the fortune it takes to fill the field. That racer followed the rules. As a result he was threatened. Saying you shouldn’t publish this is like saying publishing police beatings hurts the morale of police. Hey, big deal. Don’t abuse your power and you won’t have an issue.