SEPT 22-UPROAR OVER THE AMA NEW GAS RULES
AMA TO BAN LEADED GAS
As if two-strokes aren’t having enough trouble staying afloat, the AMA plans to institute new gasoline rules for the 2004 season. Under these new rules, leaded gasoline, current blends of race gas and anything with MTBE would be illegal for AMA Supercross or National competition.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
This is another example of the AMA trying to fix what isn’t broken. Motocross has no pressing need to go unleaded. The current gasoline rules are working–they don’t need to be changed just because the AMA wants to do something.
Why the change? Originally it was thought that Clear Channel was pushing for the switch to unleaded fuel so that the AMA series would be in compliance with the FIM unleaded gas rules. According to sources at Clear Channel, the promoter of 15 of the 16 AMA Supercross rounds and all 17 of the World Supercross rounds, this is not true. In fact, sources close to Clear Channel say that they are willing to ask the FIM to waive the unleaded gas rules for the two World Supercross rounds in Europe in December.
That puts the onus the AMA.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH UNLEADED GAS?
In theory nothing, but in practice a lot. Unleaded gas will not work with the current crop of highly tuned two-stroke engines. They will have to be detuned to use unleaded fuel–or special gas will have to be formulated. In fact, VP Racing, the supplier of race gas to many of the factory teams, thinks that unleaded race gas could cost as much as $40 a gallon (and rumors persist that they are charging the factory teams a heavy price for their specially blend unleaded that the teams are testing this winter).
WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
If the AMA goes through with its unleaded race gas plan the privateers will suffer the most. Why? Because the privateers cannot afford $30 to $40 a gallon gasoline. Which means that they will have to detune their engines (as if they weren’t already detuned in comparison to the factory bikes). On the other hand, the factory teams will buy the expensive unleaded race gas and, because of the rule, have an even greater advantage over the privateers.
FOUR-STROKES WILL NOT BE FAZED
Additionally, four-strokes will not be affected by the change to unleaded gas (two-strokes are the bikes that will suffer). Since two-strokes will not be able to run the kind of compression and porting that they used with leaded gasoline, smart privateers will switch to four-strokes.
125s will have the most trouble, since they turn the most rpm and run the highest compression. KTM has a European development program to help them with their unleaded gas engines, but Honda CR125, Suzuki RM125 and Kawasaki KX125 engines will be severely stressed.
If the goal of the AMA is to kill two-strokes and hurt the privateers the AMA is on the right track with this plan. what next? Will the Indy 500 go all-electric?
This is a stupid, meaningless and pointless rule change. It helps no one and injures many people.