by Big Bore Maico on 12/22/2009
Have you ever heard the statement “that guy just has “it”? Sort of like how James Stewart and Ricky Carmichael have “it”? What exactly is this “it”? Sometimes it’s a group, sometimes it’s a nuance, a nebulous factor that is difficult to quantify. In this discussion, the “it” is off-road motorcycling. We will look at just what state (condition) is “it” in.
I’m not big into numbers. They have their purpose, but there is more to life that cold hard statistics. And, if you live by stats, you will just as surely die with and by them. I’ve sat back and watched as my customers have shot themselves in the foot with numbers. They went with the numbers and left performance on the table; cost themselves money and some even irritated me to the point where I got rid of them as customers. Principle over money is my motto. My point is this: there is a big picture out there, and those who control off-road motorcycling, and its future, well, they are flat missing it.
Let’s go back in time a while and think about the past, what has transpired, who was responsible and why they did what they did. Then we can see why we are in the position we are in now and I’ll give you my opinions on how “it” can be corrected.
In the distant past, there was not an AMA. Off-road motorcycling was a fledgling industry and those who were participating in it were often considered out casts. Four strokes dominated the landscape. They were usually nothing more than street bikes with the lights removed and had knobby tires installed. In fact, my dad’s first dirt bike was a Triumph 650. Those bikes were big, heavy things that were not designed to do what we were doing with them. Things were about to change.
As usual, when anything looks like it is going to become a success, men gather together and try to figure out a way to organize things. I’m not opposed to organization. In fact, I’m all for it. Standardized rules, safety is mandated and as numbers increase, the organizing body can (and should) adapt rules and regulations to further the endeavor, and to increase the long term benefit of “it”. Sadly, greed, power and the desire for personal gain overcome those who are in charge, and they have sold out. Not only themselves, but all who have joined with them to centralize power. A
nd so, groups form, such as AMA, NASCAR, NHRA and so on. And the general public is encouraged to join these groups. This consolidates power, organizes a group who can fight ridiculous legislation and perform a myriad of jobs that keep the endeavor moving forward and growing.
Manufacturers, looking to increase market share, observe the organization of the endeavor and determine how to get involved. Thus, they increase their profits and should seek to provide products and services that the group wants and needs. It all sounds good, except for this fact I learned long ago: as the group gets larger it get more corrupt. Stated another way, you could say: corruption is proportional to growth. I don’t care what “it” is; this rule will apply 98% of the time.
Back to history, we’ve reached the point where AMA is now organizing motocross racing. Many manufacturers are producing lightweight, high output 2 stroke motorcycles. The AMA sets a standard for displacement and the 4 strokes die off, as the two-stroke technology advances.
The rules of the day were simple and they worked. You either produce equipment that fit the rules or you didn’t race. Surely, the manufacturers has input in the decision making. But they were not “ruling the roost”. There were three classes, based on displacement. 125 cc (1/8 liter), 250 cc (1/4 liter) and Open (251 cc’s and over, up to 1/2 liter). If you produced a 350 cc machine, either 2 or 4 stroke, you raced the open class. Any odd sized bike raced in the next higher displacement class i.e. a 175 raced with the 250’s.
Somewhere in the 1990?s the AMA passed a rule that was approved by all the manufacturers allowing four-strokes of up to 550cc to race against 250cc two-strokes. Those in charge made a grievous mistake. They added a rule that would later undermine the integrity of the sport, cause many manufacturers to lose market share and increase profit of a few. We’ll discuss that in greater detail later.
In 1971 a movie debut literally caused an explosion in off-road motorcycling. Titled “On Any Sunday”, Bruce Brown showed the world what was right with off-road motorcycling. I know it nearly cause a divorce in my house because my push for a dirt bike now hit a fevered pitch. To a whole generation, names like Mert Lawwill, Malcolm Smith and Steve McQueen became household names. Steve McQueen had made his name in movies and auto racing, but he gained a whole new audience because he loved to ride motorcycles. Great growth in a short time span sometimes causes more grief than glory. If you don’t have it, get it. If you ride dirt bikes and have never seen it, shame on you.
(Editor’s note – This movie is available online to watch for free 24/7 with limited commercial interruptions on Hulu – http://www.hulu.com/watch/79438/on-any-sunday Now there is no excuse not to see this classic film.)
As a racer, machinist and especially as an engine builder, one who spends huge amounts of time and energy learning how to go as quick and fast as you can (within the rules), I resent what is known as the “claiming” rule. In fact, I hate it. This rule punishes those who think, innovate, test and advance performance. This rule sets an arbitrarily low cost to purchase the equipment of another racer! I say it is border line criminal. Except for the fact that rational, thinking people actually join in associations that have this rule. I tell my customers to stay away from these groups. They have an answer for that, but as we will later see, it’s not fool proof.
This particular AMA rule can be paraphrased this way: Any rider in the race can claim any other riders bike that was in the same race! The rule also set a price ($2500.00 for a 125) and a time limit (within 30 minutes of the finish of the moto). More than one rider can claim the same bike, if the “claiming” money is paid in cash or by certified check within the allowed 30 minutes.
Can you see how ridiculous this rule is? Let me give you an example. In a certain sanctioning organization (not AMA) you can claim another racers equipment (in this case a car) for the paltry sum of $1500.00! That is turn key. You pay the money and if no one else claims the same equipment, it’s yours, even though the replacement cost would be in excess of $10,000! Of course, everyone has rose colored glasses and assumes that no on dare “claim” anything for fear of being black balled from the organization or certain teams who maybe further ahead in technology than you or just better funded (or both).
The “claiming” rule was made early on in AMA racing and most thought it would never be used. This head-in-the-sand mentality is what caught many off guard and foreshadowed the great debacle we now have.
As I said, everything went along fine for a while. That is, until 1976. Things had begun to change with rapidity. Bikes were now obsolete in six months (or less), costs were escalating to astronomical levels and folks had just become complacent about the “claiming” rule. There may have been those who didn’t even know it existed. But lurking in the shadows were some who thought that if they “claimed” a factory works bike, they would ride to the front, and eventually work themselves into a factory job. Rumors have it (that’s all we can get…rumors, rough guesses and assumptions) that a factory works 125 cost $44,000.00! In 1976!
In most places in this country during that time, that amount of money would buy you a HOUSE, and a pretty nice house at that. It was costing the factory the cost of a middle-class HOUSE every time they built a works bike! That’s a lot of money for a dirt bike, I don’t care who you are.
In 1976, two big things happened at Yamaha. They had a water cooled engine in their works bike, and they signed Bob “Hurricane” Hannah to their team. Both would have stunning effects on the 1976 125 cc National Championship. And this would lead to a series of events that are almost too ridiculous to believe. I will give you a very abridged version of the events of 1976. This is in no way a detailed assessment of everything. Just the relevant highlights.
After the second moto of the 125 cc class at Red Bud in 1976, Mickey Boone decided he needed Hannah’s OW27 steed more than Hannah did. He put up his $2500.00, and entered his “claim” with the AMA in order to “buy” Yamaha’s wonder bike. Everyone on Hannah’s team was caught off guard, and frankly, so were the other factory teams. With quick thinking and not a moment to spare, everyone pooled their money, scrounged together their own $2500.00 and put in a counter “claim” on the bike.
At this point, I hope you, the reader, can see the abject STUPIDITY of this rule. It is still used today. The AMA race referee put some numbers in a coffee can, and the one who drew the high number won the bike. Let’s consider this for a moment. You have a full fledged factory race team, a privateer racer and the AMA drawing numbers from a coffee can to determine who keeps a $44,000.00 factory race bike. Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey would cringe at this dog-and-pony show. I don’t care who you are, you have no right to “claim” someone’s property. PERIOD.
There is plenty of blame to go around. AMA for having the rule, the factory and racers for not addressing the situation before it became a circus act and racers who thought they had a right to do this. Certainly, by AMA rules they did, but ethics should rule in here somewhere, should they not? Fortunately, team Yamaha won the draw and kept the bike. Honda and Yamaha immediately stopped using their newest works bikes, and they devised a plan to limit the possibility of a “claim” happening again. The “big 4” would have one man carry multiple cashier’s checks in a brief case (handcuffed to his wrists at all times!) and if a “claim” would happen against any works bike, they would also claim it as many times as they had money for, thus reducing the chance of losing a bike.
This worked in keeping a claim for happening…for awhile. Honda and Yamaha eventually brought back their best works stuff, and a claim happened again. At this time, Yamaha issued a statement to racers stipulating they would not supply parts or anything to anyone who “claimed” a bike, that they were “top secret” and everything was a one off piece. As I said, it would happen again.
Later in that same year, Bill Barlow “claimed” Marty Smiths works Honda for his son. He also made a catastrophic mistake that would cost him the “claim”. As the “claim” went forth, the other factory teams pooled their resources and “claimed” the bike. Now you have a lottery for the bike, and we can see Barlow’s big mistake. If Barlow had WAITED until 29 of the minutes of the 30 minute time allotted by AMA, to enter his “claim” the other teams would have NOT had time to be notified and he would have owned Marty Smith’s factory Honda.
I’d like to ask you…is this not a ridiculous way to run a sanctioning body? This AMA wants us to believe they are a “professional” organization. Drawing numbers from a coffee can to allow someone to take property that isn’t theirs is borderline criminal.
Barlow lost the “claim” because the odds were against him. Again, the factory thwarted the “claiming” rule, but the consequences would be a rules package that allowed the Asian manufacturers to completely dominate in motocross and literally force other, smaller manufacturers out of business. Barlow, when told Honda wouldn’t supply parts if he won the claim, stated he would keep the bike in a glass case.
Then the time came where greed, power and authority came to the front. The desire to dominate the market place without the requisite work became the order of the day. The manufacturers were producing three classes of dirt bikes. The open class was the ultimate stop for every rider. The king of the sport was the open class champion. Men rode them, little boys feared them and the Asian factories were tired of offering three displacements.
Let me point your mind to something that few know, and even less acknowledge. Honda has ALWAYS, as a corporate body HATED the 2 stroke! It’s been well documented. Look around and you can find that info. And in reality, Suzuki and Yamaha were never big players in the open class. Honda and Kawasaki were the Japanese kings of the open class, while the Europeans had Maico, Husky, CZ, and Bultaco (though not a big player in the open bikes) and a few others.
I’m not racist, but I call things as I see them. The Japanese do not like to be dominated in the market place. That’s a fact. I now call what we are going to discuss “collusion”. Collusion being defined as; secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. I understand the gravity of what I have said. I choose my words carefully and thoughtfully. I wasn’t there in the meetings with the factories and AMA. I have no insider information. The end result is how I derive my definition.
To the best of my knowledge, a European manufacturer has never held a seat on the AMA board. A Japanese factory has. The same goes for committees. I am not anti-Japanese. I want the best motorcycle, as dictated by market forces not influenced by rules forged in collusion. At this time (late 1970’s) the Europeans were still holding on. Keep in mind that Japanese motorcycle companies are offshoots of the company’s main business.
Kawasaki is into heavy industries, according to their corporate web site – KHI is a maker of construction equipment, airplanes and helicopters, gas turbines, steel structures, engines and vehicles, and robots. According to the corporate Honda web site they build cars, motorcycles, personal watercraft, ATVs, engines, generators, marine motors, and Acura cars. The European manufacturers mainly manufactured motorcycles. If the Europeans lost market share, they couldn’t subsidize the losses from other parts of the company. Many went broke because they were no longer allowed to compete on the largest stage in the motorcycle world…United States motocross. How did we get here? As I said before, because of greed through COLLUSION.
At the time, there were rumors of factory motocross bike costing in the neighborhood of $44,000.00 dollars. I always found this amount to be absurd, but that was the rumor of the day (some now agree with this amount, some claim it was greater than what I said). So a rule was forged that said a manufacturer had to import an arbitrary number of units to the United States in order for them to compete in AMA sanctioned motocross (and supercross) events. This arbitrary number was high enough that most European manufacturers couldn’t ship enough bikes to the states; therefore they lost access to the biggest market in the world.
In the early 1980?s the AMA and factories instituted the “production rule” in where you were required to use production chassis, engine cases and such. Suffice it to say, the European factories didn’t want that to happen. Don’t forget, a recession was in full bloom in the early 1980’s and factories were looking to save money. Rumors continue flying around today about the parts used on modern factory bikes. I don’t want to spread rumors, but if you look close enough, you will see that the rumors are not far off.
This rule has proven to be the downfall of small market manufacturers. I believe it came through collusion. Remember, if you don’t import a certain number of units into the USA, you can’t compete in Professional AMA motocross. You miss out on media coverage, lose brand exposure that will help you find outside capital to finance your race effort (think Monster energy drinks, Makita tools etc) and just can’t keep your brand of motorcycle in the public eye. We do tend to have short memories.
Cleverly, they made sure a safeguard was installed. The factories were allowed ONE bike to compete that didn’t fall into the minimum import number. Here is where it falls upon AMA to protect the sport. Here they have failed. In my opinion, more choices in equipment makes for better competition. And that leads to better products for you and me, the end user. For the factories, well it’s all about profit. I’m all for that. But not at the ultimate expense of off-road motorcycling. So, to reduce costs and increase profits, the open class needed to go.
Since all the Japanese manufacturers produce 4 stroke street bikes, I believe that long before Yamaha brought out its 400 cc 4 stroke, the way was paved for the incompetent rule package now in place. Nothing happens overnight. They had this “technology” for years, but knew without the benefit of unfair rules, they would not be competitive. Now another player comes on the scene. Motorcycle magazines. They are in business for one reason: to cause you to buy products and services you would not ordinarily buy. Magazines are funded by advertising revenue. This is based on subscription rates. You can charge more for advertising if you have more subscribers. I have very little respect for this industry and I’m confident they could care less what I think. It all evens out.
In the background you have developing a rules package to force out small factories. The media then set out to convince everyone the open bikes were too hard to ride, they couldn’t be ridden to their potential and you could go just as fast on a 250 as a 500, maybe even faster. Europeans LOVE open class 2 stroke dirt bikes. And for a long time they dominated the class.
There was a big change in the tracks. Go back and investigate for yourself. The starting line and first straight were changed. Concrete pads were installed and the straight was shortened. Instead of fast, long lines, supercross style obstacles were installed. All these factors contributed to the demise of open bikes. It reduced the number of different units to build. The Japanese factories were happy because total unit sales were the same, they just produced fewer models. Honda and Kawasaki enjoyed success in the desert arena, and continued to produce 500’s until just recently. Yamaha and Suzuki dropped them like a bad habit. Sadly, the AMA sat back and ALLOWED this to occur. This in my opinion this has hurt the sport.
The AMA liked the whole thing because it eliminated a whole class of competitors. They had 20 less paychecks to write. Competitors were robbed of opportunity and spectators the enjoyment of watching six motos a day rather than the four we now have. Ticket prices remained the same. I smell a stink and it starts at AMA headquarters. They should be ashamed, but they are too corrupt to feel anything. Am I being too harsh? Maybe so, but truth is truth and the facts of today confirm the history of yesterday.
The market still wanted something of an open class displacement and the factories were looking to fatten their wallets. The “modern” 4 stroke was the answer! At this point in time, the open class was a fond memory to most and a smile on the lips of those who knew. The Europeans had been legislated out of the game, and the media let advertising dollars control their words. AMA was merrily slinking along, counting money and adding members by convincing them it was good for the sport. All the while they were working to bring 4 strokes in using the rule instated years before allowing a tremendous displacement advantage.
AMA worked feverishly to keep helmet laws from being passed while riding areas were closing so fast it would make your head spin. But AMA forged ahead ignoring all these things, letting the factories dictate how motocross would operate. Motos at one time were 40 minutes, plus two laps. Suddenly, it was cut to 30 minutes plus two laps. Was this because behind the scenes, AMA knew the “modern” four strokes would be taxed by the extra 10 minutes per moto? Did the factories sit down and calculate the savings derived from reducing moto length? You are the judge, but things had already been changed to help the four stroke. And again, the spectator was robbed of 40 minutes of racing (60 minutes when there was an open class) per event and ticket prices remained the same.
At first, open class four strokes were allowed displacements well over 500cc’s. European factories (KTM and Husaberg to name two) started producing 500 plus cc racing bikes, hoping beyond hope to make the production rule. AMA came to its feeble senses and reduced the displacement limit to 450 cc’s (although it came about in stages, i.e. in was dropped to 470 cc’s then 450 if my memory is correct). The Japanese were ready, the Europeans were not. Are the Europeans that stupid and neglectful of market forces? Maybe, but I doubt that. They don’t have people sitting on the AMA board and rules committee. They didn’t have the inside track. Everyone who wanted to race was forced to buy Japanese. Not because they were better or offered advantages not found on other models, but because they (in collusion with AMA) had successfully slammed the door shut.
Now we have about an 85% displacement advantage in the 250 class (250 2T vs. 450 4T) and a whopping 100% displacement advantage in the 125 class (125 2T vs. 250 4T). I have been involved in various forms of motorsports my entire life and I have never seen such an advantage given to anyone. There were no cries of injustice simply because the two major players had exactly what they wanted (AMA and the “Big 4”). And the American buying public bought this bilge water to their fill, and then some. Shame on the corporate entities involved. Shame and woe on the individuals responsible for this travesty, and dare I say, criminal effort.
And if that includes legends of the sport, big time aftermarket manufacturers and/or sponsors I don’t really care. It’s sickening. All those who were or are involved should be suspended for a year from participating in ANY form of professional motorcycle racing, and have 5 years of probation. And AMA should be drummed out of business. If that takes down a legend such as Roger DeCoster then so be it. It will show those who try this again it will not be tolerated.
Looking forward, AMA finally had eaten itself to death. Infighting, incestuous business practices and corruption were the order of the day. Scam all the money you can, to hell with ethics, morals or righteousness. AMA has now morphed into a caricature of its former self. Criminal charges should have been brought and maybe they have been.
Enter Davey Coombs and his group MX Sports.
I have no axe to grind with Mr. Coombs. In fact, I know little of him, or those who are associated with him. I do know that the Coombs family has been in the sport almost since its inception. They have done great and wonderful things. But, in my opinion (and this is what you are reading) he has made some grievous errors. I don’t know how much authority Mr. Coombs really has. Maybe I’m laying too much at his doorstep. But since he is the face of U.S. motocross for now, the buck stops and starts with him.
I’m not a purist by any means, but Saturday motocross is just stupid. You are catering to the professional wrestling crowd. Sunday has been the day to race since the genesis of motocross. It still should be. Removing way marks of anything reduces the effect of history on the people of the sport. Or maybe that is what they want.
Tom Webb, editor of Dirt Bike magazine says “Saturday races seemed weird at first, but the TV coverage is excellent” (Dirt Bike, December 2009 issue, page 10, column 2).
Really? What difference in TV coverage does a Saturday make? Maybe it was a grammatical error. I don’t know, but that’s what he said. .
[Authors note: I have been informed by a very good source that the coverage Mr. Webb is referring to came about because Mr. Coombs was given much better time slots on Saturday, and they wouldn’t be given the same time slots for Sundays. Thus the live coverage etc. I trust my source completely, but will leave my statements as they are. Regardless of Saturday or Sunday races, I wasn’t that happy with the coverage, and I still think we should race on Sunday, and use same day delayed telecast. Even lowly NHRA can get that out of ESPN2].
MLB and NBA play games every day of the week. NFL games are played Sunday, Monday and Thursdays during the regular season. Does the day make a difference? No, the COVERAGE is just better…and LIVE. Granted, covering a football or baseball game on a limited field size has advantages. But they use more cameras for a regular season football game than they do for motocross. Because the sanctioning body allows that. They negotiate stupid contracts, scatter coverage across the calendar and allow preempting by women’s basketball. The TV coverage is the same as always. In fact, it may have slipped a little.
But worse than that, there have been two chances to pull the trigger, and set in motion the repairs done by the collusive acts of AMA and their corrupt associates. They could have fixed the displacement rule. And while they are at it, correct the production rule too.
Do you really think that James Stewart, Chad Reed or Ryan Villapoto care if Nick Wey or Bobby Bonds show up at a supercross or national motocross on a Husky? Or Husaberg? Should Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda be worried if guys outside of the top 20 show up on a Gas Gas or don’t say it…don’t say it…a Maico? There, I said it. They shouldn’t be, but that’s what these two rules do.
It robs the racers opportunities to ride equipment at a level they may not get to now. Privateers can go back to starting on 125’s and working their way up. They can graduate to 250’s and not be penalized with a cumbersome 4 stroke. And best of all, they have an OPTION they don’t have now. In fact, two options. Two strokes and manufacturers now outlawed by stupid rules.
Obviously, the fear is the Big 4 would drop out. They may do it regardless. There is no character among criminals. When it is in their economic benefit, they park the operations and sit. I say make the changes and if the factories pull out, let them. If you sanction events, pay your riders and get it on TV, you’ll do fine. Someday they will come back, crawling on their bellies. There should not be a factory representative on any board or committee that makes rules relating to professional motocross and supercross.
It has just been announced that for 2010, ALL amateur races will go back to equal displacements. That’s a start. Make it the same in the pros and we are going in the right direction.
So, into the able hands of Davey Coombs falls the dubious task of repairing in a few years what took decades (and collusionary tactics) for AMA and its cronies to destroy. Just in case Mr. Coombs would like my input, (he shouldn’t) I’ll outline the remedies here.
Those relatively simple things would do wonders for off-road motorcycling. It would put truth and integrity back in the system, restoring trust. Mr. Coombs, it’s time to throw caution to the wind, forget what the factories think, and return the authority of rules making to the sanctioning body. It’s a nasty job, but it must be done.
Finally, regarding the three class system there has already been noted some benefits. Let’s break it down so it’s easier to digest. All the Japanese manufacturers are producing 450 cc four stroke bikes. Set your open class upper displacement to 500cc’s maximum. KTM, Husky, Gas Gas, Husaberg and TM are also producing 450 four strokes. Since the production rule has been abolished, these manufacturers are able to bring bikes out and race them. I forgot about Beta, and probably some others.
Remember, the ridiculous production rule is gone. But what about open class 2 strokes? Duck soup!! Honda and Kawasaki are not that far removed from production 500cc bikes. They can easily fire up production…if they want to. But they have their 450’s, so maybe they won’t want or need to (sarcastic tone inserted here). Suzuki and Yamaha were never really players in open class 2 strokes so they too have their 450’s (again, sarcasm). KTM produced a 380 not that long ago and also had larger displacements at one time. They too, can easily retool and fire up a bike, as well as hop up the 300cc bike they now have. Gas Gas and Husky have 300’s as well, and they would run in the open class. Maico currently offers a 320, 500, 620 and 685, all 2 strokes! And not that long ago had a 380. Obviously, only the 320, 380 and 500 would be national motocross and supercross legal, but in the off-road series, where displacement is unlimited, they could be used. Or, they can be used right now in amateur races in the 30+ and 40+ classes.
What about companies who wish to homologate engines into chassis for which they were not intended? For example, Service Honda offers aluminum framed versions of both the CR 500 Honda and the KX 500 Kawasaki, as well as AF versions of smaller displacements. They would be LEGAL!
[Authors note: once again, a well placed source tells me that Service Honda does make the production rule, and would technically be able to field bikes at AMA sanctioned events. They can’t, because there is not an open class, and the displacement rule has not been corrected. They may manufacture aluminum framed 500cc two strokes; THEY STILL DON’T HAVE A CLASS].
More options for racers, more options for manufacturers and better for the consumer. The only losers are the “big 4” who have caused the rules to give an unfair advantage to themselves. They would lose some market share, unless of course, they produced a product so superior to everything else that they keep their market share.
Along the same line, new companies may form. They may take the same line of thought as the Rickman brothers once did (if you are under 40 years old, Google it) and produce their own frames and offer the consumer choices of power plants. A 500 Maico engine in their chassis, or the 500 Honda in a KTM chassis, whatever you want. And what about companies like Pro Circuit, who manufacture parts and pieces for bikes and field their own professional race team that rivals ANY factory effort? AND FMF! Back in the day, they had race teams as well. Today, these are almost totally locked out of AMA competition because of an inherently stupid rules package. The choices could be unlimited if things are set in the correct order.
Sadly, the state of “it” is heading toward life support. Acting now, with drastic rule changes, the bleeding could be stopped. It appears that the status quo will continue. The sanctioning organization will apply a band-aid when they really need a tourniquet. Many will disagree, cry foul and dispute what I have written. So what? The options I have listed here can be no worse than what we have now. If you have better ideas, get them in print. I’d love to read them. Have I made any friends? I doubt it. And I don’t really care. I love motorcycling. Watching it go down the toilet for lack of management, or even downright mismanagement, is difficult to do. I really believe what I have written is true and that criminal acts have been committed. Research the history of motocross for yourself and publish your conclusions. Again, I’d love to read them.
Yes I have a Utopian dream. I still think it’s possible, but it will require men to act like men. They will make decisions based on the good of the sport, not lining the pockets of a few manufacturers and themselves. Big decisions require big balls. If Mr. Coombs can’t or won’t get it done…then more drastic measures may be required.