News has dropped that the Michael Jordan Motorsports (MJM) team will not be returning to AMA Pro Racing next season due to the fact that the National Guard would also be ceasing its involvement with the domestic motorcycle racing series (the Army National Guard was the chief sponsor of Michael Jordan Motorsports, and was also the title sponsor of the AMA Pro SuperBike class).
Talking to RoadRacingWorld on Tuesday, MJM’s Kreig Robinson confirmed that the National Guard’s lack of renewal with DMG stemmed from AMA Pro Racing’s waning TV viewership and dwindling event crowds.
With sponsoring AMA Pro Racing no longer making smart business sense for the National Guard, Robinson said he had little to argue with in regards to the National Guard’s decision.
Citing issues like DMG’s inability to secure a 2014 calendar thus far, despite the fact that the 2013 season is well past its conclusion (virtually all other domestic and international series have a provisional calendar for next season already together), Robinson’s remarks to RRW echo what many have been saying about operating within the framework of AMA Pro Racing.
Because of these difficulties, Robinson says that Michael Jordan Motorsports is considering moving its racing efforts into another series, likely to either World Superbike or MotoGP.
At what level within those championships MJM would operate wasn’t clear from Robinson’s comments, however one point was made abundantly clear: the team couldn’t operate in the uncertain business environment that currently clouds America’s domestic road racing efforts.
One example of the uncertainty was the mid-season news that only certain AMA Pro Racing rounds would be televised, with the Laguna Seca rounds initially omitted from that plan.
With that fiasco being a tremendously detrimental event for riders and teams who had inked deals with sponsors based on a full-season of televised motorcycle racing, the withdrawal of the National Guard is likely just the first of many stories about money leaving AMA Pro Racing for 2014.
The running joke in the AMA paddock of course was the news that British Superbikes was able to secure a TV deal in the United States for its last few remaining rounds of the 2013 season, while AMA Pro Racing’s season finale at Laguna Seca, which was run with the World Superbike Championship, was relegated to the AMA’s online feed.
While Michael Jordan Motorsports seems set to find greener pastures next year with what sounds like a series of wild card rides, before making a full commitment to a new racing venture in 2015, the real story here is that AMA Pro Racing has lost one of its elite teams.
With young riders already looking abroad for growth opportunities in the sport of motorcycle racing (some we talked at length about with Kevin Schwantz earlier this year), we have now witnessed our first team-level exodus, and that does not bode well.