Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1980 01 30

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

Harry Klinzmann Beyond peanut butter and jelly sandwiches By John Germain Photos by Charles Morey and John Nikitas Hany Klinzmann was interviewed by Cycle News in July 1975. At that time, he was described as a gangly 16-year-old high school drop-out who got all his energy from peanut bUller and jelly sandwiches. His lightning quickness on a GP roadracer also was mentioned. Although the "gangly" part may be true, Harry posseses an accuracy of speech which belies his lack of a formal education. And yes, he's still deadly quick on whatever roadracer he throws a leg over. Harry's been around racing for the last six years, but unless you're a racer also you've probably never heard of him. This in itself is hard to understand as Harry usually places lOp five. He also has an interesting style of roadracing; dragging knees is common practice at any track, but owing to his above-average height (6'2"), Harry drags his shins as well. at counting his sprint and national wins, Harry and friend Dave Edmunds have won AFM's '77 Ontario Six Hour and the '78 Sears Point 200. Harry was also on the American/Honda Bol d'Or team in '78. The American/Honda team placed ninth overall, the first Americans ever to break into the top 10 in this very prestigious race. At the advice of his father, Harry began roadracing in 1973 on a 250cc Kawasaki triple. His father fully sponsored him, and in the 50's supported himself in European roadracing. "When I got that first S1, I thought, 'Wow, three cylinders, that's a lot of horsepower!' But still, I never really won a race on that bike. Lots of seconds and thirds, but no wins. I always seemed to lose to the same Ossa 250 or Wally Carpenick's Suzuki H6. Wally's still really fast, even though he's a lillie old to be racing now. "The next year, my father bought me a TA Yamaha, which I never really did well on either. There was something about the T A that 1 just didn't like. I guess these were just my duespaying years." 1975 and '76 were spent gaining experience, meeting people, talking to other racers, and learning as much as he could. Things didn't start coming together until the '77 season when Harry started to become a more or less regular in the winners' circle. He won his first endurance race in '77, the Ontario Six Hour. "During this period Ron Pierce started doing mechanical work on my Production bike and generally encouraging me to stick to it, Ron seemed to be there to encourage me when I needed it most. "Last year 1 was still plagued with mechanical problems, but I did much better. Racecrafters put together a Superbike for me to race at Daytona, when the bike I was riding for San Jose BMW blew up at Ontario. They said they couldn't get the BMW back together in time for Daytona, so I immediately went to Steve McLaughlin. I asked Steve if he knew of anyone who had a Production bike I could ride at. Daytona. "He said, 'Well, at Racecrafters we have a spare frame, ... a spare engine, ... some wheels, .. , I think we could put a bike together for you.' He "I see no reason why roedr8cing couldn't become 8 ma.. speet8tOr sport:' also said it would be up to Lynn Abrams, the owner of Racecrafters.' "Anyway, Lynn called me the next day and asked if I'd like to ride for them at Daytona. 1 said sure I'd be glad tol 1 thought that was great. I actively participated in the construction of that bike from the ground up. "After a number of mechanical problems, including a blown motor that just wasn't put together right, I got used to the bike and came from 35th on the starting grid to finish fifth in my heat race. (Harry would undoubedly have finished fourth, but with only a couple of laps to go he had to pit for gas while the BMW of John Long did not. Long passed while Harry was in the pits. "Steve and 1 remained teammates for the rest of the season, doing prelly good, all in all. I was also doing prelly good on my OW considering 1 was doing my own mechanical work. "Next year, Racecrafters is going to sponsor me in the GP class as well as the Production class. I'm really ha ppy with this arrangement. With Racecrafters prepping both my bikes 1 can concentrate more on my racing and worry less about the bikes. You see, when all you have to do is take care of yourself, practice, and show up for the races you're in a much healthier state of mind, Plus. this gives me more time to earn a living. ''I'm working in construction right now. 1 also have more confidence knowing a professional mechanic put the bikes together, 1 really appreciate all the help Lynn and everyone else at Racecrafters has given me. 1 should start doing better - much, beller. 1 might even start winning a few (laughs)'" At this point the interview took on a more serious note. It seems the AMA is seriously considering changing to 750cc Superbike, from the present 1025cc limit, "The AMA is trying to get the factories to back more tearns, putting more money into racing; in essence going at it head-to-head. On the one hand, this is good. It will get a lot of racers eating regularly, "But on the other hand, how's anybody going to break into racing once the factory teams become established; It's already so bad you just can't race without sponsors. It used to be, you'd win your class at Daytona, and you'd take home a couple thousand bucks for your trouble, Now you can't even win gas money. Where's all the money gone? We're all out there just paying for the pleasure of racing. 1 could win every race and not break evenl "What happens next year when Racecrafters builds me a Superbike for the 1980 season, and the AMA outlaws the Open Production class in '8I? You know, between development, and the cost of the bike itself, it costs around $25,000 to put together a decent Superbike. What does Racecrafters do with that one-year-old, $25,000 motorcycle? Make it into a planter? \'1 want the factories involved. 1 think they would do a lot of good, but I don't' think this is the way to do it. We should get more people involved in the public relations and promoiional aspects of roadracing. Get some heavy duty advertising and a few people like Steve out there promoting, and I see no reason why roadracing couldn't become a mass spectator sport. You know, ~ some people out there watching us, some crowds, like in Europe," • o 00 0') At 6'2" KUnzmann not only drags his knees, but his shins as well. 1~

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