Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1996 04 10

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 74 of 75

-GUEST EDITORIAL By DaveyC bsandE oom ricJohnson E lsew here in thi S. issue, you mi ght h a ve n oticed co vera ge of Saturda y night 's In d ian ap o lis Su perros s. The s to ry has another one 'o f hose ca tchy "Jeremy Wins" (or somehing li k e that) head lines, from the ir hinning files of "Jeremy Wins" headine s, and some decent photos taken by inney Jo nes o f McG rath leading the ay. And th en there's the Kit Palmerritten s to ry filled with th e actu al ords of Jeremy McGrath about how e w on ano th er record-raisin g 250cc 'u pe rcross, backed up b y the quotes rom th e unfortunate, unlucky competiio n th at s u ffe r in the e ver- prese n t ha dow of "Sho w tirne ." Ju st a rio ther xam ple of motojournalism during the est years of Jeremy McGrath's life. Bu t th e re ' s so m e t hi ng di ff erent bout Sa tu rd ay night' s w in in Indinapoli s for Jeremy and th e hist ory of he sport, so me thi ng th at makes this articu la r vic tory a little more m emoable th an m ost - if not all - of th e othe r ace wi ns to d at e. You see, McG rath 's 10th s traigh t su perc ross win of 1996, hen combined w ith his fou r straight ins in the 250cc AM A Na tiona l MX ha m pionship Series goi ng back to lat e 95, gives him a tot al of 14 st ra igh t firs tlace troph ies. Fourteen in a ro w . Th at ies McGra th with Bob " H u r rica ne" Hannah' s true record for all-time consecu tive wins in th e spo rt of m otocross . r su percross. Ninet een years ag o Hannah put u p th at reco r d number o f wins durin g hat must be considere d th e best year rf his caree r. In 1978 th e great "Hurriane" won s ix st r a igh t AMA Superross eve n ts o n his way to his second of three straight stadium championships. uring his off-weekends from su pe rross domination Hannah was winning he first eight 250cc outdoor Nationals n his way to that championship, for a otal of 14 overall or supercross mainvent w ins. Fo urteen races in a row. at doesn't sound right, does it? By now, yo u mi ght be asking yourelf about th e m ythical "22 in a row " ecord of H a n n ah' s th a t crops up in erich -racing se ssions or in motocross agazines or on the supercross televiion show s from time to time. Isn 't that u p posed to be th e all- time record? here, did that n umber co m e fro m ? e've all hear d about it, but where' is it in th e AMA's Media Gui des? Why isn't it in the even t progr am s? We decided it w as time to call true m o tocross guru (an d lon gtime Hannah fr ien d ) Be vo Forti of Scott USA to g ive us some ba ck gr ound on th a t " 22 in a row" thing. "Th at 22-race winning streak thi ng came from some ad vertisements tha t the co m pan ies w ere runnin g back in '78," says Fo rti o f the unofficia l tall y. "Honda finis he d 1-2-3 at Dayt ona w ith Marty Tripes, Marty Smith and Jimmy Ellis, and Bob got fourth on his Yama ha . So wh en Cycle News came o u t th e next w e ek, a te am sponsor o r so mething, not H ond a, ra n an ad th at sa id 'Wonder where the yellow went?' It got Bob really fired u p an d he pretty much sa id, 'I'll show 'em w here I went!' The n h e goes o u t a n d w in s every race h e en ters for the next three m onths or so!" Accordi ng to Forti, th at' s w he re th e 22 w ins came fro m , but it in clud ed su percross heat-r ace w in s, a ro u nd or tw o of th e AMA Florida Winter-AMA Series, and 250 Na tiona l mo ta wins, not just th e overalls. Th e record b oo k s show only 14 races - on ly? - in a row (six supercross, eight ou tdoor Nationa ls ) be cause m otos a n d heats a re n ' t considered her e - kind of like th e tw o halves o f a foo tba ll o r a b aske tba ll ga me.The streak was finally broken up by Hannah' s Yamah a teammate Mi ke Bell at th e L.A. Coliseu m, th ou gh Forti remember s the first m oto that Hannah lost as b e in g a t th e La k e Wh itn e y , Texas, 250cc outdoor N at ional, where Tripes stopped him for a moto but not for th e ov er all. "So Yamaha or someone ran an ad sa ying h ow man y races th e s trea k s tood at, e ven though it was motes, heat races , m ain even ts, eve ry th ing, " remembers Forti. One other note concerning th e first e v e n t of Hannah ' s winning stre ak : Ton y. DiStefano, Marty Smith and Jimmy Ellis crash ed together in the first turn on the second day of racing at th e Ho us ton do ublehead er . Tony D. d es tr o yed his knee, Smith broke his pelvis, and Ellis separated his shoul der. None of them would ever win another AMA Supercross event, and only Ellis would w in another outdoor race. Current Yamaha te a m m a n a g e r Keith McCarty had a front-row seat for th at era of Hannah dom ina tion - he wa s Bob ' s mechanic. "Com paring the spo rt then and now is im p oss ib le b e cause so much h a s chang ed ," s ay s McC art y . "Back in Bob ' s day there wasn't the pr essure on the riders or the focus on racing that th ere is now, but you still have to give Bob all the credit in the world, just like I give Jeremy no w . Whether it was 14 stra ig h t or 22, it s t ill took about 20 years for someone to match it." McCarty ad ds that there's a lot m ore to th e record than just Jeremy. "E very person connected with that team right now d es erves some credit, fro m Jeremy to Skip Norfolk, from Wess McCoy to Cli ff White. It tak es a lo t o f peopl e to p u t tog ether a streak like th at ." And McCarty, having pla yed a huge role in Hann ah 's record , certainly kno ws th at. When asked h ow and w hy th e era of Hannah ended, McCarty said it sim ply . "Injuries," He sa id . " Bob h ad th at water-ski ing acciden t w ith M ar t y Tripes th at ended th at time for hi m , a nd th en wh e n he ca me b a ck wi t h Ho nda a few years later h e s tar te d d omin atin g agai n but then re injure d his wrist wi th (Keith) Bowen. Bob w as u p a t th e top for a lon g time, but it ' s jus t like David Bailey o r Rick Johnson: Th ere's no telling ho w far he m igh t've go ne had he not been inju red. No o ne wants to see that h appen with anyone, b u t it's s tarti ng \0 seem n ow lik e a n injury is the on ly th in g that's going to stop Jer emy." Th e 14- r a ce w innin g s t rea k -n o w h eld jointly by Hannah and McGrath ou ght to be put up in lights because no o the r winning streak in racing stretches that long, unless y o u count the 17stra ight wins s co r e d by Team USA from 1981 to '93 in the Motocross des Nations (1981-93) and the now-d efunct Trophee des Nations (1981-94), a streak in whi ch b oth Hannah ('87) and McGrath ('93) 'a re included. The only o t h e r streak in America that really comes close is when Mark Barnett won 10 straight 125cc Nationals - the first three to en d the 1980 125cc National Series and the next seven such races coming at the start of the '81 series. But there were some supercross races throw n in there that the "Bomber" did not win. However, a closer look at the reco rd book sho ws a period of Barnett dominati on tha t m an y of u s journalists have overloo ke d . In '8 1 Barnett w on five of si x su perc ross even ts between March and November , a lo n g with th ose first seven 125cc N atio na ls for a n ea r-perfect rec ord o f 12 wins in 13 starts. Ironically, the o nly guy to beat Barnett during th ose glo rio us m onths was Hannah him self. The onl y other winnin g s t re ak in American m ot ocross that co mes close to the 14 strai ght is the 9-race winning streak of Maico leg end Ake Jon sson , a Sw ede, back in th e 1972· Tran s-AlvlA Series. The s treak includ ed sto ps a t su ch g rea t o ld sc hool tr ack s as Dick Klam fo rth ' s H ond a H ill s in O h io , Orland o Sp orts Cen te r in Flo rid a, and Pu yallup, Washington . Ano ther wellknown record is th at, as a brand , Suzu- k i w on 10 s tra ig h t 125cc W orl d M X Championship s between 1975 and '84. Team H ond a has ta ken e ight straigh t AMA 250cc Supercro ss crowns and will probably h ave a ninth , via McG rath, u nless th at comet comes ba ck and hit s him. In AMA Amateur National racing, it is known that Kevin Win dham o nce wo n 14 s traigh t motos at Loretta Lynn' s, but th at -h as about as much to d o with th e Hannah /McGrath record as th e 14 bu ses Evel Knievel (or m ayb e Ge orge Hamilton as Evel) jump ed in that TV movi e . In off- roa d ra cin g, " Kin g " Ri ch ard Burl es on o nce w on ei gh t s traigh t AMA Natio nal Enduro ti tles (1974-81), Ed Lojak won a w ho le bunch o f GNCC titles, an d Team Gree n probably ha s on e Baja victo ry for eve ry spoke on th e wheel of Larry Roeseler's bike. But amateur and off-ro ad records are vagu e; th at's fodder for another column. Every sport"needs a standard. Ever y sport-needs so m e rec ords. Every sport needs a her o . In 197 8 Bob Hannah helped bring the spo rt of dirt bike racing to th e forefront of the racing world wi th hi s su ccess, per son ali ty, and atti tude. W e saw that again in the la te 1980s with Rick Johnson, who might have hung his own "14" in 1989 had he not broken his wrist. And right now love him or hate him - w e've got Jeremy McGra th. Whe ther you think his current domination is g ood for the sport or bad for the sport, you've got to give him credit. I. ~OO~iNG BACK~..· I 5YEARS AGO.., PRIL20,1971 =--1...._RegBill Manley,was third. In fact, every ry, took second place and Pridmore hil e other folks m a y have been ut collecting aster eggs, Mark lackwell col ect ed the Open en ior-class win in a m otocross ve nt at Thouand Oaks, Ca lif o rru. a . J" a~ rm i.~'~~~..:'§.~7Ji es t finish ed --~ - ~ econd and Gary h ap li n was third . "This -takes a lot are e nd u ran ce th an desert racing," ich Thorwaldson was hea rd to sa y. "I idn 't realize what bad shape I was in ." horwa ldson finis hed fourth ... Three orton riders filled th e Open-class podim a t th e AF M Easter GP in El Toro, alifomia. Ja ck Sim mo ns rode to victo- Parker. Th e flagman had goofed and Grand Prix in Eastern Creek, Au stralia. there were actually 10 m ore laps to go, M ichael Doohan cam e from midpa ck to racer in the class rode a N orton... In but Kidd hung on for the extra laps and take second... Scott Parker, Ch ri s Carr Idaho, Mark Williamson led the Boise won... Darryl Ku enzer felt at h om e as and Ronnie Jones were inches ap art for Spri ng Opener TT h e won a t the Forked River National th e last severi laps of the Sacramento Championship flag- ~~~'J":.:J"':'r'~~,.. Enduro in the forests o f Mile in California's capital. Carr drafted to-flag . Mark ~s ou th e rn New Jersey. " It' s 'Hr:nMrllM"~-_~ past Parker in the fina l ' Bre l sford scored just like Michigan ," Kuenzer r, lap to win, and Jones th e fa stest lap said ... Ken t Howe rton and stole second just before th e fini sh line .. . . time. Bob Hannah fou ght fierce ly for the 250cc win at round Halfwa y thro ugh th e AMA Supercr oss tw o of the 125/250cc Nation15 YEARS AGO,.. al Ch ampionship Motocross Series, Hondas con tinAPRIL15,1981 Series at Saddleback Park in u ed to dominate as fach e n California, bumping b ikes tory rider j e an-Mi chel M ike m o re th a n o n ce. Hurricane Bayle took his fift h wi n K id d Hannah took the overa ll win. of the season a t round saw the "five ni ne in St. Petersburg, laps to go " sigFlorida. Teammate J eff 5Y AR E SAGO... na l at round Stanton, who had won four of the APRIL 17, 1991 t hre e prev ious rounds, AMA Grand National o rl d Road Race came in second. Jero m y Championship TT Series at Southern Champion Wa yne Bu eh l, also on a Honda, Cali fornia's As cot Park, he reckoned it Rai ney came ou t on preva iled in the 125cc class . was time to ta ke the lead from Scott top Down U n der a t the A us t ra lia n .. W W ..... ;.., 0.. -< 75

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