Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1996 04 17

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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The Kaw asak i-mounted trio of Piergiorgio Bontempi, Jehan d'Orge i x and Brian Morrison rac ed to victory at the s eason-o peni n g r ound of th e World Enduran ce Ch am p ionsh ip a t th e 24 Hou rs of Le Mans, in Le Mans, France, April 6-7. The winning team completed 768 laps of the 2.75-!11ile circuit, covering a total distance of 2112 m iles at an average speed o f 87.826 m ph. Secon d p lace and one la p down were Ad rien M orilla s, J ean -Marc D e latan g a n d Ra chel Nicott e (Yam), whil e in third with 766 laps were Ale x Viei ra, Christian Lavie ille and Will iam Costes (Ho n). After qua lifying on pole and ru nning a stro ng ra ce, even lead ing for a time, T erry Rym er, Pet er Goddard and JuanEr ic Gomez (Suz) suffere d la te-race en gine troubles to finish seventh in the a ll- new GS XR750' s world e n d ura nce de bu t. Spaniard Marc Colomer-(Mon) successfully defended his World Indoor Tria ls cro w n by d omin a t ing the 10-ro un d series. Co lo mer won five of th e n ine rounds he contested to finish the series w ith 166 poi nts. Fi nlan d 's T o m my Ahval a (Fa n) tallied 139 in the se ries fina l standings to finish second. Britain' s Doug Lampkin (Bet) was third, scoring 111 poi nts during the series . Ian Hambid ge (Hon) and Dave Cole (Due), res pectively, won th e firs t two round s o f th e Castrol Australi an TT Series on the main streets of Port Kernbla, Woolon gon g, Au stralia, on Apri l 78. Hambid ge set the Formula On e la p record of one minute, 33.08 seconds on Sa turday en ro ute to fin ishin g fi rst. ahead of Wayne Clarke (Suz ) and Cole. On Su n day, Col e cam e ba ck t o bea t Hambidgde and Clarke for the top spot on the podium. Re ig n in g U .S. Natio nal Spe edwa y Cha m pion Greg Hancock will headline the list of rid ers taking part in the Coors Light /Legal Rights Defenders ' 96 seaso n opene r at the Or an ge County u nds in Cos ta Mesa, Ca liforn ia, on Ap ril 12. Hancock did not take part in the Spring Classic on March 16, but the British Leagu e and Wo rld Grand Pri x star says that he is anxious to strut his stuff in front of his home crowd. "I have p la nn ed several trip s home during the season," Han cock sai d . "I want to do the best job I can as U.S. National Champion, and that means riding Costa Mesa wher e my friends, famil y and sponsors are . I think you' ll see mor e (American) rid ers returning this year. It' s important for us to su p port U.S. speedway, and I'm lookin g forward to competing on opening night." Gates open at 6:30 p.m. with the first race sch eduled for 8 p.m. Fo r m o re inform a tion, call 714 / 4929933. The broken elbow that Team Ch ap arra l team manager ! rider Larry Broo ks sustained at the Daytona Supercross may in fa ct forc e the longtime N at iona l and Super cross conten der in to retir em ent. " It look s lik e it," said th e 29-ye ar-old Brooks, w ho is also a former Mickey Thompson Ultracross Series Ch ampion. "It wa s broken in six places in six inches - it w as shatt ered . Wh en th ey di d th e su rgery, the d octors pi nned an d wired it , bu t the wire th at they u se d ha s slip ped b ack one centimeter, so I am tentati v e ly sc hed uled for a nothe r s urgery on Wednesday (April 10) to .... basically go in and red o the whole thing. 0.. I'm hatin' it, beca us e they say that this ~ surgery will be wa y worse than the first one, because they have to go in and rebr eak what ha s alrea dy healed . So I sat ...... ... 2 down with Dave Damron (Chaparral's owner), and he wants me to retire. It's not definite yet, beca use I'm not sure if I can. But I'v e been doing Nation als and supercrosses for 12 years now . I'm still co mpetitive in th e outdoors, but I' m on ly like 15th-place guy in supercross. I don't just want to 'be out there: Besides, these new ki ds are so crazy." Bro oks said that if he does call it a day, he will continue to devote 100 percent of his effor t toward his role as tea m manager, provid ing gui dance for teamm ates Greg Schn ell, Brian De egan and M ichael Brandes. "It'll de finitely be a challenge," Broo ks said. "I' ve been talki ng to them and trying to focus them. We've bonded, and they listen to me now because I'm no t a com petitor. I've been trying to show them the big pictu re. The work is never done." Fina l pr epara tion s are in pla ce for the AHRMAffeam Eddie Mulde r National rr and Flat Track schedu led for April 12-13 on the half-m ile dirt track at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond , Califo rnia. Mulder is expecting a co nsi derab le turnout for t h e eve nts, wh ich are bein g run in conjunction w it h th e A H RMA Historic Cup Series road race Na tional-on Sunday. Pit gates ope n a t 3 p .m., and racing is sched uled to begin at 6 p.m . on both nigh ts. For m ore information, call 805/251 -8662. Follow in g h is im p ressive 2.0-liter car racing debut in Aus tralia on March 31, it has been rep orted that Kevin Schwantz may get a drive in the TOCA Shooto ut at Don ingt on Park in England later this yea r. Schwa ntz finished third in his Foxtel Peug eot in on e r ace an d six th in ano ther during the race which was hel d in co nju n ction w ith the Au strali an round of the IndyCar Series. According to Cycle News co rres p on den t Darry l Flack, Foxtel Peugeo t team boss To ny Jaggs says th e British deal w as con tingen t on the team receivin g su pport from . Peu geot' s top brass in Fran ce as well as th e su p p ly of th e new Peu geot 406 to Au strali a. "Th e Schwan tz thing is hot and we're h ot to take him overseas," Iaggs said . . Darryl Flack also reports th a t former World Champion Wayne Gardner had a less th an aus p icious debu t in the AIIJapan Grand Touring Championshi p on March 31. Gardner qualified his Toyo ta Su p ra 11th a fter h is Fren ch co-d river could do no better than 22nd in the wet qu alifyin g sessions, but th e Au stralian crashed out of the 300km race after be in g involved in an acciden t wi th another ca r. Ga rdner is sc heduled to race the Toyota aga in on May 5. Forme r Motocross Wo rld Cha m pion Bobby Moore su ffered a b roken rig h t hand in a practice crash last week . The Ya ma ha fa ct ory r ider underwen t surgery on Friday, April 5 to have the hand p inned and he' ll be out of action for 30 days, forcing him to miss the first tw o rounds of the 1996 World Championship MX Series. The AMA Superbike N ational Cham pionsh ip rou nd origi nall y sche d uled for Sep tem be r 27-29 a t Firebird International Raceway in Ch andler, Ari zon a, has been canceled. The managem ent at Firebird opted not to prom ote the race in 1996, accord ing to the AMA . "The Phoenix-area market is cer tain ly one in which AMA Pro Racing w ou ld love to h ave a pr esence," sai d AMA Pro Racing Executive Dire ctor Tom Mue ller. "We will mak e every effort to bring AMA Back to School N o matter how many titles yo u a ttach to h is na me, G ra n d National Ch am p ion , World Champion, th ree-time Daytona 200 winner, Ll.S, GP p romoter, Kenny Roberts (righ t) 'is a teacher at heart . He's been teaching r id ers, fro m Wayne Rain ey to John Kocinski to his ow n child ren, nearly all his life and the res ul ts have been impressive: four World Championships th ree with Rainey, one wi th KOOns-. ki - and enormous respect in th e Grand Prix world . Th is yea r Roberts is sta rting over. After fa il in g t o re -s ign Lu ca Ca dalo ra or sig n Rep sol H ond a' s M ich ael Dooh an or Ducati' s John Kocinski to his Mar lboro Yamaha squad, Roberts has go ne with a youth movement: class newcomers Jean-Michel Bayle and Kenny Robert s [r., and returning rider Norifumi Abe . The results have been mixed so far, but the seaso n is early and Roberts know s where the wo rk is to be done. The biggest project is Abe. The 20-year-old Japanese rider has so far failed to live up to the expectations he generated with a maste rful ride in the 1994 Japanese GP. The problem, as Roberts sees it, is a radical style that he ha sn' t been willi ng to change. "He leans over more than any rider I've ever worked wit h," Roberts says. "When the bike's lean ed over that far you ' re goi ng to have midcorner dramas:' The angle is so severe, and the stress on the tires so great tha t "at our first test the tire d id n' t last more tha n five laps. He' s got to cha nge that style to make the tire last. " The blam e was put to the tires when they used Dunlops last year, bu t, with virtually all of the factories on Michelins this yea r, the ra te of tire wear is better kno wn and Abe's is extreme. "When you make a style change with some riders, you don't succeed. Two yea rs ago he was slid ing the bike. I asked him why he wasn' t doing that now and he said, ' I don't kno w: He's probab ly so worried about changing his style that he's not the same old Abe," Roberts says. "He's got a very fun and unique sty le. It's certainly not going to work in the 500 class the way it is no w and he knows that : ' Roberts said that Abe's bike was probab ly an inch h igher than Luca Cadalora. "It's extreme. Wayn e (Rainey) never d ru g the bike on the gro und . Abe drug it eve rywhe re." Changing his habits won 't be easy, Roberts admits. "It's a lot easier to take someo ne wh o doesn't know and make it righ t:' As for the former Motocross and Supercross Cham pion Bayle, Roberts says, "I'm very happy, very happy considering how little time he's had on the bike. He jus t needs the information to figu re it out for himself. As he gets more experience he'll go faster . For the first year on a 500, I have to say he's going extre me ly well. He's doing better than I anticipated he wou ld. " The leap for Bayle is tw ofold . Not only is he movin g from a 250 to a 500, but he's also going from Du nlo p to Mich elin. Th e tr ansition hasn't always been easy . Bayle totaled a 500 durin g winter testin g and fell a few more times. Robert s believes that part of the answer lies in the tires. "Until you ride a Michelin and .p ractice some where cold or hot, it's a feeling you ' re just not familiar wit h," Roberts said . "Both Bayle and Kenn y Junior have to go through it. I anticip ated this happening." Of his most d ramatic crash, Robert s sa id: "I told Bayle to give it five laps. On the Second lap he gassed it and it threw him over the ba rs: ' Henny Ray Abrams Superbike Series racing back to Phoen ix in the near future: ' While Sp eedvis ion w ill air the second round of the AMA Su pe rbike National Championship fro m Pomona, California, live on April 21, th ose who d on ' t ge t the new m otorsports chan nel can watch the race on Thursday, April 25 on Prime Spo rtsCh annel. Prime will also air the opening round of the NASB Form ula USA race from Willow Springs, California, on du rin g tw o shows on Thursday, Apri l 11 an d Thursday, April 18. Those tunin g in for th e Apri l 11 sho w wi ll see not only F-USA actio n , bu t a lso h ighli gh ts fr om th e 125cc race at Will ow ; on Ap ril 18, the show w ill inclu de highlights from the Triumph Spee d Triple Ch allen ge Series. Cary Agajan ian, chairman of the board of directors fo r AMA Pro Ra ci n g, award ed Le o Mehl wi th th e AMA ' s Mo st Va lued Pe r s on a wa r d . du rin g intermission at the March 30 Ind ian apolis Su percross . M eh l, wh o re centl y retired as Goodyear' S worldwide racing dire ct or after 22 yea rs, h a s be en ackn ow led ged by man y sources as one of th e m ost infl ue n tial individ ua ls in motorsp orts, Part of h is in volvem ent incl u ded AMA ra cing and Goodyear' s current involvement as a tire provid er to the Grand Nationa l Championshi p dirt tra ck series. The AMA is now selling the 1996 versions of its -com p etition publications, incl u d ing th e AMA Pro Racing Rul ebook and media guides for supercross, su perbike and the Grand Nation al dirt track se r ies. The rulebook and su percro ss and dirt track media gui des are available fo r $10 wh ile th e"superb ike media gu ide sells for $18.95. For mor e inform ati on, call AMA Product Sales at 614/891-2425. Mark Moi san a n d h is 1990 Su zuki GSX R re ce n t ly w on the Am erica n Motorcycl e Insti tu te's Brute Horsepower Shootout. Mo isa n ' s GSX R p os ted 308.4 horsepower on AMI' s dyno in the Unlimi ted Im port class. Legislation recently signed into law by Virginia Governor George Allen ensu res that motor cyclists will enjoy continued a ccess to th e st a te 's high occupancy veh icle (HOV) lanes, accord ing to the AMA. Virginia had been the last state in the country to com ply with a section of

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