Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1972 09 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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Page 45 of 63

.. ... ... LAST YEAR'S BEST RACE IS COMING AGAINII 8. .. ~ N .... en (J Last year the Champion Spark Plug Motorcycle Classics offered the best and most important racing of the National season. They were the most importan t because they decided the National Championship. It was at Ontario that Dick Mann became National Champ for the second time in h is long career and Gene Romero saw his chance disappear in his first heat crash. The National Championship has already been decided this year. Mark Brelsford is the Man. Even so the Classics may very well be the best racing of the season. Last year the two most importan t races, the 250-Miler and the Combined, were decided by inches and that can easily nappen again. One of the factors that made ·Ontario so important and interesting last year was the appearance of foreign stars_ Talladega for quite a bit, and, if his wrist is properly healed, can win. B'arring something unforseen, Jerry Greene will win the Junior even t on his Kawasaki. Something unforseen may come in the form of Bob Endicott on his BSA. Kel Carruthers and Gary Fisher are the most-likelies for the Combined, based on history. Kawasaki may have a chance. They still don't have a ligh tweigh t win and wan tone sometbing fierce. Either a Yamaha or a Kawasaki will win the motocross probahly. last Year COOp Coming Plans have now been fmalized, and John Cooper from England will be an official entry in the 1972 Champion Spark Plug 250-Mile National road race at Ontario Speedway on October 1. The 1971 winner will again ride a BSA "Rocket" triple in the event, which gained him first place last year and earned Ilirn over $20,000 in purse and contingency monies. The 1971 Ontario race was Cooper's only previous race in America, and the 1972 Ontario race on October 1 will again be the onl AMA event he will enter. Since racing at Ontario a year ago, Cooper has been very active in road racing in England, scoring many victories in 750cc events since early this season. The native of Derby, England still ranks as the only Englishman ro ever win an AMA National race, and he is returning with the same idea in mind once again. Another highly regarded European rider will be flying over with Cooper to compete in his first American road race. It's twenty-three-year-old Tony Jeffries from London. Jefferies is regarded by many in European circles as the hottest new road racing ace in FIM competition. He holds wins over Cooper, Phil Read, Paul Smart, and all the other ranking British Isle riders this year. Another European that will be on hand is super-star J arno Saarinen who will be aboard an AI Godin Yamaha. Saarinen has beaten World Champion Gjacomo Agostini on several occasions and many rank him as the best there is. He could be the man who takeshomethe winner's $20,000. Peter Williams is bringing the factory Norton over and will be looking for an American win. A Prediction . Even with the best of Europe coming (with the exception of Agostini who won't be allowed to ride because of the claiming rule) the odds-makers will still favor a North American rider. The man that they will probahly pick is Cal Rayborn. Calvin's Harley is a bit down on steam which will hurt Ilirn on the relatively long straigh t, but the in field with its many, many turns will weigh things in his favor. On tight stuff he is difficult to beat. Another man who will be at the front is Yvon DuHamel on his Kawasaki 750. As shown at Talladega, Team Hansen has the big green screamers sorted out and they have pit stops down to a science. Yvon is more than a match for anyone or any bike and can win. Backing up DuHamel will be Gary Nixon. Gary is perhaps a shade less aggressive than Yvon, but he is not slow as he demonstrated by coming home second at Talladega and by leading Ontario last year until the tum nine oil slick put him out. It might be Nixon's chance to end a long ugly streak of phenomenally bad luck. If Yamaha is going to win, the man most likely to do it is Gary Fisher. Gary flew away from everybody in both Expert even ts at Laconia and led Laguna Seca until his machine puckered up a bit. The in teresting thing is that Fisher is a privateer and not a team rider. The Yamaha team will place its hopes on Kenny Roberts and Kel Carruthers, both consisten t, fast top-runners. Suzuki's best chance looks to be Art Baumann. If he has recovered from his Talladega injuries sufficien tly to be competitive, he can do the job. The Suzukis are about the fastest thing going, but they haven't had the seasoning in racing that their competition has since they ~ .... .. ". " ... .ere . .... . ... ,. ........ . declared illegal after Road A tlan tao Even without the National Championship to be decided, there are many factors that will make the Champion Spark Plug Motorcycle Classic i great race. First, it comes to the end of the season. Almost all of the machinery is sorted out so the front runners aren't sidelined with mechanical bothers. It also means that the slower machinery has been breathed on a bit to make it a little more competitive while the fast machinery has been kept about as fast but made more reliable; the machinery is more equal.. Another reason that the race will be close is the prestige and money. There is $100,000 up for grabs and the winner can get over a fifth of that. The long pit stop required at half-way adds a dimension to the race that isn't available elsewhere, and the Umotocross" scoring system, whereby the scores of both halves of the race are added, can make a winner in the second half of someone who was downfield in the first half. With 250 miles to race; a lot can happen. Besides (More Predictions) In addition to the Classic there are the rest of the races. There are three other road races and a motocross. One can expect Yamaha to win both the lightweight events, unless Team Hansen, with several a1mosts to its credit, can get its act together and bring one of its 350 singles in first. Th ree names are to be watched in the Novice event: Ted Henter, Talladega winne'r and a sort of winner at Laguna Seca; John Long, winner of all Qut two Novice pavement events; and Tim Rockwood. Tim led Perhaps no one has a more vivid recollection of the final 200 feet of the second heat of the inaugural Champion Spark Plug Motorcycle Classic than Kel Carruthers. In that brief distance Carruthers, bearing down on tile finish line and the checkered flag, saw the front wheel .of Englishman John Cooper's motorcycle pass him and cross the finish line, wil\ning by a scant four inches. Last year's Classics marked a number of motorcycle racing firsts. It was the first time an Expert race was run in two heats, and it was the longest race run. More money was available to the riders - $100,000 - than ever before and it was the first time anything but a short exhibition motorcycle race had been conducted at Ontario. The schedul.e included the 250-mile, two-lap Expert race, an Expert-J unior "lightweight" combined race, a Junior race, Novice race and Motocross for 250cc and 50cc bikes. The entry list was huge. For the Expert race, more than 100 motorcycles started the first heat. It was the Classic, the final race 'of the 1971 season, that determined last year's Grand National champion. Only defending champion Gene Romero and Dick Mann had a chance for the title, and Mann was leading in poin ts going into the race. Early in the first heat, Romero crashed, and Mann went on to earn the championship. The topper of the Classics came after the racing was allover. Bob Bailey, a southern California accessory' manufacturer and Expert racer, claimed the motorcycle ridden by Classic winner Cooper. It was spelled out in the AMA rule book and Bailey, armed with $2500, had every right to take "his" new BSA Rocket-3 home. The motorcycle was a special factory machine, certainly not available for sale and it was probably worth 10 times the claiming fee. In the end, Bailey agreed to reverse the claim, bu t he ended up with assistance from BSA. Cycle News called the Classics the greatest motorcycle race ever. The 1972 version has all the elemen ts introduced last year, and there may be a few surprises. location Ontario Motor Speedway's 3.2-mile Grand Prix road course, in Ontario, Calif., located alongside San Bernardino Freeway (Interstate 10), 40 miles east of the Los Angeles Civic Center. Tickets Sunday, Oct. 1 - Reserved Central Concourse seats, S8; unreserved East and West Concourse seats, $6; General admission, $4. Juniors (15 and under), half price (available at Ticket Office, Ontario Motor Speedway, Ontario, Calif. 91764, or at all Ticketron Outlets in California; including all Sears and Montgomery Ward stores). A limited number of Victory Circle seats at $35 •are available only at Speedway Ticket Office. For further ticket information call (714) 984-2255. Schedule Wednesday, Sept. 27 - Practice (all classes), 9-12 -1-5;$1 admission. Thursday, Sept. 28 - Practice (all classes), 9-11 a.m. $2 admission (15 & under, $1) Qualifying Races, 1-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29 - Practice (all classes), 9-12: $2 admission (15 & under, $1) NOVICE RACE, 1 p.m. (250-360cc) 24 laps, 76 miles,JUNIOR RACE, 3 p.m. (750cc max) 39 laps, 125 miles. Saturday, Sept. 30 - Practice, 9-10 a.m. $4 admission (15 & under, $1), JUNIOR/EXPERT COMBINED RACE, 11 a.m. (250-360cc) 39 laps, 125 miles. Mo tocross Practice, 1 p.m. MOTOCROSS RACES (25Occ class & 500cc class, three heats each), 2 p.m. Sunday, October 1 - Expert Practice, 9-10 a.m. CHAMPION SPARK PLUG MOTORCYCLE CLASSIC, 12 noon. <-~ , 'fI;1l ....: ~~'.~ .

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