Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1971 09 21

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 2 of 39

M f ... .... (l) N i en ~ w Z W ..J U >- U The flavor of European Motocross: Here Aoger DeCoster (40) takes an outside line to grab the lead at the Dutch GP, Ake Jonsson (35) is another competitor who will be following the upcoming circuit, cement them! In Russia, they use the steep rolling hills just outside Moscow where riders slide the bike through the plougbed up turns at 60 mph in top gear in front of a hillside of people 198,000 at the last Grand Prix in July. In England many of the tracks are fas t and grassy except for a n'otorious one on the west coast called Hawkstone Park. This horror features a hill that is so steep, it must be attacked flat out in top gear to get enougb momen tum to reach the top. But at the top are some foot high boulders that bounce the machines from one to the other, and when the riden have shot over those, there is an equally steep downhill seat so he would be forced to stand up and soul. We used to make good money descent which very often sees the and strengthen his legs. As the "guru" and supplement it by smuggling butter machine beat the riders down! On of the sport, Jeff Smith, said, "To be in oil cans from England to France!" another track there is a 50 foot fit, a man must sweat once a clay. n In 1952 a European championship "bombhole" that 90 percent of the Apart from the Grand Prix was organized, and won by a l!l'lssive riders roll into over the edge. But the championship trail, most of the top Belgian called Victor LeLoup riding an top ten percent launch their machines riders ride by contract at international equally massive 350 pound FN off the top lip of the hole and drop like races all over Europe. Most have agents motorcycle manufactured in Belgium by a stone until they hit the bottom, the working for them and a man such as the biggest arms factory in that country. speed cannoning them out the other Joel Robert will compete in up to 50 Twenty years later there are two side before the average rider has had races a year for which he wiu be paid championship classes for 250 and 500cc time to rickle over the edge into the around $500 starting money plus the machines, each taking in twelve Grand hole. money· he wins. In motocross-erazy Prix in twelve different countries. Five years ago, a tall, lean looking Belgium, he and his Suzuki teammate, Motocross is now big business, having Swede called Tonten HaUman came Roger DeCoster, have been known to developed a new breed of dedicated over to American to demonstrate a new compete in two different events on one - motorcycle as a sales promotion. Like athlete. There is ex-world champion in day, flying backwards and forwards 1964-65, Jeff Smith, who is the Johnny most riders, Hallman speaks about four between races in a chartered helicopter Unitas of the sport, still competing at languages fluently, and soon the paid for by the promoter. 36 years of age on his factory BSA and four-time world champion had all the Every weekend in Belgium and most built like an all-in wrestler. Jeff once cycle-buffs at his feet. They just believe countries, there are about three said: '~Motorcross isn't played in kid that a person could cover rough ground gloves. The successful motocross rider is international motocross races each that fast. The following year he came the one who can balance what he is weekend. The international riders race back with several of his teammates from two forty minute "motos" with the prepared to do against what all the Sweden and some English riders. They winner being determined as the highest others are prepared to let him do. put on exhihition races and the crowds Motocross," he concludes, "is a war of placed rider in' each race. Therefore it is flocked to see these supermen. The nerves. " useless for a rider to be a five lap American riders in the meantime, hadwonder, winning the first race but World champions are not exclusive to got the idea, and although far from crashing in the second, for he goes home the western world. In 1965 a tough competitive, had at least fonaken the with nothing. Most top riders pace little Russian named Victor Arbekov up-to-then unbeatable 650cc Triumph themselves and very often complete the took away Joel Robert's first world title desert sleds, for European style last lap of the day as fast as the first. riding a Czech built CZ. Victor was a ligh tweight two-eycle motocross The tracks that these riders compete product of the Soviet sports school, an machines. on vary infinitely. Most international army officer who was awarded the In 1970 motocross had arrived in the tracks are between a mile and two miles coveted Grand Master of Sport award U.S., with races being held every in length and must be over natural for his efforts. But the Soviet school weekend allover the country. In terrain. Many of the Belgian tracks are brought him down and one winter he California there are usually two or three in deep, strength sapping sand that was over trained and turned up. the next races every Sunday with anywhere up to develops into giant corrugations as the year looking like a weigh t lifter with all 300 competiton ranging from four inch rear "knobby" tires churn it his fire gone. I3-year-old school kids wailing around up. In France !:hey tend to go for giant Another Iron Curtain champion was on little 100cc machines, to factory hills that are so steep that a man cannot Paul Friedrichs of East Germany, also in sponsored riders such as big husky John walk up them, and to stop the whole the army. Paul was a superman and won DeSoto on a factory sponsored Suzuki 100 foot, 45 degree hill from falling the 500cc title three years in a row. He 400. John has been to Europe, and got down, the cigar smoking promoters used to train in the hard winters by beaten badly, but all the while the cover them in wire mesh and then riding a motorcycle all day without a American riders are coming closer to the Europeans. This fall the American Motorcycle ,",ssodation (AMA) has organized a 12-race series that will tour the entire country for a total purse of $110,000 plus contingency money. The first one is the prestigious U.S. Grand Prix at Carlsbad Raceway where 15 riders from Europe will do battle for a $15,000 purse while ABC's Wide World of Sport cameras capture this new and exciting sport for t!:le rest of the nation to see. On that day American will see just what it is that draws thousands of European families and their picnic hampers to th~ motocross races every weekend to see these giants among athletes wrestle their bucking iron-hones over terrain that most wouldn't walk over, for 80 minutes of sheer physical violence at over 60 mph. Brass hands will thump out the National anthems of Belgium, Great Britain, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Czechoslovakia and Russia, fmishing up with the Star Spangled Banner. At that moment motocross will have really arrived as the fans wait to see a Stars and Stripes jersey among the other international flags, and the riders control the butterflies in their nervous stomachs, each hopirig to be the fust man to win the U.S. Grand Prix and a A Swede. two Aussilns. In ElSt Gennan Ind I West German pile into the first tum et the A.-trian GP - the type of international action that will be fISt fun of doUan. seen It the First U.S. Motocross Grand Prix to be h.....this ~end It Carisbed. Cllif. -•• Motocross. In the past four or five years, this sport has become a dominant theme in United States motorcycle competition. Motocross has captured the imagination and talents of thousands of young warriors across the nation and has spuJ:l'ed industry into providing new motorcycles and accessories geared to the rigors of this rugged European sport. On Sept. 19, at Carlsbad Raceway near Carlsbad, Calif., midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, the annual invasion of European motocrossmen begins again. But this year American hosts the giants of the sport in a very prestigious setting: the first United States Grand Prix. Now "grand prix" is a very well-worn term in th e United States, but the Carlsbad event is the genuine item, the first motocross 500cc Grand Prix to be held outside of Europe and England. The September 19th event wiu pave the way for a points paying U.S. G.P. which could spell the difference in future World Motocross Championship points chases as the recen t Dutch 500cc Grand Prix did in favor of Roger DeCoster and Suzuki. Names like Joel Robert, AkeJonsson, WiUi Bauer, Heikki Mikkola, Olle Pettersson, Sylvain Geboers, motorcycles like Suzuki, BSA, Maico, Husqvarna, CZ and countires like England, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Belgium and many ~thers will blend together to assure that the first U.S. G.P. will be an outstanding landmark in American motocross racing. However, the U.S. G.P. is just a part of a far-reaching, far-out sport, one that is truly international in its finest sense. How did it attain its present stature? Motocross is one of the youngest of mechanical sports because, un til motorcycles developed proper suspension, riding them over house-size jumps just wasn't possible. It was just after World War U that a shrewd French promoter started motorcycle races in the Montreuil chalk pits just outside Paris. The idea soon snowballed with inventive Frenchmen scouring the countryside for used army motorcycles to turn into cross country racers. More fans came, the money grew and soon these races were drawing riders from England, Belgium and Sweden. Recalls Eric Cheney, an early English competitor: "Thousands of French families used to come out for the day with some bread and a couple of bottles. of the local wine and get into it body MOTOCROSS Building for the First U.S. Grand Prix

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's - Cycle News 1971 09 21