Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2000 06 14

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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o Noriyuki Haga's drug dilemma was resol ved - for the time being at least - at Hockenheim. After a telephone confer ence involving the AM International Jury from Kyalami (the race where he was found to have illegal levels of ephedrine in a uri ne sample), the final decision on his pun ishment was, as expected, passed on to the Intemational Disciplinary Court, which·met at Hockenheim. With the meeting sched uled fo r 10:30 on Friday moming, a mere 15 minutes before Haga was due out for unofficial practice, his hearing took place. Unwillin g to miss practice, he decided to sk ip the tri al instead, as did many key Yam aha personnel, who had the pressing business of a ne w sponsor (West cigarettes) to unveil the nex t day . Yamaha 's motors ports manager in Europe, Mr. Laurens Klein Koerk amp, was in attendance, but only in the pub li c seats. Hag a was dul y fou nd guilty by the jury, and th e follo wi ng is a verbatim extract fro m the AM press release. " Although hav ing been dul y notified , Mr . Haga nor his representatives fail ed to app ear at the hearing. Th e COl too k into consideration th e cut-off level of 10 mglml stated in the 2000 IOC ant i-doping rules, instead of the cut -off level of 5 ness to fully cooperate in this regard. He is confident that the decision of the COl will be set aside and he will be found innocent after a fair hearing, allowing, finally , all arguments in his favor to be presented." One thi ng beyond doubt (if and until the lawyers take on the scientists at least ) is that Haga did test positive for ephedrine, the cause of which has been laid at the door of an oriental dietary supplement. Ma Huang . Yamaha has already invoked the scien ce card by stati ng in a press release shortly before Hockenheim that "Establishing the exact con centration of ephedrine present in a sam ple is a complicated proc ess. The IOC requ ires the test results to be corrected for the pr esence of related substances, as well as for m easurement deviations. In th is ca se, none of the offi cia l test results published so far have been corrected accordingly. Haga decla red earlier that he was not aware of having ta k en any restri ct ed substances and did not k now that the compound Ma Huang , contains ephedrin e. The AM regula tions do not mention Ma Huang as a ban ned substance." Pending what will almost certainly be an appeal by Yamaha and Haga (to the effect that the AM has broken its own rul es and changed its own mind on what the legal limit is for ephed rine in th e first place) Haga has been demoted from second to fourth in the Worl d Championship s, with all the other ri ders pick ing up the points th at Haga has lost. Going by the new reck oning , Coli n Edwards leads (169 points) from Pierfra ncesco Chili (14 6) and Troy Corser (101), with Haga on 96 and another two races to miss, at Misano and Valenc ia , effecti vely ending his cha m pionship hopes. This one's going to run and run . The ti m ing of Haga's disciplinary hearing could be no wo rse, as Yam aha chose Hockenheim to launch its new spo nsorship deal with West cigarettes - despite the fact that tob acco bra nding is illegal in Gennany. Hence everything outside the Yamaha hosp it ality unit was branded in the colours and logo of of the co m pany, but with the name Haga replacing West. Yamaha even launched the deal with dancing girls, six identi cal stickered-up Mercedes Al 0 mini MPVs , and a whole truckload of free goodies for the paddock dwellers, including bottles of specially labelled Yamaha/West Champagne. The deal , which sees West join as a partner sponsor (not a title sponsor) ," is for an undisclosed sum , with the money repo rtedly coming from West's Gennan budget initially (no t its internatio nal budget). The deal affects the official WSB team only, not the Yamaha Belgarda Superbike or Supersport boys . The sponsorship itself marks another (slig htly controversial) first with major team being spon sored by a cigarette company for the first time. There have been sma ller deals in the past. but th is is the first ti me that one of the big boys has rolled its own, as it were. It also ends the forme r boasts of the WSB organ isers that they did not need a big pool of ci garette sponsorship to develop the series, unlike the cigarett e-friendly GPteams. mglmJ stated in the current AM anti -doping ru les. The COl dismissed all th e arguments and objections put forw ard in writing befo re th e hearin g by the representatives of Mr. Haga . "The COl took th e foll owing sancti ons: Mr_ Haga is suspended fo r a per iod of one month as fro m June 5 , 2000 (prohibition from taking part in any of th e activities under FlM co ntrol), and excluded fro m the resul ts of the South African round of the Supe rbike World Ch ampion ship. Mr . Haga must also retu rn th e trophies, prizes and indem nities received at that event and bear the costs of the hearin g. The full decision will be notified later. An appea l against thi s deci sion m ay be lodged with in 10 days as from the recei pt of the offi ci al noti ficati on. The classification of the Superbike Worl d Champion ship has been adapted accor dingly." The loss of points and prize money clause is in dir ect confli ct with a statement made by AM President Franco Zerbi at Mon za, during which he claimed th at the only possible outcome wou ld be a maximum three- month ban , and that retrospective loss of points was impossible. Yamaha is expected to co ntest the ban, up to the point of legal action, with the following press release having been dis tributed by them th e next day. " Despite an official , and still pending , appeal to delay yesterday 's AM Intemational Disci plinary Co urt (COl) hear ing in the case of Noriyuki Haga's Kyalam i testi ng issue, the COl announced that a decision has now been reached. Con sequently, an una uthorized penalty was handed down in the absence of Noriyuki Haga , his represe ntative, or his (expert) witnesses. The representative for Haga had lodged a legitimate and timely request to the COl to postpone the hearin g of J une 2, 2000, as the session had been planned to coincide with an official practice sessio n; thus mak ing it impossibl e for Haga to atte nd. Furthennore, a period of only five days between receipt of all relevant docu mentatio n and th e planned hearing was insuffi cient to allow experts on behalf of Haga to be consulted and testify at Hock enheim . Under these circumstances . Haga's representative was of the clear opin ion that his defense could not be fairly presented and that an impartial hearing cou ld not take place in accordance with th e AM disciplinary rules and regulations. "The FlM disciplinary rules and regulations clearly stipu late that a rider has the right to attend his own hearing. After the COl made a decision to hold the hearing at Hockenheim, Haga 's representative filed a legitimate app eal with the AM International Tribunal of Appeal (TIA) , the highest disciplinary body within the FlM. Given the suspensive effect of such an appeal, the COl was not authorized to orga nize a hearing in this matter, let alone reach a decision. In doing so the COl has not only violated Haga's right to a fair tria l, by making it impossible for Noriyuki to attend the hearing in perso n, but also violated thei r own FIM Disciplinary an d Arbi tration Code . It is likely that the representative of Haga will appe al to the TlA on Monday, June 5, 200 0, regarding this violatio n by the COl. Noriyuki is looking forward to resolving the matter as soon as possibl e and has infonned the TlA of his willing - mai n ev ent. Jason Chisum (Kaw) was create a speci al motorcycle ex trav aganza Pro win in front of his hometown c rowd during round th ree o f Gene Romero's West Coast Flat Track Series sec ond, and Evan Morones ( Kaw) was th ird. nigh t to benefit all concerned." In order to fac il itate all facet s o f t h e prog ram , Group and Dorna ha d a meeting w ith industry people and rid ers ov er the June 3-4 weekend at the Belgium Triple-Header GP, and a high -ranking FIM official s ign-up s for the West Coast Flat Track at the Mid-State Fa ir in Paso Robles , Speaking of the West Coast Rat Track Series. Perris Au to Speedway in Perris. California , will be hosting round four of 12:30-2:30 p.m . Practice is scheduled for 3 p .m.. and the first race will begin at t h e s eries i n conjunc t ion w ith the 5 :30 p .m. For more information , call LJ (\ b o Q ~ o o CJ " a Ronnie Brown (Rw scored th e Open zalez benefitted from the re ru n by finis hing third. Shawn Hoover

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