An Open Letter to the AMA by Larry Lawrence


In the wake of the dismissal of Greg Harrison and Bill Wood from the AMA, AMA Superbike Media Manager Larry Lawrence wrote this open letter.

Appeal for Action by the AMA Board

There comes a time when a person has to disregard personal gain and do what is right.

I serve as media manager for the AMA Superbike Championship. I have a long association with the AMA dating back to the early 1990s when I first began doing media work at select AMA Superbike events. In 1995 I was hired as AMA Pro Racing’s communications manager, a position I held for two years. To this day I work for the AMA as a contractor, not only for Pro Racing, but also for AMA Sports (the amateur racing division) and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

I also serve as a chairman on the Motorcycle Hall of Fame election committee and am a biographer for the Hall.

This past Friday, Dec. 7, the AMA dismissed Greg Harrison, senior vice president of membership and marketing, and Bill Wood, senior director of communications. This came as a great shock to me and a host of other people in the industry.

I have been unable to determine the reason for their dismissal.

Anyone who knows Greg Harrison and Bill Wood know two men who are among the most loyal, competent and outstanding men who have worked for the AMA. I personally know them to be persons of great integrity. I’ve seen them at work for years. They’ve labored behind the scenes, without fanfare, to solve big problems. I used to rib them at Daytona every year because they had the staff of the American Motorcyclist stay at hotels 50 miles away from Daytona, just so they could save the AMA money.

Greg and Bill have done nothing but work faithfully for the organization for decades and neither would do anything to harm the AMA. They’ve received excellent reviews every year in annual evaluations and now suddenly they’re no longer of use to the AMA?

Something does not add up.

Not only does their dismissal make no sense, but my understanding is the way in which they were let go was mean spirited and insulting.

The person behind the firings is new AMA president/CEO Rob Dingman.

I, along with many others inside the AMA, are not pleased at all with the atmosphere of fear Dingman has created among the loyal and hard-working AMA staff. My friends at the AMA, who’ve I’ve known and worked with for years, are afraid to talk to anyone about what’s going on. The threat of being fired is apparently being held over everyone’s head. There seems to be no dissenting opinion allowed from Dingmans’ company line. Some even fear their email and voice mails are being monitored and the leadership has done nothing to fight that impression.

My dealings with Dingman have been few. We met for the first time at Laguna Seca during the MotoGP weekend. He sent me an email asking what I thought of the new vision for the AMA. I thought it a little strange that he would ask my opinion after the new vision had already been announced. Perhaps he could have asked me beforehand so he might have been able to take differing points of view into account.

Instead of truly wanting my opinion, I took it to be an effort to find if I was loyal or not to his vision.

You may be thinking this sounds like open revolt of AMA personnel against its own leadership. You would be correct in that assumption.

As a concerned AMA member, and a person who works for the AMA, I am calling for the AMA board to take immediate action and reinstate Greg Harrison and Bill Wood.

I speak for many inside the AMA by also asking the board to hold Mr. Dingman responsible for the destructive atmosphere of fear that permeates the headquarters in Pickerington.

This is the right thing to do.

A positive, open and productive atmosphere needs to be restored to the AMA so that the association can return to doing its job of being the voice for motorcyclists in America.

Larry Lawrence
AMA Superbike Media Manager