Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1971 10 19

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October 19, 1971 F or the first time in the history of professional road racing a major event on pavement will decide the Grand National AMA title. The chase has taken place from coast to coast and now comes the payoff. Th first annual "Champion Sparkplug Motorcycle Classic" is the official name as the sparkplug people jump into cycle racing full force, and they are in it to stay. In past years more and more "Factory Teams" have be.en formed by the various American distributrs and from time to time foreign riders have made their way to Daytona in particular, and a few other races in generaL Now both the teams from these shores and the majority of the current top riders from other nations will all be on the track October 17th for what is rcally the first meeting from both sides of the waters that surround the USA. First a look at the factory teams as they get ready for their final, not fust, test of the season. THE BSATEAM The strongest team entered on the basis of the finish results from the six previous road races in 1971. Led by Dick Mann who is finished his 19th year in racing. Mann and his BSA Rocket three have compiled a record unsurpassed in previous seasons: Three wins, two seconds and one third place. It may take some unknown youngster another 19 years to top this performance. Dick also will have to turn in one of the best rides of his record length eareer to capture the overall point title. He has two other riders breathing over his shoulder and 250 miles is no cinch, or certainty for any rider or machine. But Mann and his BSA Triple have the past track record to prove that this is the combination to beat. BSA backs up Mann with rookie Don Emde who has the second best finish average this season in road racing. Three third place finishes, one ftfth and a pair of sixths in six times set out in national road races. No frrst year Expert has ever before turned in a record like that his frrst year in national road racing competition. Dave Aldana is the third rider on the list.' Early season mechanical troubles plagued him at Dayton, Atlanta and Seattle. But the BSA is humming from start to finish now and his last two national road races have produced a fourth and a fifth place fmish. The fourth rider on the BSA team is Jim Rice. The most consistent rider on the national circuit this year and a contender for the point title coming into Ontario. In four out of the six previous road races Jim has fmished inside the first ten, positions that carry the majority of the national points. Jim ,is perhaps the most improved road raOer in America this year. That's the BSA team, a record of proven reliability on machines that have turned in a fantastic record of durability and top speed. F our seasoned riders and a team of mechanics that know how to keep the machines running the total distance. Beat the BSA's and. you have a winner at the "Big 0". Probably, but not likely. RATE BSA AT 2 TO I FAVORITES. THE BSA TEAM: 2 Jim Rice 3 Dave Aldana 4 Dick Mann 25 Don Erne THE HARLEY·DAVIDSON TEAM Once the team to beat in any road race but has fallen on hard times in recent seasons in national road racing. The new 750 Twin has yet to prove itself, not for top speed, but for CiC'.BN£Ifi. M890B .....A .. WEST Speaking Out About Ontario NUMBER 40 THE MAN TO BEAT AT ONTARIO... ... Is Diek Mann on the team BSA. Currently leading his closest rival (Gene Romero) by 78 points in the National Point Standings, Mann is on the verge of achieving an honor he has had only one other time during his lengthy carreer-The Grand National Championship and with it the No.1 plate. To win this title novv worn bv Romero. Mann must finish 14th or better and he will cinch the title. Photo by David Swift. reliability. The machine has only finished in the top three. in one of the previous six events this season~ Rider ranks are thin and only Mark Brelsford and Cal Rayborn could ride home a winner. Both are excellent road racers, both have won national pavement even ta. n.. 250 miles appears to be too long a race for the American built brand. They will be up there early in time trials and the opening laps of the 250 miler, but it is the late laps that count. H-D still looking. Has the pilots but not the weapons in this one. Come close to not entering the team riders but national points are at stake and a flOish within the top ten in the final standings for two of the riders. BRING H-D IN AT A 50 to 1 SHOT. THE H-D TEAM: 7 Mark Brelsford 14 Cal Rayborn 16 Dave Sehl 32 Bart Markel THE KAWASAKI TEAM The 5000c three cylinder two strokers have been trying for three years to get it all together. In the last road race before Ontario, at Talladega, they did just that. The jolly green giant gas·eaters are quick and getting more reliable with each race. Kawasaki also has well seasoned riders, in most cases. For the public they are not an official factory ~am but headquarters keep and maintain the front running machines. and has full time mechanics working on them all the way. The fastest of the two strokes entered, and that includes a bunch. Canadian Yvon DuHamel leads the list. He won his first National at Talladega in record time. A charger who sometimes forgets to tum it off. A rider that has to lead from the opening lap and 250 miles maybe his downfall - or fall-off. Right behind is the highly underrated Ralph White who has twice gained a high finish position this year in road race nationals. Ralph has been looking for the big one for many a lap and could put it all together, if the machine will match his ability. Walt Fulton rounds out the rather thin Kawasaki ranks.. He will be 01\ a privately entered machine that has topped the "works" bikes mOTe than onCe this year. A good road racer that bas yet to really put it all together. KAWASAKI AN OUTSIDE LONGSHOT AT 15 TO I. THE KAWASAKI RIDERS: 11 Yvon DuHamel 17 Walt Fulton 47 Ralph White THE SUZUKI TEAM Has four excellent riders -on the full factory supported team. Three have wo.n national road races in the past but so far this year:it has not been the year for Suzuki. The 500cc two stroke twins are .the sleekest and lightest machines in road racing but various mechanical problems have plagued them all season. Recent road races have been producing better results, but not good enough to be a contend"\' for the win. Things could change at Ontario as Suzuki does try harder in the late stages of the game each year. From C!id to end Suzuki has the riders to win any road race. J ody Nicholas, Art Baumann, Ron Grant and Ron Pierce are all top flight in anybody's book. Nicholas appears to have the best chance to 1'Cad the Suzuki team. He is running red 'hot this year on both the pavement and the dirt. Baumann ranks next and then Pierce. Grant came up with an injury a year and a half ago and appears to have never really regained the form that carried him to one national a few seaJIons back. Injuries heal and Gran t may be the charger to put ti all together, but it is not too likely. Suzuki has alI the potential and Oct. 17 may be their "Comeback" for 1971. A 25 TO 1 SHORT WOULD BE WITH,IN REASON. THE SUZUKI TEAM: 23 Jody Nicholas 24 Art Baumann 37 Ron Pieree 42 Ron Grant THE TRIUMPH TEAM Another talent loaded four rider team with road racing experience coming out their ears and cxhaqst pipes. The Triumph Trident triples arc proven and as reliable as the British BSA's. In previous time trials the Triumph has been the fastest machine in American racing. Many dose finished in previous nationals could flOd Triumph -Ne.,spaper ONTARIO, CAL. - "I don't sec how we can put over 100 bikes through that first tum at 150 mph and keep everyone upright!" This is the fear of Kel Carruthers of Australia after a testing session at Ontario Motor Speedway early this week in preparation for the Champion Spark Plug Motorcycle Classics, Oct. 13-17. "I certainly do like the purse (nearly $100,000 total, the largest ever offered for a motorcycle race), bu t I don't care much at all for the traffic," Carruthers said. ''There's only one path through that series of high speed turns after you leave the oval and get onto the road circuit. If a slower bike gets in the way there's no place to go. It should be interesting fOT the spectators, but not much fun for the riders." Adding to the riders woes is their unfantiliarity with the 3.194-mile Ontario road circuit. "It will greatly affect the Americans who have never ridden it, but I should think the Europeans will adapt very quickly," he said. ''The Europeans ride courses of eigh t and nine miles every week, so they're naturally quicker to learn. " Carruthers, 34, is a veteran of 17 years of motorcycle competition. Top European riders entered for the "Classics" are Paul Smart, Phil Read, Rod Gould and John Cooper along with New Zealanders Ginger Malloy and Geoff Perry and Canadian Yvon DuHamel. The U.S. will be represented by the current national championship points leader Dick Mann, th e defending national champ Gene Romero, and such standouts as Cal Rayborn, Gary Nixon, Jim Rice, Don Emde, Jody Nicholas, TDm Rockwood and Chuck Palmgren. The five-<1ay racing program begins Wednesday, Oct. 13 with practice followed by qualification races on Thursday. Novice and Junior races arc scheduled for Friday, Oct. 15 with a JuniorfE,,:pert combined race and a national motocross set for Saturday, Oct. 16. The 250·mile Champion Motorcycle Classic will ge the green flag at noon on Sunday, Oct. 17. Tickets are now on sale at the Speedway Ticket Office, and through all Ticketrori outlets in Southern and Northern 'California. For further information contact Brian Tracy, (714) 983-5811. and. their crew ready to grab off the biggest of them all this year. Gene Romero has finished inside the top ten on five of the previous six race occasions this year. His second place flOish two years in a row at Daytona can not leave him overlooked, although he has yet to win a road race. Romero will be a contendeT as he has a chance to come from behind and snatch the Grand National point title away for the second straight year. He must finish ahead of Dick Mann to do this and few, if any, have been able to do it this year. Romero, rest assured, will try. F or the other three riders on the Triumph team it has been up and down with various problems this year. Gary Nixon has fmished only one road race. Many say he is still a threat in any road race but an old injury and lack of total laps may cancel him ou 1. It will be a last ditch try for Gary who will be on a new machine, in competition for the first time. Tom Rockwood and Don Castro round out the team. Rockwood has four years of road racing behind him and is strong in the late laps, if the machine is running. He has finished in the top ten at Daytona two of the last three yean. (Plerzse turn to page 26) Db,OR. 8OlIOlomD427JA33 . . . . . . .88

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