Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1972 10 31

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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., N 1 RICK WOODS • • New National ..: " o ~ w Z W ..J U >U Scott Autrey slipped once, came back for a tie breaking win OYer Mike Bast. Rick Woods, took it all with five straight wins. Ed Williams unloads in background. by John Bethea/Creative lmages Photos by Buzz Baty/Creative Images COSTA MESA, CAL., Oct. 20, 1972 "Rick Woods moves to the inside and take the lead!!!" Announcer Larry Huffman screamed into the mike; the crowd was on its feet going delirious. This was it: the showdown...event No. l4 in the program ...pitting Rick Woods, Ron Taylor, Scott Autrey and Mike Curoso together. Autrey and Woods were tied on points up until now. The undefeated pair were battling for the premier tiLle in American Speedway: United States Speedway Championship for 1972. "Woods has the inside and there goes Autrey on the outside in tum two...and here comes Autrey!" Announcer Huffman shoved the chair away and was on his feet, ready to pounce upon the table at any moment. But nobody was watching him; all eyes were on the little eigh th-mile oval known as Orange County Fairgrounds. Woods was in control. Superb and poetic. Twice the master, here he was again showing how it should be done. This year's Number One and next year's meet up. Rick Woods was on his way to No.1 and the crowd ate it up. Autrey would drift wide in the turns, spitting the loosened topsoil against the wall and in to the stands as he desperately pursued Woods. But Rick stuck to the inside, clawed every inch of the track for traction. He had the bite and he was all .... The match ups came early. After Steve Bast quickly etched a three aside his name, defending champ Mike Bast and former champ Woods squared off in event two. The tone was set as Woods, running second, got the drive in tum two of lap two and squirted by the front running Bast. From then on: Runaway. Then, Mjke had the wind really knocked out of his bag fnll of steam when he got pounced on by Autrey in event five. After two tries he'd been beaten twice and was now out of it. But Scott wasn't. He bad just topped event four and was running head-on toward that confrontation with Woods. That would spell the difference. Tunml( up, Rick ran away and hid from Don Cullum, Mike Konle and Bill Cody. He pulled into the pits, and patiently watched Scott ace Steve Bast, Sumner McKnight and Ed Williams in the very next run. All even again at nine and nine. The crowd of 8000 impatiently accepted the next two races while the anticipation built itself up. Clearly by now it was a two rider scramble. Both Woods and Autrey were hot. Event 14 was in traduced and the crowd let loose. It was a complete and devastating runaway for Woods. He bashed his way to the inside tum, shut the door, spit dirt back at his adversaries, and sped away. Autrey, in desperation, clung to second for several laps but finally felt the frustration and lost concentration and drifted wide again. Curoso grabbed the opening, throttled by and took second. Suddeuly Autrey was in a fight for second as Mike .Bast was making a comeback with two wins. ·Event 17 in the program was the fmal appearance for Rick Woods. The pressure was now off. All he had to do was take econd and he was the champ , . , •• again. Last year a spill cost him the chance at his third title. No mistakes this year... No indeed. Woods was more than ready. Before a standing ovation, Rick showed his overwhelming talent. ever missing a move, he destroyed the likes of Les Chanky, Dan Becker and Sumner McKnight. Rick Woods brilliantly won the title. Not by mishap, not by f1uke ...but by pure and simple talent. Triumphantly he took an extTa tour of the track. But, it wasn't over .yet. Anti climactic was not the mood ... Mike Bast and Scott Autrey, tied at 10, had one ride left each. Scott pulled up to the gate. Also en tered was Konle, Nutter and Gresham. The tension was back and it showed in comer one as Gresham and Autre y tangled and went down. Luckily, it was a full restart and cott pulled off the hole shot tllis time and took the win. Now the pressure shifted to Mike Bast, who was up against his brother for the ouly time tonigh t. Steve, with nine

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