Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1979 03 28

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 62 of 63

Leaders of the racing community are girding for. what could be the sport's most important war ever - the battle for survival in the face of administration desires to shutter gasoline stations in the United States on weekends. In a Washington Post article on March I , th e paper reports 14 the adm inistration p la ns to force th e closin g of the sta tions between Friday noon and Sunday midnight as a means of conse rving oi l in the fa ce of risin g prices. According to th e Post , t he Carter administration has chosen this as a n al tern at ive to pa yin g hi gher prices for imported crude oil. The National Motorsports Committee , a n a r m of the Autom obile Competition Comm ittee for th e Un ite d States founded in 1975 to save ra cin g's fu tu re in the oil crisis of five yea rs ago , aga in is r ising t o the cha llenge . As one ra ci ng ins ider put it. "T hese planned closu res mean virtu a l hou se arrest fo r every Am erican on weekends. unl ess so me t hin g is do ne ' abou t it ," The co m mi ttee has n amed reti red R ear Adm ir al Sp e n ce r Matthe ws, former exec ut ive assista nt to Flori d a Cong ressma n Bill Cha p pe ll. as it s executive d irector. The co m mi ttee's first move was to recommend an "eigh th d a y" closi ng plan for th e nation's gasol ine sta tions , assum in g Cong r ess fee ls that a ny closing at all is necessary. How ever , sources in th e com mittee's "wa r room" in Washington , DC , said this is just a beginning , reportin g that Greg Mosher of K&K In surance is sending ou t 900 letters of appeal to track operat ors urging them to wr it e or personally contact thei r congressional representatives to urge them to vote down the adrninist ra tio n 's proposals in fa vor of a less dis criminatory program of con servation. " T h is situation is so bad, " one southern speedway op e ra to r sa id, " t ha t it makes th e 1974 problem look like a Sunday school picnic ," noting that Congress has only the power to vot e th e proposals "up or down ': and not to modify th em . T he effects of a 2 ~ day gasoline station closing ea ch weekend would be severe not onl y for th e ra cing ind ustry, but for all leisure -tim e and to urism bus ines s as well. Sta tistics sho w that the 1973 -74 oil cr isis ca used a 22 ~ .. pe rcent decline in to u rism in Florid a a lon e , a sta te that depends heavily on to u rism for its annual budget. While many hope the renewed now or Iranian oil will forestall the need fo r suc h closings, the mood of t he administration seems to be tha t suc h m easures must be ta ke n fo r " the nation 's own go od." As one key energy sena to r , Hen ry "Scoop" J ackson put it on a recent NBC network television program , " We must learn to d isciplin e ou rselves , and thi s is th e way to do it." Other sources say the Carter ad ministration and En ergy Secreta ry James R . Schlesinger a re tot all y co rn mitred to this program of m andatory conservatio n in order to sho w natio ns t he resolve of the United Sta tes in d ealing with th is maj or pr obl em . In th e fa ce of thi s d etermination th e NMC is lobbying for its eight h day closin g plan , whi ch it says will not pu t th e burden on "just one segme nt of th e Am eri can business communit y." However , mu ch of the ad mi nist ra tio n's m oves may appea r to be "poseur ing" for itself in terms of variou s voting blocks wit hi n th e nation or various influen ctial peopl e ou tside Am eri ca n shores . Insiders say th e cha llenge to racing is of suc h a magn itude th at unless the industry ba nds toget her, it co uld find itself ou t of business before another Janua ry firs t. A spo kesma n for th e Am er ican Motorcyclist Associa tion describ ed the enti re fuel situ a tio n as "su ch a mess. The adm in istration is creating pa nic to force Congress into letting them do an ythin g the y wis h . T h rou g h Schlessinge r's 'sca re talk' they are try· ing to pull a move to make th e fuel indust ry th e bad gu ys, by forcing th em to rai se gasoline pri ces . withou t the govern me n t taking mov es ." John Davidson, chairman of AM F/ Harley-Da vidson, 'ad dressed a press gathering held during Daytona Cycle Week and met the proposed plan head on . Da vidson called the pl an "the most im med iate th reat to our right to rid e, T he closing of gas stations on weekends would be disa strous to ou r spo rt . We mu st work together o r be left out in th e cold ." Ch ri s Econorn ak i , publ ish er of Nat io nal Sp eed Spo rt News, the leading au to racing weekly news pa per. from who m permission was ob tai ned V '... " "\',',, , -.:, to reprint on these pages material first published in SSN, in a letter sent out to I a large group of racin g new spapers called the plan " racing's greatest threat ever. The immediate need is to have ev ery co n ce rned individual contact his senator and representa tive a nd voice stro ng o bjection to this method of conse rva tion . The eig ht h day alternative must be m entioned as we d o not wish to be pictured as not con cerned about the co nserva tion of ene rgy a nd fuel. " Admiral Spencer Matthews, th e Nati onal Mo torsports Comm itt ee 's executive d ire ctor , em phasized th e need to wri te your co ngressm a n and sen ators immed iat el y and highlight wha t this is going to do to you r leisure tim e . Inform th em that th e Friday noon to Sunday m idnight gas sta tion closings gives you no ince n tive to co nse rve . It a Iso e nco u rag~ t he dangerou s practi ce of sto ring gas oline in ga rages , basem ents , ca r t runks, etc. Emphasize tha t th e pl an a lso gives no incentive to co nse rve during th e week becau se of the ava ilab ility of gasoline . T hus ca r pools, d oubling up on a b ike , et c. won 't becom e a practi ce . Bott om line your letters with a sta tement a bo ut t he im pac t the proposed plan would hav e on you r leisure tim e . Use th e words " house arrest" in sta ting tha t you do n' t wa nt you r life to becom e one of a ll wor k a nd no pla y," Ad mi ra l Matthews also brou ght up th e very real t hrea t the pl an holds for ' those who work on weekends , an d th e defi ni te possib ility tha t we woul d a ll be "spendi ng hou rs in lines a t gasoline stations , pa rt icul arl y on T hursdays. Frid ay mo rni ngs a nd Mondays." And whil e t he pla n conta ins pro vision s for sa le of diesel fuel to a ll trucks a nd th e sa le of gasoline to suc h ve h icles a s e me rgenc y ve hicles , ta xicabs, lim ou sines , buses a nd othe r co m mercia l passe nger ca r rie rs fo r hire . erc. , it never states how t he Depa rtrn ent of Energy proposes to ge t any stations to rem a in ope n to service th e few emergen cy a nd co m me rci a l vehicles permitted to purchase gas . Additionally, th e plan doesn 't take int o consideration th e need for tourists to o b ta in se rvice . i.e . repairs. tires. etc ., during even a on e-way trip on weekends. Th e a bs o lu te bottom lin e for motorcyclists is that we shall be limited to the 'mileage we can obta in out of on e lank of gasoline for 2 ~ days eac h week . That would , as J ohn Da vidson pu t it , " ta ke awa y our right to ride ." The National Moto rsp orts Comm it tee is lobbying for alternate day .. .. ' ''-:, Co , v II ' .... . I c1osi;;g if closings are indeed necessary , ' Admiral Matthews urges that all letters to sena to rs and repre· sentat ives state that th e writer would prefer altern ate da y cl os ings, preferably eve ry eig ht h day o r every sixth da y, rather than be put under "house arrest" all weekend , A survey done betw een Feb. 27 and Mar. 4 among approximatel y 12,400 cit izens in 12 different geographical areas of the United States revea led that the majorit y of Ame r icans surveyed , full y 78 % of the m. were in favor of an alt e r n at e p lan , Approximatel y 1,000 ci tizens took part in th e survey in each of th e followin g are a s : Boston , Dover Wilmington , Del aware : Ea st Central Penns ylv ania ; C on cord , North Carolina ; Columbus , Ohio (the AMA con du cted th e su rvey in th e Columbus area ) : Indianapoli s; Atlanta : H ou st on : Den ver ; northern California ; sou the rn Cal ifornia : a nd Washington Sta te. A total of 9,7 I 7 citize ns state d they prefer alternate day clo sing (78 ,3% ): 2 , 340 s t a te d p referen c e for manadatory weekend closing (18 .8 %). 12,40 5 citizens co m p leted th e survey. Writ e now! Right now! Unless you pr efer " ho use arrest" it is imperat ive you write you r sena tor and representative right no w! Go back over th e points made in the tex t a bove a nd bri efly sta te eac h in your letters. Be su re a nd sta te your willingn ess to co nserve via a n a lte rna te day plan . If you don 't kn ow who your senator a nd rep rese nta ti ve is , ca ll yo ur county's Voter Registra tion O ffice or you r st at e ca pit a l's Hou se Public Informa ti on and Se nat e Publi c Information offices . T hey will sup plv you with t he names. Address letters to your senator to U .S. Senate Building , Wash ingt on , DC 2001 5 an d le tt er t o yo u r representa tiv e to H ouse Offi c e 'Bu ild ing , Washington , DC 20015 . Aft er - a nd on ly a fte r - you hav e writt en yo u r se na to r and representative , write a letter sra tin g the same rea son s you op pose " house arrest " to th e chai rm a n of th e Senate Committee on En ergy and Natural Resources , Senator Henry M . Jackson, 137 R epubli c an Senate Offi c e Bu ilding , Washington, DC 20015 . . Remember to menti on your desire to conse rve energy , namely gas oline . State you r prefer en ce for a ny alt ernate day, every eig hth d ay, etc. plan rather than th e p roposed "house a rrest " plan . Write now or brace yours elf for • " ho use arrest. " I

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