Sunday, March 13, 2016

Eslick. Not so slick. But I still have questions...

The American Sportbike Racing Association event is a standalone premier American road race. While the 2016 Daytona 200 is not part of the AMA-sanctioned professional road racing series in which riders earn points toward an AMA National No. 1 plate, it remains an important part of America's motorcycle racing heritage. — AMA Press Release announcing an AMA sanction for the Daytona 200 

The American Motorcyclist Association and the American Sportbike Racing Association, in consultation with Daytona International Speedway, have suspended professional motorcycle racer Daniel C. Eslick of Broken Arrow, Okla., from the Daytona 200 for actions deemed to be detrimental to the sport..The AMA has extended Eslick's suspension to all AMA-sanctioned activity.— AMA Press Release announcing Danny Eslick's suspension prior to the Daytona 200

A note from the Dept. of Unanswered Questions...

A few weeks back, I got a Press Release from the AMA, touting the fact that the AMA would be sanctioning the Daytona 200.

You already know that for the last couple of years, the 200's been an ASRA event, because MotoAmerica dropped Daytona from the U.S.' premiere road racing series.

The first thing I thought, last month, upon reading the AMA's breathless release saying how great it was that they'd be sanctioning the 200 again was, Wait a minute... didn't the AMA always sanction ASRA events? To confirm that, I logged on to the Wayback Machine Internet Archive and found an ASRA home page from 2014. Sure enough, there was the AMA logo.

Remember that DMG, which took over AMA Pro Racing, is basically a subsidiary of the Speedway (or at least controlled by the Speedway's owners). Not that long ago, DMG was reviled by the stakeholders of the new (AMA-sanctioned) MotoAmerica series. I doubt that many MotoAmerica riders and teams miss the Speedway, so the AMA's love-struck description of the storied 200's history felt odd. But, I just filed it away under It Sure Didn't Take Long For The AMA And The Speedway To Kiss And Make Up.

I thought no more of that until Danny Eslick was arrested in Daytona, then was banned from competition. Actually, let me amend that... Something bugged me about Eslick's ban, but I couldn't put my finger on it until after the race.

It wasn't, plus-or-minus, the issue of whether Eslick should've been denied entry into the 200. I don't really have strong feelings either way. I've met him but don't know him. I do know enough about Bike Week in particular and cops in general to know that there's not necessarily a relationship between real events and charges laid. (Though in the limited defense of the Daytona PD, I imagine Eslick did something stupid enough to warrant a night in jail.) 

FWIW, Eslick looks much nicer than almost anyone else on the Daytona mug shots web site.
Whatever really happened, I doubt that Eslick's transgression was any stupider than countless other racers' shenanigans during Bike Weeks past. Let's face it: motorcycle racing is not exactly a selective filter for good judgement. Quite the opposite.

What bothered me about the sequence of press releases was...
  • Isn't the 200 an ASRA event? Why didn't ASRA issue Eslick's ban? There's not even a copy of the AMA's press release on the ASRA web site.
  • At this point, I wonder whether ASRA, the event organizer, even thought to ban Eslick. Or did that idea originate with the AMA, or the Speedway?
  • Why would his ban summarily extend to the MotoAmerica series, which has never had anything to do with the 200? Was that MotoAmerica's idea? Or the AMA's? And if it was the AMA's, will MotoAmerica henceforth be letting the AMA decide who rides and who doesn't?
  • What other motorcycle blog even uses words like 'henceforth'? Heretofore, I don't think I've seen that word come up.
To be clear: I don't have strong feelings on Eslick's suspension per se. If it'd been up to me I'd've let him ride provisionally, while withholding prize money until he faced the charges. I'd reserve the right to rescind points, subject to a full determination of the facts. 

Should he be on probation? Hell yes. Definitely. 
Is an outright ban reasonable? Maybe.

Is this another moment when the administration of American professional motorcycle racing desperately needs more transparency? Yes. Most of all, yes.

*Note to ASRA: If the Eslick sanction originated within your organization, feel free to contact me. I'll happily attach a statement to this post.


  1. Is anyone standing up for Eslick? AMA? His team? Other riders? He hasn't been convicted of anything. After reading the police report, it's not clear why he was detained in the first place.

    I skimmed the ASRA rules and didn't see anything that applied to Eslick's situation.

    All this leaves me wondering more about what led to Eslick's suspension even more than I wonder what actually led to his arrest.

    1. Yeah, we're pretty much on the same page. Would you put a link to the police report into these comments, please? It will help any really curious readers to form their own informed opinions.

    2. Police Report:

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