An Informal Look at AMA C Class (updated page 3)

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jrminiquad

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5/30/2017 7:00 AM

Although it has been discussed and debated for years, and seems to pop up every season, I actually took an informal, but in depth, look at the AMA area qualifiers to see if C class sandbagging is as common and widespread as made out to be.

What prompted this was an observation at an area qualifier for the Loretta Lynn’s National Championship where an A-class rider signed up to race and qualify in the 450C class. The rider was quickly recognized by a fellow racer and after speaking with the track referee, was disqualified for the day.

While looking at results after this same area qualifier I did a quick Google search of the rider that finished first in two C classes. This rider was from Canada and I easily had found out he raced in 250B and 450B classes in Canada a total of thirty times last year (winning two thirds of those races). I spoke with the AMA and after they looked at his results deemed that he was ineligible to race C class. Their statement was that once you race a higher class race in the same style of competition, regardless of location, that is where you stay.

Moving on, I referenced the AMA’s 2016 B class Advancement list that is issued at the end of every season to alert what riders are being moved from C to B class because of either participation in the national or because their Rider Performance Value (RPV) was high enough to bump them to the next level of competition.

What I found was that there were a total number of nineteen riders who had qualified in one or more C classes at one or more area qualifiers who should have been racing B class. Their names were either on the AMA’s advancement list, last revised in December, or they had raced in at least one B class race last year.

Some of these riders raced in only one area qualifier, while others raced in up to four qualifiers trying to secure a qualifying position to advance to regionals. A few still did not qualify in some of their classes, while others swept whatever classes they raced.

The AMA also has a “Rider Search” function as part of their website. It is here that you can look up racers who have competed in AMA events and is also where the AMA pulls the information to assign the riders’ RPV number. It was here that I found that seventeen of the nineteen advanced riders who were racing C classes, had appealed their B class advancement and had it approved by the AMA.

According to the AMA, the appeal process consists of paying a $50 fee, filling out a form, and having a review by a three member panel. One of the things they take into consideration is how many years the rider has been racing in C classes, and of the appeals granted, most riders have been racing C for three to five years.

Once the AMA makes their ruling on an appeal it is final, and may not be appealed again. Of interesting note is the following taken from the AMA completion rulebook regarding rider classification appeal:

e. Riders who wish to contest placement, are only those who are considered completely noncompetitive
in the class they are leaving and won’t dominate the class in which they are returning
.

h. The AMA Appeal Board reserves the authority to re-evaluate and overturn an advancement/
classification appeal decision based upon new information and / or documented race results
within six months of the Appeal Board’s decision.


On the surface it seems the advancement system is in place to serve riders who enjoy racing and occasionally finishing in a top spot, but who may not be of the talent required to make it to the national. However, that does not seem to be the case and in complete opposition to section “e” regarding noncompetive riders when some of these approved appeal riders have swept their four areas qualifier classes with finishes of first place in each. In reality, all seventeen riders who had their advancements repealed by the AMA qualified in the area qualifiers to advance to regionals. It makes you wonder what documentation they included in their appeals process that made the AMA believe that they were “noncompetitive” in their class.

The AMA touts that they have a system in place to ensure that competition is fair in their sanctioned races and the road to Loretta’s. You might even remember an article they published at the beginning of this year titled “A is A, B is B and C is C” reiterating the monitoring of rider classification. The only part that seemed to be left out of that article is that if you didn’t like your classification, $50 could buy the one you want. The AMA’s 2016 Advancement list had a total of 99 riders who were advanced to B class because the RPV number exceeded the allowable limit to stay in C class. Of this total, 25 riders appealed and were approved to continue racing C class.

Old-timers will tell you it was a bit of an honor to receive word from the AMA that you were being bumped up a class because of your riding abilities. Many argue that C classes should not be offered at the national. I can see the argument for that, but at the same time you want to build the sport and a sure way to do that is including the C classes at the national.

Bottom line, and everyone should be willing to admit it, it all comes down to money. Whether you are MX Sports requiring the “Qualifying Fee” at races, E-Score bumping up the price of transponders at regionals, the RV site raffle at the national, or the dad driving his kid to four area qualifiers across the country just trying to get into one spot.

In summary, it seems to be that everything that has been repeated each season regarding “sandbagging” appears to have merit, and looks to be actually be promoted by AMA.

TXDirt

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5/30/2017 7:19 AM

Good post bro. I agree with you. Would be interesting to go look at laptime charts from previous LL races to see how C class riders compare to B class riders.

EastFlorida

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5/30/2017 7:23 AM

wow...

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philG

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5/30/2017 7:26 AM

I cannot see how you can have a national championship for what are essentially 3rd grade riders. Nationals are for the best riders, surely.

Age classes, fine , capacity classes, fine, but fighting to stay down a class so you can win... not fine.

Participation trophys for all ??

Acidreamer

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5/30/2017 7:27 AM

I think people drop at lorettas because a local a rider might be just a b rider or even c on a national scale. Not saying theres not actual fuckheads looking for an easy lorettas title.

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tcallahan707

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5/30/2017 7:32 AM

I think anyone who has attended a regional has known for awhile that sandbagging is a real issue for both the B and C class. It's interesting to see how the AMA approaches this, almost to the point of actively allowing it to happen. I can understand if dudes figure out how to slip through the cracks but clearly, their appeals process is flawed.

I believe there is a rule that if you finish top 5 at Loretta's in the C class, you aren't eligible to race C again. How is it not the top 20, or even the entire class? I would think that if you qualify as the top 40 C riders in the country, there is no way you can be considered a novice the following year. On top of that, on average, the top 40 riders would be in the top 2 or 3 locally. The RPV should reflect that unless of course, they are finding ways to skirt the system.

Thanks for the post. I expect nothing to change though. It's all about who is willing to pay.

ti473

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5/30/2017 7:36 AM

So your kid didn't make it?
Just teasing of course, I actually agree with everything you posted.
I think it's a bunch of bs that the AMA grants these appeals. Once you're B you're B, once you're A you're A.
I think Loretta's is a great and super fun experience, but I am starting to agree with those who have been claiming that it's been detrimental to local racing, the roots of the sport.
Stop putting so much emphasis on this race, even if you make it there you're not going to "make it". All these kids are big dreamers but one day reality will hit

TXDirt

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5/30/2017 7:37 AM

Acidreamer wrote:

I think people drop at lorettas because a local a rider might be just a b rider or even c on a national scale. Not saying theres not actual fuckheads looking for an easy lorettas title.

An A rider should not drop to C under any circumstances. I do agree with you though that in some cases a local A or B rider is nothing more then a mid pack B or C rider at the national level. In general I think it's fine to drop down a class so you can be competitive. And I don't think that means going for race wins. If you are a lets say top 10 B rider in your local area and go to an amateur national and you are getting your doors blown off and finish lets say finish 38th place, then I don't have a big problem if that rider drops down to C class to battle for top 20 in the C class.

The problem, as the OP stated, is that some of these C and B class riders seem to make a career out of this. They are winning their motos at these qualifiers, and have done so multiple years in a row. The AMA should be forcing these guys to move up. Period.

c0ncEpT

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5/30/2017 7:39 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/30/2017 7:39 AM

Interesting stats.

In my district I do pretty well in C class most of the time. When it comes to the larger events like the Baja Brawl the top 5 guys are lapping the track like 15-20 seconds faster than me.

One guy in particular who I've raced with a few times who typically lays waste to the field showed up to more than a few races and rode around in last just to drop his RPV so he didn't get bumped and could have another try at Lorettas in the C class.

Deman684

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5/30/2017 7:48 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/30/2017 7:48 AM

Last I checked, I understood that if one qualified for C out of the regional to Loretta's, they were no longer eligible to run it again. IDK, last time I ran C was 2005.

I was at the Pala area qualifier in April. Top 3 C finishers could have easily been top 5 B class based off lap times. Hell, I think the kid who won in C won by 10 + seconds or something on a 5 lap race.

But that's how it is every year. C class is really B class and most of the time B class is faster than A class.

Paul333

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5/30/2017 7:48 AM

Absolutely outstanding article. Well researched & documented. Simply awesome.

GreaseMeter

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5/30/2017 7:55 AM

Good post. Probably the most intellectual, thought out post in Vital history.
Rock on!

agn5009

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5/30/2017 7:58 AM

There are guys in C class that would qualify for Lorettas in A and B. C class should be for 1st year racers or those who have never qualified for Lorettas in any class.

DavetheVintageGuy

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5/30/2017 8:45 AM

Remember the AMA motto...."Consistently inconsistent for the past 100 years!"

You kids get off my lawn!

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Tracktor

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5/30/2017 8:51 AM

tcallahan707 wrote:

I think anyone who has attended a regional has known for awhile that sandbagging is a real issue for both the B and C class. It's interesting to see how the AMA approaches this, almost to the point of actively allowing it to happen. I can understand if dudes figure out how to slip through the cracks but clearly, their appeals process is flawed.

I believe there is a rule that if you finish top 5 at Loretta's in the C class, you aren't eligible to race C again. How is it not the top 20, or even the entire class? I would think that if you qualify as the top 40 C riders in the country, there is no way you can be considered a novice the following year. On top of that, on average, the top 40 riders would be in the top 2 or 3 locally. The RPV should reflect that unless of course, they are finding ways to skirt the system.

Thanks for the post. I expect nothing to change though. It's all about who is willing to pay.

Don't completely quote me as we have no interest in going to LL but it's my understanding if you go to the ranch in any class you no longer qualify for c in the future. I was told this includes mini classes but I have a hard time believing that? I am pretty sure if you go in C once you have to bump to B afterward...............

Crisp BRAAAP!

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5/30/2017 8:51 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/30/2017 8:52 AM

Plain and simple, if you ask me: there should be no national champion for a novice class. A and B only.

Regarding dropping down, if promotion was equal, then no one would need to drop down. If you are a B at the local level but C at a national level, then you're going to get waxed. Maybe don't drive out then?

TDeath21

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5/30/2017 8:55 AM

How about not having A, B, and C qualifiers? Just have the qualifier and take the top X amount of people that would be A, B, and C combined. Then once these people make it to Loretta's, separate them to A, B, and C based on timed qualifying. Have the B and C races just be a consolation race so any rider intentionally not putting in a fast qualifying time won't be considered a national champion if they win the B or C class.

I'm just throwing an idea out there. I'm sure this might have its own share of flaws, but maybe it's something we can discuss.

jrminiquad

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5/30/2017 8:57 AM

tcallahan707 wrote:

I think anyone who has attended a regional has known for awhile that sandbagging is a real issue for both the B and C class. It's interesting to see how the AMA approaches this, almost to the point of actively allowing it to happen. I can understand if dudes figure out how to slip through the cracks but clearly, their appeals process is flawed.

I believe there is a rule that if you finish top 5 at Loretta's in the C class, you aren't eligible to race C again. How is it not the top 20, or even the entire class? I would think that if you qualify as the top 40 C riders in the country, there is no way you can be considered a novice the following year. On top of that, on average, the top 40 riders would be in the top 2 or 3 locally. The RPV should reflect that unless of course, they are finding ways to skirt the system.

Thanks for the post. I expect nothing to change though. It's all about who is willing to pay.

If you have ever made it to Loretta's you cannot race C class.

jrminiquad

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5/30/2017 9:01 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/30/2017 9:02 AM

ti473 wrote:

So your kid didn't make it?
Just teasing of course, I actually agree with everything you posted.
I think it's a bunch of bs that the AMA grants these appeals. Once you're B you're B, once you're A you're A.
I think Loretta's is a great and super fun experience, but I am starting to agree with those who have been claiming that it's been detrimental to local racing, the roots of the sport.
Stop putting so much emphasis on this race, even if you make it there you're not going to "make it". All these kids are big dreamers but one day reality will hit

In full disclosure, my son is a C-class racer. After making it to regionals in the mini division last year, but failing to advance to the national, he asked that we sell his small bike and move to a 250 four stroke. I reluctantly agreed, but after a few weeks on the 250 he won his first race, and realized maybe he made the right choice. He went on to race a handful of races last year and his goal was to try for the nationals in 2017. My son is racing the 250C Jr., 250C Limited and 450C classes.

Area qualifiers went well, and we will know the outcome at regionals soon.

My son made the decision before this season began that he would self-advance to B class regardless of what happened at regionals, and like the old-timers, will find a small sense of pride in being able to say he is a B rider. After all, this is supposed to be just for fun, except for maybe the .01 percentile that will actually make a living out of it.

tcallahan707

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5/30/2017 9:05 AM

tcallahan707 wrote:

I think anyone who has attended a regional has known for awhile that sandbagging is a real issue for both the B and C class. It's interesting to see how the AMA approaches this, almost to the point of actively allowing it to happen. I can understand if dudes figure out how to slip through the cracks but clearly, their appeals process is flawed.

I believe there is a rule that if you finish top 5 at Loretta's in the C class, you aren't eligible to race C again. How is it not the top 20, or even the entire class? I would think that if you qualify as the top 40 C riders in the country, there is no way you can be considered a novice the following year. On top of that, on average, the top 40 riders would be in the top 2 or 3 locally. The RPV should reflect that unless of course, they are finding ways to skirt the system.

Thanks for the post. I expect nothing to change though. It's all about who is willing to pay.

Tracktor wrote:

Don't completely quote me as we have no interest in going to LL but it's my understanding if you go to the ranch in any class you no longer qualify for c in the future. I was told this includes mini classes but I have a hard time believing that? I am pretty sure if you go in C once you have to bump to B afterward...............

You are correct. The rule I was referencing was in regards to B riders. My mistake. I still think my point applies, but maybe not as firmly. Maybe it should be the top 10 or top 20 that must move up to A. It's ridiculous that the guy who takes 6th in 250B can be a B rider the following year. There is no way he isn't actively trying to avoid the RPV system.

mattyhamz2

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5/30/2017 9:07 AM

A lot of our local C guys out here could easily run top 5 in the B. Local promoters aren't doing anything to help either. Luckily I'm 26 now and get to ride +25, but when I rode 450C there were 3 guys that smoked us every week. Figured after 1 or 2 series' they would be moved up. Well, that never happened. One of them finally moved up after a year and a half, but the other two stuck in the class for 3 more years sucking up every bit of contingency they could. One of those two always won. Four years of those guys smoking us every series and none of the 3 promoters that they raced with every moved them up. They both went to LL, mammoth and just about every other amateur national and finished near the top unless they had bike problems. It was frustrating as all hell for the rest of us, but there was nothing we could do other than work on getting faster.

Anyways, they finally moved up to B and raced for a little bit, finishing in the top 5-10 usually. Shortly after, they stopped racing completely. There was a rumor that their families had told the promoters that if they were moved up to B, they would take their money elsewhere and that's why they were allowed to stay C for so long. I can't say for sure that it actually went down that way, but I also wouldn't doubt it.

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tcallahan707

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5/30/2017 9:12 AM

ti473 wrote:

So your kid didn't make it?
Just teasing of course, I actually agree with everything you posted.
I think it's a bunch of bs that the AMA grants these appeals. Once you're B you're B, once you're A you're A.
I think Loretta's is a great and super fun experience, but I am starting to agree with those who have been claiming that it's been detrimental to local racing, the roots of the sport.
Stop putting so much emphasis on this race, even if you make it there you're not going to "make it". All these kids are big dreamers but one day reality will hit

jrminiquad wrote:

In full disclosure, my son is a C-class racer. After making it to regionals in the mini division last year, but failing to advance to the national, he asked that we sell his small bike and move to a 250 four stroke. I reluctantly agreed, but after a few weeks on the 250 he won his first race, and realized maybe he made the right choice. He went on to race a handful of races last year and his goal was to try for the nationals in 2017. My son is racing the 250C Jr., 250C Limited and 450C classes.

Area qualifiers went well, and we will know the outcome at regionals soon.

My son made the decision before this season began that he would self-advance to B class regardless of what happened at regionals, and like the old-timers, will find a small sense of pride in being able to say he is a B rider. After all, this is supposed to be just for fun, except for maybe the .01 percentile that will actually make a living out of it.

Good for him. I've always had the mentality of competing against the highest level of competition I am competitive with because I looked at it as a sense of accomplishment. It should be an honor to get bumped up.

pete24

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5/30/2017 9:55 AM

hey i won the C class at lorettas, my title is now King Shit of the Cucca tribe yea for me
who gives a fukin fuk about the c class thats the class you better get out of or your not a racer period

Matt Fisher

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5/30/2017 10:27 AM

Obviously they just need to add a D class.
That would increase revenue and make everyone happy.

Sarcasm off.

Johnny Depp

Vital MX member Johnny Depp
44708 Johnny Depp http://p.vitalmx.com/photos/users/44708/avatar/c50_2014_04_11_22.55.15_1413514143.jpg?1413513883 http://www.vitalmx.com/community/Johnny-Depp,44708/all 10/16/14 78 1966 45

Posts: 2044

Joined: 10/16/2014

Location: Cedar Park, TX USA

5/30/2017 10:27 AM

TDeath21 wrote:

How about not having A, B, and C qualifiers? Just have the qualifier and take the top X amount of people that would be A, B, and C combined. Then once these people make it to Loretta's, separate them to A, B, and C based on timed qualifying. Have the B and C races just be a consolation race so any rider intentionally not putting in a fast qualifying time won't be considered a national champion if they win the B or C class.

I'm just throwing an idea out there. I'm sure this might have its own share of flaws, but maybe it's something we can discuss.

Let's not bring common sense into this discussion please. This is Vital.

2015 Beta 500 RS, history: 99 KTM 300, 87 CR250, 84 KLR 600, 82 GPZ 550, 81 KX 250, 80 KX 250, 79 Montesa 414 VE, 78 250 VB, 77 360 VB, 76 360 VA, 75 YZ 125, 74 TM 125, 72 TS 125, 60's West Bend Go Boy Kart

Yamaknockers

Vital MX member Yamaknockers
57410 Yamaknockers /images/default/avatar/c50.png http://www.vitalmx.com/community/Yamaknockers,57410/all 04/25/17 120

Posts: 120

Joined: 4/25/2017

Location: Floral Park, NY USA

5/30/2017 10:31 AM

philG wrote:

I cannot see how you can have a national championship for what are essentially 3rd grade riders. Nationals are for the best riders, surely.

Age classes, fine , capacity classes, fine, but fighting to stay down a class so you can win... not fine.

Participation trophys for all ??

I've always felt the same way. There should only be national champs for A classes, it makes no sense to have a national champion at a beginner level. This would also end the sand bagging.

ehr400

Vital MX member ehr400
4977 ehr400 http://p.vitalmx.com/photos/users/4977/avatar/c50_ewfgwerfvwerf_1439670789.jpg?1439670021 http://www.vitalmx.com/community/ehr400,4977/all 04/01/08 13 http://www.vitalmx.com/community/ehr400,4977/setup 59 2278 12 4

Posts: 2337

Joined: 4/1/2008

Location: Britton, MI USA

5/30/2017 10:37 AM

philG wrote:

I cannot see how you can have a national championship for what are essentially 3rd grade riders. Nationals are for the best riders, surely.

Age classes, fine , capacity classes, fine, but fighting to stay down a class so you can win... not fine.

Participation trophys for all ??

Yamaknockers wrote:

I've always felt the same way. There should only be national champs for A classes, it makes no sense to have a national champion at a beginner level. This would also end the sand bagging.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ thats why it doesnt happen.

Markee

Vital MX member Markee
38525 Markee http://p.vitalmx.com/photos/users/38525/avatar/c50_Screen_Shot_2014_12_23_at_3.11.34_PM_1498905990.jpg?1498905487 http://www.vitalmx.com/community/Markee,38525/all 04/15/13 7 http://www.vitalmx.com/community/Markee,38525/setup 36 1795 35 2

Posts: 1831

Joined: 4/15/2013

Location: Suffolk, VA USA

5/30/2017 12:50 PM

I can't believe there is a actual 450C class. What's next a 7-11 500cc 2 stroke class?

BSFL

Vital MX member BSFL
13196 BSFL http://p.vitalmx.com/photos/users/13196/avatar/c50_tv_3k_02_1485369075.jpg?1485368369 http://www.vitalmx.com/community/BSFL,13196/all 12/04/08 1 3 47 6 2

Posts: 50

Joined: 12/4/2008

Location: Dallas, TX USA

5/30/2017 2:22 PM

Great write up. I couldn't wait to get out of the C class when I first moved up from minis. I think I raced almost 2 years in C because I was getting waxed by all the sandbaggers.

Rct851

Vital MX member Rct851
56881 Rct851 /images/default/avatar/c50.png http://www.vitalmx.com/community/Rct851,56881/all 03/25/17 3 49

Posts: 52

Joined: 3/25/2017

Location: League City, TX USA

5/30/2017 2:23 PM

Makes no sense. I'm a average c guy and at 28 and a weekend warrior I'm probably not going to gain much speed. I wish I could claim legit b rider.

When you say you race novice you could be pretty fast or pretty slow... everyone n led if you are legit b you are getting around the track pretty good. You have advanced past average