I don't want to stir up a mess, but I believe that most of us in the RR end of things are not familiar with what the incident between Dick Mann and Woody Graves entailed. Could you give the facts as you know them.
If this is an issue that concerns many members of the dirt crowd, it might be an appropriate time to get some of them engaged in the process of changing how the board does business.
Without knowing any facts this smacks of more of the good old boys protectionist racket once again allowing personal abuse of others for the benefit of themselves.
Go ahead and let us know your side of it too, if you have any facts, not just a lapdogs admiration for Dick Mann and Jeff Smith. I am already aware of your devotion to them.
Ken, fortunately this post was still on the http://www.sevmx.com
website forum (backed by SEVMX frontman Larry Stahl and members, mastered by Terry Gates that has vowed not to cave to pressure!) after being moved by being copied from originally being posted on the post vintage talk board it mysteriously "disappeared" for some unknown reason along with the posts related to it, no doubt brought on by "pressure" being applied by people behind the scenes. I think being "$hit on" is an understatement and a glaring example of the extremes being leveled toward the membership/volunteers expected to serve the "Kingdom/Empire"(read:personal ATM),to make things worse this took place in front of AHRMA chaiman Dave Janiec.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Response letter By Woody Graves
REF: ACP AHRMA Event 2008
Hello to everyone, what you are about to read is what really happened at the first round of the AHRMA race season in Arizona. Not what I think happened, or as some have said what I want to think happened. I am not going to use large words and insults and or any fabrication tactics like those I have read on many sites. I must say that I am truly astonished at the way this whole deal has gone. Many accusations on how I felt and reacted to this dilemma, span such a wide difference it’s ridiculous! Many of you have taken the liberty to speak for me, and many have defended me, some have written letters in publications of a completely different outcome, even to the extent that it did not even happen. All with out a single simple call to me, or getting a statement. Some were standing right there and some were nowhere near the state of Arizona. The way this affected me and the way I handled this to date was purely a result of the way I was raised, to respect my elders and for the love of this sport, not for any other reason. Clear enough?
My actions to date were hard-line protocol, thinking all the while it would be handled and addressed accordingly after going through the proper channels. Instead it headed right up the propaganda pole. Spewing lies, speculation, and assumptions with all-out Hatfield and McCoy battles. Again with out anyone asking me for the truth. Enough is enough; go back to the days of “If you don’t have anything good to say then shut the hell up!” I have said this many times and it bears saying again, we are all going to die. I want to go out doing what I love and be respected for it, not kicking and screaming like a child, grabbing and dragging down anything or anyone with me to soften the fall. Take from this what you will, it’s still a free country, but I for one am done and will not speak of it after this post.
Woody Graves, Vintage Motocross promoter, rider, and racer
Alex Moroz, National Off- Road Director, asked me several weeks before the ACP event to fly out and help wherever needed to make sure this event had all the areas covered to be successful. He would meet me at the airport and take me to and from the event since I had never been to Arizona before. Upon landing I received a phone call from Alex stating he was at the airport but was leaving to be with his ailing mother. Luckily my good friend Bobby McClelland had gotten in earlier and was there to take me to the track and hotel. I was told at this time that I was to be MX Race Director for Saturday and Sunday.
Upon entering the track on Thursday afternoon I found the owner Bobby White and proceeded to look at the layout of the track. Everything was marked and waiting to be groomed. Bobby got to the finish line area and stopped and said that he had second thoughts and raised a safety issue with the way the track went around the last tabletop and into a low area (ditch runoff) and back onto the track. This is where he stockpiled ground-up cotton wood plants that he incorporated in the soil for moisture. He felt it would become deeply rutted and dangerous as the riders got back onto the track. He also said there was not enough time to repair the area and remove the cottonwood. I looked at the table top and saw that the riders would be coming down a small low-speed hill, make a 90 degree right hand turn, then go over two small rollers and right up the face of a table top with out getting any real speed and then continue up to the finish line. I saw that Dick had included an identical tabletop (size and height) in the track layout and with a much longer (i.e. faster) approach area, so this slower one should not be a problem, but I would ask Dick. Bobby Stated and I agreed that it could be used in practice on Friday to make sure it worked.
As I went and found Dick Mann, I got another call from Cross-Country director Teddy Landers stating that he needed me to also run the CC event since his replacement was not able to make it. Therefore I had to run the CC instead of watching Fridays practice.
Upon finding Dick, and walking him to the area in question I explained Bobby White’s reason for wanting the track changed, (yes read this twice) Bobby White’s reason for changing the track, and that it could be tested during Friday practice. Dick’s statement was “And if anyone gets killed you would know it did not work.” My reply was, No, no one will get killed and that this was not my first rodeo, plus it was low speed, safer than the current layout, was identical to the other table top you have in the course and what Bobby White wanted. Dick’s Response was, “Ok. Fine” and he walked away PERIOD!
Friday after the CC I went and watched the last hour of practice and interviewed many riders including Marty Smith (he had held a school that day for vintage and Evo riders). Every rider I talked to (and it was more that 5 if your thinking of a comeback) ALL said the track layout was fine, that they really could not get up to speed due to the direction change and rollers and that the second tabletop was very safe. I told Bobby what the riders had told me, and he said leave it in. I told Bobby it was his call but that I agreed.
Saturday morning, I was going over all we needed to talk about at the rider’s meeting with Dave Janiec, Tami Rice, the new SW Regional Coordinator and CO speaker for the riders meeting. Many riders had gathered since we had been calling for the riders meeting for 30 mins and it was time to get the show going. As I was leaving to go to the podium, out of the crowd comes Dick Mann, with his hand raised up and yelling, “Who do you F####ing think you are? Do you think I am F####ing stupid? I flew all the way F####ing down here at my own expense to layout this track, and you F###ing changed it after I told you no, you F####ed me in Daytona (I have no idea what that was about) and you F###ed me here”!
At this time Dick’s wife screamed “RICHARD” 3 times and escorted him off, still raving and mad as hell. My only word to Dick throughout his rant was the word. “No” (that I did not think he was stupid). I was shocked. My mind was blank as to what could have caused that outburst, humiliation and tongue lashing of that kind in front of all who were gathered for the riders meeting. I looked at Dave Janiec and he turned and headed for the podium, I turned and followed and got the rider’s meeting and the day’s racing started figuring that I was here to run the racing and that I could deal with Dick later.
Around the 3 or4th moto (I am not sure) a rider with the lead out of the gate on a Triumph big twin came over the tabletop at the finish line and was actually getting air but going nose first on the down side. This got my attention. Three more laps of doing the same thing started to get me thinking that this guy was going to crash. Sure enough the rider’s bike popped into neutral, nosing over, and he ate it good, at that instant Dick Mann turned around (being only 4 ft from me and other spectators) and pointed to me and said “I F###ing told you that was going to happen,” and walked off. Again in front of spectators and riders.
I had had enough of this. I went and found the rider that crashed and asked him what happened. Contrary to what has been printed, he said and I quote! “It was my fault, I was riding over my head and the bike popped into neutral and over I went. I am fine. The bike broke the frame, but it had just been welded back together from another crash.” END OF QUOTE!
I could list several other unpleasant conversations initiated by Dick Mann that transpired over that weekend, many I was in person to listen to but what’s the point? Many have wanted to know what exactly happened at that riders meeting. After reading the new Vintage Views, read in print in emails from different blogs and websites, stories that are not even close to what happened, and once again with out any statement or response from me, I have ended my silence and given it to you the way it really happened despite what others say and have gone on record in print. I will not be called a liar or ignored and treated as a “non-issue” and have someone else close this issue.
This sport is dangerous, always was and always will be. Our job is to do the best we can to keep it real, and have fun doing it safely. Every rider has his day when he rides perfect and will also have his day when he makes mistakes. Nothing is new here people. The facts of this matter are this, I was the Race Director, I had the right by AHRMA’s Rules, to do what I did. The other fact being that it was not my idea, intention or otherwise to come to this race and make changes, take over or anything. I did what I did at the track owner’s request. After all, it’s his butt in the sling and paying for the insurance and taking the liability right?
And to answer another burning question that was raised behind my back by the folks from the NW; What was I, the SE Regional Coordinator doing in the SW running “your race”? I don’t know how NW thinks SW is their race, but here’s my answer. It’s simple, I was an AHRMA member and volunteer, doing my job at the request of the National Off-Road Director, and trying to make this sport better. Did it really matter were I came from? I thought we were all on the same team going for the same goals, or maybe I am wrong. I guess you could say I am not drinking the Koolaid.
In closing I want to add that this whole episode and the extreme to which it has gone to could have been easily avoided. It could have been so differently addressed by the AHRMA Board.
Did Dick over react? Yes. Was it human? Yes. I wrote Dick a letter and stated that. I thought this was over; I was the better man for letting it go. I did not ever expect him to recant, or apologize to ME for his behavior, but as a man of his stature, and a member of the AHRMA Board of Trustees, it would have been best for our organization if he had apologized to the members for his brief lack of professionalism and then move on. Instead with help from close friends, the story changes, and I am left to be the town fool. I have never held a grudge, and I see no reason to do so now, life is short. I want to ride, and make riding better and fun for everyone involved in this great sport. But I also strongly feel that there is no room for this kind of display of bad temper and lack of sportsmanship in a public forum, especially coming from an AHRMA Trustee. And even worse, for the Trustee (and others present) to actually have the nerve to deny these events ever took place.
With that said, I am done. I will be the one to close this story since I was the one being hung out to dry in the hot sun, all just for trying to do my job as an AHRMA volunteer. Thank you, to those who supported me; There are a great deal of good people in Vintage, and I love this sport!
Move along little doggy, move along.