Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1996 03 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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Page 66 of 67

AVIEWFROM THEByFENCE E Johnson ric "I wa nt to stay in Europe an d tie Joel Robert' s record of six wo rld cham . pionships." So sa id Stefa n Eve r ts to me as w e were d riving towards Los Angeles Internation al Airp ort. Stefan was on his way to the FIM World Ch ampionship awards banq uet in Las Vegas and had stopped over in Ma nhattan Beach for a few days before making the trek to Sin City. I had become frien ds w it h Stefan Everts the year befo re an d had remained in contact with hi m, usually by fax machi ne a nd telephone, throughout the course of his charge towa rds the 1995 250cc Wo rld Motocross Championship. It was now 12 months late r a nd Stefa n, his girlfriend han tal and I had spent th e afternoon cruising arou nd Los Angeles, Hollyw ood , Melro se Bouleva rd, and the various Sout h Bay beach cities. Thr oughout the d ay, we talked about Stefan's champ ionship -winning season, his new rid e with H RC Hond a-b a cked RWJ Dies el team, and his future in the sport. As the 1995 season bega n to wind own and Stefan began his final mar ch toward s the 250cc World Championship , ord began to leak out of Europe that Eve rts was pl annin g to p ack his bags nd head for the United States, mu ch in th e sa me fas hio n as legendary Fre nchan Je an-M ichel Ba yl e and South frican Greg Albertyn. Each rider had on 25 0cc Wo rld Ch ampio nships in urope and wanted to prove to the o rl d t h at h e was in fact the best o to cross racer o n th e plan et. That ean t putting everything into a su itcase, opping aboa rd a Trans-Atlantic airlinr, and heading to Am erica. Stefan wantto d o the same thing . Everts grew up worshipping Arnerian motocross stars. To him, the best ridrs in th e wor ld were Da vid Bailey , o h n ny O 'Mara, Jeff Wa rd and Br oc lover . It was his dream to even tua lly ace in the United States, and by w ining the 250cc World Championship, the fou ndatio n wou ld be set to ma ke th e move. But d espite his best-la id pl ans, th in g s d id not work o u t. St efa n was haunted by in juries, bad lu ck and , a t times, a loss of confid ence in his abilities. Since winn in g th e 1991 125cc World Cha mp ionship, Everts was being tou ted as the next sa vior of GP motocro ss, his move to the highly competitive 250cc Worl d Cha m pionshi p d ivis ion as a member of Sy lvian Ge boers facto rybacked Bieffe Suz uki team met with an un preced ented amou nt of inte rest and attention . Everts would be competitive immediately, actually in the hu nt for the World Cha mpio nship in his first yea r. However, a na sty crash a t the 1991 German Grand Prix nea rly cost Everts his life and racing for the remainde r of the yea r was ou t of th e qu esti on. In 1993, Ever ts recov er ed and came back to cha lle nge new 250cc-elass member South African Greg Alberty n (who had just moved up to the division after w innin g the 125cc Wor ld Ch ampionship). However, Albertyn - in his rookie season - went on an early-season terror winning GP after GP that resulted in a ma ssive poin ts lead that Everts cou ld neve r overcome. Albertyn clai med the 250cc World Cham p io ns hi p . A n d Ev erts went ho me to Belgium. An other yea r, another opportunit y wasted . The critics, particularly in Belgium, were beginning to nay-say the you ng Belgian. The motocross-crazed country saw a hero in Everts and expected him to return the nation to its rightful place as the top motocross country in the world. In 1994, both ph ysically and mentall y prepared to take on the 25 0c c Wo rl d Champ ionship circuit, Everts wen t to battle wi th Albe rty n week-toweek in a qu est for the highly coveted title. Heading int o the home stretch of th e series, Everts had a minor miscue during a practice session for the Finnish GP, resulting in a broken collarbone. His seaso n was over. Everts valiantly fou gh t on, but to no avail. Alberty n wo uld go on to clai m his seco nd 25 0cc Wor ld Championship. Evert s, despite giving it everything he had, returned to Belgium, a failure in the eyes of a number of his more critical countrymen . The critics had a field day. "Everts has no confid ence," they said. "He is weak in the mind... He is too fragile ... He will never be like his father..." and on and on it we nt. Everts "faced the mus ic" and quietly b eg an to prepare fo r th e 1995 250cc World Cha m pio nshi p GP opener in Talevara, Spain. It was a do-or-die yea r for Everts and his career . Desp ite a few setbacks and sketchy ea rly-season res ults, Everts pu t everything toge ther and was crowned the 1995 250cc Wor ld Champion a t the season-e nd ing Fre nch Gra nd Prix. Everts was so relieved and ecstatic that he was in tears the en tire aftern oon . He had finally go tten the monkey off of his back - an d, perhaps more importantly, silenced his critics. Du ri ng th e off-season , Everts was lured awa y from the Jim DeGr oot-managed JHK / Kawasaki team . After he won the Japanese manufacturer its first -ever World Cha m p io nshi p, H ond a ca me along an d sna tched up the new cha m pion, eager to have him as a part of their now-seriou s 250cc World Cha m pionship effort. But wha t about coming to Am erica? It was su ppos ed to be a sure thing . Durin g th e o ff-seaso n , St efan Everts did some soul searching . His father Harry Everts had b een a four-time World Motocross Champion, and Stefan had literally grown up around Grand Prix motocross racing. (His mother was actually pregnant wi th him as she followed Harry around the globe). After clinching the 250cc title Stefan had finally received th e accep tance he h ad so ri ghtfull y deserved from his countrymen and the world motocross community. Stefan ha d also seen what had happened to Greg Alb ertyn in his qu est to ta ke on Ame rica. Ever ts realized that Albertyn had the talent to succeed in Ame rican motocross, but to be expected to per form im me diately in the unique, intimida ting world of su percross was a di fferent story. Albertyn was thr own in to the deep end , wi th no time to get his head wrapped aro und the u ltra-intens e, jump-filled clim ate of American supercross. In an effort to get up to speed as quic kly as po ssible and im press the Am erican motocross public, Albertyn rod e way over his head , which resulted in a string of inju ries that he coul d never heal from . In fact, Albertyn's entire 1995 d ebut campaign (both outdoor an d indoor) in Ame rica was sabota ged du e to th e na ggin g inj u ries h e received through SX earlie r in the year. Stefan Everts was keenly awa re of all of this. "I just don't wan t to go to America and be expected to perform in supercross . I ju st d on't want to rid e around at the back of the pack." We spoke about Albertyn's pli ght in America throu ghou t the e n tire afternoon . Everts completely respected Greg ' s decisi on to come to Ame rica, bu t he also realized that it was a d ifficult uphill battle at best, no t to mention the financial hit he was taking . I mentioned to him that I thought it was cool that he had decided to stay in Europe. Despite some of th e cr it ics th a t ha ve hounded him through out his caree r, he was still a hero to the en tire Eu ropean motocross community. I also sta ted that I beli eve the prestige of th e GP ci rcuit w ou ld be sev erel y hurt if he were to lea v e. He an d h is n ame a re terribly important to FIM GP motocross. Stefan said that he had "thought long and hard abou t his decision" and that he wan ted to become the greates t GP rider of all time. After I had d ropped him and Chan tal off at the airport, I thou gh t that the decisio n Stefan Everts had made w as very cool. f~ LOOKING·BACK... 5YEARSAG ... O ARCH 2 3,1971 R e a d er s of I Cycle News ex perie nced eja v u se e i ng ick Mann on ! it~~~~ h e cover as the ,.~ inner of Flori- 1.-\1 ' a 's Da ytona 00. Bu gs wa s he fourth racer n the history of he mot orcycle _ _ ._. lassie to score ~~ ack-to-back victories Ron o h n and John Pen ton , th e top co nenders for the Nati ona l Enduro Chamionshi p. battled ove r swam p, sand and superhighway in the Allig a to r En duro ear Daytona Beach. Bohn won overall, vhi le Penton took to p honors in th e DOcc A class... Bryan Kenney rneth od ia lly d ispatched all co n te nders in th e lorid a Winter-AMA Series fin ale at here else? - Dayton a, taking top Openlass honor s to cap off his top standi ng n the series. Gunnar Lindstrom was the "inner in the 250cc class . w it h hog ca lls in th e w inner' s ci rcle. Gin a Bovaird .:N:~.:J became th e fi rs t woman to finish th e even t, coming in 37 t h ... Darrell Shu ltz pi ck ed up hi s third win of the AMA Supercross Series at D ay to na 's round fiv e. S chu lt z e m er g e d in th e le ad from a first-turn clash which left Mark Barn ett and Bob Han nah on the ground ... "The stra tegy was to get ou t in front and not look back," Jimmy Adamo said after the Battl e of the Twins at you -know-where. Simple bu t effective, as Adamo led flagto-flag ... while Jean-Michel Bayle finis hed third d espite three crashes en route... Ron nie Jo nes overcame an average s ta rt on a slick tra ck to win round o ne of th e Ca me l Pro Short Track Series . Runner up Chris C a r r sa id, "W h en you get d own on a real slippery track and Ron nie Jones can make it wo rk on the bottom , nob od y' s going to beat him." f~ 5YEARSAGO..• MARCH20,1991 t th e 50th running of the Daytona 200 Miguel DuHamel one-upped the old man by bagging the big troph y. Proud pop Yvon DuHamel said , "I co u ld n' t b e h appi er. " The elder DuHamel had com peted in the histori c race 14 time s, finishing seco nd in 1969... Jeff Stanton becam e the first rider to wi n the Dayton a Supercros s thr ee yea rs in a row . Jeff Ward finis he d second , A Dick Mann won the 1970 Daytona 200 on a factory Honda. Photo from Cycle News arch ives.

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