Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1997 08 13

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 4 of 75

'VA :::'" _" • #)oI.:.~~t~~· • ---- - . '*~/~ '":ft.'"h,' ._ . " superb ike w it h Ro taxdesi gned , Co swort h developed 6O-degree Vtwin eight-valve engine will d efin itely be launched a t th e Milan Show i n Se pte m b e r , a n d will go into p roduction this wi nter for th e 1998 m o d e l yea r. Bu t, w hile th e twins pa r , alloy-f ra med , fuel-injected V-twin will th eo r eti call y be r ea d y fo r s u p er bi ke racing homologalion in 1998, it seem s Ap rilia is likel y to fo llo w a plan si mila r to Su z uk i's move wi th the TLl ooo: that is, not hom ologatin g th e TLI 000 in it s d ebu t yea r of produ ct ion so it co u ld co nce ntra te o n developing the bike on th e ra ce tr ack to be rea dy for a 1999 World Superbike debut. "We wa nt to come in at the very top wi th the four -stro ke when we start racing it," says Ap ri lia' s chi ef race e ng ineer, Jan Wittewen, who asi de from his GP comm itments is also in charge of the RSVI OOO' s s u per bike d eve lop m e nt. "Tha t means we must spend 1998 d eveloping it in private tes ting, ready to try to win races with the bike in 1999." Word is that Pter-Fran cesco Chili - a former Aprilia wo rks rid er wh o wa s the firs t man to win a 250cc GP wi th the current V-twin motorcycle - is on to p of Aprilia 's shop pi ng list as d evelopment rid er and team lead er, b ut th at th e firm's refus al to go racing w ith the bike in 1998 is the ma in stumbling block to a deal. Chili already sa t ou t one season in 1994, a nd has no d esire to d o the sa me agai n at this crucia l stage of his now lengthy career. :.~~~'):~:i:'."" ....."" H Bimota dirt bike? Hunwick Hallam Xl Ron track Joining Aprilia and MV/Cagiva o n the s tarti ng g rid in 1999 World Su perbike events will be Australia's new Hunwick Halla'm marqu e, w hose fu e l-inj ecte d XIR is set to enter prod uction next year, and is currently continuing its on-track d evelo pmen t with u ltra-experie nced test rider Malcolm Campbell. After a fra u g ht race d ebut in the Win ton round of th e Australian Superbike series, whe n, a fter qualifying ninth, Ca mpbell wa s rammed fro m behind at the first turn by a slower bike, send ing the XI R on its side in the d irt and out of the ra ce, th e new Au ssie V-twin had a mu ch mo re success ful seco nd race ap peara nce at Eastern Creek on July 6, scoring its debut race victory in Cam pbell 's hands and finishing second twice and third once in a series of sp rint races o n the CP circui t. Next race date is in the Austra lian Superbike cha mpions hip round at Oran Park, Syd ney, on Au gust 3, bu t a lready the HH tea m ha s laid M odenasengine uncovered Kenny Roberts' Mod enas KR3 three-cylind er GP racer has become a regular top-10 GP finisher in only the firs t half of its debut season - even if the evolutio n of the avant-garde bike, built to take advantage of the lower 253-po.un.d minimum -weight limit fo r the 500cc GP class compared to the 286-pound limi t fo r fou r-cy linder machines, has continued. at a frantic pace since the first version o f the bike wa s completed only a han dful of weeks before the start of the '97 seaso n. For the Dutch GP at Assen at the end of June, the Mod ena s team - sponso red by one of Malaysia's largest manufacturing conglomerates· debuted a revised version of the 115-d egree V-three cra nkcase reed -valve engine, wh ich has the center cylinder poi nting up and the outer tw o downward, filled with magnesium crankcases and - thanks to a revised firing order delivering red uced vibra tio ns - lighter cranks hafts which, together with other weight-saving details, yielded a near ly 20-pound weight red uction for the comp lete bike to 257 pounds - closer at las t to the target wei ght limit. At the same time, the Mod enas team released the first official photo! of the mntor developed in The Modenas threeconjunction wit h British p erfo r cylinder co ntinues m an ce /ra ce-ca r e x p e r ts TWR, to improve. putti ng clearly sh owing the for mat of th e out more power engine a nd the three specially while also weighing developed Roberts carbs, which are less. The bike itself evidently a ha lfwa y house to fuel now weighs just in jection, effectively co ns isting of fou r pounds over an electro nic carburetor. The p hoto the 253-pound sh ows a seconda ry ca rbon-fi ber three--cyl inde r fu el tan k beneath the engine, as weight limit. well a s an electrical fuel p u mp which d elivers th e gas s u p ply to the carb s und er pressure. Wit h rid ers Kenny Roberts Jr. and Jean- Michel Bayle each riding to best-yet eighth-place finishes at Assen and Imola (Bayle beat both works Suzukis in the lat ter race), the fast-t rack development of the Mod enas bike, into which the Roberts team is pouring huge human and financial resou rce s , must be pleasing to its Malaysian and Marlboro sponsors. Next step: a podium finis h? Co uld happen - soo ner rath er tha n la ter, too. At last: an off-roa d Bimota? Not quite - bu t it is tru e that, alo ngside its gro und-breaking 500 Vdue fuel-injected two- stroke and the fort hcoming Suzu ki T1.1000 V-twin-powered SBS, the high-tech Italian speci alist cons tru ctor will be manufacturing a new range of MX aod enduro bikes for 1998, d ue to be launched at the Mila n Show in September under the Vertem ati nam e. For some yea rs the Hu saberg importers for Italy (until they severed their connections with the Swedish marqu e jus! prior to its takeover by KTM), the Verte mali brothers, Alva ro and Guido, developed a very effectiv e MX racer, us ing their own chassis and a heavily modified Hu saberg engine, which too k Belgium's Joel Smets to thir d place in the 1994 Wo rld Open MX cha mpionship. Since then , the brothers have bee n working on their ow n beautiful ly eng inee red 500cc four-str oke MX racer, using a liquid-cooled fou rvalve engi ne of their own design, wit h gea r drive to the single overhea d camshaft and a choice of two o r three speeds in the gearbox. This new, ultra-lightweight bike debut ed this seaso n in the hands of Trampas Parker and sco red a best fifth pla ce in the World ~n MX se ries be fore Vert erna ri pulled out to conce nt ra te on develo pmg th e ran ge of customer bikes using the same engine and chass is design , w hich w ill be launched A new Venematl, the VR500, is set this autumn in Milan . Vertemati has inked a to be launched In time for the 1998 deal wi th Birnota to prod uce between 2000 and SOOcc World MX ser ies . Bimota will 3000 prod uction versions of the new VR500 in be building 2000 to 3000 of the time for the 1998 season, to be offered in both 500cc s ingles lor ve rnmatl. MX racer and end uro form - the latter therefore nomi nall y street -legal, with lights. Paio li suspension, Brernbo brakes and Pirelli tires will help k,;"p th e VRSOO an all-Italian product, with engine production based at the Vertemati factory at Tnug gio (nea r Monza), chassis manu facture by Verlicchi in Bologna, a nd fina l assembly of the complete bikes at Bimota 's factory in Rimini. Vertemali plans to market th e VRSOOaround the wo rld , providing a ha nd -bui lt European al ternat ive to the smaller-engi ned Yama ha YZ400F, w hich will be targeted at a similar customer base. With Cagiva boss Claud io Castiglioni conf irmi ng that Husqvarna will be offering a cust om er replica of Jacky Martens' wor ks HVA Open MX contender for '98, also d ue to be launched at the Milan Show in September, the increasing domination of Open MX racing at world level by factory fou r-strokes looks set to spill ove r into the privateer arena in 1998. plans to make its overseas debut, with a tri p to New Zealand for an XIR vs. Britte n VIOOO confron tation o n Decembe r 14, follow ed by the Au ssie Superbike's appearance at Dayton a in March '98, in t he o peni ng ro u nd o f the Sound of Thunder World Series, w here it'll have at least two Brittens to con tend with. In the meantime, technica l chief Paul Hallam is hard at work on the prototype s tree t version of the XI R racer , road testing of which is sched uled to begin in September. Brittentakes to the street There's a persistent rumor circulating in Europe th at the Britten Mo tor cycle Co. has indeed secured finan cial backin g to ens u re th e com pa ny' s co ntinued existen ce and e xpans ion, and that as a resul t of this the Britten engineering team are hard at work on a new 6O-degr ee V-twin mo torcycle - still based on the existing VI 000 mod el developed by th e late John Britten, but ada pted from it with an eye on street p rod uction , with facili ties for electric start, e tc. W it h the p ropose d reduction i n homol oga tion nu mbe rs for superbike ra cin g pre se nt ly bein g advanced by Flarnmini, John Britten's dream of competing on a level playin g field aga ins t th e gia nts of th e bik e-m anufactu rin g world may yet come abo u t. '"

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