Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1980 02 13

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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America's first couple of observed trials speaks out about their go-lor-it sport Mr. & Mrs. Leavitt By Len Weed You'd have to call them the first couple of observed trials. He's the three-time A men'can Champion. Before becoming Mrs. Lane Leavitt, Debbie Evans was already acknowledged as the best woman trials rider in the world. Now, at age 21, she's also a successful motion picture stunt woman. Lane Leavitt, 29, was 17 when two-whuling beC4me a regular part of his hfe. A hopeful motoCTOS$er, Lane was inspired by the antics ofJoel Robert at an Inter-Am race. His motocroS$ ambitions thwarted by reluctant parents, he toolc up trials. By 1970, when he won the first annual El Trial de Espana in southern California, he was considered the best trials naer in A men┬Ěca. In 1971 he won a tnp to the Bul/aco factory in Spain, a reward for winning the second El Trial de Espana. He became a contract rider for Bul/aco in 1972 and won the single-event North American Trials ChampionshIPs in 1972 and 197J. He trawlled continuously to compete, teach and spread the trials word. His trawls haw: included stops OVt:TSt!as to nae the Scottish SU: Days and World Championship trials. In 1974 Lane wonfivt: of eight rides to claim thefint AMA/NATC National Championship. Since then he has been a top contender as well as an avid promoter of the sport. Today, Lane is the "elder statesJnan" of trials competl~ors, a shopsponsored privateer in an aJnatt!Ur sport. Debbie Evans Learn~t climbed on her first bilce at sU: and started trialing at age nine. Bilces ran in the fallUly. Her dad, Daw Evans, was the fellow who dId the 14 How did it all start for you, Lane? Lane: I started riding in the dirt seriously in 1968. I fooled ,!round for a year with back lot racing and enduros. Then I went to the Inter-Am and saw DeCoster and al1 those guys racing motocross and I was real1y impressed. Afterwards I saw Joel Robert playing on a trials bike and that was real1y neat. My parents wouldn't sign a release to let me race motocross so I began riding trials in May of 1969. But I wanted to be' a motocross racer. That sounds like Marland Whaley's story. Lane: It's the same trip, exactly. I decided I'd race motocross after I became the best trials rider. But then I loved trials so much I stayed with it. Your fint trials bike was a Montella. When did you start riding a Bultaeo? Lane: Right after the fint EI Trial de Espana. I called up Bultaco early in 1971 and Tom Pat/OIl gave me a really endleS$ whuh'es in On Any Sunday. Dave has been an accomplished trials and enduro n'der in southern Cahfornia for years, often with factory sponsorship. she was sponsored by YaJnaha, on a TYI7'. She first By the time Debbie was attracted attention whl'1l she perfected the balance- bilce head stand. Then late in 1976 she transferred to the Expert ci4SJ in southern Cahfornia, the toughest trials arena in the nation. She rode herfirst national in 1977, in Michigan, taclcU'ng exactly the same sections as the riders entered in the simultaneous World Championship round. In the spn'ng of 1978 she became the first foreign wOJnan ever to finish the Scottish SU: Days, earning a first ci4SJ award in the proceS$. That summer, at Roaring Branch, Pennsylvania, she became the first wOJnan ever to finish a World ChampionshIp trial. Last year, droppmg down to the support SportsJnan ci4SJ after a movie-rel4ted injury slowed her training, she was gunning for the championshIp until her worlc scheduleforced her to mW the final two nationals. Her reel hfe begain in October of 1977. A year later she placed second in the nationally-televised CBS Stunt Competition and has worlced steadily ever since. l' ~ice deal and I've been on them eve,r smce. How long have you two known each other?F M I" I'k Lanee C?r yea~. otorcyc mg IS I e a . ~Ig family. I ve known Da~e E;vans smce the year one. It was a weIrd slluarion. daring my friend's daughter. Debbie: When he used to come down to trials he was one of my heroes because you look up to the Experts and he was the best. So I used to watch hini ride, but I never real1y knew him. He'd say "Hi" or something. Hi, litde kid. Debbie: Yeah, that was it. Lane: I had to be nice to my'friend's little daughter. I rode trials 'with Dave in 1970 [ 1970' Debb" 12 n Ie wu . Debbie: There was such an age spread then. Now there doesn't seem to be any.

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