Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1997 07 16

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

DAY SIX BY KIT PALMER orking here at Cycle News, it's not too o ft e n that we ha ve a free weekend. Friday morning, we're u sually at home stu ffing our gearbag s with - am on g other things - ca mera s, notepads, a laptop and a tape recorder; then it's off to the airport to co ve r a National motocross, su pe rcross, road rac e, d irt track, or whatever . Before I started working at Cycle News, I w as usually stu ffin g my gea rba g w ith my goggles, gloves, helmet, shou ld er pads and boots . You see, I used to spe nd all of m y w eekends racing m otorcycles . No wadays, I spend most of my weekends watching other people race mo torcycles; As I was growing up, motocross was my weekend thing for a long, long time; then I was in trod uced to off-road racing - endures and desert racing to be more specific. I wa s ready for something different, and I immediately got hooked on both forms of competition, but enduros became my priority. I liked the idea of driving out 10 different locations every w eek, riding on different terrain and trails, and nev er seeing the same berm twice (at least in one day ). But perhaps the biggest reason I liked participating in off-road racin g was the fact that you co uld sp end anywhere fro m three to ve hours on the bike at a time, whereas in motocross. it ' s not uncommon to "pe nd the majority of your tim e sitting .n a lawn cha ir next to your truck waitng for your next 2o-minute moto. Don' t et me wr ong: 1 Jove racing motocross, ut I ju st don't like th e w aitin g. I'd ther be riding. Unfortunately, Southern California is ot the place to be if you like to compete n enduros. There just aren't very many f them anymore, and that concerns me. scanned the Cal endar sec tion in this ublicati on a while ba ck, and when it arne to SoC al endures - zi ppo, nada, '1. In fact, I did not spo t a single end uro vent anyw he re in our fairly len gthy lendar section. I saw a fair amount of are scrambles, a couple of trials, but no nduros. Of course, this didn't mean here weren't any enduros g oing on nywhere, because not ever y club or rganization in the United States sends W u s a listing o f their upcomin g even ts (which we print free of cha rg e, by the wa y). But it just goes to show that local enduros are few and far between. In Sou thern Ca lifo rn ia, this wa sn't alwa ys the case. For years, we had what were called "family endures" - fun , lowstress events that were held about once a month - and these endu ros pulled in hundreds o f riders a t a time. A li ttle over 400 r iders was co nsi d ere d a bad turnout. And not only were th ere famil y end ures, but tou gh er and a littl e mo re serious District end u re s. as well. Between the two organizations, Southern Californi ans usually never had to go more than a couple of weeks without an enduro. However, throughout the 1980s, turnout for the family enduros slow ly dropped off, and eventua lly the family enduros were no more . I've hea rd this same type of scenario is happening all over the cou ntry as well. So why is it tha t the oldest form of off-road mo torcycling co m pe tition in th e Uni ted States - one that is rec og nized by the AMA with a cham pionship series - is one of the forms of motorcycle competition rarely found on the local front ? I wonder. N ot too long ago, I fo und myse lf with one of those rare weekends off that I wasn't expecti ng a nd , as luck would ha ve it, I checked the Calend ar section and saw that a Di s trict end u r o was scheduled for the sam e weekend. I was stoked . For once, I'd be rid ing instead of w at ching. Un fortunat el y, I had li ttle notice, sin ce the end uro was only a few daysawa y. As the weekend approached , I began preparing for the en du ro an d ask ing myself qu estions like, "What bike would I rid e?" Shouldn't be a pro blem, though. I looked over our supply of dirt bikes in our CN ga rage - plenty of MXers and a coup le of off-road or "enduro" bikes to choose from , but none of them had an od ometer. This would be a problem. However, I do have an elec t ro n ic odom et er unit at home a n d I could throw that on - that is, if I can find it, I thought. oYEARS AGO... Lyons won th e 500cc class and Don Murray w on the 350cc class ... CN took a closer look ' at the yo u ng ca re er of risin g star Gary Nixon, who wa s 25 a t th e time. U LY27, 1967 riumph's G a ry Nixon w on the 2o-mile Dirt Track at ional in Portland, regan, ov er George oe de r and Fred Nix n Harleys . Jimmy dom w o n th e ma te ur fina l.. . kip Van Leeuwen 'M th e Tro p h y as h a nd the Expert ma in ent on his Triumph at the Sidewinder in Por tland , Oregon. Sonny Burres d Glen Adams finished second and ird, respec tively, in the main event. A -eek later, Van Leeuwen bested Burres d Emi l Ahola at the Cas tle Rock a r m -Up in Was hingt on ... Sammy anner took his BSA to th e w in over ar ley-mo unted Mel Lacher an d BSA d er Dan Haaby a t a Ha lf Mile Dirt ack race at Ascot Par k in California ... iu rnph-mo u nted Ray Huff won the Occ Expert class at a IT event a t the d i Cycle Bowl in Ca lifornia. Buck ~~=!! = 20 YEARS AGO... JUL Y20,19n an dy Skiver joined the list of riders to win an AMA Grand National by topping the 25-lap IT in Castle Rock, Washington, on a Triu mph. Ted Booty finished second on a Ha rley-Davidson and Kenny Roberts took third on a Yamaha...CN took a look at th e p riva teer lifestyle o f Pro m o tocrosser John Stavitski and hi s m echan ic , Bevo Fo rte ... Kawa saki' s Jimmy Weinert won the famed "Superbowl of Motocross" at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Team Ho nda's Marty Smith finished second and Steve Stackable finished third on a Maico... Team Yama ha's Bob Hannah wo n the AMA 125cc Nationa l Mot ocro ss held in St. Joseph, Missouri. Teammate Broe Glover took R An d then I'll n eed a clock. Again , I've got one of those too, and it's probabl y in th e sa me bo x as th e odometer, wherever tha t is. Back to the se probl ems later. What next? Okay, I'll need a roll-cha rt holder. Hmm. I haven' t seen that since the Dual Sport Jamboree rid e last October. An d the n I sta rted th inking, "You know, if I really wa nt to be competitive, I need to have a computer." That, I don't have. Pre tty soo n, things jus t sta rted. gettin g a littl e com plica ted . Sure, if I had had so me mor e tim e, perhaps I cou ld have come up with most of these things, butl couldn't, so instead of going to the enduro, I hit.up a couple of my friends and we went trail riding. These were the same friends I had tried to convince to rid e th e e n d u ro, but th ey wouldn't b ec au se the y didn 't have th e right equipment , me aning no odometer, cornpacter, etc. With me - and perhaps it's the same with a lot of people - racing, or even going trail riding, many times is a spurof-th e-moment thing, and it's tough to rid e end u ros o n a whim - at least the wa y m ost enduros in this country are run. Had this particular end uro been a "qualifier-type" or a "Eu ropean-ru les" enduro, though , I - as well as my friends - cou ld ha ve competed. You see, you d on ' t need a crossbar full of timekeeping equip ment, or a rollchart, for European-rul es endures, and you certainly don 't need a $300 computer to be com pe titive . All you need is a d irt bike wi th a spa rk arrestor, and a watch, and you are set. I've heard some pe ople talk, saying they would like to see our Americanrules enduros scrapped for the Europeanrules forma t, even for the Nationals. The AMA is con tem plating the swi tch, too. I've never realJy seriously entertained these thoughts myself - until recently. Those wh o argu e for European-rules en d uros ha ve their points: It w ou ld m ake it easier and les s expensive Jo r people to a ttend a nd compete, since ma jor ti me keep in g equipment would not be needed; it's also a lot less complicated and easier to learn; and perhaps it w ould m ake the United States more competitive at the International Six-Day Enduro, a n event the Stars and Stripes has never won in the sport's n-year history . Plu s, with Euro rules, you don't have to worry about some guy on your minute with no timekeeping equipment keying off you all da y, only to beat you on th e tie breakers. In Euro rules, it's every one for themselves, as it should be. On July 13, a t Drummond Isl and , Michigan, a rather unique AMA Nati onal Enduro will take place, as it will combine both European and American rules. The event' s organizer is Alan Randt, w ho is a longtime enduro ace and former ISDE rid er, and he too sees the benefit of a Qualifier-type system. At his event, the end uro will still have a variet y of speed averages for those who want to keep time, but all the checks will be known contro ls, with "special test" sections in between. "This way, the guy without any timekeeping equipment can ride, and those who do can still time-keep," Randt says . "I want to keep the traditional en duro guy happy, but we need to attract more people; maybe this will help ." To be honest, I don't want to see traditional enduros Simply go away - they truly are a lot of fun and unique - but I would hav e to say that I would like to see m o re e m p ha si s o n Eu r o-s ty Je enduros in the Un ited States. Who knows, maybe then we might see gu ys lik e Frenchman Stephane Peterhan seI, Itali an Grovanni Sala, Fin Karl Tia inen and others like these worId-elass enduro riders coming over here to compete and perhaps give our own enduro series a bit more prestige and credibility. Per ha ps the United States might become a sto p on th e World Champion ship Enduro Series circuit. And, better yet, maybe America will so med ay rule the world of enduros. But that will never hap pen, of course. Just like it never happened to the U.s. MX des Nations team. (We've won the last 15 out of 17.) Anyway, getting back to earth: In my opinion, the sport of enduro in the United States needs a sh ot in the arm, and going over to a Qualifier-type format might do just that. It' s worth a try . '" second and Warren Reid finished third I sco red his fir st AM A Gra nd Nation al .. Dirt Track win of the '87 seaso n by on a Hon da... Britain's Mick Grant burst onto the G P J . P rJ.!/] r- _ . .f taking th e win a t the sce ne by giving Kawasaki ;.I.J"!: I . Ha ge rs to w n Half Mile in its fi rs t Lightwe ight G P • Maryland . Hond a-mounted Do ug Chandler and Ricky w in in th e 250cc class. at Graham fin ished second the Du tch G ra nd Pnx . Du tc hman Wit Ha rtog a nd thi rd, re s p ec ti ve ly ... won the SOOcc class, over Team Hond a' s Rick Johnson Barry Sheene, an d Angel (l -I) won the 500cc National Ni e to wo n th e 125cc Motocross in Axto n, Virginia. Yama ha's Jeff Stanton finclass... CN sent an ed itor ished second and Mike Fisher to the Reg P rid mo re road racing school... finished thir d on a Kawasaki. Marland Whaley locked Team Suzuki's Er ic Kehoe up his third consecutive wo n the 125cc class followed AMA / NATC National by Guy Cooper o n' a Honda Observed Tnal Cham- . . a n d George Holland on a pionship in Norden, California. Suzu ki.. . Team Hond a ' s Bubba Shobert w o n the AMA Su p e rbike National at Laguna Seca Racew ay in 10 YEARSAGO ... Mont erey, California. Jimmy Filice an d Gary Goodfellow finished second and JULY 22, 1987 th ir d , respe cti ve ly ... KTM's Kevin en n y Roberts wa s on th e co ver, Hines won th e Firecracker 125 AM A sliding his 60o-pound Yama ha VN ationa l Enduro in Logan, Ohiu. CN Max st reetbike. Roberts w as feastopped by Horst Leitner's ATK Motortured in an in terv iew entitled" A day cycles in Lagu na Beach, California. en w ith th e King " ... Steve Morehea d JJlj' ; K 75

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