Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1982 05 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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Suzuki's Randy Mamola dominated all three legs of Donington Park's international road race . Mamola dominates John Player Gold Cup By Alan Cathcart DONINGTON PARK, ENGLAND, APR. 17-18 Randy Mamola served notice that the new XR40 Suzuki Gamma will bea force to be reckoned with in the 1982 GP season when he broke Yamaha's so far unbeaten line of successes this year with a convincing three for three win over Barry Sheen's OW60 Yamaha at the Donington Park Inter- 16 national meeting at Britain's parkla nd circuit. Helped considerably by his massive eight and a half inch Dunlop rear slick , Mamola came from behind ea ch ti m e to win in relatively untroubled sty le. " T he new tire takes a bit longer than the old narrower ones to warm up." he said after. "so with only two warm-up laps and the cool weather I took Dunlop's advice and stroked it for the first few laps. The bike really ran good. and I'm looking forward to Austria." Randy's first win came in front of 12 million TV viewers in a live televised race on the Saturday, when in blustery, cold conditions he was run- ning in th e bottom half of th e top 10 after three laps when UK Suzuki teamster Keith Huewen unloaded in front of him exiting from the tricky McLeans right-hander. Mamola was forced on to the grass for about 75 yards, but kept it upright, although he lost may places. H e must have been quite relieved therefore when the race was stopped to allow the injured Huewen to be removed by ambulance, restarting as a new race from a grid line-up. This time Randy made no m istake, and steamed past Sheene and the UK factory Hondas of Ron Haslam and Aussie Wayne Gardner to take an easy win. The following day was sunny but still cold. Main event was the prestigious John Player Gold Cup, run in two 20-lap legs ofthe 1.91 mile track. Last year 's winner Mamola again took three laps to make his move. passing Sheene and current British Champion Bob Smith on his privateer RG to win by a convincing seven seconds. Randy also posted fastest lap of 1:15.6. a speed of 93.20 mph. South African Kork Ballingrou's KR500 Kawasaki was a disappointing sixth, seemingly unable to cope with th e privateer Yamahas and Suzukis. Kiwi Stu Avant in particular gave him a hard time for the 20 laps on his new Mk. 7 RG500, before falling back in the last two laps to fin ish eight. ' For the second leg Sheene, a Michelin-shod rider for many years, threw a scare into the French company's representatives by acquiring a rear Dunlop tire. In fact, it stayed leaned against the wall of his garage, but the message was clear: " Come up with the goods, or I switch." At the start Sm ith took an early lead , but was nailed on the first lap by both factory riders , who then proceeded to wage a battle royale for the full 20 laps in front of a 20.000 crowd. Mamola led throughout, with Sheene sra ining every nerve to pass him, nevermaethanaroupleoflengths behind. Though Barry put in the fastest lap of the day at 1:14.8 (94.20 mph), he was never able to catch the flying Suzuki in sp ite of a tremendous last corner effort which saw him just half a length behind at the flag, with Randy ahead by .I seconds. Behind, Frenchman Bernard Fau got the better of Smith for third on his first ride on a privateer Mk . 7 Suzuki. (Fau was axed from the Sanvenero factory team after someone with a greater sponsorship package came along.) Balling- ton retired on the second lap with unspecified engine problems, and was reportedly mighty upset thatKawasaki had sent h im a practically brandnew mach in e after he 'd spent th e whole of last season gradually honing the previous model to th e verge of beinga GP winner. Avant wound up six th overall in thi s race and on combined standings: Mamola was natura lly first , a nd Sheene second, with Fau third. The eight and a half inch Dunlop rear tire which has apparently given Randy and Kenny Roberts such an edge over the competition is apparen tly very difficult to construct , according to Dunlop Racing ch ief Derek Freathy, hence the fact that for '82 its circulation will be restricted to these two riders plus Ballington th e team leader in three of the four Japanese teams. Honda probably wouldn't want the tire even if it were available to th em, since the increased drag goes against their NS500 policy of building a low , light, slippery machine. Privateer sales are expected in "abo ut a year's time - poss ibl y a little more, " according to Freathy. Expect a big market in modified swingarmsand five inch wide rear wheels to accomodate th e n ew monster. In other events. Honda strolled the Streetbike race, with Haslam recovering from his pre-Match Races fall to hold off Gardner a nd set a new class lap record on his CBllOOR. The Superbike race (equivalent to U.S. Formula I ) wentthesame way, but in the British TT Formula One race Roger Marshall's Suzuki won a titanic dice with Wayne Garnder's Honda to score his seco nd win in th e series , after both riders had led for several laps. Gardner slowed at the end with engine trouble after a piston clouted a valve, but kept it running on 3 cylinders to cross the line fractionally ahead of New Zealand privateer Dave H iscock's Suzuki, who beat factory Honda rider Ron Haslam into fourth spot. Hiscock's bike is one of the most interesting to appear on the British scene for some time, and the first monocoque-framed four-cylinder four-stroke to be seen yet in TT Formula racing. Designed and made in New Zealand, the bike obv iously represents a considerable threat to th e factory teams, now standing second in the Championship ahead of both Hondas and all the works Suzuki riders bar Marshall. Hiscock's neat but forceful riding is obviously a factor. Final major race was the 25Occ, in which British Armstrong machines, powered by the Austrian Rotax engine, scored still more success in their total domination of U.K. 250cc racing: Steve Tonkin scored easy wins in both races, only troubled in the first by teammate Aussie Jeff Sayle, who was however forced off the track by someone else's crash early in the second race , and retired as far too far ~hind to be able to make an impressron , The expected challenge from the rival Waddon-Ehrlich team never materialized: Tony Head - fourth at Daytona - crashed on the warm-up la p of the first race, and finished well downfield in the second. Teammate Richard Schlachter, having at last secured the factory ride he's been dreaming of for so long, sawall his hopes turned to ashes when after a slow start in the first race, he unloaded heavily on Donington's treacherous surface, breaking a wrist, grinding a little toe away to the bone, and losing a lot of skin. Though Waddon team chief BernardSheerin wanted to get Richard treated at a Harley Street clinic, Schlachter flew home the next day for a skin graft. A sad end to what had promised to be the start of something big for the Connecticut rider. •

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