Wow! Really big news this week. AMA president Rob Dingman has announced plans for the AMA to stop promoting professional racing.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (September 14, 2007) – The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has announced that it is embarking on an ambitious new plan to fundamentally change the way it conducts business. Specifically, the AMA is getting out of the racing series promotions business and will begin seeking series promoters for each of its professional and amateur racing disciplines.

In making the announcement, AMA President/CEO Rob Dingman, said the organization must ultimately define the distinction between the traditional roles of a sanctioning organization and that of a series promoter. “It is clear to the senior management of the AMA that we must change the way we handle the business of racing,” said Dingman. “Unfortunately the AMA’s role has become blurred and this lack of clarity has led to an erosion of confidence in the organization. The primary objectives of this new initiative are to improve AMA Championship Racing overall and realign the company so it can be successful in its historic mission of serving the needs of motorcyclists by pursuing, promoting and protecting the future of motorcycling.” [More…]

It’s hard to read exactly what this means. I’m not sure even Dingman knows just yet. A lot depends on how the AMA defines “promotion” vs “sanctioning”. I’m not at all convinced the AMA should even be a sanctioning body. But I’m prepared to listen to what he has in mind. It’s clear I’m not the only one who thinks the AMA is ill suited for a professional motorsports business.

There are some things the AMA could be doing as a sanctioning body – safety research, track owner education, etc. It all depends on how they spend their limited resources. But one thing I do know. They’re going to have to make some significant changes and prove they’re serious about this before the grassroots riders take them seriously. I’m eager to see what happens.