MXA’S AMA RULE OF THE WEEK: UP THE CREEK WITH A…

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amaruleoftheweek

amarulestiresThis rule effectively does two things:

(1) It may seem strange that the AMA has to ban studded tires, but we personally know one enterprising Saddleback Specialist who tried to race on Saddleback’s rock hard terrain with Trelleborg snow tires with metal studs built in. We won’t tell who the rider was because Jody asked us not to name him. The riders in his class took one look at the metal studs on his front and rear wheel and gave him a wide berth all day long. Which turned out to be a good thing because the rear tire threw studs like a machine gun every time the rear wheel spun off the ground. There was no rule against it back in the 1970s, but Jim Beltnick, the Saddleback Saturday promoter, asked him not to do it any more.

(2) It bans any tire with a knob that is more that three-quarters of an inch tall. This rule was written late in 1979 after Jimmy Weinert showed up at the Oakland Supercross with a paddle tire on his factory Kawasaki. The Oakland track was soft sand. Weinret holeshot both his heat and the main event to win easily. The AMA didn’t act immediately, but after New York’s Pat Moroney won an AMA regional a couple weeks later, the AMA banned paddle tires. The main complaint was the roost that hit the riders behind the paddle tire.

paddletire

Jimmy Weinert’s 1979 Oakland Supercross victory was one the greatest strategic moves in motocross history. His 16-scoop Hooker paddle tire (above) was hidden until he lined up for practice. Paddle tires had not been banned prior to 1979 because they only worked in deep sand and certainly didn’t help the handling of the bike in corners or off-cambers. Bob Hannah said, “I’m telling you, it was like lying on the beach with your mouth wide open and Weinert was there filling it with sand! I tried and tried to get by him, but he’d always get such a good jump coming out of the turns with the tire, and of course, you’d also be blinded by all the sand he threw up. His bike didn’t seem that good on braking with the tire, but he’d always get the gap and you just couldn’t see a thing. There’s a reason they outlawed that tire after the race!”

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