Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 18 May 5

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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VOLUME 57 ISSUE 18 MAY 5, 2020 P101 Johnson and Broc Glover," Ward says. "We didn't really throw Ron Lechien in there as someone who was tough, because he didn't train, but his riding ability sure made up for it. You couldn't [discount] him, because of how talented he was." No surprises then, when all five of those riders scored wins during the II-round series, as did the seemingly ageless Bob Han- nah and Mark Barnett. In all, eight riders—half of them former AMA Supercross Champions—would win rounds, setting a record for different winners in a single sea- son that still stands today. Ward, who won round seven of the series, in Houston, Texas, recalls that the race format and the depth of the competition made the title battle an all-out war. "We brought it up to another level, that's for sure," Ward says. Damn straight. In fact, the title battle was so intense that Team Ka- wasaki's Ward found himself tied for points with Team Yamaha's Glover— the two vying for their first AMA Supercross crown, 211-211, after the penultimate round at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Team Honda's Lechien had somehow put together a consistent enough series to sit third, just four points adrift of Ward and Glover. No one could be sure of what was in store at the final round, which would take place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. "But I was prepared," Ward says. "I did my training, did everything I possibly could do to be ready for each weekend. No matter whether it was muddy, or cold or whatever, I was prepared. If I had an injury, I was prepared to deal with that, but I do remember that I stayed pretty injury-free that year." Well, almost. There was an ungodly three-month hiatus between the Coliseum and Rose Bowl rounds. In the meantime, the trio of AMA National Champi- onship MX Series would be in full swing, with the 250cc U.S. GP at Unadilla, New York, taking place little more than a month before the Rose Bowl finale. Of course, Ward contested the U.S. GP, and wouldn't you know it—bailed off, suffering a separated shoulder. "I remember the photo of me go- ing over the bars was in a couple of the magazines," Ward says. "I didn't finish the moto and pulled out of the race. Then I had to do therapy on the shoulder for the two weeks before the race." But Ward caught a break when main rival Glover got a break: The "Golden Boy" fractured his wrist in a practice-track incident less than two weeks before the show- down at the Rose Bowl. That left two battered and bruised veterans up against one pink-cheeked bul- let, Lechien, in a supreme battle for the crown on August 17, 1985. Lechien was the first to falter at the Rose Bowl. Bailey grabbed the holeshot in the first main, while Le- chien, who was running second, crashed over the first set of double jumps and wound up ninth. Bailey went on to win the race, while Ward's teammate Goat Breker finished second and defending series champion O'Mara finished third. Behind fourth-placed JoJo Keller, Glover managed to ace Ward in a battle of gimps to finish fifth and get a leg up on the title. All eyes were on Glover and Ward in the second main event. The championship was on the line. Ward got off to second-place start, behind O'Mara, who would go on to win the race and claim the event win. Meanwhile, Glover got off the line third. Glover fell back, but then he upped the pace late in the race, and he began to reel in Ward until only one bike-length separated them. A slight bobble by Glover while dogging Ward to the checkered flag spelled the difference. Ward finished second, Glover third, and Ward claimed the AMA Supercross Series Champi- onship by one point, 218-217. He may have won only one race all year, but Ward earned the title by being prepared and by practicing what he preaches to this day, nearly 20 years later. "Consistency is what wins championships," Ward says. "Look at what Ricky Carmichael said this year: 'There's fast guys out there, but you have to be consistent.'" When Jeff Ward raced, there were a lot of them, and he was. CN This Archives edition is reprinted from 2006. CN has hundreds of past Archives editions in our files, too many destined to be archives themselves. To prevent that from happening, we will be revisiting past Archives articles while still planning to keep fresh ones coming down the road. -Editor Subscribe to nearly 50 years of Cycle News Archive issues:

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