Cycle News

Cycle News 2014 Issue 29 July 22

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 118 of 127

CN III ARCHIVES BY LARRY LAWRENCE C hris Carr was going to be a championship threat. It was clear to see, even early in his career. In his rookie 1985 season the sensational kid from Stockton, California, scored three top- five finishes, ranked seventh in the final stand- ings and earned the AMA's Rookie of the Year Award. He then scored his first National win in '86, at the Peoria TT, scored 10 top-five finish- es and ended his sophomore season ranked fourth in the final AMA Grand National stand- ings. In spite of his rapid rise, Carr's victory at the 1987 Sacramento Mile was still somewhat of a surprise. A look back at the record books shows why Carr's win in Sacramento, 1987's sea- son opener, was at least somewhat un- expected. What the record reveals is that Honda was in the middle of its nearly com- plete domination of AMA Grand National Mile racing. The season before Honda rid- ers won all but a single National on mile ovals. For the '87 the AMA implemented a new "restrictor rule," which required a 33mm manifold plate into the intake tract of each cylinder, thereby limiting the amount of air that flowed into the en- gines. The rules was employed ostensibly for cost cutting and engine reliability purposes, but most felt it was a way to slow down Honda's awesome factory RS750 flat track machine. The debut of restrictor plate racing came at Sac- ramento in April of '87 (in those years Sacramento hosted a spring and a fall National). In time trials it looked as if the restrictor rule was just about per- fect. Carr, racing a factory satellite-team Harley- Davidson tuned by Mert Lawwill, set the fastest time of the day with a 38.08 (almost a full second off the track record set by Wayne Rainey in 1985). The factory Hondas of Bubba Shobert and Ricky Graham were second and third fastest with laps of P118 CARR'S FIRST MILE 38.18 and 38.49, respectively. Factory Harley's Scott Parker won the fastest heat race of the night to earn the pole for the 25-lap National. Carr, Shobert and Graham won the other heats, so it was two Harleys and two Hondas starting at the front of the 18-rider field. Everything in the time trials and qualifying rac- es pointed to a fantastic four-rider showdown for the National, but it wasn't to be. At the drop of the green flag Carr was gone. He was hooking up so well that even Shobert, who'd won six Grand Na- tional Miles the year before, couldn't keep pace.

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