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Motocross Support Glen Helen

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Time to express your displeasure with Brandon Short brandon@mxsports.com media relations for MX Sports.

Glen Helen has been one of the highlights for the Nationals and people need to speak up and not let it fade away, and possibly others.

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What EXACTLY was the contract dispute over? I don't want to pass blame just yet, but like you I expect that Glen Helen is in the right.

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Hope this helps...thx MotoEye

MX SPORTS & THE GLEN HELEN NATIONAL DEBACLE:

THERE IS NO CONSPIRACY INVOLVED; IT WAS A BUSINESS DEAL THAT SOURED; BOTH SIDES HAVE THEIR POINTS; JODY TRIES TO MAKE SENSE OF IT

By Jody Weisel

Although many people have an urge to make the story about Glen Helen dropping off of the AMA National schedule into a classic tale of good and evil—it was for the most part a business deal that didn’t work out (and, yes, there were a lot of different points of disagreement that would have had to have been worked out).

Yet, in its simplest terms, Glen Helen wanted a long-term contract before they would commit to holding another National. You can’t blame them. It is a big investment, much larger than what the cellar dwellers on the internet could ever comprehend, and without a guarantee that he will be holding a race the following year, a promoter could lose his shirt if there was a rain storm, earthquake, tornado, wind event or other crowd killing catastrophe. If you don’t believe that, ask the promoters who held AMA Nationals in 2009 during major thunderstorms. There is even one East Coast National that failed to pay the money they owed on time.

As for facility upgrades at the track: Glen Helen has added immensely to its facility in the last few years; including a two-story sign-up building (that the AMA uses at the National); there are three separate permanent restrooms at Glen Helen (one in each of the towers and the original one near the starting gate, plus Glen Helen brings in 200 port-cans on race weekend and meets all the MX Sports requirements for water bibs and porta-cans in the pits), Glen Helen also built an elevated viewing platform, separate announcer’s tower and added a second paved road into the track from the back (which comes from a massive parking lot with free parking). Glen Helen also has eight acres of flat pits and a separate, air-conditioned building for timing and scoring. Glen Helen was also the only track to comply with MX Sports’ request to build a bike washing area for all the bikes at the National (after it was built, MX Sports said that since no one else built one that it wouldn’t be used). Glen Helen was also the only race track in the USA to donate to the Danny "Magoo" Chandler Van Fund. Did everyone forget that Glen Helen opened its pits up for free in 2009? Other tracks charged up to $20 for a pit pass! Glen Helen also has grandstands (and two years ago moved two sets of grandstands onto the track in an L-shape to improved viewing). Additionally, Glen Helen builds a new racetrack every year and fences it on both sides to allow the fans to get as close to the action as possible (this costs Glen Helen $50,000 and few if any tracks on the National circuit redesign their tracks every year).

What is true is that Glen Helen fought hard not to knuckle under to the AMA’s Steve Whitelock’s or MX Sports’ John Ayers’ “smooth track” concept (and every AMA National track owner should continue to fight against this stupid idea). And although harsh words were spoken every year, especially last year when John Ayers, and John Ayers alone, decided to put a Monster Arch on the landing ramp of a jump, the track was not a factor in the contract talks. Davey Coombs said on Thursday, “It had nothing to do with the track– Jody builds a very dynamic, spectacular track, and I asked him before about building some more in the future. Losing the race course itself is the most regrettable part of this development.”

So, the real issues on the demise of Glen Helen’s National program really boiled down to the length of the contract. Many other AMA National tracks had four-year deals. Glen Helen only had a deal for 2010, with no guarantee for 2011 or beyond. With another SoCal racetrack telling everyone who would listen that they were getting the Glen Helen date in 2011, it became obvious to Glen Helen owner Dr. Bud Feldkamp that MX Sports had no intention of renewing the contract after May 29th, 2010. Thus, Glen Helen pushed for a long-term deal. As an AMA National and FIM Grand Prix track (and the track that donated its use to save what was left of the ill-fated Competition Park MXDN in San Jacinto; honoring every MXDN ticket and holding the World Cup event so that teams that were stranded in America could have a race), Glen Helen felt that being the only National on the circuit not to have a long-term contract was a slap in the face.

Davey Coombs said on Thursday, in answering an email, “...for what it's worth, the one-year extension was the same one that a track in Pennsylvania got.” This is true, but actually false. MX Sports runs the track in Pennsylvania in question (Mt. Morris) and has already decided to drop Mt. Morris off the 2011 schedule because of disputes with the land owner. Thus, the one-year extension at Mt. Morris is not comparable to the one-year extension at Glen Helen.

So, when MX Sports refused to extend Glen Helen’s National contract, Glen Helen assumed that MX Sports had already committed, at least in principle, to the other track in question for 2011 (Pala).

"This was a difficult decision, but ultimately, we simply were not able to come to contractual terms with Glen Helen Raceway," said Davey Coombs. "By moving the date to September 11, we will have time to find a suitable venue. Riders, teams and fans are making travel plans now and we want them to feel secure that we will have an exceptional venue ready in Southern California. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change."

Leading up to the eventual outcome, Glen Helen, Hangtown and Washougal sought legal counsel (together) to resolve issues with MX Sports. The Hangtown group is not a favorite of MX Sports (nor vice versa), but it is reported that they got some of what they were asking for. Washougal, on the other hand, felt that they were on the chopping block for 2011—thus, they joined with Glen Helen and Hangtown as a group. Hangtown, for its part, did not stick with the group, but instead took the MX Sports compromise deal and dropped out of their “one-for-all, all-for-one” agreement with the other two tracks. It wasn’t the bravura move that you would expect from the Dirt Digger MC, but it happened. As for Washougal, that deal hasn't been decided yet. But Washougal feels that its days are numbered with MX Sports (and talk of more Nationals at automobile tracks in the future signaled the Huffman family that Washougal would be replaced), they wanted to fight now instead of getting the axe later (and alone). Perhaps, Glen Helen dropping out will get them a contract extension. We'll see, but let's not get misty about all of this because in next few years there will be a sea change: Glen Helen is gone, Mt. Morris is next, Washougal thinks they are in danger, Southwick has serious issues, Budds Creek is iffy, there is talk about car tracks getting races and Ricky Carmichael is in line for a "good buddy" deal.

As Davey Coombs said, “Change is never easy. Glen Helen's decision to cancel their 2010 National over the length of their new contract is as surprising as it is disappointing. It leaves us no choice but to move forward and find a new facility in Southern California. I feel bad for the fans of Glen Helen, as well as the ones who have already made travels plans for Memorial Day weekend.”

The reason that few people heard about what was transpiring was because contract talks are private until a resolution of some kind is reached. There was always the possibility of some kind of agreement. And, if the media had reported on this issue a week ago, it would have said that Hangtown, Glen Helen and Washougal were all going to pullout of the 2010 AMA Nationals. That would have been inaccurate—because negotiation take many twists and turns. Thus, nobody involved said anything in hopes that it would all work out. It should be noted that several leaks caused rumors to spread that actually impacted the contract talks—it is obvious that the rumors tainted the opinion of Glen Helen against the true intent of MX Sports’ position.

No one conspired to ruin the sport. MX Sports and Glen Helen had a difference of opinion, and based on the available evidence, they negotiated with their ultimate goals in mind. It didn’t work out.

This is also not about a battle between MXA and Racer X. Apart from the fact that I design the Glen Helen National track and have for 15 years, MXA has nothing to do with the management of Glen Helen (although we do race there all the time). Davey and I meet often to discuss issues of interest about the Nationals (we just had lunch two months ago). I am often at odds with Davey (particularly on the smooth track concept, moto length, track length, timed qualifying and limiting pro rider entries), but we normally state our opinions, agree to meet again when he’s in town and move forward. I don’t see how either magazine benefits from the AMA National series getting a black-eye.

On a side note: It is refreshing that neither Glen Helen nor MX Sports are attempting to trash each other in their press releases. The Nationals will continue and Glen Helen will most likely find another high-profile event for their facility.

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MX Sports didn't want to lock themselves into a super long contract. Obviously other tracks in So Cal were throwing out numbers and dangling carrots to attrack MX Sports attention.

Glen Helen didn't want to commit to one more season knowing that in 2011 they would have to go out and bid on the race again only to get beat by another track in So Cal so they figured why not just cut our loses now and be done with it.

Pala must really want that race...

much larger than what the cellar dwellers on the internet could ever comprehend

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Sad to hear, but not surprising. Outdoor Nationals are soon to become open-air stadium events, where the real money is to be made by all parties. There simply is not enough die-hard Mx fans that attend the Nationals, promoters need to snare their audience in a control environment. Only a couple of places can see surviving true out-door races Freestone in Texas and Unadilla, but even Unadilla was change to accommodate the promoter, from its natural layout. Check-out Pala it is a race promoters dream and it is all about "SHOW ME THE MONEY"

Just glad I was able to race most of the legendary outdoor tracks in spite of the heat, rain and snow, but like all nostalgia it must come to an end. Guess need to put Glen Helen on my bucket list

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MX Sports and AMA have proved once again that it's not about the racing or the fans.

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I've often debated with people expressing my views why I don't want MX going "mainstream" and heres another reason why. It's all about money and in the end the die hard fans get f'd. It wont be long until the Nationals are travling circus like SX.

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This is a huge dissapointment. I've been going to SX races since I was like 10 (I'm now 26) and this was the first year I had decided to go to Glen Helen no matter what.

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I've often debated with people expressing my views why I don't want MX going "mainstream" and heres another reason why. It's all about money and in the end the die hard fans get f'd. It wont be long until the Nationals are travling circus like SX.

How do the die hard fans get f'd? We don't even know where the venue to replace GH is going to be.

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I have read both the MXA and Racer X versions, same story. I've been to the GH National for the last 13 years. Last year we finally had some decent parking (on the Sheriff's training track). Other than that I have seen no improvements for the spectators. I will admit the free pit access was nice, but we get the same deal with a Monster can at any SX. You still have to camp out if you want a decent spot to watch the race. GH does get crowded and the people there are real fans, well most of them. Many drunks go there too. Last year the morons running the race program caused the 2nd 450 moto to go off when the light was fading. How many people including the kids can stand to be in the hot, dirt for 10-12 hrs in one day? GH had an announcer who couldn't be heard because of the idiot on the mic all day that was in the hospitality tent. You know, the area where us regular folks cannot go. Porta potties are always in short supply, and to be honest if I didn't love the racing there is no way I would go every year. But I feel a responsibility to go to support our sport.

Maybe GH did save the MXDN one year, but just what is Dr. Feldkamp's issue with a one year contract? Isn't that better than none? I'm pretty sure GH makes a pile of money every year. The entry prices on practice day have increased 75% in the last 10 years. I don't see any improvements for myself that makes me happy paying that much more than back then. In fact GH is the one track that will allow quads, sidehacks, and all skill levels on the track at once. There are no flaggers on practice days and you better hope REM is racing next door or there is no ambulance sitting around either. Have they complied with the Brett Downey Foundation's recommendations? I don't really know, but it doesn't seem so. In most other sports the media is neutral and they usually do not participate in the sport at any level, nor do they use the facilities the sport teams own. Not so in MX. All the magazines have an incestuous relationship with track owners, riders, factories, team managers, etc. That's why you don't know what happened to Andrew Short's leg. Not too much investigative reporting going on. Just testing bikes, new products, or showing us Tom White's collection of bikes.

GH opting to cancel this race is a slap in our faces. Why? We as consumers spend our money at the track each year racing and riding. We also supported their National for the last decade +. After many folks already bought their tickets, they are cancelling because they can't get a multi year deal. This is also very much caused by Mr. Coombs and his group. I guess these guys don't understand how they are going to hurt the sport. They should know. If all the tracks have made money in the past and the teams were happy, what the he.. is wrong now? Greed, there is the answer. Changing for the spectators is a low priority as I have mentioned, but guess what? We are the voice that will be heard one way or another. As for me I will vote with my wallet. Not riding at GH any more, not buying Racer X any more, not going to support any company that is associated or advertises with MX Sports. This is the only response we can give these greedy bas..... to show them they need to resolve this. The MX series needs to grow, not go find new tracks without any history, or any hills.

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While its a bummer for the Glen Helen fans, I doubt too many riders will be upset.

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Seems the AMA & MXsports wants to turn motocross into supercross. That sucks!🤣

As this trend continues, I expect that the true die-hard fans and riders will gravitate toward watching and supporting things like the WORCS and GNCC.👍

Supercross is already too boring with the one lined, smooth "rythm" tracks.

Ironically, I thought that the Daytona supercross track had a sort of "outdoor" feel to it. My guess is that is exactly what the future of "outdoor" motocross looks like.🙂

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I'm bummed because GH is the closest race to us and the one we go to every year. There's nothing like racing thru the natural terrain that these tracks provide. Previous to this year, I had hoped to start going to (1) track per year to see most of them. With GH being more or less dirt and scrubrush hills, I look forward to going to tracks with some greenery and trees.

I'm not sure where in SoCal can support a National MX race and provide the terrain as well. As I've mentioned in other threads, Pala is essentially flat and the whole place is 100% dirt. It doesn't have enough parking, no permanent bathrooms and the food is provided from (1) guy who drives around in a roach coach on weekends....and that all pales into comparison of the traffic nightmare that would ensue. Both the MX Sports guys won't care one bit because they'll be in a $1000 a night suite at the Pala Resort.

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How do the die hard fans get f'd? We don't even know where the venue to replace GH is going to be.

I'm reffering to MX in general. Core fans get f'd because they're trying to commerialize MX and make it more mainstream...SXesque I guess you could say. Moving races to car race tracks, smoother tracks with shorter motos. Changing the sport for better TV coverage.

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Hey exmlb....kind of like how umpires NOT enforcing the rulebook has hurt baseball (strike zone for starters) and completely ruined basketball (they don't enfoce anything that I can tell. MX Sports is not helping outdoor MX IMO.

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This whole Glen helen mess is really getting me nervouse about mx outdoors as a whole. I mean Glen Helen has to be one of the most popular nicest venues on the circuit and if they dont think they are making enough money how can other places survive. I have been going to southwick every year since i was 6 and as far as spectator improvments there really havnt been any, i mean they will put in new bleachers here and there but thats it. If the MX series does move to nascar stadiums i dont think i can watch it anymore.

Edited by 2smoker4life

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I'm reffering to MX in general. Core fans get f'd because they're trying to commerialize MX and make it more mainstream...SXesque I guess you could say. Moving races to car race tracks, smoother tracks with shorter motos. Changing the sport for better TV coverage.

So commercializing MX effs the "CORE" MX fan? How? What race is in a race car track? Better TV coverage? Are you crazy? You don't want better TV coverage? Are the "CORE" MX fans able to go to all of the events and see them live? Do you remember having to wait months to watch Carlsbad? Smoother tracks screw the "CORE" fans? How? Shorter moto's......well maybe 2 motos of 35 minutes of racing is not worth it to you.....what do you want...2 60+2 motos?

Sorry but you haven't shown me one thing that shows how "CORE" fans are getting screwed by what DC has done/is doing for the sport.

Hey exmlb....kind of like how umpires NOT enforcing the rulebook has hurt baseball (strike zone for starters) and completely ruined basketball (they don't enfoce anything that I can tell. MX Sports is not helping outdoor MX IMO.

LOL.....I can appreciate the attempt at a comparison but how exactly is the strike zone comparable to GH not having a race and another venue having one? Basketball.....you must not watch it. Those sports are both flourishing even in this shitty economy so they must be doing something right. Mainstream comes to mind. Open your fan base and more money walks in. No matter what you think or all the "CORE" or guys that think they are "CORE", money makes the world go 'round. Of course we are all entitled to our opinions.......I personally like being able to watch the race same day or next day since I am unable to travel across the country and be there and I am pretty sure unless you are one of the 25K or so that are watching live at the track from one spot (I get to see a lot of different parts of the track...when you are wondering what happened I see it live or get it on replay) you appreciate it also.

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This whole Glen helen mess is really getting me nervouse about mx outdoors as a whole. I mean Glen Helen has to be one of the most popular nicest venues on the circuit and if they dont think they are making enough money how can other places survive. I have been going to southwick every year since i was 6 and as far as spectator improvments there really havnt been any, i mean they will put in new bleachers here and they but thats it. If the MX series does move to nascar stadiums i dont think i can watch it anymore.

I see you are in CT...have you been to GH? Nicest? There is about 10 threads on this subject that you can read on vitalmx.com.......I don't think I have seen ANYONE say GH is the nicest or even close to the nicest. You think it is a good idea that the venues don't make improvements?

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While its a bummer for the Glen Helen fans, I doubt too many riders will be upset.

Except for all the rookie privateers pounding out motos on Thursdays and Saturdays getting ready for their local race.We are not talking about 1 or 2 riders either.Everyone will miss it when it is gone i.e. Saddle Back/Carlsbad/ Comp park etc...............Just my thoughts however.They are all "crap tracks" till they are gone.

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The fans get ****ed because Glen Helen is a legendary track by nature of the terrain and a very gnarly track layout. A flat track with man made obstacles just doesn't compare IMHO. Most riders probably won't be to upset for the same reasons.

I really do enjoy all the TV coverage but it feels like we are losing something while the sport grows, I'd be happy to see it keep it's roots and not turn into something like NASCAR.

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