Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1971 10 26

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 VIII NUMBER 41 WEST October 26, 1971 PRICE THIRTY CENTS , America's largest and most complete weekly motorcycle newspaper • Burrito, Bugs: Botll Cllamps By David Swift The Ontario National was probably a disappointment to those who wanted to see a down-to-the-wire fight for the Grand National Championship between Dick Mann and Gene Romero. Statistically, it was improbable that Mann would lose his lead. He had racked up the most outstanding record in the history of American road racing with three wins, two seconds, and a third, going into Ontario. Romero also has a fine record with the accent on consistency, finishing in the top six in all but Talledega, where he finished 15th. All Bugs had to do was imish 14th or better at Ontario to hecome the new champ, even if Gene won the grueling 250-miler. Even if Bugs had decided to stay home and watch television instead of racing, Gene still would have had to imish fourth overall or better to gain the lead and retain coveted number-one plate. . The day before the race Romero didn't refer to Mann or to the possibility o{ losing the crown he had worked so hard to earn. He spoke of when he' won it, "I did it. 1 had a bad crash a couple of years ago and everyone said 1 was a has-been. Well, 1 proved something to myself. 1 came back and won that plate." Mann never bothered to mention the same subject just before Ontario. He seldom does. Jim Dour, the BSA mechanic that has kept Bugs' road racer ultra-reliable, said that the only possible reference Dick made was during a discussion of tactics. Marm didn't want to make a gas stop although no one was sure the big three-cylinder Beezers and Triumphs would go 125 miles on a tank. "1 think it would be dumb for you to go without a gas stop:' said Dour. Twvo Bil Seclions DICK MANN: 1972's Grand National Champion Bugs thought a moment. "I guess for me it would be." When someone else did bring the poten tial Championship to his attention, he might forget himself and smile. After all, the odds were in his favor and he has tried so long, so very long, to win that plate. But he has heen this close before and had the rug pulled, though, so the serious expression would come back, "It's not over yet." As one good friend puts it, Bugs never was one to count his chickens.... Gene rode Ontario better than any road race before. At times, no one on the course was better than he. Romero started the first heat in a solid fourth and didn't let go. Mann was somewhat farther back in fifth and Romero opened the gap further. Mann was passed by Cooper and Carruthers and was certainly off-pace for some reason while Gene was just cooking. It looked as if there might be an upset in the works, but it was short-lived. Disaster, and Gene is out of conten tion for the Grand Nationa! Championship. The threat had lasted only 10 laps when Romero's machine let g~ of the ground. He was pitched (Please turn to page 3) Europeans Sweep Heiki Mikkola led a strong European sweep of this weekend's Trans-AMA in Canada. Mark Blackwell was the top American but he wasn't able to break into the top ten finishers overall.. In addition, some of the regular names which frequently appear on the National pages turned up at Copetown instead of the 250 Mile National in Ontario. A complete report appears on pages 14·15. Ket Carruthers hounds Dick Mann during the early laps of Heat 1 at Ontario. / CiC'.BNBW!i M990. . . . . . . . . Ne-w-spaper ONTARIO, CAL., Oct. 17, 1971 - The fantastic doesn't always happen in Hollywood. Sometimes it happens a few miles east. Ontario Motor Speedway presented AMA National motorcycle racing for the first'time and comparing cycles to cars is strictly no-contest as the racing was unsurpassed over anything else the "Big 0" has ever hosted. The BSA Rocket Three's took it all home. First time American race entry John Cooper from London won the race and Dick Mann won the Grand National title. The,FirstAnnuai Champion Sparkplug Classic was the greatest race ever run on pavement and the finish proved it. At least a dozen imish line judges had to observe the fmish and then hold a quick meeting to decide the winner at the end of 250 miles. Some say Cooper by two inches - some say he really ran away with it, and won by maybe four inches! AMA racing came to a close with the last National of the year and it was the fourth time in seven road race meetings this season that the National has been decided on the last lap or the last turn, or at the finish line. The event was a first·time experiment in that the race was divided in to two 125 mile segments. The first event was won by Gary Nixon who finally put it all together for the i1l'st time this season. He was riding a Triumph Trident that was shipped over from England at the last minute along with the Cooper BSA. The Ontario National began at 12:26 p.m. and Yvon DuHamel, the fast qualifier, predictably took the lead. But 25,000 motorcycle fans include lots of Gary Nixon fans and the past two-time Grand National Champion notified DuHamel that it wasn't going to be another Talledega runaway. Gary ran fast and hard and became relentless in his strikes against the French-Canadian. Nixon and DuHamel shared the lead and (Please turn to page 4)

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