Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1979 12 05

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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The manufacturers do not make money from selling motorcycles. They make their money more by selling dealenhips than selling bikes to dealers. The dealers make their moEf:Y from selling. Once the manufacturer realizes that he has all the dealers he can establish and the dealen have taken all the bikes they can. racing becomes unimportant. Racing is not important. It doesn't successfully sell motorcycles. It does not sell complete bikes. It has been proven in the past that racing does get dealers interested. Dealers are always interested in racing. If a company is involved in racing and a dealer of a different brand sees this company succeed he may be swayed to take on their line. Then the manufacturer has sold a dealership. But once the manufac· turer has all his dealerships set up. he then sees no point in racing. He sees no advantages of spending money on a racing budget. He goes to another country where there are not many dealerships, where the market is not saturated - South America, Australia and some countries in Europe. It is not going to work in the States. That's why Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha are basically out of racing in the States. There is just no benefit to it. 16 You're a factory rider that rida for a C*D.JlllDY that has both a 750 aDd a Superbike. Which does the factory rider ale UDder the DeW.,.-? Well, first of all. Kawuaki does not have a factory rider per se, because they don't have any factory bikes to give a factory rider. I was not really a factory rider. I was not sponsored by Kawuaki Heavy Industries ofJapan, I was sponsored by Kawuaki Motor Corporation, the American distributor. They thought that by going to the Superbike races they might sell a few more bikes. Now this is an incidence unlike the manufac· turer benefiting from racing. This is an incidence where the distributor and dealers benefit from racing' it's totally different. When you went to Europe you were riding for the distributor then and not the factory? That bike was sponsored by the distributor in the U.S., not Japan. They actually had no interest in going over there with the 750. Their main interest was the Superbike events in the States. The only reason they ~greed to go to Europe was because I insisted on it. I wanted to do the Match Races. I wanted to do a few other races over there and since they did not conflict. they agreed to do them. Your relationship with Kawasaki in Europe split up, why? They agreed to do the racing over there under one condition, that I pay for everything. All expenses and tran· sportation costs were out of my pocket. This was to come from the start money and I was agreeable to that. When we got over there the one bike we had used up all the Sf.are pans-due to continous engine failures. When we blew up the spare engine I didn't think we were going to fmish the series of races that we had wanted to go to. They felt that the bike would not finish all the races, either. Will this new mixed formula for road racing in the U.S. prepare a rider for the GP's? It does not prepare them at all. In fact, it moves them a good step back· wards, I think. It all goes back to the question of what you want out there. Certain people say if you have Superbikes you are going to get more people to come to the races, because they will identify with the bikes. I don't agree with that at all. In Europe all the bikes are GP bikes. They don't have Superbikes over there. Even the production bikes have full fairin~ and clip-ODS. The people will identify with it anyway, it is a motorcycle. They are going to see the racers at the track more than they are going to see the motorcycle. You feel thaa that people go to lee the rider more thaD the braDd they ride? I have always felt that way. I have always felt that the people go to the track to see competition. They want to see who is going to win. They want to see a good close race. They want to see a name rider. They want to see people that they have read about. If they are on different motorcycles it makes it a little bit more interesting, but it doesn't draw more people. I can prove that by asking how many people came to Loudon in '74 when they had four different factories entered; in '75 when they had three· and in '76 and '77_when there was only one factory rider. What about '78 when there were no factory riders, just a bunch of privateers all on the same brand. 1978 beat out all those other years for attendance. What draws the large crowds in Europe? The enthusiasm is much greater over there. The 'people are into racing much more. They have a high concentration of population so a crowd of 50,000 or more is relatively easy. Don't you think that in Europe, nationalism plays a big pan? Nationalism J?lays a part. but they do a dam good JOb of promotion. When they have a race in England and they are getting 40 to 50,000 spectators. They are selling the spectator a good program with a color photo of all the racers and the riders' name and background. They tell you what he has accomplished up to about 10 days prior to the race and it is up to date. They promote the race well. World Series comes about, it would be good in that if a rider can only make four of eight races it is not goiDg to hurt him so much, because the benefit is basically the prize money. That is where the rider comes out ahead. At Daytona this year. I was the only "factory" rider there in the whole race and my picture was not even in the program. (Sltip Aluland, riding/M t~ From the promoters and the spectalotS in the long run. Do you lee the po..ibility of outside moaey CDIIIiDg in? I think Kenny has plans for TV SJDdicarion of all races. That would be one possible source. Do you think a rider l'1ID show could work em both sida of the ocan? Yes I do. What they are doing is the same as the Formula One auto racers . do. They are saying here you go promoter. here is a package of 40 top riders in each (:l5Occ and 500cc) class and here is the prize. If you can't make out that full check, we don't come. He is going to thinIt twice about promoting that race and will make sure that he does some advertising to get the spe

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