Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1982 04 28

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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...... ...... l-o 0- « American captain Dave Aldana leads Roger Marshall (11). John Newbold (5) and Barry Sheene at Oulton Park. 11t h Annual TransAtlantic Trophy American effort squashed,491-313 By Ala n Cathcart In an overwhelming display of superiority, Great Britain's nine-man road racing team crushed their American opponents in ' the six-race Anglo-American TransAtlantic Match Race series heldover the Easter weekend, by a score of 491-313. In doing so they outdid their 1981 squad by selling a new points record since the annual TransAtlantic Challenge began II years ago, and imposed the greatest margin of victory yet achieved in the series . Team captain Barry Sheene led the scorers with a scintillating five wins out of a possible six on his factory OW60 500cc square-four Yamaha. But Sheene's chance of a $40,000 special bonus for becoming the first rider to scoop a ll six races in the history of the series was cruelly dashed in the fourth race at Mallory Park, when the steering damper jammed hard on full lock at the tight hairpin, causing him to tip over. Teammate Roger Marshall , who chased him hard all weekend on his booming Suzuki four-stroke, beat Barry to the ' fia to score a 'well-deserved win that ' . doubtless had sponsors Marlboro breathing a deep sigh of relief at avoiding a big payout for th e grand slam - doubled in value since last year . Leading V .S. scorer was team captain Dave Aldana, who put in a series of typically gritty 'never-say-d ie' rides on his Don Vesco-entered TZ750 Yamaha. But a measure of the British supremacy is that Dave's 56 points left him only fifth highest scorer overall. The American team 's equipment, mostly aging TZ750s, was frank ly outclassed against even the British privateers and their 500cc GP bikes, especially on handling tracks that didn't permit the Yamahas' speed edge to manifest itself. To make matters worse, America's brightest hope for top honors, "Fast Freddie" Spencer, crashed out of contention in the first race at Brands Hatch without scoring a point on his NS500 Honda GP bike. With insufficient spares to repair the machine; Spencer was side- lined for the rest of the series, and the V .S. team heavily disadvantaged as a result. Further mechanical disasters resulted in onlv six V.5. bikes oui of a possible nine taking the grid for the final race at Oulton Park. It was that kind of a series. Prelimina ries To say that the team which finally assembled in London on the Wednesday before Easter represented the cream of America's riders would, without being uncharitable to its members, be less than the case. Not only was Kenny Roberts absent for the second year in succession due to Yamaha testing commitments prior to the Austrian GP on May 2, but America's number two in last year's 500cc world title hunt, Randy Mamola was similarly detained by Suzuki. Kawasaki's Eddie Lawson was mad keen to ride, especially after his superb Day tona showing on the KR500 GP bike, but with spares for that machine allegedly in short supply (though that doesn't stop the British-based Kork Ballington team racing their bikes in every possible non-championship race in the VK). Kawasaki V5A nixed the deal. More likely the real reason is Kawasaki's intense desire to retain the V .S. Superbike title, and with a race confirmed at Riverside only six days after the last Match Ra ce round, team manager Ga ry Mathers likely felt it too m uch of a risk to let "Fast Eddie" out of the country, and risk possible injury. At one stage it seemed American Honda might feel likewise about Mike Baldwin, their great hope for the Superbikeerown, but fortunately they relented at the last moment, and the Connecticut rider returned to Britain as a V.S. team member for the first time since his series debut in 1979, when he dazzled British racegoers and wound up top points scorer that year ahead of Sheene, American Honda have traditionally adopted a public-spirited approach to the Match Races. feeling that it's important that the best possible team represent the V SA . Last yea r th ey permitted Freddie Spencer to ride a Suzuki, and in 1982 not only did they allow Baldwin to compete so close to an important home event, but further released teammate Roberto Pietri to ride his own Mark 7 RG500 Suzuki in the series . Honda deserves the thanks of the American road racing community . for their actions, for without their riders the V.S. team would have been distinctly short of point scorers. Too bad the other factories don't view the importance of the series in the same light. A third Honda rider was on the V.5. team - and one who could be relied on to give the home riders more than a run for their money: Freddie Spencer. After his fine third place in the Argentine GP on the race debut of the new three-cylinder NS500 Honda, Freddie was set to give British fans their first glimpse of this innovative V-3 machine with its distinctive; droning exhaust note and extremely slim profile. Now based in Belgium, Freddi e was happy to treat the series as a buildup to the impending GP season, especially since he 'd be again pitted against Sheene's OW60. Venezuelan Pietri's selection caused some contention in England, till it was reminded that a particularly weak British team had been strengthened a coupie of years ago by New Zealander GraemeCrosbyl Pietri had just taken delivery of a spanking new RG500, looked after by ace British tuner Roger Keen. This meant that his more normal road racing mount, the Moriwaki-framed Honda Formula One bikeon which he finished third in the Daytona 200, would be ridden by Mike Baldwin. American Honda's Larry Worrell was along to take care of the wrenching. The FWS V-4 stayed home. After his unhappy experience in last year's series, riding a borrowed British TZ750 that never ran properly , Wes Cooley was relieved to be back aboard his trusty eight-valve Yoshimura Suzuki FI bike. The team's 16-valve Katana Superbike stayed home, still plagued by piston problems that saw Fujio Yoshimura visiting West German piston specialists Mahle last week in an effort to find a way to keep the extremely powerful ( 147 bhp on the brake) machine in one piece. For the hectic six-race series, the trusty old eight-valver was a much better proposition. The rest of the V.S . team were mounted on increasingly elderly TZ750 Yamahas - "our dinosaurs," as Rich ard Schlachter called them. Rich and Dale Singleton had jou rneyed up from the previous week's Imola race, Da le now with Bri tish mec hanic Jo hn Weedon - himself a former GP racer of no mean repu te -looki n g after the bike. From the ' V .S. came team captain Da ve Aldana o n the Don Vesco/Bob Work bike; as a reminder of Dave's lon gevity it should be noted that he also raced in the very first Match Races II years ago on a factory BSA triple. Nicky Rich ichi, bycontrast;made his debu t

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