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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Page 47 of 47

liIr.e stopping a football game in the third quaner. All of a sudden they just fue the gun and everything is over and nobody has any warning. All the strategies go down the tubes. In my panicular case, I was leading the race by a good margin and I baclted off because there was some oil on the track and there were some crashes. I decided to run with the person who was in second place and wait for the last lap flag. h would have been a easy move for me to regain the lead because the bike was fast enough. I was just trying to run a conservative race up to the last lap. Then, all of a sadden a red flag shoots out there. What ... the AMA'I ftUOIl for not rataniDg the race? The rule book says, that after 60 per. cent of the race is run that you don't have to call a restan. They felt it would cause too much confusion and too many rroblems. First 0 all they don't have any restan methods. Their restan methods are fonned for din track. h's ludicrous to restan a road race single file. They tried that last year at Loudon and it proved how outdated their rule book IS, They didn't want to get involved in that again. I don't approve of that. It cost riders big floney to come to the race. They are ]lutting their lives on the line, doing their best to run that race. You have to use your head to run a race and sometimes that means being conservative. Waiting until that last lap in cenain cases, that's pan of racing. The AMA just steps in and takes all that away - just stick a red flag out. That's like sticking a flag in your spokes. You say to yourself, why did I even bother being conservative? Why did I use any strategy? Why did I even corne to this race? That's how I felt after the Superbike race. I was very upset with them pulling a maneuver like that. How many ambulances were at the track? They had three there. Do you think that is a lufficient number? No, I don't! Not for a road race circuit that's like Loudon, where it's deceptive how far it is from one tum to the other. h was obvious after the race more ambulances were needed. The problem would have been cured very simply if they had six or 10 ambulances. There would have been no problem. Sure, if they had six am· bulances it would have cost them twice as much in fees. But it costs twice as much to race a motorcycle today as it did three or four years ago. So the racen are paying out more money but the AMA is not changing their program. My thoughts about that weekend are that I was disgusted before I even l'Qde the National because of the Superbike race. I was disgusted even before I rode the Superbike race or even went to the track because of the way the AMA has run road races in general in the past. What do you think of road raeiDg as a pan of the Grand National Circuit? Is it realistic? I don't think so. The way that the AMA Grand National Championship is structured is good to a certain point - that it gives one rider the number one plate who's the best overall racer. But it is impractical, because what's the use of road racing if a din tracker such as Steve Eklund or Jay Springsteen can go to 20 dirt track nationals, win enough points while never even bothering ~o go to any road races and still win number one. That proves road racing is only a hindrance to a din tracker trying to win the Cham· pionship. I don't think it is fair to the guy that road races not to have a champiottShip of his own. The reason people race is to win a championship. I think that is proved in Europe. The GP's don't pay any money. Kenny Roberts gets $1000 to $!l000 start money at the most to run a GP where they are hauling in 100,000 spectators. He is getting paid nothing. He is there because of the championship. The waytheAMA thinks. the person that wins the most road races in a year is not the American Road Racing Champion. He is like the American Road Race High Points winner. You think that the American Iload RaeiDg Championship is hollow in that it's winner does not get to use a number one plate? There is no such thing as the American Road Racing Championship, that's just a product of everyone's imagination. I know, because I won the most points last year and would liked to have thought of myself as the American Road Racing Championship winner_ But I get on the stage with race announcer Roxy Rockwood, and he doesn't announce you as the American Road Racing Championship winner or the American Road Racing Champion. He announces you as the 1978 Road Racing High Points winner. That's a real blow to your whole purpose of going to a race. h's a simple thing of semantics. I mean it's a simple thing of what words they are using to describe it. That is the key to making a successful thing out of motorcycle road racing or anything. They should give road racing its own status in the U.S., separate from the Grand National ChampiottShip. You mean two totally separate championships each with their own num·· ber one plate? Let the AMA sanction the races, but. don't pay the Grand National Championship points because there are not that many road racers that are seriously competing for number one. I can think of one who is after the points and maybe two or three that are at the road races not really to win, but to just pick up a couple of points because it might move them from tenth to ninth in the standings. There are no grounds to have a road race pay National points. I think they ought to separate them and give them some real status. Call it an American Road Racing Championship and never mind this business about the championship. From what I have read in Cycle News in an anicle about dirt track racing, they are having their problems too. I think we would both benefit by splitting up. They could give themselves a lot more status by changing their name from Grand National Champion to calling themselves World Champion. When a baseball team wins the World Series, they are World Cham· pions. You don't have to have a legal permit to call a rider that wittS the most dirt track points a World Champion. All you have to do is do itl Call him the Din Track World Champion. You would be surprised what a different a couple of words in a title will mean to a racer and the spectators will want to come to see him. In Europe two simple words are what make all the racing over there World Champion. Two simple words. People spend millions of dollars and get nothing in return, as far as racers are concerned, just go after those two words, World Champion. You see, America has got something exclusive going in that they don't have half miles and miles anywhere else in the world. The only place they have them set up liIr.e tbey are is right here and the AMA just ignores that simple thing of semantics. If they gave the racer something that had status to race for, they would be moving forward. I am disgusted with the AMA because of little things like that. I think that splitting it up and calling the din tracker winner, the Din Track World Champion and calling the road race winner the American Road Racing Champion is the answer. All You have to do is call them that and it is worth winning. In the past the AMA refused to call anybody that has won the most points the American Road Racing Champion. That's against their policy. It's against their creed and religion because they have a Grand National Champion. They don't want to con· f1ict with that. What do you think would be a decent amount of American National Iload IlaciDg events? I would say from five to 10 events at the most. I don't think this country has they and I agreed to race. I can't do that. So, because of that, our relation· ship is effectively ended. Seeing as my contract ends in January and leer· tainly won't be able [0 ride before then, I would say that the relatiottShip between them and me is over. They showed no interest in wanting to go ahead with any funher development in 750cc racing for the U.S. There were some signs of wanting to do a 500cc development project, but I think the likelihood of that arising is . very slim. Next _ we will find ratricted 750'1, unrestricted 500's and Superbika with fairings all running toIIether. Is this a good idea? I cIon't agree allowing l000cc bikes to race against 750'5, no matter what their advaD.,!ages or disadvantages are. If the limit for a class is 75Occ, all the bikes should be 750. If it is l000cc, all the bikes should be 1000cc whether they are two or four-stroke. The Formula approach, which is what they are starting to adopt, of allowing 500cc two-strokes and 750cc four-strokes to race in one class is good for amateur racing. It promotes closer racing and allows everybody to be able to race for a smaller amount of money. the capability of running much more than five National road races or, if they were to be American Road Racing Championship rounds,. to generate enough spectators to make it all pay. Isn't that all a pan of promotion? Sure it is. That is where the AMA is also falling behind. All they have to do is get with the flow of what racing is today instead of what racing was 10 years ago. They are holding back promoters, they are holding back sponsors, they are holding back people in all aspects of racing. The AMA is just a perennial obstacle to everybody. At present where do you stand with Kawasaki? I am the same as I was at the begin· ning of the year. I signed a contract with them for 1979 to race their bikes and I'm still in the same position. If I were able to get up and walk out of here I would race a bike where ever When you're talking about professional racing, people race for money. I can't swallow the idea of telling one guy he can ride a 750 because it is a two·stroke or a 500 because it is a two·stroke and another guy can ride a 1000 because it's a four· stroke. I don't go along with that. It would seem that any factory that has a street hued Superbike effon going at PJaeIlt would concentrate totally on that and leave development of 500 and 750cc bika for Europe. I don't know, it is hard to predict the future in what's going to happen if they change this rule or that. If we have a separate championship for road racing with the machinery changes, do you think it will be IUCcellful? I think it will produce more riders. There is a large element interested in including Superbikes into the 750 class. They want to do that because many riders feel that they will be able to attract sponsors more easily. Mter market perfonnance product manufacturers would be a prime sour· ceo They are right, that is exactly what would happen. It. would open ~p more avenues for a pnvateer to gam sponsorship, but it is not going to draw any of the Japanese manufacturers directly into racing because the Japanese manufacturen have already produced . enough dealerships in this country and have established a large enough chain so that their market is just about saturated. 15

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