(1995) In an massive blow to an international racing series in the United States, the USGP scheduled for August sixth at Elkhart Lake’s Road America was canceled on March ninth after the FIM and or IRTA asked for significant changes to the one section of the track to insure homoligation.
Neither Dorna, the actual promoter of the USGP event nor Road America itself found the new changes to the track financially feasible and the event was canceled.
Dorna is said to be searching for a new site but with only two venues in the United states homologated for world class roadracing, Brainerd in Minnesota and Northern California’s Laguna Seca, their options are limited.
Roger Jaynes the promotional director for Road America was quite upset by the news. “I can’t tell you how many advance tickets we have sold for this event; it beats out any other new event we have had here at Road America.” Sources close to Road America commented that DORNA essentially was renting the facility for the Grand Prix and paying for the improvements, which were being completed ahead of schedule. The changes had been recommended by Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts and most thought the FIM and IRTA would agree to those changes.
IRTA rider rep Franco Unicini visited the track recently and approved of nearly all the changes with the exception of the second of three chicanes in the turn eleven area.
The changes he required were extensive and according to a report in an Elkhart Lake newspaper, would have cost the promoter a bundle. Jaynes said FIM officials called for a 30-foot hill to be cut back and hauled out and a chicane to be installed. The price tag for the project was an estimated $500,000, well more than Dorna had budgeted for.
“They went back with a counter proposal, but it was just far above and beyond the budget,” Jaynes said. “Dorna couldn’t afford it and we couldn’t, so we just didn’t feel we could not hold the event… “
The cancellation of the USGP at Road America will cost the surrounding community well over two million dollars in revenue.
The official press release from Road America stated the following : From the start, Road America and Dorna understood that three chicanes would be required to satisfy FIM homologation requirements. The original FIM homologation report did not specify the dimensions or exact locations of the three chicanes, but Road America and Dorna believed that the chicanes, as discussed during the official homologation inspection, would be within the proposed budget.
While presenting no problem with regard to the first and third chicanes, the official FIM drawings, received by Road America on February 22, 1995, required a second chicane which would have taken the project significantly beyond the pre-established budget.
As the FIM was unable to accept counter proposals on this point, it became apparent that the work required for homologation was not financially feasible and the decision to cancel the event was taken mutually by Dorna and Road America and communicated to the FIM on March 8, 1995.
For the time being it is unknown if we shall ever hear a 500 shrieking up the hill and into turn one at Elkhart.