Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1979 10 10

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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o . ...-4 cu "'" ..c o ~ u o Penton poses for a J. Walter Thompson ad agency photo similar to the one in last year's Brad Lackey ad. Jack Penton and the Kawasaki enduro effort The meanest green team yet? By Charles Morey Penton on Kawasaki - it still soundsfunny even though we've known about it fOT nearly three weeks. That's when we approached Kawasaki's Rom Lovil with an inquiry about the 1980 models and asked him if he had a color photograph suitablefOT ourfront page. "How about a picture ofJack Penton, who we've hired to head up our 1980 enduro team, sitting on the new KDX175 Uni· Trak enduro bike?" Lovil responded. The only sound in the room was the thud of a jawbone hitting the desk· top. Jack Penton? Kawasaki enduro team? Uni· Trak enduro bike? Questions popped up faster than the brain could rel4y them to the still·s14ck jaw muscles. As I recall, it all came out sort oflike: "HuM" Ston'es that come from the source, while not always as interesting as rumors, gossip and other fOTmS of second· hand information, are always the most acCUTGte. What follows is a phone conWTS4lion with Jack Penton. 16 What'. this we hear aboat your DeW job? "I went out to Kawasaki and ... I wanted to put together a race team. And they went for it; they said OKI I'm going to work here at ~ R&D (a Penton·owned building in LOf"ain, Ohio that Jack has le~ed from his d4d to use in the Kawasaki effOf"t ... Editor.) and put together a group of guys to ride the AMA National Enduro circuit. "I've been dreaming, ever since our bike went away, that I'd like to put something together ... to get -the guys together and have a nice team again. My job is that of Team Coordinator, and I'm going to ride, too." Penton continued, explaining that his job was a two·year agreement. "Race headquaners are going to be here, and the guys ... some of them are from around here, some are .pread out ... I'm ItiD constructing a team. There'll be four riden and myself, five guys altogether." Do you have anYODe OD contract, yet? "I've got some verbals. As a matter of fact, I've got most of the team lined up; I've talked to some guys. I don't have anything down on paper, so I'm just holding back a litde until the guys are all signed up. But I'm going to work ·with some guys that I have been working with. They're good team people; they haven't been involved in enduros, and they're excellent riden." Two-Day and ISDT riden? "Right. They're super riden, and I want to bring them into enduTOS. It's a good opponunity for them to be able to travel and not break their necks trying to get back for work and school and all those things. " Will they be full profeaional riden, paid 10 they wouldn't have to hold down another job? "Well, each guy has his own situation. What Kawasaki has enabled me to do is put together enough funds to Oy them to the races they can't drive to so that they can get back and fonh without missing too much work or school. But then, they're responsible to me, for their physical condition, any promotional services and the riding pan. Sort of a 'pan·time' job." Will ,-r lieaIIl ride T_Day ISDT IIt1Iff, or oaly the National Enduro circuit? "They (Kawasaki) were really good about it. They said that their main emphasis and plan is 'lOt a Two-Day type thing, but they're going to let me use the bikes, the guys, the equipment, and we'll be able to get back and fonb to get qualified. "I hope that we won't have to ride all, say five or six or however many (evenu) they have. The past two or three yean, I've ridden just enough to get qualified. The expenSe, from here, to go all the way out west - those two up north - is just astronomical compared to the return." Assuming everyone qualifies, will Kawa.aki help with the ISDT venture? Or are you more or lea on your own? "I've got .pecific commitmenu for the Six Days. In other words, any guy who qualifies on Kawasaki on my team is going to get a ride over: the standard ticket and a bike. And I've kinda padded enough that we're going to be able to handle it, I'm sure. What .ize bikes will your team be competing Oil? "The personnel I'm selecting is ... we're gonna try and hit aU the classes. We've got some really good A·riders who aren't AAs, and we want to go out there and make some noise in the A classes: the Open, the 250 and the 175. Then I want to have myself and another AA rider - a couple of good 'Overall' guys, and some good class winnen. W~'re goona .pread it out. We're gonna ride the whole product line, all three of the bikes." When will you allllOllnce who'. Oil the lieaIIl? "It geu ~ Iitde touchy. It's kinda weird because the season doesn't end for another month, about a month or so. And nobody in the AA ranks is free to negotiate until they've taken care of their obligations for this year. So, as of the last National ... like I say, I've taUted to all the A riden because they don't have the type of commitment that the AA guys do. Six Days pretty much ends a lot of trials riders' commitments, so I can tell you - it's not a giant secret or anything like that - it's just that the guys are trying to protect their interests and ride their bikes for another month or so. I don't want to publicize their names because most of them haven't gotten back to the people they're riding for, and said their thank-yous, and so on. When I get things solid with those guys, and when they get things straightened out with their sponson, then we can release their names. " What sort of support .,..rem have you planned for the team? "We're going to try a new approach that I think will work. It's a couple of approaches combined. We're going to get a boxvan, a good-sized one, with enough equipment, parts and everjthing. And we're going to put all the bikes in it, too. We plan to do all of our work at the R&D - all of our prep work - so it shouldn't be a problem there. "But the ringer is that we're going to get a travel trailer. I'm going to pull it out to the stan site and use it as team headquanen. The guys can stay in it, or shower, or change their clothes, or fa their route sheets, or whatever. We'll have a nice, warm home bue. These endUTOl are out in the middle of a field here, or out in the middle of nowhere there, and it's sometimes SO minutes, 40 miDUtel to a motel. It geu kinds of spread out sometimes. This way, when you get done, you can jump in a hot shower and get some clean clothes. "I'm going to ltay in the thing. r don't care for getting up at five in the morning. I'd rather get up at seven o'clock, throw my stuff on and ride. "I'm really pumped about the whole thing because Kawa.aki is enthu.iastic. So far, and from aD indications, they're un emely coopera. live in that they want me to do a good job, and they want the bikes to do a Rood job, so they've offere4 me the freedom to go out and, hopefully, apply some of the things I've picked up along tbe way. They haven't pressed me for anything unusual well, I say unusual to the enduro field requesu. Which makes me feel good because then I think I can go out and all the guys will do their best and get the job done for them. Sounds like maybe Dick Burleson had better watch out for himself Il~Kt year. "Hey, he's in troublel We're full racer" •

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