Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1980 03 12

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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But it's worth it. D0ing well at Daytona is money in the bank for the rest of the year. Take me for example. In 1978, I finished founh in the Daytona 200 mile race for 750s, and diced with Gregg Hansford for the 250cc Expert race lead until my Yamaha Motor Canada TZ250 ran out of gas late in the race. Before Daytona, 1978, my career had slumped into one of the valleys you'd see if you chaned a racer's riding fortune over the years. Since I staned racing on pavement at age 16, my riding fonunes have ridden and fallen several times. But 1977 wasn't a high point, and 1978 was a question mark. Daytona turned it around. I've been riding a wave of good fonune and luck and money in the pocket since. And if Daytona 1978 was good, Daytona 1979 was better, with second on the Yamaha Motor Canada 'YZR750 in the 200 miler, fint in Superbike Production on a Yoshimura Suzuki. Daytona again set the pace for the year, which I finished second in Superbike ~ints. The money I won at Daytona 10 March 1979 turned into a nice back-up when I invested it in preciow metals and real estate. And the results from 1978 gave me a shot at a contract with American Honda f~ the son of money every racer should be paid for doing something as dangerow and as good for selling motorcycles as racing. Daytona is important, and it's almost on w again. I'm in the middle of getting ready again this year, and everything'S in a whirlwind. I'm wed to that, since I've been going to Daytona for a long time. But this is the first time I've sat down and tried to actually preview what I think will happen before it actually does happen. 1 know that a lot of people won't agree with my predictions and statements. But that's why they have races. To settle arguments about whc.'s going to win. The two-strokes will have advantages, the main advantage being lighter weight. Because they are lighter, the two-strokes will have an advantage going into the comer under braking, and you'll see that advantage at Daytona. And coming off the comer, the two-strokes will be a little quicker in acceleration, once again because of the lighter weight. But the four-strokes may be able to offset some of the braking advantage by fitting really giant brakes like nobody has even seen before. The four-strokes might need fewer gas stops. Also, because Daytona has a slippery surface, we might be able to get a little earlier drive out of the comers on the fourstrokes because we'll have a little less wheelspin. The Daytona speedway is made out of a mixture of seashells and asphalt. Because of the high speeds we run there, we have to use very hard tires, and the track surface and hard tires make a very slippery combination. With a four-stroke, we might have a slight advantage to be able to roll on the throttle smoothly. I found that out last year with my Superbike. In open practice when I could be on the track with some of the 750s, I could actually out-comer them on the Superbike. I could slide it a little bit and get on the power very predictably, where a two-stroke is a little bit quicker to come on the powerband and light up the rear tire. As far as cornen go, the four-stroke might have an advantage right in the middle of the comer. The banking is a whole new ballgame. That's the pan of the track that will take a tremendow amount of horsepower. To be competitive with a four-stroke in the 2oo-miler, we're going to have to hit 180 mph. I feel that if we can hit ISO mph and have decent acceleration, we will be competitive. Of course it won't mean a thing if the four-strokes don't finish. It takes more than machine reliability, too. It takes rider strategy in the 2oo-mile race. Finishing is the most important thing. At the stan, position is probably one of the least imponant things at Daytona. What I mean is that if you're in the top five, you can still win as long as you can keep the leaden in sight taking into consideration that they all finish, it's jwt like a 10-lap heat race or anything else. It's wually the last few laps that make the difference. The thing with Daytona is the huge pan that engine failure plays. It's imponant to plan even before the race, in practice. When I practice, I conserve the motorcycle. I practice on one or two cornen at a time, then cruise the rest of the lap. I never try to have an outstanding lap time in practice, so then no one's really concerned about my lap times, and that takes the pressure off The Daytona 200 This year we have a new thing in the 200 miler in that I025cc four-strokes can race against restricted 750cc twostrokes (restricted means that the bikes have to run 23mm intake restrictors) and unrestricted 500cc two-strokes. A lot of people keep calling the fourstrokes that will run in this race "Superbikes," but they really aren't. These are basically anything-goes four-stroke racebikes with GP frames and highly modified engines. I've been out of the two-stroke racing game all winter, concentrating on the four-stroke scene, so I don't know what kind of improvements have been made in the two-stroke camp. But if things are similar to the way they were last year as far as two-stroke performance goes, if the two-strokes haven't made some vast improvement, then the four-strokes will be in there. Last year at Daytona, my lap times on my Superbike Production machine were 2:115 and 2:l2s, and that was with no fancy chassis and no streamlining. This year I have both a GP chassis and streamlining on my Formula One Honda. I rode a very conservative 200-miler last year on my Yamaha Motor Canada 750 two-stroke, turning 2:09s and 2: lOs, and I finished the 200-mile race second. If my four-stroke Honda has similar power to my Superbike of last year, then I feel that I have a very good chance to get in the top three, and so do the other good riden on four-strokes. American Honda Superbike and Formula 1 By Pat Eagan Ten years ago, American Honda went to Daytona to compete in the 200. With a fairy-tale ending, Honda won the race at their first attempt. The team this year is hoping for a similar result. Because Honda doesn't have a suitable 1000cc four cylinder road bike to start from, the basic machine is the CB750F. And because the powers-that-be are not inclined to be overfy generous with information, there are many areas where we have to guess what is being done_ The chassis will be basically stock with standard front forks_ Rear suspension probably will be Boge-Mulholland. Rumor has special WM4-19 front and WM6-18 rear Comstar wheels mounted, but nothing is finalized yet. Seeing as how Goodyears are the only thing available, that undoubtedly is what will be mounted_ Lockheed master cylinders and calipers will be used all around. All the Formula 1 components were manufactured in Japan, and this is where the tightest security is maintained. Motors for both bikes will be 750F engines modified with RSC1000 components. Not much is known about Internal components, but what can be sean is that the motors are wet sump instead of the dry sump version as written about last year. The clutch is the multiplate dry clutch as featured on the original factory Qption engines. American Honda does not know wheter they will use Keihin CRs like everyone else or if they will use the big CV carburetors like on the allconquering RCBs. Perhaps both. One thing that is known is who they have riding. Steve Mclaughlin is the team manager and also is a rider. A5 manager, he is responsible for co-ordinating all the efforts of his mechanics and of his fellow riders which includes last year's Daytona winner. Ron Pierca and Wunderkind freddie Spencer. Although Team Honda has the most potential, the rumor-mill has it that they are not ready and instead of another impressive victory like the one In 1970, they might possibly have another NR600 headache on their hands. me and my mechanics. We can do our work and we only start cutting fast times when it's necessary, which is on race day. And in qualifying. You have to qualify reasonably well at Daytona because if you get off back in the pack, with slower guys who get off the line good but hang you up in the infield, the leaden can get away quickly. The stan is imponant. It's not necessary to be leading, but it is imponant to be near the front. You don't want io be back around 10th or 20th because probably the worst place to be is between 10th and 20th. If you're in the top five, you're in a good spot. If you're coming up from the rear, it's no better to be in 10th through 20th than it is to be 30th or 40th. I don't think that it's much more of a handicap to be 40th than it is to be 11 th, jwt because the traffic is so severe at that speed. I race the 200 miler with strategy. I stan out and pace myself with a good, safe, hard pace. Then"1 try to pick it up every lap, go a tiny bit quicker, a tiny bit quicker, and as I feel better, I gain a little bit of speed in each comer, try to speed up every lap. As it ends \lP, my lap times at the end of the race are always faster than at the stan unIess I have some tire problem or something. That's the way I go into it. A lot of people may get a quiclter stan, but then I come on at the halfway point because I've paced myself. You can't pace yourself slowly. you have to be racing all the way, hard. I ride jwt conservatively enough to not fall down in the fint pan of the race. And then I can be sure and come out with a long, hard, strong finish pwh. I've had a very good 2oo-miler finishing record using that strategy, founh in 1978, second in 1979. I'm notsure if it's right, but a friend of mine, Bob Work of Yamaha Motor Canada, told me the other day that he had been looking at old Daytona programs and he thought that I had been in the top five at Daytona - counting all the classes - more often than any other rider in history. I don't know if that's true, but that's pretty much been my strategy - finish up front, but finish. My strategy has really started to pay off lately because in recent years I've been getting better machinery and have been able to work that to my personal advantage. I've got faster machines so I can slack off a little bit and then pwh hard at the finish. I have to hand it to Bob Work. I've been going to Daytona a long time before I hooked up with Bob in 1977, and I had always had a lot of problems. From him I learned about 200-mile preparation. The main thing I learned is the imponance of preparing your motorcycle properly and working with your mechanics. Before, I was always lacking a little in preparing my bike, especially as far as a rider telling his mechanic what's necessary. I learned a bunch from Bob Work in what must be communicated to the mechanic, but I'm not going to talk about the deĀ· tails because that's one Day~ona secret I'm going to use for myself again this year. I think it will work out because this year I have the same mechanic as I had for the Superbike Production race last year, lyo Bito. lYo will work on both my bikes. I'm only sorry that I can't do it with Bob Work again. Now comes the part where I stick my neck out. It's my opinion, and only my opinion. But here's how I think several teams and riden - in no particular order - will fare in the Daytona 200: Kenny llobertalTeam Yamaha/twoItrokc You can't talk about any race he enten without talking about Kenny Robens. His presence in any race al- o 00 0') 15

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