Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1996 03 20

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 82 of 83

·· R civeyE A RX' C B yO Coombs veryone has a different highlight to their 1996 Camel Motorcycle Week. For some people it might be th e startling Jeremy McGrath-vs.-Jeff Ernig motocross battle at the Gainesville Nationals. For others, it might have been the Scott Summers-vs.-Ty Davis batt le at the Ocala cross country race. There was also some great road racing on Frid ay morning that I heard about, bu t I was too busy trying to find a hotel room for less than $195 per night (twonight minimum) to notice it. And then th ere was spectating at the Alligator En d u ro, an off-road adventu re where w e saw the riders start their motorcycles, cross Tomoka Road in single file, rid e across a field and then disappear into the woods. Then a few hours later they came back. It was all terri bly exciting . Fo r m o st people the "P lay of the Week" w ould h ave been the Dayt on a 200 itself, only that event was canceled due to the inclement weather. So standing in line under a Smokin' Joe's Racing umbr ella will have to suffice. For others th e highlight of Camel Motorcycle Week mi ght not h ave anything to do wi th sport. The pinnacle of their week m igh t be seeing the human carnival that is Main Street. For instance, my frien d McGuyver's "Moment of the Week" came when he saw a guy riding down the street with a cat standing on his head wearing sunglasses and wearing a little cat helmet . He was m o re excited about that than he was when he woke up in the Boo t Hill Saloon with a crowd of biker people standing around him. Joe Colo mbero of Suzuki showed up with one of the movie star Baldwin bro ther s, which provided th.e highlight for m any spring break gi rls, incl uding John Dowd ' s littl e sis ter. But Joe ' s adm itte d high light came when he saw a jou rnalist stu ff a li t cigarette into th e nose of a p assed-out, snoring man in the Coliseum bar. Th e coolest printable th ing to h appen in m y " Bik e Week " a ctua lly oc cu rred twi ce. I had th e p lea sure o f strapping 'on m y brother' s riding gear, borrowing a bike from th e BSY guys, an d tak in g a motocro ss su pers tar trailridin g. It happened on Monday afternoon in Ocala wi th Team Suz u ki's Greg Al bertyn a nd th en aga in on Tu esday w ith Sp litFire / Pro Circuit Kawasaki's M ickael Pichon. E The idea of taking Albee riding came to m e on the Sund ay nigh t after the Gai nesville Nation al while Greg and I were eating pizza with photographer Kinney Jones, fellow motojournalist Donn Maeda and the Paint Can people. Greg was extremely depressed after having came up well short at Gatorback. "You need to get yourself some time on th e track where you're the fastest guy out there," I recommended to Greg. "It's been almost a year since you actually passed someone." Greg didn't think that was funny, but he did want to know where he could get in some riding the next day. "At the Ocala GNCC they're havin g an open practice on th e m o tocros s tra ck for everyone that's en tered in Tuesd ay' s race," I told him . "If you go ther e I w ill get you on the track an d yo u can pass more people th an yo u can' t. It will d o wonders for you r confidence !" To my su rprise Albertyn showed up on Mo nday afternoon wi th his ridi ng gear and a Suzu ki he b orrow ed fro m five-ti me Na tional Enduro champ Randy Haw kins. I found him a course marshal's orange bib to wear and made him sign a release so he wouldn't sue my parents when he landed on a guy trail-riding his YZ490 through the downhill doubles. Then I sent the threetime World MX Champion out there to do battle with th e formidable likes of part-time promote r Bu ren Ha mrick, part-time school bus driver Ralph B. Thorn, part-time fishe rman Johnny Lee, and a co uple of hundred other parttimers. Al bee was on it ! He was p a s sin g th ree or four XRs per com er and creating h avoc in the woods, where the likab le South African might have a future if he doesn't figure supercross out soon. I wasn' t the only one im pressed by Alber ty n . Team Green te ch nician Jeff Cham bers tol d me th at af ter the first practi ce Ty Davis rode into the pit s with a very con cerned loo k on his face. "I felt like I was ridi ng grea t until so me guy on a Suz uki wi th a course marshal's bib blew pa st me!" muttered an aston ished Davis. Wh en the red flags came out, Albee pro posed t ha t I ta k e h im for a lap around ,th e entire O cal a GNCC track, not just the abbreviated version they were using for practice. The Be a ch Sport Yamaha guys happened to have for me to ride a totally clean, race-ready YZ125 sitting in their p it area that belonged to young in ternational flyer Ernesto Fonseco. The fact that I would be riding a Costa Rican 's Japanese bike with a South African in America gave the whole event too much U.N . flavor to keep track of. It was last June that I last had ridden a motorcycle, so as we were riding across the parking lot my forearms started to pump up. Albee had shorter bars and Barkbuster on his RMX, which I quickly noticed and filed away in my excuse department. We made a quick lap around the m otocro ss track before dropping into the woods, by which time my forear ms were the size of Hawk's on American Gladiators. This was going to be one lon g lap. It wasn't. In fact, riding th rou gh the Florida woo ds wi th Greg Albertyn was one of the coolest thin gs I've ever done. I settled down and go t a little rhythm going and was able to enjoy riding in fron t of Greg, who was p robably rolling along at quarter -speed. I would watch h im bound through th e sand whoops and imagine myself racing with him in one of those sandy GP tracks in Holland, or we would drop into a fast tram road through the trees, and I would think of us at the Citadel in Namur, Belgium. When I crashed my eyes out in the rocky woods section I thought of myself laying there waiting for a horsedrawn ambulance in Hungary. When we got back to the motocross track I noticed Kinney and his Nikons standing near a comer as Albertyn and I approached - me wide open, he, at half-speed while adjusting his goggles. I had the inside and the advantage of two hands on the bars, so I slammed him, knocking the 'factory rider over for the benefit of the wo rking press . It was the greatest moment in m y mo to rcycle riding career. I woke u p th e next day w it h tw o h and fu ls of b list ers and several hun d re d d ollars worth of fender and side pan el bills from BSY. Th is w as Tuesday, the day of the actual GNCC bike race, and I was back to be in g a jou rna lis t. Every top off-reade r in the country was the re to compete, but th e most significant person on the prem ises to me was Mickael Pichon, who won the first mo to at Gainesville but, like Albee, crashed on the start of the second moto. Maybe Pichon needed a simila r boost of co nfidence, I thought to myself as I saw Kinney standing near that same comer. Pichon got his gear on and pulled his chrome-and -plastic-bedecked KX125 out of the Pro Circuit big rig. I waited until the BSY guys weren't looking to steal Ernesto's now-battered but stilI very fast bike off the stand and rode over to the Pro Circuit truck for another lap with greatness - French greatness, this time. Pichon was not quite as successful in the woods as Albee. He had wide bars, no Barkbusters, and not a hell of a lot of woods-riding experience. But h e was still about six t im e s fas te r th a n m e. Th ree differe n t times Pichon go t too close to a vine wi th the right side of his bike and cat apulted hi mself over th e handlebars w hen his factory-sen siti ve front brake lever go t touched . It was all very humorous until I we nt so far over the h andlebars on Ernesto's bike that I almost landed on my feet. It was time to go back to taking photos, not making them. Truth b e to ld , both Alber tyn and Picho n could one day extend their careers by riding in the woods. Both are so talented it's ridiculous. We see them on mo tocross and supercross tracks doing their things and are amazed by their speed, but when you get right up behin d them on a narrow trail and wa tch them blip-throttle their way over rocks and trees and downed journ alists, well, th at' s even more amazing. After we rode, Pichon and I talked about the woods and the differences in riding that kind of track for three hours vs . riding a motocross track for 35 minutes. He said he was com pletely amazed at how Scott Summers could go so fast on a Buicksize d Ho nda XR600. I was impressed by the fact th at the Frenchman even kne w who Scott Su m me rs was. "Oh yes, I know Summers - he rid es that p ig! " said a joyful Pi chon, his arms spread wide in th e Pro Ci rcuit tr a iler as h is mech an ic Ch ad Watts whi m pered over all the broken plas tic on th at bike. So th a t w a s the hi gh li ght of my Ca mel Motor cy cle Week 1996: U was one of those tim es when I realize how cool m y job is and how lucky I am to have it. n I .LO K G O iN ·B.ACK... 25 YEAR SAGO... MARCH 30,1971 e lik e d it, we r e a 11 y liked it! Cycle News got a peak at the now-fa mous m o torcy le m o v ie "On Any Sunday" at a 16m in ute pre- W vie w screeene d 0 : ; = - . for the ~ m otor cycle p re ss in Hollyw oo d , and gave it a b ig thumbs-u p. Film m a ke r Bruce Brown (shown at w o rk on the cover) followed Malcolm Smith, Mert LawwiIl and other luminar ie s o n th e racing circu it.. . J.N . Roberts got out front at the start of the Mint 400 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and held the lead to the end. Teammate Max Switze r wasn't as speedy as Roberts, but was fast enough for a first-p lace combined finish ... Larry Pfutzenreuter and Whitey Martino were neck-and-neck ~7inr;:JI"Tr"':T..L and full throttle in the final miles of a Lucerne Valley, California, Hare Scrambles, backing off a t the last moment to avoid taking out spectators. Mar tino wo n the photo finish . 15 YEARS AGO... MARCH25,1981 B a rn-s to rm in g Mark Barnett scored back- to-hack wi ns at ro u n ds six and seven of the AMA Supercross Series at the Hous ton As trodome, taking the se ries lead I away from Da rrell Shultz, who injured a first-lap crash that left him in lIth his knee during practice, finished ninth place to win round eight of the AMA Saturday and sat out Sunday's Camel Supercross Series in Arizona's round ... "I hope this is a sign of 1i'l:;1:-l1:-:-.... _ ~ Sun Devil Stadium.. . things to come," Freddie Spencer S co tt S u mme r s :said after winning round two of needed some help the AMA Superbike Champito win round one of onship Series at Talladega, the Grand National Alabama. Eddie Lawson was Cross Country Series I runner-up ... Larry Col eman at Shelby, North CarI and Mark Bevans raced olina. "On the last lap through the streets of Long I buried it for more Beach, California, and on to the than a minute," Sumcover of Cycle News, winning a m e r s said. " I was 12-lap sidecar race held in conlu cky th at a couple of ju nction with the Long Beach other riders jumped in Grand Prix Formu la One auto to help m e, or I race. would've bee n there for a while ... John M yers racked up a perfect 155YEAR SAGO... point score at the Nissan America n Speedway Fina ls in Long M C 7,1991 AR H2 Beach, CA. It was the 10th and final time hargin g fas te r th an a teenager at the event was held in Long Beach Veterthe mall with d add y' s gold card, ans Stadium. Jean-Michel Bayle recovered from __ C

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's - Cycle News 1996 03 20