Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1997 07 30

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 78 of 79

IN THE PADDOCK BYMICHAEL SCOTT ne th in g a bo u t racing is how it strips away the bu llshit. You hardly need to be a psychologist to see how individuals express their rivalry on the track. They do it, sometimes, to the death. Ra cin g must relis h th is - n o t th e d eath, of course, for everything possible is done to prevent this mercifully rare even tuality - but the way the human spiri t is displa yed on the track, blatan tly and magnificentl y naked. This rivalry can take stra nge forms at o the r momen ts . Fo r exa mple, a t th e fron t-row p ress co nfere nce at Im oIa , w here m a estro Mi ch ael Dooha n and spiky upstart Antho ny Gobert met for the first tim e in su ch a situa tion, eac h remarked tha t he "d id not have a problem " with the other one. This is manifestl y untrue. Gob e rt ' s probl em is th at h e' s o bsessed with th e id ea of bea ti ng Doohan - a nd ter rified that the Honda rider, olde r by some 12 years , will retire be fore he gets good enough to do so. Dooha n's problem is the same. He is in a position of tremendou s streng th, even sere ni ty . Time is th e only thin g tha t' s not on h is si d e. Bu t e ven for a kn ight in full armor, a terri er nipp ing at his heels is a problem - for h~ migh t trip over it. Gobert' s o bsessio n is w ell -docu mented, freque ntly by himself. The pai r dashed in tests a t Phillip Isla nd , aga in in Malaysia, and then ra ther more spectacularly in Fra nce, where in p rac tice Gobert later said he only lifted and ran across the gravel to protect his collarbone injury. "If not for that, we'd both have gone down," he said. The pair excha nged angry wo rds in p r ivate, while Doohan blam ed th e younger rider. Gobert respo nded in his monthly column in England's SuperBike Magazine with a st ream of invective. Doohan wanted to be "the Qu een Bee of the pa d doc k," he said, amid othe r, choicer epithets. This d esperation to bea t th e ma n w ho towers over the class is a tho roughly worthy ambition for a man in Gobe rt's p os it io n . It is a lso th oroughly refres hing, in a 500cc class by now thoroug hly cowed by Doohan's sheer do mination. I cannot think of another rider (w ith the possible exception of Carlos Checa) who thinks of Doohan as anything but basica lly u nbeatable. Yet the spo nsor-speak an d the Japa nese in flu ence w it hin the to p fac to ry teams combines to blunt th e raw em otions , to defuse the wars of words, and to elimina te excha nges of open insults. Dead ly riv a ls o n th e tra ck , b est of friends off it, eh chaps? Thankfu lly, the 250cc class is not only relatively free fro m th is nonsense, but also rich in p erson al a ntago n is m . It co mes th a nk s to a multi national cast and a h opelessly tan gled we b of conflicting national loyalti es - and thanks (it must also be said ) to extremely dassy and competitive racing, ano the r thing absent from the 500s. The who-ha tes-whom equation (as I once read in an Austra lian book) forms "a triangle with about nine heaving sides." Max Biagg i is a t th e apex; Tetsuya Harada at one comer; Lo ris Capirossi at another . Enclosed with in , daggers d raw n , a re Olivier Jacque and Ra lf Waldmann, and the Aprilia tea m bo ss Carl o Pernat. Link all these parties up with crisscrossing streams of biller, longstanding riva lry, accumulated hatred, an d a burning mutual desi re for revenge, and you have so me show. Much of it is deliberately fost ered by Bia ggi. H e ha s se vera l targ et s fo r revenge: o The Ap rilia fac tory and its tea m boss Carl o Pemat, for failin g to agree to 30 Y SAGO•• EAR AUGUS T10,1967 compe tition. BSA rid er A le~ Jorgensen BSA... Don Vesco took his BSA to the win in th e 50 0cc cl ass a t t h e A MA fini shed second and Harley-David sonSpo rtsma n Road Races held in Carlsbad, mount ed Te d Boo dy got th ir d ...Wi th thr ee rounds rem aining in the Wo rld California . Bill Ho lst wo n the Open 250cc Motoc ro ss Cha m pio nship Series , class, Rick Durkee wo n the 350cc class, Ru ssia n s Genna dy M o is se e v and Ron Pi erce won the 250cc class and Moe Conserrie wo n the 125cc ~~n1I'l'":]I"iT":~ _ Vla d imi r Ka vi n o v _ II h el d a fir m lea d in class. th e ch a m p io ns h ip poi nt sta nd ings with 163 and 143 p oin ts, respectiv el y. Belgia ns 20 YEARS AGO... Harry Ev e rts a nd AUGUST 3,1m Andre Malh erbe were am Honda's Brad Lacke y fig h ting o v er third was featured on the cover p lace w ith 103 a nd 98 and in an interview insid e points, respectively. CN afte r be comin g th e first American rid er to win a SODec World Champi onship Grand P rix when he won in En g. 10YEARS AGO••• land a few w e e k s prior. .. Te am H ond a pilots Ma rt y AUGUST 5,1987 Smith and To mmy Croft fini shed firs t a m Ho nd a ' s Bubba and second, respectively, at the second Shobert, who had won ro u n d of the AMA 500 cc a tio n al the Ca mel Pro ParkersCham pionship Motocro ss Seri es in St. burg Half Mile the w eek pri or and the Peters, Missouri. Team Suzuki' s To ny Laguna Seca Road Race National two DiSt efa no fini shed third. Ya ma h a ' s wee ks pri or , came away with his third Mik e Bell won the 250cc Support class win in as many weeks when he won the over Mark Barn ett and Gary Ogden on DuQuoin Mile in Illinois. It w a s Suzukis... Evel Knievel -sponsored Gary Shobert' s th ird DuQu oin wi n in as Scott took his 9-year-old Tri u m p h to man y years and his 29th career National victory at the Ascot Grand Na tional IT vic tory. Ricky Graham and Alex Jorin California. It was Scott's fourth victogensen fi nis hed second and third , ry in four in years, and the first time this respect ive ly, on H ondas... Yama ha 's Rand y Mamola won hi s seco n d wet had been d one in AMA Grand National O oad race r Steve McLaughlin was fea tured on the cover of CN in a studio shot po rtra ying the runnerup's point of view d uring a road race... Wh en as ked w ha t h e wa s thinki n g about w hile wi nning the 250cc Lightweight class on a Honda six-cylinde r at the Isle of Man IT, Mike Hail wood replied, "I was figuring out the plot of a novel I am reading. If I'd gone any slower, I would have fall en over." ... Bob Budshat rode his Ducati to the win in the A Main at the AMA Clas s A Short Trac k in Bellingham, Washington. Ron Hop pe and Bob Stro de finished second and third, respec- R ti vel y, o n Ducatis, a n d Bu tch Ha yw ood won th e Trophy Dash ... Ro y a l- Enfi eldrid er Elliot Schultz wo n the I S-la p Ex per t ma in event a t a h a lf mile race held a t Ascot Park in Ca lifornia, besting BSA riders Blackie Bruce and Dan Haaby in sec o nd a nd third, re spective ly. Phil T od d w on the A m ateur m a in o n a his reputedly as trono mical terms to stay on there after winning thr ee ti tles for them . o Tetsuya Harad a, for being the last person to win the title (in 1993), for taking hi s Aprilia ride, an d fo r bein g in general both indecen tly miserable and indecently fast. o Loris Capirossi, also for taking the Aprilia ride, but mainly for being a fellow Italian , and thus a threat to the ultima te magnitude of Max's ca refully nurtured fame. o Ralf Waldmann, Olivier Jacque and Tohru Ukawa - sim ply because they ride lease-team H ond a NS Rs jus t like hi s own , and are therefore the primary target. . Add a fierce enmi ty (gleefully recipro ca ted ) wi th 125cc rid er Va le nti no Rossi, and also a Max-mad e split wi thin the Erv Kanemo to-run tea m - h e brought his own Italian technicians in to the English-speaking crew - and you see wh at it is that mak es Max' s eyes bu rn wi th fury. Biaggi's season has been similarly mercu rial : three great w ins, backed by so me real d owners, including a dislocated s h o u lde r a fte r an e ng ine seizu re Japa n, and disqualif ication after a series of technical offenses at Assen, It seemed somewhat harsh to black-flag him after he'd ridden from last to seventh in the race, still going forward, bu t it was not th e fir st infringement by the divided a nd hence u nc haracteristically inefficient Kanemoto team . Harada, on the receiving end, might ha ve a burning d esire to beat Yamaha, after he walked ou t o n them in a huff before the end of last year, but the factory is not contesting the series, He certainly wants to bea t Max. His '93 title was achieved wit h an elega nt skill, but since th e n he ' s been eclipsed by Biaggi. He also had his problems - often a curious new tendency for the Aprilia motor to ~ 11 stumble midrace - but by mid season he was becoming a serious title threat as his masterly tactics began to pay off. Little Loris Capirossi seems too much the nice guy to be in vol ved in all this intensity - but after a ll, he ' s It a lia n. When so m eb o d y remarked o n how Bia ggi las t yea r ha d th e n ickname " Black Pi ra te ," for his headscarf a nd n a tt y li ttle goatee, Lo ris ri posted: "That's not our name for him. We call him the Black Pig." Th us, at the end of this year's Austria n GP , w he re Ma x u sed ma ximum aggr ession - elbows, fron t wh eel, the lot - to w res t th ird pla ce fro m Loris, he turned aft er crossing the line and ga ve h im the mos t ex travaga nt of a ll Latin gestures, whose America n equi valent is a relatively discreet single raised finger. It was a t th e sa me GP th at Wald mann had to be restrained from coming to b lows w ith Ja cque, after a last-lap pa ss by th e victorious Frenchman tha t Waldmann in sisted w as both foolish and dangero us. Later, he reconsidered , and ad mitted that he too had been a t fau lt, by lea vin g a bit too mu ch room. By the n, how ever, he'd alread y threat ened, "In future I w ill rid e wi th mo re body power, too." Perhaps luckily, Tohru Uka wa is able to stand somewhat aloof. The ups a nd d ow ns of the championship points , the belittling remarks and the glowering sta res of hatred deeper tha n w ords a re a fine background to so me marvelous 250cc racing. and evoke fond mem ories of a time no t that long ago wh en the 500cc class offered somet h in g s im il a r: Gardner, Lawson, Schwantz and Rainey, all glowering at one ano ther moodily, and racin g fit to bust. Perhaps w he n this current crop of 250cc rid ers - mos t especially Biaggi and Jacque - grow up, it will all happen again. L\ Gra n d Pri x of the se ason by winning round eight of the World Championship Road Race Series in Le Man s, Fran ce, and inched closer to series points leader Way ne Gardner (who finished fifth ) in the process. HB Honda's Pier-Francesco Ch ili finished a surp rising second, and local hero a nd fast qu alifier Christian Sarron finis hed thi rd on a Yamaha ... The first U.s . Senate hearing on S7 (the contro versia l Ca lifornia Desert Protection Act that would set aside as national pa rk land s mo re than 8 million of the 12.1 million acres of pub lic lands in the California desert) was held by the Pub lic Lands Subco mmittee of the Energy and Natural Resour ces Committee, and pitted. recrea tionalists an d busin ess interes ts agai nst conse rvationists over the fate of the California Desert. ." 79

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