Clear Channel Entertainment – Motor Sports has released the following information regarding a recent lawsuit and subsequent information released by AMA Pro Racing over the AMA/FIM supercross controversy:
Clear Channel Entertainment – Motor Sports and AMA Pro Racing entered into an agreement on December 17, 2002 prior to a scheduled court hearing concerning the THQ World Supercross GP and the AMA Supercross Series. AMA Pro had claimed that it never agreed that the U.S. supercross events produced by Clear Channel would be part of a FIM World Championship Series and in late November filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to enjoin Clear Channel from advertising these events as part of the THQ World Supercross GP.
Clear Channel responded by filing with the court last Friday an evidentiary submission proving that AMA Pro's claims were baseless. The evidence included an April 12, 2002 joint press release by AMA Pro and Clear Channel that was reprinted in the June edition of the American Motorcyclist Magazine, the "official publication" of the AMA, which confirmed that the Clear Channel events would be rounds in both the AMA Supercross Series and the FIM World Supercross Championship Series. Clear Channel also submitted to the court an agreement signed by AMA Pro Chairman P.J. Harvey on April 6, 2002 specifically agreeing that the events would be run in order to count as part of the world championship.
"AMA Pro had tried to avoid the clear language of its agreements with Clear Channel concerning the fact that the U.S. events produced by Clear Channel constitute rounds within the THQ World Supercross GP international supercross series," said Ken Hudgens, vice president of marketing for Clear Channel. "In fact, AMA Pro also alleged that the agreement signed by its Chairman of the Board of Directors in April of this year was 'without authority.' However, it soon became obvious that AMA Pro's attempt to retract its agreement on this issue lacked credibility.
"Clear Channel Entertainment – Motor Sports president Charlie Mancuso added: "Since the AMA Supercross Series events produced by Clear Channel are part of the THQ World Supercross GP championship series, the FIM is required to certify the events for that purpose. The FIM race director will be present at the U.S. events for the purpose of deciding whether such events will count toward the FIM Supercross World Championship.
"There was no dispute between AMA Pro and Clear Channel over which entity would provide the officials for the events, or the rules that would apply. The U.S. races will be officiated by AMA Pro and run under the AMA Pro rules that had already been adopted by the FIM with limited exceptions for fuel, all of which is consistent with the existing agreements between Clear Channel and AMA Pro. "We would never have agreed to increase the AMA Pro fees by four times and not expect them to perform the very sanctioning services for which we are paying," added Mancuso.
Hudgens also said: "Additionally, AMA Pro unsuccessfully attempted to prevent us from advertising the world supercross championship as the THQ World Supercross GP. In that regard, we simply agreed that our promotion and advertising pertaining to the U.S. events that mention the THQ World Supercross GP will give equally prominent mention to the AMA Supercross Series. We have not violated our agreements with AMA Pro. The filing of this lawsuit did not result in any finding whatsoever against Clear Channel Entertainment – Motor Sports. The lawsuit has been dismissed with prejudice."
Hudgens went on to add: "The manner in which AMA Pro has attempted to 'spin' the agreement reached Tuesday is inappropriate and not reflected by the facts. We had planned on following our guideline of not commenting in public on business disputes, and just going about our business of producing top quality supercross events in the United States and throughout the world in conjunction with Dorna relative to the international rounds. However, as a result of continued misstatements of the facts, we are forced to publicly comment in order to accurately state what actually occurred in this matter. We believe the public recognizes that Clear Channel's 29-year investment of time, money and personnel has been a significant contributing factor to the enormous success and growth experienced in the sport of supercross for the benefit of motorcycle enthusiasts, riders, sponsors and others that are involved in the supercross industry.
"Moreover," Hudgens concluded, "the FIM has been extremely cooperative and flexible with respect to the creation of a world supercross series. We are completely confident that no one has any intentions to 'take over' AMA Pro's role in the national series. Why would we allow that? For years we have been, and remain, AMA Pro's best and highest paying customer."