Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1977 09 21

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 39 of 39

You picked'em •.• come see'em! First motorcycle Olympiad this weekend and you're invited! By Bruce Flanders David Aldana , yep , the old " Rub ber Ball" will be riding a 650 Yamaha against Bob Hannah at Saddleback's famed Interna- 40 tional Motocross course this weekend . And that's not all . Malcolm Smith will be Road Racing against Diane Cox at OCIR . And that's not all. Dick Burleson will be Short-Tracking _ against ' Jim Fishback. Vic Wilson came up with the new idea. It's called the Motorcycle Olympiad and it will feature the best field ever in one overall event. They will be racing for over $25,000 in cash . It 's simple,. one motorcycle .. . one r ider . . . various forms of competition and out of the dust comes one winner . .. the best overall rider in motorcyclingl Lots of work had had to be done. Worry' over one thing or another can drive a . visionary promoter to ~!f doubt. Questions ran through VIC s mind regarding facility locations and visibility factors and all the ot~er things that a good pro~oter wo:n~ about . How much prize money will It take to attract the best ? Can we run all these events in two days? Will the general public get involved? Would the industry help? Would everyone get confused? Will the whole concept work? Scheduling of the Olympiad called for enormous delicacy. It had to be on a weekend when all the best guys could be there. That date doesn't exist , but a majoriry of the heavies co?ld make it this weekend and an arbitrary date was set. Cycle News readers voted for the top riders to invite. How much purse ~oney should. be involved to make It worthwhile? Twenty-five thousand dollars should be enough , thinks Wilson. The strange part about that kind of money i~ thes.e days of s~dily inflated purse cla~ms, IS that it's all cash ... before connngen cies. No gimmicks. What events should be involved in this type of shoot·out? As many events as the logistics will allow , and the following is a brief description of them: . Drag race, sounds simple doesn't it so far? Well now , as Billy Uhl pointed out to Wilson, "It sure doesn't favor the 125cc bike against Aldana's 650cc Yamaha." Well Billy, you're right. So they borrowed a page - out of. the NHRA book and it will be a handicap eliminator. The rider will "d ia l-in" his combination of man and machine in the first of the events to be held on Saturday at Orange County International Raceway. This form of handicap competition is growing by leaps and bounds all over the United States. It requires a specialist, just as any other event on this weekend. Somebody may get lucky , but I somehow feel that blind luck is not going to be a bunch of h~I'p against the quality level of competition. Now we get to see the road race, at the same OCIR facility. All the riders can do is change tires and gearing. Handlebars, engine, seat, tank , a~d all the other stuff must remain unchanged fo r the com p le t.e competition. This road ra ce course IS not some thrown together de al. The AFM has held many good races on th is same piece of asphalt. There is one straight that's over a half mile long and there are some corners that require plenty of horsepower to handle them properly. It will be a dead engine, LeMans type of start. Now if you were still thinking that your I25cc machine had any chance your hopes just went up in ashes . Billy Uhl has switched to a 400 Maico. Aldana's 650 Yamaha, and his many years of road racing experience look like a combination that will be tough . Jim Rice has figured out some way to adapra fairing to his Y~mathu.mper and cheat the wind a little. JImmy Ellis' 250 Can Am will be breathing hard, or will it? Everybody says that's the fastest MX bike in its class . Now the road race is over and it's time to make the allowa ble changes to the motorcycles before they are put under lock and key for the evening. One hour. Yep , that's all that they are allowed. One hour. Gearing, tires and little things . . . gotta get ready for the short track tomorrow . Won 't be allowed to work on it at all before then. Vic has assigned a Marshall to each rider, he or she will make judgements on possible replacement of broken parts and will be responsible to stop any attempts at fudging against the rules . I'm going to be busy during that one hour changeover period. I've heard a lot about those ISDT tire . change experts, but I want to see Malcolm Smith change a 390 Husky road racer into a .390 Husky short tracker in less than one hour! The area in which they will be working will be totally visible to all the spectators and it should provide great enjoyment to a guy like me who thinks that one tire change should last about two hours and become a social event. Now switch locations and let 's go to Saddleback Park for the Sunday part of the competition. It 's nearly -noon and the short track practice is over . They're ready to go at it on a full quarter mile track. You didn't know that there was a quarter-mile at Saddleback? Ne ither did I until a while back. It 's good , and a full quarter on the pole. Heats, semis , and mains. The whole business. Now this is when Carl Cranke is going to get down to business. Cranke is a former everything. And he was/is good at all of it but he is convinced that his 350 Penton is the bike for this one. Little -J oh n Hateley is loaded for bear on a 440 four stroke, and has a few miles of short tracking under his belt . You sure can't discount Mike Bast or Jim Fishback, either. They have done a little left turning in the last few years . Somehow I get 'the feeling that the short track will be "flat out" good , and contain a few surprises. Next it's time for the 'IT race. You didn't know that there was a TT course at Saddleback? You don't even have to move from your seat. No, I know what you're thinking . .. it's not one of those midget TT's buried inside a quarter mile. It 's more like Perris or Peoria ... It is a real TT. There is one straight that measures well in exc~ of a quarter mile itself. It goes left. nght, up , down , but most of all it goes fas.t. Rick Hocking figures to be a favorite in this one. He 'll be mounted on a 500 Yamaha thumper. AI Baker is no slouch in this type of competition either. And Aldana will still be pushing the 650 around the track in a big way. The next event on the grueling Sunday schedule is a Scottish trials. There are a couple of twists to this one that will make it most enjoyable for the observer, but painful for the competitor. They have laid Out a course with an average lap time of approximately four minutes : The competition will last for 30 minutes. There are two observed sections per lap. One is a deep gorge: steep walled and scored in typical trials fashion . You know . .. you're in trouble if you put your foot down , and if you kill the motor it's a really bad deal. Si. ~MOHR~v INTERNATIONAL J\;1 TOR 0 CYCL E OLYMPIAD Well, besides the gorge there will be a hiIlcIimb involved in this competition. It too will be an observed section regarding total points. It will also be an easil y observable section for the spectators. So far there is only one problem with the hill, it's a brand new cut with the bulldozer. and in the last seven days that it 's been there , nobody's been able to climb it. Now I'll grant you that it 's been guys like you and me who have been trying to climb it , not the caliber of competitors that are involved in this event. But I do believe, after seeing the hill, that 1 will be slack-jawed with amazement when someone like Mike Griffitts or Jack Penton goes over the top without even purring his foot down. Griffitts will be shoeing a Mont'esa 360 and Penton will, of course, be On a 350 Penton. Once again there will be a 10· minute period for the riders to make minor adjustments to the bikes . We'll be making the short move from the new hill to the famed international motocross course at the Saddleback facility. It's been a rough day on the bikes and on the riders. Bob Hannah, Mike Bell , Bill Grossi, and Marty Tripes have been waiting for their shot at the old guys . At least I suspect that might be goi~g through . their minds. You see, I consider myself as an "old guy " and I'm naturally suspicious of any young kid who has as much ability as any of these four. The whole ticket price is going to be worth it when the gate drops on the motocross. I've always wanted to see Malcolm against Hannah against Aldana against Bast against Ellis and put them on motorcycles that don't have 72 inches of front travel and 68 inches of rear springs. My eyes get misty thinking about Aldana shoveling that run -what-you-brung 650 twin around the international MX course. Whoever wins this Olympiad thing deserves every nickel. He will have to be clever. He will have to be a fast mechanic. He will have to be the best! The motocross part of the activity . will be one long half hour for the riders . It won't be long enough for me .. . I'll probably run out of film shooting pictures .. . but it won't be long enough for me . When it's all over there will be an award ceremony that everybody is invited to. (Mental note: bring tape recorder.) There is bound to be some of the finest bench racing tales ever told. There will be a good time had by all until it gets so dark you'll need a flashlight to see who you're talking to. The riders will already be trying to talk Wilson into having another Olympiad next year. If he says yes then they will begin the mental proce!:' that will adapt them the best ava~l~ble machine for next year's competition. The entry list is a . Who's Who ?f motorcycling. There IS not a loser m the bunch . There are 11 brands represented , and dif~erent mo?els within the same brand line. Each nder has chosen his own weapon. He probably used extreme ca:e i.n h~ choice and has complete faith In hIS decision . Twenty-nine of them are going to be wrong about something. They are either wrong about their m achine choice or their own abiliry levels. When there is $25 ,000 up plus contingencies, you don't want to be wrong. . . Vic Wilson was worried about his concept. He was afraid the people in the industry wouldn't get it. Then he started to get some volunteer help from some outstanding names, people who wanted not only to see it , but be a , part of it . The list of marshalls also reads like a Who's Who of motorcycling. From Bruce Brown to Sammy Tanner. I hope th~t 0~ do an introduction of all the individual marshalls and the behind-the-scenes people. . . Walter Mltty may come out in a great many of us when we think about an event of this magnitude. Just how good is Mike Bast at road racing? Can Diane Cox ride motocross as well as she ClID TT? Are they all just specialists, or will we see that they are all great, no matter what form of competition they endeavor to perform? . ' . . I've just noticed that It IS better on your pocketbook to buy an ~dvance ticket for both days than to watt at the gate. . so save that extra money a nd blow it on film for your camera. Advance tickets are available from Ticketron for $8 for both days. Tickets at the gate are Saturday at OCIR $5 or Sunday at Saddleback $9. Or, two-day tickets are $10 at the gate. •

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