AMA Wants Sound Reduction

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An AMA proposal seeks to reduce sound levels at professional and amateur racing events nationwide. The new rules would apply to AMA-sanctioned ATV, Supercross and motocross closed-course competition events on both the professional and amateur levels.

The plan calls for reducing the allowable standard to 98 dB(A) for 2008, 97 dB(A) for 2009 and 96dB(A) for 2010.

Currently, closed-course AMA-sanctioned competition must meet sound limits of 99 decibels, measured at a distance of 20 inches from motorcycle's exhaust outlet.

In accordance with the rules-making process for AMA-sanctioned competition, both the Racing and Rights committees will ask the Rules committee for all professional AMA racing disciplines to pass these sound level standards this year so race teams and manufacturers have time to prepare for the 2008 season. The committees also will propose the same standards to the AMA Congress, which writes the rules for amateur motorcycle racing.

Will this new rule impact the consumer market?

Doug Muellner, national sales manager, FMF Racing, says he feels trends in competition have a long-term effect on consumer product.

"It [affects] both really," Muellner says. "At the track or Supercross stadium, the increased sound impinges on the enjoyment factor. In back yards or on private acreage, neighboring and nonriding consumers are making it known that the increased sound will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, there is still that consumer element that wants 'the loudest exhaust made' for whatever reason. This seems to be more of a request from the ATV crowd these days. Generally the motorcycling community seems to be 'getting it' faster."

Mike Young of Big Gun Exhaust Systems Inc. says the AMA's move "is a positive for the aftermarket industry."

"What this is going to do is force the U.S. aftermarket exhaust manufacturers to look much deeper into building systems that can meet or exceed expectations with sound, both here and in Europe — where requirements still are 4 to 6 decibels lower," Young says.

"These measured reductions in the sound limits for closed-course competition at both the professional and amateur levels will not only make race courses safer and more enjoyable for competitors and fans alike, but they will improve the standing of our events among nonrace fans who are nevertheless impacted by our sound policies," said former AMA CEO Patricia DiPietro at the time of the announcement. "Sound is every motorcyclist's responsibility, because excessive sound impacts every motorcyclist, from competitor to street rider."