The latest dustup over the Buell 1125RR and the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000RR has more than a few builders, racers and interested spectators all up in arms over the interpretation of the rulebook. I previously mentioned “No Rules Racing” as one semi-serious way to deal with the issue but after seeing the many strong opinions, you may want to consider how difficult it is to write a rulebook that makes sense.
You need to start with the end in mind:
You can write very strict rules to define a series, make no exceptions and let the chips fall where they may. This appeals to our competitive side and seems to be the fairest solution.
You can write rules with the idea of including as many competitors as possible, adjusting those rules to give everyone at least some chance of keeping up and tweak those rules if the racing becomes too lopsided. This makes many of us cringe, it’s like penalizing success and rewarding failure.
But, … it depends.
Purpose built racing machines fit easily into the strict rules concept. Here are the rules, build your bikes, let the best man win. Can’t win? Build a better bike and/or get a better team and rider. Stop whining, race.
Any production based racing series creates a very difficult problem for the rule makers. Rules must take into account the real differences in production machinery, the size and budgets of the various companies, and which bikes can realistically perform at a par with each other to create a competitive race instead of a one bike runaway every weekend. Lopsided results might make the team and fans of one manufacturer or rider happy but everyone else will lose interest. Weight, displacement and lots of other things may need adjustments to make an actual race of it.
In production based racing, there’s no right answer, only trade-offs. Helping some smaller manufacturers get on the grid with a shot at competing helps their chances of selling a few more bikes and having a viable business and maybe improving their bikes as a result. Keeping the races competitive for more bikes and manufacturers keeps spectator interest up, helps ticket sales and more money is spent at the track with lots of vendors. If you want good turnouts and lots of competition, that’s a decision with consequences for the rulebook.
Unless you restrict competition to one model or manufacturer, is there any way to be production based, extremely strict and successful? It’s something to think about.