1990: The calm before the storm
* The management council met for the first time under Jos Vaessen’s presidency on 13 and 14 January. Mr Vaessen announced that the party was now over (he didn’t know how right he was…) and that it was necessary to set to work. After his election, Mr Vaessen had had several meetings with FIM leaders among others the secretary general, considered close to Luigi Brenni and favourable to a negotiated solution with IRTA with whom relations had hitherto been strained. This discussion between Jos Vaessen and secretary general Guy Maitre enabled the two men to iron out any differences and to find a common ground for close collaboration. But the FIM was far from high ground.
* A MotoMedia meeting had been held on 11 January. The following points had been discussed: an agreement between IRTA and ROPA, rubber stamped by the FIM, would introduce one single time-keeping system by transponder for the 1990 season.
* The contract between the FIM and Flammini Racing, had been signed on the previous 7 December after a few amendments. No FMN had withdrawn from the calendar. The contract had come into force as soon as the guarantee had been paid which was on 22 December.
* Another issue: the fall of the Berlin wall had led the two German federations to ask the FIM if they could organise national events with riders holding national licences from both entities.
* The president announced that a Danish company had made an offer for the three Speedway finals of 1990, 1991 and 1992; the rights were retained by the FIM and the FMNRs were immediately informed. The question of a permanent starter was also debated. It was not a matter of replacing the race director, but of designating a safety group within the CCR.
* The Geneva meetings were held from 1 to 5 March. The council was complete with Messrs Jos Vaessen (president), Francesco Zerbi (deputy president), Neville Goss MBE (interim treasurer), Guy Maitre (Secretary general), Tore Kittilsen, Jan Krivka, Oriol Mauri Aurell, Wilhelm Noll, Andrzej Witkowski and ed Youngblood (vice presidents), Joseph Zegwaard (CCR president), Tage Magnusson (CMS), Eric Schmidt (CTE), Günter Sorber (CCP), Orio Puig Bulto (CT), Pietro Rozza (CTC), Arendt Van der Leest (BF), Giancarlo Pasini (CP) and Gordon Hadfield (CM). Also present were Nicolas Schmit and Luis Soriano Rodriguez.
* A violent polemic had taken place in Australia following the decision not to accept the GP at Eastern Creek. It had forced president Vaessen to spend a few hours on the other side of the world to explain the FIM’s position to the ACCA and to support its president L.J. Thomson who was in a minority and put under pressure by the government of New South Wales (Sydney). The ACCA request was confirmed to hold the GP on 16 September 1990 at Phillip Island.
* After reviewing the position with MotoMedia, the management council announced that it was not willing to extend the contract beyond 1992.
* A dispute with FISA was provoked by its decision to refuse any motor sport event 30 days before an F1 GP. The FIM protested to FISA and talks had to be held with Mr Balestre.
* Meetings with industry considered a reduction of costs (already!) in superbike, and the maintenance of the 500 class in GP thanks to machines from the previous season being offered on leasing contracts to privateers. The ACU proposal to use TTF-1 engines was not accepted.
* President Vaessen reported that the last IRTA general assembly had brought changes in its relations with the FIM. An executive board had been put in place, presided over by Paul Butler. The atmosphere was markedly more relaxed and the system of FIM passes was implemented and accepted and a climate of collaboration was taking hold. On the other hand the council agreed to set the number of GPs to a maximum of 15, including five overseas for the next three years and to install a long term operating system and calendar.
* Talk turned again to speedway final broadcasts for the next three years. A Danish television company was offering USD 60,000 per final which the English (ACU and BSPA) and the Swedish considered insufficient. Discussions were almost as animated as for the MotoMedia debate! The rider representatives explained to the commission that the new tyres were not as good as the old ones and that they would like to return to the 13mm profile. This request was not greeted positively by the commission who demanded to have the opinion of the tyre manufacturers and the continental riders before taking a decision (it was the riders themselves who had requested that the profile of the tyres be modified).
* At the CT, the idea of its president, Oriol Puig Bulto, was approved, that a professional technical marshal should be appointed and paid by the FIM as soon as the financial situation permitted to control scrutineering at classic events beginning with the GPs and superbikes.
* The revised appendix concerning doping and their use was accepted. The legal status of the CM doctors was discussed. In some cases, the medical opinion of inspector doctors from the CM was required. Doctors were not authorised to work in some countries except by the law of the Good Samaritan. The view of the CJ or the FIM lawyer was requested. Dr Costa’s position was also discussed. He was the official doctor of the Italian federation and looked after Italian riders. He and his mobile clinic was essentially funded by the FMI, but also sponsored by other companies including IRTA. When he looked after an injured rider, he forwarded the case to the head doctor of the event in question and submitted a list of injured riders he had seen.
* Preparations for future congresses were in progress. The one for 1990 would take place in Budapest. For 1991, there was a direct link between Australia’s bid for the FIM congress and the 1990 GP which was supposed to be held in Eastern Creek. The council refused this kind of pressure and requested the ACCA to withdraw its candidacy. So New Zealand was chosen (Christchurch for the 75th anniversary of the NZACU).
* The executive board made up of Messrs Vaessen, Zerbi, Goss, Kittilsen and Witkowski as well as the secretary general met on Saturday 21 April at the Castello di Samezzano, in Leccio (Italy), not far from Montevarchi the location for the 125 motocross Italian GP.
* The contract for television for the three speedway finals in 1990 had been signed with a Swedish company.
* Concerning the future of the 500 class, the situation after numerous injuries to riders at Laguna Seca had only left 13 or 14 riders for the start of the Spanish GP. The Japanese industry had made technical proposals to the CT, applicable after 1991 to remedy the situation: limitation of the minimum weight, limitation of the carburettor dimensions, restriction of the width of the rear tyre. The idea was to limit costs, but also the growing power of machines “that only a few riders can still manage to control” (sic). The industry believed that costs could thus be reduced by 50%. The annual cost of leasing a 500 factory machine was then USD 650,000 and the industry expected the FIM to recognise this category as the blue riband which should not be replaced, by superbike, for example.
* The management council met on 24 and 25 May. The treasurer explained that the intermediate accounts at 30 April should be balanced since the extraordinary income depended on the negotiations underway with MotoMedia to increase the FIM share of the profits. A French company had expressed an interest in promoting the TV rights for Motocross GPs.
* The president gave a report on his presence at the Hungaroring circuit on 30 April and the conflict he had witnessed. The company Flammini Racing, holders of the TV and marketing rights for superbike was on one side and a Hungarian company (IPV) the race organisers who had signed a contract with the German company (Moto Motion) were on the other. The Hungarian federation stated it was not aware of the latter agreement. President Vaessen had had to go personally to the track to have the Flammini Racing signage put in place! Similar types of problems had arisen in Hockenheim. The president considered this situation to be unacceptable and proposed to call – again – another meeting with the FMNRs. He also expressed a wish that a vice president should go to each remaining event on the 1990 calendar to protect the interests of the contract between the FIM and Flammini Racing.
* The TAS had finally given its verdict in the OPIT affair. After six years of deliberations (sic) a tribunal had recorded a verdict more favourable to the FIM. Since the contract was a mandate, it could be broken at any time for just reasons.
* Relations with FISA were not improving. After repeated requests for a meeting with president Balestre, FISA had finally suggested a day that had subsequently been cancelled and then there had been nothing.
* Concerning the 500 class, the FIM clearly stated like president Vaessen had previously said that it considered this class to be the blue riband category and that it was prepared to take technical decisions to reduce costs and risks. Mr Zegwaard took the floor and explained that he had had talks with representatives from Honda and Yamaha “who had made diverging analyses of the current situation and the measures to take”. In any event “Honda was threatening to withdraw from the 500 competition if urgent measures were not taken to guarantee better safety” (sic). The first measure was to take action on the weight-power ratio by increasing the minimum weight in each class. Mr Zegwaard said he was preoccupied by the fact that some riders started a GP when they had visibly not yet recovered from their injuries.
* An FIM (CCR/CT) meeting was held with representatives from industry on 23 June in Assen. Afterwards, Messrs Zegwaard and Puig Bulto went to Japan to meet the managers from Honda and Yamaha and those of Suzuki in Le Mans at the French GP. The report was drawn up by Joseph Zegwaard. The aim was to request the collaboration of the manufacturers to increase the number of starters in the 500 category and to put an end to a series of accidents particularly but not only in 500, probably due to the current racing engine characteristics. Curiously, the first question from Honda concerned the decision to introduce an “executive committee” to direct road racing GPs. The second concerned the “so-called” (sic) manufacturer’s technical commission created by IRTA. The Honda management present, Messrs Aika, Ikenoya, Matsuda, Oguma and Tsunnoda clearly stated that they preferred to deal directly with the FIM and not through any third party, i.e. their clients. They stated their concern at new attempts by IRTA to (re)take control of the GPSs. However, opinions seemed to differ among those present around the table concerning the solutions to be adopted on a technical – and financial – level. The idea of a 3-cylinder 375cc was still on the table but the fact that the FIM preferred an exclusive 500 class “seemed to make any solution impossible”. HRC seemed worried about the increase in costs. On the subject of availability of machines for 1991, the response was surprising: “it is not possible to produce a set of 4 cylinder machines for sale, since HRC is too busy and there are no budgets for it (sic). It would be possible to produce between 30 and 35 3-cylinder machines for around USD 52,000 as long as orders were received by mid-August”.
* The next day, Messrs Zegwaard and Puig Bulto were at Yamaha with Messrs Kuroda, Maekawa, Nomura, Okano and Sasaki. Like at Honda, the managers clearly stated that they wished to co-operate with the FIM but more directly and officially. Their standpoint concerning IRTA’s initiative to introduce a constructors’ technical commission “was, to our surprise, even stronger than that expressed by Honda”. They were not opposed to a possible solution to improve the handling of the 500 by imposing a crankshaft inertia effect. They did not even mention (contrary to the people from HRC) the difficulty of doing this. They had also thought of using engine restrictors. In terms of availability they were planning to construct around 15 to 20 500 4 cylinder machines according to 1990 specifications adapted to the regulations of minimum 130 kg, but only available on a rental basis. For 1992, they were thinking of constructing a batch of engines for sale.
* The next day a joint meeting at the MFJ headquarters was held with Messrs Aika, Ikenoya and Maekawa. The question of an increased minimum weight was considered a given, but insufficient. Among other possibilities, the reduction of compression rates, the limitation of the engine speed, the inertia factor (Dg2) and the level of octane in the fuel were considered the only effective ones. A meeting was planned with Mr Itoh (Suzuki) who would soon return to Japan. The racing departments of the three makes met and communicated their solution to the FIM. Other suggestions were made during the dinner: limiting the 125 and 250 class to “non-factory” machines, the possible limitation of these classes to maximum two factory riders per constructor, an increase in weight for the 500 twin cylinders, limitation of the 500 class to twin cylinder machines (sic). This would make machines more competitive and reliable which would mean progress in terms of costs and performance… and a possibility to construct a minimum number for sale. Finally a manufacturer’s technical commission formed of delegates from motorcycle constructors with direct representation at the CT was raised.
* The meeting with Mr Itoh went in the same direction. He agreed that the inertia factor was the best solution. For him it was “simply logical to follow the biggest manufacturers”.
* The extraordinary meeting of the management council held on 8 and 9 September was very tense. Draconian measures had been taken in Assen by president Vaessen: the introduction of the GP executive committee with immediate application, following serious incidents which had occurred in Rijeka during the 250 Yugoslavian GP (they had plunged road racing and the FIM into a difficult situation with the German rider Reinhold Roth handicapped for life). This immediate reaction from the president was in general well received in the world of GPs, but it was unfortunately not to last.
* The president explained that following the decision not to extend the MotoMedia contract beyond 1992, he had had numerous meetings with interested companies, including seven who had made offers. There was also an interest in the right to acquire a commercial title. This right belonged to the FIM and the council agreed for it to be negotiated from 1991 onwards. The same council gave its approval for TV rights to be negotiated for 1993-1997 for a total sum which should not be less than USD 18 million. At the request of Mr Noll, sufficient bank guarantees (sic) should be demanded and the solvency of the partners guaranteed. Since the dollar was weak, it was recommended to fix the sums in Swiss francs or to fix minimum dollar exchange rates. The council also gave its approval to extending the Flammini Racing contract for the years 1993 – 1995. Negotiations were also underway for track racing.
* Mr Pasini presented a proposal from the promotion committee for a bi-monthly publication to serve as a discussion forum and response to the media. The management council were in favour of entrusting the “press” official to be hired the next year with producing such a publication.
* Concerning the legal status of the FIM medical delegate, there was no civil liability as long as he did not perform any medical act in a foreign country.
* The executive board met on 6 October in Monza to examine the end of the GP season. FIM homologation was insufficient because it did not take into account the various aspects related to organising a GP. Some tracks could not be used in 1991 because of problems encountered this year. The situation of machines available was very uncertain because Japanese manufacturers had “diametrically opposed” interests. In motocross, the future of the 500 class was at stake.
* During the overseas speedway final, the American rider Shawn Moran had tested positive but the “Speedway Control Board” had only informed the FIM more than a month after the results of the test (instead of within ten days as the medical code stipulated). The result was that the rider had taken part in the world final and finished second…
* On the subject of TV contracts, president Vaessen announced that he had sent a letter to the seven companies who had made offers giving them ten days to make a second offer above USD 20 million. A confidentiality contract binding president Vaessen was proposed to the company or specialised agency appointed to manage the rights.
* In track racing, the Danish company TV2 was finally selected for a three year contract covering eight annual events including the ice racing finals, and the speedway semi-finals and finals.
* Concerning the problems of 500 machines for the 1991 season, Yamaha had committed to provide ten machines and Suzuki four. But Honda was apparently unhappy with the FIM decision to fix the minimum weight at 130 kg and had not yet confirmed its intention to construct ten additional machines. ROPA and IRTA had already accepted to act as guarantors along with the FIM to Honda for the sale of these machines to sponsors.
* Finally, the executive board discussed the procedure of electing vice presidents in order to have the desired situation of maximum ten vice presidents including six continents up to a maximum of five per continent when all continents were represented.
* The congress took place from 21 to 27 October at the Budapest congress centre. 49 federations were represented (a maximum was achieved on the Tuesday) including seven by proxy. The council reviewed current issues. The meeting with IRTA took place positively and constructively with discussions focusing on technical aspects and fuel in particular unleaded fuel planned for 1991 was strongly contested by the teams even though the proposal had come from the Japanese manufacturers themselves!
* The superbike contract with Flammini had been extended to 1995, a three year contract had been signed for speedway and ice racing with the company TV2 Denmark.
* Concerning the contract for GPs, the president believed that in spite of the fact that the council had given him free rein during the previous session, developments in this matter were so important that the council should itself appoint the company to be selected from the six still remaining having made offers for a five year contract (1993-1997). The council declared itself opposed to signing a contract with Mr Ecclestone who already held the F1 rights. It wanted a company that could “develop our sport in an independent way”. A first proposal was therefore eliminated. Of the five remaining, the highest (USD 30 million) had been made by the Spanish company “Promocion del Deporte” linked to the Dorna Group which it was itself controlled by the banking concern Banesto. Among other things this group already held the TV rights for the famous club Real Madrid and was prepared to supply a bank guarantee amounting to 10% of the total.
* President Vaessen responded to the various remarks and pointed out that each company who had made an initial offer had received a letter giving it an additional deadline to submit a new bid if necessary. The responses received within the deadline had been sealed in the event of any protest. No offer had surpassed USD 30 million. This was why the management council had come out in favour of pursuing negotiations with “Promocion del Deporte”. The president asked the general assembly to decide, in a secret ballot for the president and management council, for or against continuing negotiations with “Promocion del Deporte”. The result was 66 votes for, 17 against and 7 abstentions.
* Mr Youngblood presented the conclusions of the working group “Equal treatment of all GP organisers”. It was necessary to find a way of balancing the costs between European and non-European organisers. The aim was to achieve full equality by 1993. The council gave its approval in principle. Mr Flammini gave ROPA’s agreement and Mr Butler that of IRTA with the remark that in his experience, it would be very difficult to centralise with just one agency. But IRTA was available to collaborate in finding the best solution. Mr Youngblood confirmed that IRTA’s experience and ROPA’s opinion would be taken into account.
* The general assembly was informed of the outcome of the OPIT affair and the damages awarded to superbike riders for the 1989 season.
* Two requests for membership were presented from the federations of Nicaragua and Macau. The Czechoslovakian federation was changing name following political changes since 1989: the UAMK had become the CSMF. As for Germany, the two federations the OMK and the ADMV, had agreed only to vote as a single federation from 23 October onwards. The ban on South African riders to participate in FIM Championships and Prizes was lifted from 1991 onwards.
* However the modifications to the sporting code were accepted. Among them, the new structure of the international jury: “The composition of the international jury would be decided by the FIM. The nomination of the members would be decided by the relevant commission or by the management council. The international jury would always include the race director and, if possible, a medical delegate and a technical delegate”. Further on, “the jury president had the right to invite whomever he wished to the jury sessions, if it was necessary for the event; he was responsible for communicating with the FMN delegates”.
* At the CCR, urgent proposals concerning a fixed timing for GPs (same period of practice for each class, all the practice over two days); dropping of the two worst results in the final ranking (also in superbike, one result in endurance), new prizes and allowances, updating of the circuit norms and simplification and centralisation of the permanent pass system. The composition of the international jury had to be reviewed. It was proposed to the council that the jury should be composed for the session in January as follows: president (CCR member or FIM vice president), safety official, race director, doctor, CCR representative, possibly a technical delegate.
* The council refused for the GPs of Belgium and Hungary to be retained on the calendar in view of the serious organisational problems encountered that year. The Malaysian GP therefore made its first appearance as well as that of San Marino in Misano. All the circuits requiring work had to be ready by 31 December 1990. Finally Mr Adrian Veys withdrew from the commission. He was replaced as CCR vice president by the former side-car champion Max Deubel and as Belgian delegate by a certain Claude Danis.
* At the CMS, the future of the 500 class was discussed but also the side-cars. The proposal to race the 500 with the 250s had been made in Amsterdam on 7 October and as expected, some manufacturers were in favour and others were against. A compromise was soon reached: to allow four stroke machines in this class and leave the two strokes to progressively fizzle out.
* The council had planned to withdraw the status of world championship from the Rodil trophy but after a vote, it was decided to keep it. The CMS wanted to use the name “supercross” but this change was not considered as arising from safety concerns and had to be in the form of a proposal in 1991.
* The French federation submitted a request to create a series of supermotard events called the “Euroseries Superbiker”. The commission did not accept this proposal for 1991 and requested more details for a possible appearance in 1992.
* The letter from the trial riders on the subject of the Trial des Nations was not accompanied by any complaint submitted to the jury. So the results were ratified but a letter was sent by the commission to the FFM. Concerning the FIM Prize for indoor trial, following organisation problems, the CTE asked the interested parties to forward their proposals before the end of 1990 for discussion prior to the Geneva meetings and for possible approval at that time and to come into force therefore in 1992.
* In track racing, the American rider Shawn Moran had been withdrawn from the speedway final ranking for which he should not have qualified. His licence was suspended for a year. After six months the rider could obtain a conditional licence. In addition a fine of CHF 2000 had been imposed on the ACU together with a warning for not having informed the FIM in time about the positive drugs test.
* For safety reasons, the CCP decided to reduce the number of riders at the start of the speedway pairs to four and to six for races on long tracks.
* The CT was of the opinion that at the request of several manufacturers, the introduction of unleaded fuel in 1991 was premature and could only be envisaged in 1992 at the earliest. The minimum weight in 500 was fixed at 130 kg (ballast only authorised in 1991), and the maximum width of the rear rim was 6.25 inches. The introduction of the Wankel engine was also authorised for a period up until 1993, to be reviewed again at that time. The changes for 1992 were the following: minimum weight of 70 kg for the 125, 95 kg for the 250, and 100 kg for the 500 single or twin cylinder, 115 kg for 3 cylinders and 130 for 4 cylinders. The IRTA proposal only to have “production” engines in 125 and 250 cc was favourably received, but the CT requested more information from the constructors before taking a decision in Geneva the following spring. In supersport, the technical regulations were clarified particularly regarding stricter controls of homologation specifications. The speedway riders Chris Morton and Simon Wigg were present at the session to discuss the reduction of power on speedway machines: should the capacity be reduced to 400cc?
* A seminar on community law in sport in general and the FIM in particular was held in Geneva on 3 December. The aim of the FIM which was certainly shared by other international sporting federations was to have their voice heard within the EEC before decisions concerning them were passed with irritating consequences. Federations had to join together to defend their interests in the face of a community of states which had not considered sport, either in the Treaty of Rome or the single European Act. Practical problems were also confronting national federations: zone events, riders’ licences (validity of the national licence beyond frontiers…), authorisation to take part, distinction between a national and international event, registration rights in the calendar, importing machines, insurance, etc. The most important issue at the time was the driving licence where the FIM had to intervene very quickly and personally contact the Commissioner Van Miert who could call on all sorts of associations claiming to represent motorcyclists.
1991: The FIM house comes tumbling down
* A management council meeting was held on 19 and 20 January at the Hotel Penta in Geneva. The Gulf War had just begun and Mr Youngblood had remained in the United States due to air traffic problems.
* The situation of the 500 cc GP class was preoccupying everyone. During the MotoMedia meeting, it had been proposed to include 750cc TTF-1 machines (four strokes). Since then, all those concerned had given their opinion which was largely negative. The difference in performance and the confusion with the superbike championship would not provide a valid solution.
* The council confirmed the official appointments for 1991. Based on experience obtained in 1990, the council decided to include a representative from IRTA and IPDA on the international jury as a “member with voting rights” (sic). However, “the costs of these two representatives will not be covered by the FIM”. It was also stated that council members appointed for GPs only had a representative function.
* The draft contract with Dorna Promocion del Deporte was widely discussed. The company was offering a guarantee of 2 million dollars - more than a million payable on 30 June 1991 to be deducted from the first payment in three parts and added to the guarantee. Mr Zerbi stated that this company was very well structured and gave clear responses to questions. The ROPA letter claiming a share of 50% of the income from this contract was not considered acceptable and it was repeated that “in the event of income being distributed, it would be paid to the FMNRs”. The contract would be signed during February.
* President Vaessen proposed that the executive board should be composed as follows for 1991: Messrs Vaessen, Zerbi, Kittilsen, Maitre, Witkowski and Youngblood. The project of unleaded fuel should be extended to all disciplines except track racing (bikes were using methanol there).
* A meeting with President Balestre was scheduled for 24 January. The prize-giving ceremony was far from satisfactory but before proposing a wide-reaching solution, the FIM had to be certain that it could invest the necessary money. This should be done by 1993.
* The Geneva meetings took place from 28 February until 4 March at the Holiday Inn. Two honorary presidents attended the management council sessions: Messrs Rodil del Valle and Schmit.
* The contract with Dorna Promocion del Deporte had been signed on 26 February in Madrid. ROPA, IRTA and AICP had been consulted prior to signature. Leaving aside the sale of the title rights which belonged to the FIM and the fact that the Spanish company was not specialised in motor sport, “they seemed satisfied”. The appointment of a press officer was commented on by the secretary general who underlined the strong points “in particular a perfect knowledge of motorcycle sport”. He would take up his functions in August 1991.
* The president reported on his first meeting with Jean-Marie Balestre (FIA president) which was according to him “fruitful”. Several issues had been discussed such as track homologation, electrical vehicles and pirate events. The problem of the FISA regulation banning motor sport events on a track 30 days before an F1 GP had been discussed. Mr Balestre would propose at the FISA plenary conference that only world championship events should be banned in this timeframe – which of course did not settle very much: the place occupied by the car could not be compared with that of the motorcycle in the world as Mr Balestre did not hesitate to point out. Mr Goss remarked – we were once again back at the management council – that concerning road safety, collaboration between the FIA and FIM were excellent.
* The proposals from the boards of the CCR and the CT concerning the future of the 500cc class were accepted by the CT. Proposals concerning this matter had been received from several constructors and were all considered. After long discussions between the CT and the members of the industry consultative body (TACI), the commission accepted the following proposal: 500cc capacity, 2 cylinders, 2 or 4 stroke (sic!); total maximum width of the tyres: 160 mm, minimum weight of 110 kg, unleaded fuel. During a transitional period of two years (1993-1994), the participation of 2 stroke engines of 3 and 4 cylinders would be authorised with a power limitation, but with current weights, by limiting the engine speed (4 cylinders to 11500/12000 rpm; 3 cylinders to 9000/10000 rpm) or by a reduction in intake to limit power to 130 hp (approximately). The width of the tyres would be distinguished between classes. With the approval of the council, president Vaessen requested to consult the manufacturers before taking any definitive decision on this matter.
* For the minimum weight, to simplify the procedure, the weight would be controlled after removing the fuel tank. Following the meeting with IRTA, it seemed that the introduction of unleaded fuel in 1992 would cause problems in terms of control. It emerged that a control before the start was impossible and it was suggested to take samples after the race. On the subject of the 500cc class, Mr Butler asked that the proposed changes be submitted to the constructors to whom “we should offer the last opportunity to decide themselves on the future of this class”. He added that Yamaha intended to sell a few engines and to work with European manufacturers on the cycle parts. Given the current economic situation, it seemed unlikely that the constructors would have the possibility to invest in totally new projects. IRTA also asked the CT for precise directives on the subject of scrutineering. The same procedure should be followed at each GP. According to the CCR president, it was necessary for it to be the same delegate like in superbikes, who should operate at each event. Bikes with rotating engines would be accepted in 500 GPs with the points obtained awarded to the rider but not to the constructor.
* Concerning motocross, the industry had made the following proposal to the commission: for 1992, the 125 and 250 classes would remain in place as well as a class open to the 250 and 500. For 1993, the 125 class would be reserved for riders up to 22 years of age and would be a championship over 12 rounds while the 250 class would be for 16 year-olds with the same format as “stadium motocross” (3 heats with 22 riders per heat). Finally the 500 class would be dropped. The CMS was in favour of this proposal.
* The future of the Rodil trophy was also discussed. It was necessary to modify the regulations. Some changes were decided by the CMS concerning the cross side-car: qualifying races, three races of 20 minutes plus 2 laps, engines limited to 750, 2 stroke and 4 strokes, with application planned for 1992.
* The CTE proposed to the management council to officially introduce an FIM indoor trial Prize. The proposal had to be submitted to the general assembly. A working group “marathon rallies” reported on the meeting held in Paris on 28 December. The regulations were accepted but the GT wanted to reduce the distance between each refuelling point from 400 to 350 km to enable a lighter fuel load and guarantee the stability of the machines after refuelling. The participants thought that annex 081 was not fully respected by all organisers.
* The CCP decided to create a working group to study the possibilities of organising a GP system for the individual speedway world championship with the world top 16 riders taking part plus two riders from the organising country. The idea was to establish a calendar in the large cities and stadiums (Wembley, Ullevi, Warsaw, Munich, etc). Taking into account the current TV contract, this proposal could only come into force in 1994.
* Mr Goss remarked on the report of the road safety group and noted a new organisation called the FEM (Federation of European Motorcyclists) and stated that this new entity could damage the FIM (sic). Future EEC legislation was examined, in particular noise controls, standards for homologating machines (for the road), exhaust pipe emissions. A meeting of the FIA/FIM road safety group had exposed the need for motorcyclists to wear bright protective clothing. Some accident statistics from Sweden showed that between 1980 and 1990 the number of accidents in comparison with the number of bikes in circulation had progressively been reduced. A video featuring leg protections had been shown, but it emerged that the risk of injury to other parts of the body was increased due to these garments.
* The next management council meeting was held on 22 and 23 June. In the meantime, things had got considerably worse. Firstly from the very first GP in Suzuka, the GP jury meetings had not worked well. The atmosphere had degenerated at the Spanish GP in Jerez, where representatives from Dorna Promocion del Deporte were to make a presentation to the teams, the riders and the press which had not convinced everybody. Then the situation in Yugoslavia had forced the FIM to take a decision during the German GP – the teams were not really in agreement to go there. The circuit of Jarama was chosen instead. At Interlagos, the situation was getting worse. Kevin Schwantz had gone to Sao Paulo with Mike Trimby and had ridden round the track. He signalled his disapproval concerning the work completed in particular at a place where safety was in his opinion, compromised. He left straight away without giving any interviews.
* The problems continued: in motocross the Venezuela GP was cancelled. Cases of cholera had been recorded in the region – as well as a new law banning tobacco advertising – and the sponsors had withdrawn from this GP.
* The EC legislation against tobacco advertising was gaining ground with only three countries not in favour. It was therefore to be expected that there would be problems with sponsors in the future. The management council mandated Mr Zerbi in his capacity as Deputy president to monitor this matter.
* They then broached the problematic issue – the future of the 500cc class. Mr Joseph Zegwaard gave an historic background of this matter and reviewed all the steps taken since the previous year. The introduction of two cylinder machines, which were cheaper and more readily available in large quantities had been submitted to the manufacturers. According to the minutes this solution had not received much support “mostly, because of the costs for development, considered to be very high since no engine of this type currently existed on the market” (the Honda 500 twin cylinder would not take long to appear and Yamaha engines were sold to European frame manufacturers). Individual consultation with both the Japanese and European manufacturers “had not provided a unanimous solution” (would it be possible?) Following a meeting between Messrs Vaessen, Zegwaard and Puig Bulto, the possibility of proposing 4-stroke engines with 4 cylinders was retained for the 500cc class.
* The president also informed that IRTA had sent a letter to the FIM signed by the teams on the subject of GP management. The level of professionalism made a more commercial management necessary. Mr Vaessen was charged with discussing this subject with the parties concerned and to submit a detailed proposal during the next council meeting.
* In motocross there were criticisms of the abolition of the 500 class. The FMNs wanted to organise several events in the different classes in the same year. The president proposed to retain the current situation in 1992 and to rediscuss the matter at the CMS during the congress. A TV contract for motocross was looming on the horizon.
* Environmental issues began to arise; Mr Youngblood noted that noise controls and road safety were related to this issue. It was important for the FIM to have a policy on this matter and the public should know that the international federation was worried about the environment.
* The president thanked all those present for their active participation in the important decision which had been taken during the
* At the following GP in Assen, criticisms poured in from every direction. The executive board meeting was swiftly approaching on 11 August. And what would be the subject for discussion at this executive board? Of the Brazilian GP at Interlagos of course, or rather, of its “withdrawal from the calendar and replacement”. Those present were Messrs Vaessen, Zerbi, Kittilsen, Maitre, Witkowski and Youngblood (executive board). Also present were Messrs Joseph Zegwaard, president of the CCR, Tage Magnusson, president of the CMS (there was also a problem with 500 motocross) and Alfredo Romulo Tambucci, president of the CBM (Brazilian federation).
* The Brazilian GP provoked much discussion. The riders and IRTA were refusing to go to São Paulo and this forced the FIM and the CBM to find an alternative. The CBM withdrew from the organisation. Since the FIM wished to retain the number of 15 GPs in the season, the proposal from the French federation was accepted to organise the GP at the track of Le Mans on the scheduled date (8 September). This would be the “Le Mans Road Racing GP” or as some called it, “the Brazilian GP in Le Mans”.
* Reactions on the subject of the decision about the 500 class continued and were negative. The president and the secretary general had gone to Japan for the Eight Hours of Suzuka and had met representatives of the Japanese manufacturers. The manufacturers’ representatives indicated that they were not in a position to build up 4-stroke 4-cylinder engines for GP races for financial reasons and requested the status quo. The executive board decided to “defer this decision until 1 January 1994 in order to give the manufacturers the possibility to keep their promise to supply more engines for the current 500 class”.
* Rumours of a parallel championship were becoming more and more widespread. The press was calling it – again – a “World Series”. At the same time, criticism continued to grow. In a few months, the situation had deteriorated to a point of no return. Finally president Vaessen had to make a press statement at the Italian GP in Mugello. This declaration was followed by an improvised press conference from which by common agreement he emerged positively. But this time dialogue with IRTA appeared to be over as it had already begun talks with Mr Ecclestone.
* After a not really productive meeting in Le Mans between the representatives from the FIM, Dorna and the sponsors, the council meeting of 21 and 22 September would get more to the root of the problem. The representatives from Dorna were introduced. Messrs Richard Golding and Carmelo Ezpeleta presented the company Dorna to the members of the council. On 13 September Mr Golding had sent a letter to president Vaessen in which he asserted clearly that the situation was extremely delicate for there was a real possibility that a parallel series might be created. In order to react effectively, Dorna needed all its weapons to be able to show that it could offer arguments just as strong as those of IRTA/Ecclestone. To fight Ecclestone on common ground, it had to have the same rights as he, i.e. marketing and TV rights. In order to allow Dorna to react, the president authorised the Spanish company to undertake commercial negotiations, the contents of which had to be submitted to the management council. Mr Golding indicated that he had met Mr Ecclestone twice and that after difficult discussions, an agreement seemed to be in view. For at the end of the day, the FIM had appointed Dorna. It was necessary to protect the FMNs by acting carefully and finding a solution which retained the GPs under the federation’s authority. For this was really at stake. The agreement between IRTA and Ecclestone would withdraw the GPs from the FIM domain. IRTA had even changed its statutes during the last session in Brno and the status of associate FIM member was no longer compatible with its aims. Other problems were emerging. The Australian federation had made contact with Mr Ecclestone concerning the “World Series”. The FIM decided to maintain the bank guarantee of a million dollars…
* In motocross, the revision of the world championship was also underway. The three existing individual classes would be retained but the 250 would become the blue riband category. It would have 15 events and the 125 and 500 would remain at 12. The number of races would increase to three (25 minutes plus two laps), but only one result would be taken into account. For the side-car class, the decisions already taken were maintained. Concerning the Rodil trophy, it was proposed to drop it and to replace it with “a supercross world championship which would include the best current events”. A TV contract for motocross was emerging: an Italian company which was well versed in marketing TV images had made an offer (contract of five years for the 250 class and the motocross des Nations). The contract was to come into effect in 1993.
* The new statutes and the new internal regulations were sent to the federations for them to be voted upon at the general assembly in Christchurch. Amendments had to be made to the disciplinary and arbitration code. The EC legislation aimed at banning tobacco sponsorship from 1 January 1993 and the consequences of this directive would be huge for motorcycle racing so it was examining it very carefully.
* The following week, President Vaessen went to Barcelona where the F1 GP was taking place to discuss with Messrs Golding and Ecclestone. After a long discussion an agreement was reached, upon reserve, of course, that the management council would accept this solution. It would no longer be a question of a “World Series”. Everyone (the FIM, TWP, Dorna, IRTA) would work together in the same direction with the tasks divided among the interested parties. Two Wheel Promotions and Dorna committed to not creating or encouraging two wheel racing outside the authority of the FIM during this agreement which was initially set at ten years (sic). Of course, Two Wheel Promotions also asked that the contract between the FIM and Dorna concerning the GPs should not conflict with the agreement TWP/IRTA. The FIM had thirty days to obtain all the guarantees and necessary agreements to commit the federation to this deal.
* The 1991 congress was held at the other end of the world. Christchurch on the Southern Island of New Zealand welcomed the delegates for what was to be an “agitated” congress. It was also the 75th anniversary of the New Zealand federation.
* On Sunday 20 October, things began badly: the president expressed at the start his disappointment in seeing in the papers decisions taken during the last council meeting only two days after the session. He requested the council members to be conscious of their responsibilities, for it was indispensable for mutual confidence to be maintained. The Deputy president emphasised that any disagreements had to be voiced during the council and not outside it. Messrs Youngblood and Noll stated that they had both noticed that “information had filtered out coming from other sources than within the council”.
* President Vaessen suggested that the agreement made in Barcelona should be the subject of a special management council session on Tuesday morning at 8h00.
* The general assembly opened on Monday 21 October. The president gave a detailed report of 1991 underlining the fact that, in spite of all the changes and decisions which had taken place during the first year of his presidency, he could never “have imagined that the following year could be more dramatic and difficult for the FIM.”
* 42 national federations were present or represented including 10 by proxy. The new jury system was discussed and in general approved with the following remarks: the jury members should be of different nationalities, the CT and CM delegates would be members of the jury without voting rights, the FMN delegates could attend the open jury meetings as observers.
* Concerning the member federations, the ADMV had withdrawn (East German federation) as it had practically been absorbed by the OMK since the fall of the wall two years earlier. A large number of requests for membership had reached the secretariat that year: all memberships or renewed memberships were accepted (with no registration fees for the Baltic states, who had never voluntarily renounced their membership of the FIM): Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Israel, Libya, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Concerning Portugal, the FNM replaced the FPM.
* The ban on the South African association to organise championships and FIM prizes was lifted. Then the discussion moved to the new jury system which although often criticised, and not only for road racing, was globally judged to be positive. The problem was that delegates with voting rights had a huge responsibility, and so it was necessary to have constant training provided by seminars and the other national federation delegates felt useless. The proposal was made to allow them to attend the jury sessions, but without voting rights (idem for the CT and CM delegates). The proposal was accepted by 9 votes to 8 (sic).
* On Tuesday morning, the atmosphere was tense as you can imagine. A copy of the agreement reached in Barcelona had been sent to all management council members. A document containing all the details of the agreement following a final meeting between president Vaessen and Messrs Ecclestone and Golding in London, just before he left for New Zealand was also circulated.
* In the face of opposition from the management council on this agreement, the president remarked that he had not committed the FIM legally, since he alone had signed it (to be valid an FIM contract had also to be signed by the secretary general). In these conditions, he proposed that the council should recommend the general assembly – which was beginning in a few minutes time on Tuesday morning – not to accept this agreement and to accept a different proposal in its place (in part already proposed in the declaration made in Mugello).
* Among the new elected members in Christchurch there was a new Spanish delegate in the CTE: Mr Ignacio Verneda.
* Mr Golding informed the president by telephone of the signature of a contract between Dorna and Two Wheel Promotions. Once again the president deplored the fact that the management council members had divulged confidential information.
* During the session on 26 October, the president, in the name of the management council, launched an appeal for unity among the national federations in order that resolutions adopted for GPs should be respected. He particularly requested federations to convince their tracks and their riders to remain in the FIM jurisdiction. The following resolution was adopted by the general assembly unanimously with one abstention: “A circuit for road racing which is used for an event not organised under the auspices of the FIM will no longer be designated for any international and/or national event under the FIM or the FMN authority”.
* The secretary general of the Japanese federation declared that the Japanese manufacturers had met on 14 and 15 October and had made a promise to support the FIM in agreement with the MFJ, as long as they constructed motorcycles. He recalled that the Japanese constructors produced the essential tools for motorcycle racing and without their support it would not survive.
* In motocross, the Deputy president indicated that he had met the representatives from the Italian company “Studiolmmagine” which was interested by a TV contract which would cover the world 250 motocross championship and the motocross des Nations, with a priority option for the world supercross championship. Moreover, Mr Magnusson pointed out that the CMS was proposing to “improve” the race format with 15 events in 250 and 12 in 125 and 500, with events including three races of 25 minutes plus two laps, and qualifying practice replaced by qualifying races. Decisions taken would now come into effect more quickly – even at the spring meetings for a season about to start. Finally, all the changes in motocross came into effect in 1992, except for the number of races (15 and 12), since the calendars were already established. The same question and the same response for the supercross world championship: it would begin in 1992, even if it would be difficult to establish a calendar for the council session for the following January.
* In track racing, the GP system for the individual speedway world championship was adopted to come into effect in 1994 at the earliest.
* The medical committee thought it was important for doctors to be easily identifiable during an event. Mr Zegwaard confirmed that the presence of a helicopter during a GP, superbike and endurance event was necessary. Some organisers already provided this, but it should be made compulsory.
* Hardly a week had passed and Mr Vaessen had come back from holiday to find himself faced with delegates and representatives from national federations urging him to “find an agreement to recover the GPs” (or at least what could be done). The result was a meeting in London on 15 November 1991. This time, president Jos Vaessen was not alone. He had insisted that Deputy president Francesco Zerbi and the CCR president Joseph Zegwaard, should accompany him as well as the secretary general Guy Maitre. Opposite them were Richard Golding, Dorna executive director, and Bernie Ecclestone, executive director of Two Wheel Promotions (TWP). This time the situation had changed and the agreement was no longer the same as in Barcelona and Heathrow airport:
- Calendar: the country, circuit and date for each race would be proposed by TWP. The calendar had to be ratified by the FIM.
- The calendar would be made up of 14 GPs in 14 different countries and one additional GP for a federation that had no circuit. A change could only be made with the unanimous approval of the permanent board or a case of act of god, or cancellation by a promoter.
- Side-cars would remain a GP class with at least eight races.
- Riders: the maximum number of riders per GP would be 30 for each individual class and 20 for side-cars (no grading list). For the side-cars, arrangements would be taken with the permanent board.
- Regulations: the regulations in force were the Series Regulations as defined in the agreement of 1 October between TWP, IRTA and the teams (sic).
- Proposals for change could be made by Dorna or TWP; but in each case the FIM had the power of veto (sic). Changes to safety norms, the medical code or the disciplinary code would be made by the FIM upon request (sic).
- Circuits: homologation inspections were the responsibility of the FIM. Inspections would be conducted with a FISA inspector or another person nominated by the permanent board. Any problem arising from an inspection would be referred to the permanent board for a decision. The final homologation and the circuit licence were the responsibility of the FIM. Safety aspects before and during a GP were in the hands of the safety official nominated by the FIM in agreement with the permanent board.
- The permanent board would be made up of the FIM president, a representative from Dorna and a representative from TWP. The FIM was obliged to send a representative to each GP. The head steward would be appointed by the FIM and would be the supreme authority, so must be present at each GP. The safety official and starter would be nominated by the FIM in agreement with the permanent board and had to be present at each GP. The FMNRs would appoint the race director.
- Dorna/TWP were responsible for the pass system.
- Riders would be paid through Dorna/TWP.
- The FIM would end the contract with MotoMedia before 31 December 1991.
- The contract between the FIM and Dorna, signed on 26 February 1991, was cancelled with immediate effect (sic), with neither party obliged to each other in any way whatsoever. In consideration of what remained in place, Dorna would pay the FIM the following sums: 4 million dollars in 1992, 1993 and 1994, 5 million in 1996 and 1997 and 6 million from 1997 to 2001, if the agreements were still valid and a formal agreement had been signed within six months of the date of 15 November 1991.
- Decisions taken by the permanent board would only be done so unanimously.
* The executive board met on 1 December. Those present were: Messrs Vaessen, Zerbi, Kittilsen, Maitre, Witkowski, Youngblood and Zegwaard. Faces were not particularly happy. The president indicated that there had been a lot of criticism and confusion following the decision of the general assembly. Federations had had enormous problems when they had returned from the congress and the president had been asked to find a solution so that only one GP world championship would take place. Following the confusion in Christchurch, Dorna was no longer an FIM partner. Organisers had confirmed that they were not prepared to organise a GP without the assurance that the best riders would take part. Finally Mr Castiglione, the Cagiva boss, had requested that a meeting be held between the FIM president, the Deputy president and Mr Ecclestone on 15 November, in the presence of the CCR president. Numerous phone calls had been received at the secretariat from federations who had changed their minds. The unanimity reached in Christchurch had totally evaporated and the federations under pressure from their riders and organisers less inclined to pay the higher fees, had begun to show an interest in the IRTA/Ecclestone proposal.
* The Deputy president indicated that “the management council and general assembly decision had not aimed to refuse any form of collaboration, but to protect the authority and the power of the FIM and the FMNs”. During a press conference in Italy, Mr Zerbi had explained that “the agreement signed in Barcelona was not acceptable, because it withdrew all FIM rights on the GPs”. On this occasion, Mr Castiglione had intervened and had confirmed that a solution was vital and he proposed a meeting in London. The Deputy president emphasised that he was against the Barcelona agreement but for the London one.
* The executive board discussed the London agreement and agreed to request a few additions or modifications: TWP and Dorna would not organise any motorcycling event which was not under the auspices of the FIM, riders’ licences had to be issued by the FIM, the permanent board had to include a representative from the FIM and not necessarily the president.
* A letter received from the Japanese federation and manufacturers “greeted the agreement signed in London, but requested that FIM regulations should be applied to the GPs”. It also mentioned opposition to the limitation of 30 riders per class and the suggestion to accept new riders from every country.
* The FIM GP board had also met with Mr Flammini, the president of ROPA. The superbike events programme was discussed and the board suggested two races for the superbike world championship, one as consolation for those riders who had not qualified and one race for the new supersport world championship. This superbike/supersport championship would operate according to the existing regulations and the two European superbike and supersport championships would be abandoned (taking effect on 1 January 1992).
* Concerning the MotoMedia contract, the FIM agreed to compensate ROPA if it accepted voluntarily to withdraw from the contract. The FIM lawyer was to prepare a cancellation document for signature by both parties.
1992: The start of a new era
* The shock had been very great because the FIM role in the GPs was no longer as it had been. The negotiations continued between Messrs Golding and Ecclestone. The management council met in Geneva on 17 and 19 January with a meeting with the road racing organisers held on Saturday 18.
* The president outlined to the management council what had happened since the Christchurch congress – which everyone knew already, more or less. It emerged that most of the organisers were not in a position to fulfil the conditions imposed by Mr Ecclestone which explained the absence of any calendar. The Japanese manufacturers were insisting that the FIM regulations should be applied to GPs. They emphasised that they would no longer supply machines if this were not the case. The first draft contract submitted by Mr Ecclestone had been refused. A meeting had been held on 10 January with Messrs Vaessen, Zerbi and Maitre and the FIM lawyer, Mr Vischer. A new proposal had been made and sent to Messrs Ecclestone and Golding who were to come to Geneva on 21 January to discuss it. The management council gave its approval to the signing of the London contract and its support to the president, but Mr Puig Bulto declared he was disappointed. “The London contract does not recognise the FIM’s sporting authority over the GPs”. He requested that the federation’s sporting and technical regulations should be applied “even though the IRTA regulations only differ slightly from those of the FIM.” He also insisted that 36 riders should be accepted in each individual category. The council voted by 14 for and one against with one abstention to accept the strategy adopted after the congress and for the signature of a contract with Dorna/TWP. The contract with MotoMedia should be annulled in the shortest possible time.
* In motocross, the industry was not in agreement with qualifying races. So they went back to qualifying practice with the race format remaining three races of 25 minutes plus two laps. Four offers had finally been received for the motocross TV rights and/or supercross, Before negotiations could be continued, the CMS had to meet with the organisers.
* Another session of the council was held on 26 January after the meeting concerning the Dorna/TWP contract. The FIM would have to take some swift decisions. A new draft contract drawn up by Mr Vischer was distributed. In the meantime, another draft had been sent late yesterday to Mr Ecclestone. The president had met the representatives of IRTA and the regulations adopted in London had been revised. The title “FIM Regulations for the GP road racing world championship” was accepted. The FIM would publish these regulations in the form of a separate booklet. There would be no FIM official in the race direction. A system equivalent to the international jury (with three stewards) was accepted. The publication of the calendar was brought forward to 1 October. 36 riders instead of 30 were to be accepted in each class and from 1993 onwards, two FMNR riders would be able to take part in practice. The federation’s disciplinary and arbitration code served as the basis for protests and appeals and not the “Series regulations”. The FIM circuit standards had been accepted for 1992. Concerning the medical regulations, they had been accepted by Dr Kreutz (CM president). The president confirmed that any amendment to the regulations had to be approved by the permanent board. The FIM also had the right to propose amendments.
* As for the contract itself, one article was causing serious problems. If an FMN refused to send the registration of a GP, even if a contract had been signed between TWP and the organiser, the FIM would be charged with nominating another FMNR or to substitute itself for the FMNR to confirm this GP. The president remarked that this clause was the essential reason why he had assembled the management council since he had refused to accept this modification without its approval. The council accepted this clause unanimously with one abstention. The council also confirmed the mandate given to the president and the secretary general to sign the contract as long as no substantial changes were made in the meantime.
* The Geneva meetings took place from 28 February until 2 March. President Vaessen announced that the contract with TWP/Dorna had been signed and that the proposal for the statute amendments had been withdrawn from the agenda of the FIA general assembly with no discussion. The FIM had received several letters of support from the FMNs and one from the International motonautic association. The president indicated that in addition to the 36 riders per class plus two FMNR riders another change had been made. The permanent board had to give its approval for each official (not only from the FIM) appointed for more than four GPs. The secretary general emphasised that Swiss law was applicable to the contract (and no longer English), that the ownership of the championship and associated rights still belonged to the FIM and that the contract was for ten years but could be cancelled after five for reasons beyond the control of any of the parties.
* The president recalled that the Japanese manufacturers had sent a letter to Mr Métraux (IRTA) demanding that the number of riders for practice should be increased and that the FIM technical regulations should be applied without which they would not provide the machines for the GPs. Mr Puig Bulto said that there were very few differences between the technical regulations and that it was without doubt possible to find an agreement with the manufacturers and then to submit the modifications to TWP/Dorna. The return to priority lists was also discussed, but the selection criteria had become financial. The president reminded the meeting that the FIM could not take the decision alone and had to consult its new partners. A meeting was to be held between the FIM, the Japanese manufacturers and IRTA on 4 March in Amsterdam to find agreement on the technical issues and the number of riders admitted for practice.
* The 1992 GP calendar was published on 28 February after approval by the council. The division of the contract revenue was discussed and approved for 1992.
* Concerning the TV rights for motocross and supercross, Mr Magnusson, CMS president, pointed out that the commission was requesting that the sporting regulations, calendar, selection of riders and minimum prize money scale should remain under its control. After an animated debate, the council decided by 10 votes to three with one abstention, to take into consideration the consortium’s latest offer and by eight votes to four and two abstentions, to continue negotiations in view of signing a contract with it on condition that the CMS demands were met.
* The situation in Yugoslavia had been a concern for several months now. The events taking place on Slovenian territory were under the supervision of the Austrian federation. The Slovenia federation had sent a request for membership as had Croatia. Things were also moving in the ex-Soviet Union, where there were three groups of states: the Baltic countries, already independent and members of the FIM, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan who were active in organising motorcycling events and who would probably submit requests to join the FIM and finally the other Asiatic states where the situation was not known. Vice president Witkowski suggested that the FIM should organise a meeting with the representatives of these countries in Warsaw to find out what events were organised and to encourage their development.
* In Argentina, the situation of the FAM appeared in trouble and another federation, the CAMOD, wanted to take its place and develop the sport in Argentina. The FAM was protesting against the actions of the CAMOD.
* The next meeting took place on 20 and 21 June. The MotoMedia contract had been cancelled on 31 December 1991. The CMS demands had been taken into account for the contract with the consortium. It was valid from 1992 onwards for the supercross world championship.
* The new statutes had to be ratified at the Columbus congress in October. The procedure for the elections was modified and the executive board had to prepare a clear proposal for the general assembly. The president took the opportunity to inform the management council members that he would be standing for president at the next congress on condition that he could work with Mr Zerbi as Deputy president which Mr Zerbi had already accepted.
* Then the council members who had officiated at GPs presented their reports: “The stewards and safety officials appointed are respected by the organisers and the management committee. The responsibility of the FIM stewards has been reduced compared with the jury system. Relations are good between the various parties in particular with Mr Pierpaolo Gardella, event director. The technical director, Jack Findlay, appears to have everything under control”. However, the following points could be improved: “Fuller information should be provided by the management committee to the FIM stewards who should be present at each GP before the start of practice. The stewards should receive copies of the riders’ entry forms (sic)”. More important was the fact that directives for imposing fines should be established as well as an appeal guarantee and the costs for dismantling an engine. Finally “FIM officials should have access to all parts of the circuit including the press centre”. The president believed that the sporting aspect which was the most important of all, had until now gone well. Other points had been the focus of bitter discussions, particular the points scored by some wild card riders (especially the Japanese in Suzuka). TWP/Dorna had had to intervene to have this point accepted. Following the meeting in Amsterdam between the FIM, the Japanese industry and IRTA, the manufacturers had managed to achieve that IRTA was not permitted to modify the technical regulations. The side-car class was causing problems. After long discussions between president Vaessen and IRTA representatives, it was agreed that there would be two practice sessions and the same race distance with the number of participants increased to 24. The FIM lawyer studied the contract in order to force TWP to respect its obligations or to submit the matter to an arbitration tribunal. The president had also informed TWP/Dorna that he would no longer discuss any change to the regulations without the agreement of his management council and insisted that only urgent changes should come into force during the current season.
* They then considered the next championship. Promoter Maurizio Flammini was called into the room to address the management council. He explained that the situation of the superbike world championship had become dramatic. The Japanese company Dentsu, a Flammini partner, had withdrawn, “and motorcycle racing had lost a lot of prestige because of the situation in GP”. The Flammini group was confronted with a loss of approximately CHF 3 million. Mr Flammini requested the management council to apply a standard programme for all the championship events (which was already planned for 1993 with two superbike races, one “supersport world championship race” plus one “consolation race”) and to authorise the Flammini group to select the dates and circuits for the championship. Mr Zegwaard confirmed that the standard programme had been approved by the management council for application in 1993 with the supersport world championship (sic) and, “if possible, the side-car class” (re-sic). Mr Zegwaard “saw no problems in developing a calendar in collaboration with the Flammini Group”. At the request of the Deputy president, it was confirmed that the minimum number of races would be 14, in accordance with the FIM/Flammini contract. Mr Flammini confirmed that the “substance of the contract did not need to be revised and that it was interested in organising more than 14 races if possible”. The council decided that the superbike calendar would be submitted by the Flammini group to the CCR before 1 October. Candidates to organise these races would be sent by the FMNs directly to the Flammini organisation.
* In motocross the new format was meeting with fairly strong opposition in spite of modifications to the regulations. A solution was to cancel timed practice which was no longer necessary to increase practice time and to add scrutineering.
* As for unleaded fuel, following meetings between the FIM, the industry and IRTA, it was decided that with the exception of track races and the supersport championship, the fuel used from 1993 onwards would be AVGAS 100 Low Lead (O,56 g/l), and from 1995 onwards unleaded fuel according to the European norm EN 228 (0,013 g/l) with additives forbidden.
* The executive board met on 8 and 9 August. After discussion it was decided that members of the commissions from ex-Yugoslavia or ex-USSR would be presented for election by the management council. Concerning the side-car class, the arrangement for 1993 and 1994 was for four races in Europe and one outside Europe. Additional races would have to be integrated by the CCR into the superbike, endurance or other championship (Europe…) in order to have “the correct number of races for this world championship”.
* The management council met on 19 and 20 September. Upon the advice of the FIM lawyer, any proceedings against the German language weekly had been abandoned. The president emphasised that he had read in the papers proposals coming from management council members of which he had never heard speak before. He requested members not to express personal opinions to the press.
* The motocross rider Kurt Nicoll had appealed to the CDI concerning the defective starting grid (which had influenced the outcome of the 500 world title). The CDI decided not to modify the international jury’s decision, but all the inherent costs (CHF 8,000) were for the account of the FIM. The jury had not listened to the rider during the event. The president asked commission presidents to ensure that people nominated as jury presidents should perfectly understand their tasks and respect the right of the riders to be heard before a judgment was given.
* The meeting in Warsaw had gathered together six countries from the ex-USSR: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia itself which it was understood was not automatically to represent ex-Soviet Union countries.
* For the first time, the FIM found itself in the United States for a congress in the town of Columbus, Ohio not far from the AMA in Westerville. The sessions were held from 17 to 24 October at the Hotel Hyatt on Capitol Square. A maximum of 49 federations (on Friday 23) were present or represented in Columbus.
* During the examination of the minutes from Christchurch, some voices were raised: the circuit representatives had not had their say and were no longer in a position to guarantee the future of road racing: “Recent proposals concerning the world superbike championship were not in the organisers’ interests”. The president replied that the circuits had given no support to the FIM after the Christchurch congress and that, in any case, it was now too late to discuss the issue again. The president also confirmed that the GP calendar was subject to the approval of the FMNs concerned. In the event of a refusal, the FIM could take the place of an FMN. Concerning the superbike calendar, the agreement of the FMNs was necessary.
* The president explained that “although he understood the reactions of the FMNs, the situation would have been worse if he had had to announce that the GPs no longer belonged at all to the FIM“. “Following dissident moves from teams, organisers, etc, it had not been possible to maintain the Christchurch decision and the only possibility remaining to save the sport was to co-operate with Dorna/TWP”.
* During the council session, Mr Zegwaard indicated that members of the CCR were asking questions about their status as members of the commission. The president reminded the meeting that no member of the CCR had accepted the function of FIM steward during the GPs and that this function could only be taken by people who accepted the new situation – in this case, a few vice presidents and the treasurer. Several council members thought that the CCR members should assume their functions and work within the framework of the new situation. They believed it was the “CCR president’s task to motivate his colleagues or to stand down” (sic).
* Concerning membership of the FIM, several changes were made during this congress. The MFSU had become the MFR (Motorcycle Union of Russia) and the Yugoslav federation was excluded since the country no longer existed. The following federations were accepted by the general assembly: Slovenia (AMSZ), Croatia (HAMSS), Morocco (FRMM), Argentina (CAMOD), Kazakhstan (AMFK), Ukraine (FMU), Belarus (BMX) and Uzbekistan (RCTS).
* The general assembly approved the appointment of a working group aimed at updating the sporting code with the new GP situation. A prize-giving ceremony was also planned for the end of the year in a location other than the congress (Paris) with individual riders and side-car teams and attendance was compulsory.
* The system of equal treatment proposed by Mr Youngblood caused long discussions. When a world championship calendar with races outside Europe was confirmed by the general assembly, the secretariat would calculate an annual travel budget which would be divided into equal parts between the number of rounds in the championship and an identical sum would be invoiced to each organiser on a proportional basis decided by the council. The FMN representatives from outside Europe were satisfied, but the Europeans much less so. The system was accepted by a show of hands.
* The working group for the “FIM headquarters” indicated that there were great difficulties in finding a suitable location since agents were reticent to sell taking into account the drop in property prices. Proposals had been made to move the FIM offices (Paris, Brussels…) but the general assembly had decided in Christchurch that the offices should stay in Geneva or in the surroundings in spite of the difference in property prices.
* Mr Goss, the president of the international public affairs committee, indicated that the Single European Market would come into force on 1 January 1993. The FIM had to protect the sport and react on all subjects pertaining to motorcycle sport and traffic. The general assembly accepted the proposal to hire a professional consultant in Brussels – it would be EPPA, managed by Dr Stefan Schepers. The president also proposed to create an “environment” working group charged with developing an FIM policy to protect the environment. Finally, Mr Goss drew attention to the FIM declaration approved by the committee on the subject of homologation norms: “The FIM cannot support legislation which is not substantially documented by thorough research”.
* President Jos Vaessen was re-elected by acclaim for a mandate of three years.
* In motocross, the 500 class would be open to four stroke machines up to 650cc. Free practice was replaced by timed practice on the day of the race. A special zone would be set up by the organisers for washing the bikes. The starting procedure was modified (time reduced from 30 to 15 seconds).
* In trial/enduro, the proposals for enduro directly linked to environmental aspects had become urgent since they had to come into force the following year (tyres, noise…) Moreover the world championship title was once more introduced for the junior Six Day trophy.
* Total distances for trial were fixed at 40 km maximum over two laps or 45 km over three laps, the maximum number of sections being 36 for two laps and 42 for three laps. The total distance for an enduro circuit would be minimum 400 km.
* At the CCP, the individual speedway GP system would come into force in 1994. At the technical commission, it was decided to abolish any reference to ballast and strictly apply the minimum weights.
* The president proposed to award the motorcycling merit gold medal to the MFJ president Mr Hideo Ishizuka who had organised the Tokyo congress and had maintained an excellent collaboration between the Japanese manufacturers and the FIM even in the most difficult circumstances. Mr Witkowski presented to the president the ruby medal of the city of Paris which had been awarded to him by Mr Jacques Chirac upon the occasion of the supercross at the Parc des Princes. Finally the fair-play trophy was awarded to the organisers of the speedway world final in Wroclaw for promoting fair-play among the spectators.
* An executive board session was held on 5 and 19 December in Geneva. The members met among others with Messrs Métraux, Butler and Trimby (IRTA) on the subject of the 1992 season which had in general gone well. Several subjects were discussed such as the need to normalise relations between the FIM and IRTA, the circuit inspection procedure and the possibility for IRTA to submit its own remarks to the FIM as well as the agreement from IRTA to demand that riders be members of their FMN before receiving a GP licence and the possible modification of the existing regulations. The problem of Japanese riders ought to be resolved by their elevation as members of IRTA with a contract from 1993 onwards. IRTA also supported the idea of making the prize-giving ceremony compulsory by adding a clause in the contracts of each rider. The date of 17 December was chosen for this ceremony.
Photos FIM Archives - Caption from top to bottom:
-1 Belgian GP, 1990
-2 Bol d'Or, 1990
-3 Raymond ROche, 1990
-4 Wayne Rainey, 1991
-5 Martinez, 1992