Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1997 10 29

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 BYKIT PALMER h en the o penin g rou nd of the 1998 AMA Supercross Series rolls arou nd come january 10, there will be plenty of new thin gs to ge t used to - thin gs like jeremy McGra th riding a Yamaha , Larr y Ward rid in g a Suzuki and Ezra Lusk rid ing a Ho nda. There will also be new teams, colors and bikes. These are all good th ings. Perso na lly, 1 like change. Ch an ge is good, es pecia lly whe n it's for the better . Howe ver, when it co mes to AMA W Supercross and Na ti ona l mut ocross, the re is one change I absolutely desp ise, and it happens every yea r. Every yea r the AMA issues new racin g numbers to the top 99 riders competing in bo th the AMA Supercross and outdoor Na tional MX Series, and I for one wo ul d like to see ri d ers kee p th e sa me numbers throughout the ir careers once th ey rea ch the p ro level. It seem s that just when I get to the poi nt where I can memorize ju st abou t every rid er's number (or at least half of them), the supercross / motocro ss seas.on end s, and I have to start the mem orization process all over aga in . 1 had a toug h transition period las t sea so n . Fo r example, you do n' t know how m an y tim es I co n fused Yama ha rid ers Kevin Windham and john Dowd for about th e firs t three months of the year. Dowd was number seven in 1996, then Wind ha m took Dowd' s n u mbe r for '97. And the Tea m Yama ha rid ers basica lly wore identical riding gear and colors. It a lso to ok me fo rever to get us ed to La rry Wa rd bein g number six after he carried the nu mber-II plate for two years runni ng . Bef o r e th a t, j e ff Emig wore th e number-six pl ate for two yea rs s traig h t a s well , th e n we n t to nu mber tw o. O r ho w abo u t th e ti m e w hen M ik e Kied r o w s ki too k h is Kawasaki teammate M ik e La Roc co' s number se ve n a few years ba ck, o r wh en St eve Lamson too k h is Honda teammat e jeff Sta nton' s number fiv e? Some people, ho we ve r , will always think of Lamson as being number fou r, an d for good rea so n, s ince he carri ed 3 EAR 0Y SAGO... NOVEMBER 9, 1967 a nuel A . Bu r to n recei ved a w hopping $10 for the cov er photo, which depicted Dennis Birkman as he flogged his BSA in practice at Elsinore, California... C ary Conrad (C re) took the wi n at the Rams MC Hare & Hound to remain und efea ted in 17 straight d esert, scra m b les and tri als sta rt s... Ted Sloan was th e man to bea t in the 250cc Expert class at the Ta ft MC Scra mbles... nave Aldana (H o n) he ld off Ru s s Rob ~ . (. w in the 100 cc main event at ge Coun ty Speedway... Sachs too k o u t a ju n io r -page a d o n p a ge 11, herald ing its Boond ocker end u ro model... A "d esert read y " 1963 T r ium ph TR6C cou ld be purchased ou t of the Want Ads section for $625. M 20 YEAR SAGO••• N OVEMBE R2,1977 photo of Women's National Motocross Champion Sue Fis h g ra ced th e cover of the issue , and it was backed by a tw o-p age feature in w hich Fish announced tha t sh e was going to start racing heads-up against the boys ... A tha t number in 1994, '96 and '97 . He' ll be number 17 in '98. Wouldn' t it be nicer and a lot easier if Steve La mson ju s t wo re th e n umberfour pla te throughou t his entire career? Or Emig the number-six pla te year after yea r? Except, of course, the years th ey w on th e ir ch a m p io ns h i ps i n their res pect ive classes - th en they co uld be excused for w ea ri ng th e num ber -one p late. The ne xt yea r , if neit her r id er wins cha mpions hips again, they wou ld then go back to their own personal numbers again. End of confus ion. So how does th e AMA d ecide who rid es wi th what number, anyway? Riders earn po ints for every ra ce they co m pete in (in bo th th e AMA Supercross a nd N ati on al Mot ocross Series), and the AMA, for the most part, bases its ne xt-yea r' s rid ing number s on the amo unt of points each rider accumulated throu gh out that previou s yea r. That's all fine and dan d y, bu t so w ha t if Greg Alber ty n ea rned th e se ve n th- g rea tes t number of points in bo th series? What is tha t reall y saying? After a ll, th e AMA d oes no t reco gnize a co m bine d ser ies champio ns hi p , so t he num b er seven d oesn ' t really mean a whole lot anyway, except , perh aps , th at Greg Albertyn had a decent year by earning a lot of points . Albertyn finished ou t the '97 Supercross ser ies fif th a nd t he o u tdoo r 250cc Nationals eigh th. So the number seven, the numbe r he ' ll be wea ring i n ' 98, seems like a good average to me. But, th e n aga in, I don' t reall y care a bo ut avera ges unless we're talkin g baseball. Also, the sys tem the AMA now uses sometimes means leaving ou t a nu mber. This yea r in the AMA Su percross Series , there was no number two iss ued (even thou gh, of course, so meo ne di d fin is h second in th e series the year before); in 1995 there wa s no number three, a nd in 1994 there wa s, again , no rider carrying the number-two p late. Why? H can get a little confusing, bu t here is at least o ne exa m p le: Let' s say McG rat h wi ns the SX titl e but fin ish es fifth in the outdoor Nati ona l series that sa me year. If you add up his total po ints in bo th se ries a nd he fini shes second, then he earns the number-two pla te for the following year. But when it comes to that year' s Supereross series, McGrath, who obvious ly can' t wear two d ifferent nu mb ers at th e sa me tim e, carries th e number-one plate in d efense of his SX titl e . Te ch ni ca lly, he cou ld ca r ry th e number-two p la te if he so d e si red, I guess , since that's what po sition he finish ed. in the com bined se ries - a seri es th a t r eall y d oes n' t exist. Con fu sed? Don't worry ; yo u're not the only one. 1 would like to see the AMA let the riders choose what number they want to wear. Let's say, for exa mple, th at jeremy McGrath earns the most points after the 1998 season; he th en sho uld ha ve first pick as to which nu mber (that is, when he's no t wearin g the number-one plate) he wa n ts to ca r ry for th e rest of his active caree r. The seco nd- place finisher picks next, and so o n down the line. Let's say McGrath chooses the number 11 - for whatever reason - as his own personal number; then he will always be number 11 and , pretty soon, eve ryone will associate jeremy McGrath wi th that numbe r (and vice versa) , no m atter what kind of motorcyd e he's ridi ng, no matter what color gea r he's wea ring, no matter what series it is - no matter w hat . T h is would also be th e ca se fo r Ezra Lusk, Greg Albertyn, Kevi n Windham, Ricky Carmichael o r whoever, for whatever number they chose. It wo rk s i n d irt tra ck ra cing . T h e AMA allows the Grand Na tio nal Cha mp ion ship reg u la r s to ke ep the sam e nu m be r yea r a ft e r yea r . It ' s a l mos t impossible to image jay Springsteen not carrying the number-nine pla te, or Steve Morehead the number-42 plate, or Will Davis the number-21 plate. To me , this is coo l. A while bac k, th e AM A to yed with the idea of going to a points sys tem to d etermine rider numbers in the GNC Series a nd did so in 1971 , ass ig n i ng n um b ers b a sed o n th e rid er's 19 70 results, Th e AMA said it thou ght that this points system wou ld ena ble specta- Roger Decoster (Suz ) we nt 2-1 to beat Am eri can superstar Bob Hannah (Yam ) at the St. Peters, Missouri, ro und of the Trans-AMA MX Seri es... jeff Callihan (Suz), Ferrell McColl ou gh (C-A) and Cary Easton (Yam) cap tu red the 125cc, 250cc and Open classes, respectively, at th e AMA Amateur Nationa l MX Champi o nsh ip s in Axto n , Virgi nia ... La nce King score d a 15-poin t m a ximu m en route to th e victory in the U.S. j unior Na tio na l Sp eedway Cha mpionshi p in Costa Me sa , Ca lifo rnia ... To m Kell y (KTM) won the CRC hare scramb les in Californi a City, California... Betor forks for RMSOs and YZSOs mad e an appea rance f:l.~T;.iI~;c-c::::--",..._i n the New Prod ucts section. They retailed for $199. tors to b e t ter ide n tify t he r id ers a t even ts , b u t the AMA w as proved wrong. Dirt track fans did not like it one bi t - nor d id the rid er s, and the AMA went back to its old way the followin g yea r. lf they hadn' t, Spri ngsteen wo uld now be carrying th e number eigh t (in th e 1998 GNC Seri es ), a nd Moreh ead nine and Davis two. This just would n't be righ t. No t on ly d o dirt track racers keep th eir sa me number s, but so d o AMA Na tional road racers an d GP roa d racer s. Quick, w ha t nu m ber was Ke vin Schw an tz? Th ir ty-fou r ? You ' re right. Quick, what number is john Dowd? You say you haven 't seen the 1998 ride r number list yet to kno w? Well, if Dowd kept th e sa me number yea r afte r year, you'd al ready kno w wh at number he'll be next year. (He'll be number nin e) T hi nk about it : Would it not ha ve been coo l had Bob Hannah carried th e same number througho ut his career? To me, the on ly po sitive thi ng abou t the AMA's sys tem righ t now is that it's p res tigious for a p rivatee r to carry a d o uble-digit num ber pl ate . A d oubledi g it n u mber m eans y o u ' ve e a r n ed en ough points in su percross a nd mo tocross to fini sh among the to p 99 riders. However, if you are number 99, YOU 'd better hope that the rid er w ho ea r ned number 13 is n' t su per stitio u s, because that person is allowed to forgo the number 13 for the next-higher number (14), bumpin g every rid er behin d him d own one spot. If yo u ' re number 99,oh well... Of cou rse, a rid er w ill hav e to stay active on the Na tional circuit to keep his or her number, jus t like they have don e on the GNC and road race circu its, bu t I th ink gi ving ri ders nu mb ers the y can keep wi ll benefit bo th the rid er s and th e fan s. It'll give the riders more identity, and ma ke it eas ier for the fans to identi fy them. So , having riders not cha nge th eir nu mbers year after year is one chang e I can live wi th. (:\" rhri'ii1i~rrr.''''''''''", al mot orcycling legends, su ch as jody Nicholas, Cary Nixnn, Bart Ma rkel and Mert Lawwill, were in attend ance... The 1988 Suzuki stree t bike li n e u p w a s d eb u ted o n p age 20. Two ne w Katana models w ere hig h lig h te d .. . Ed Lojak (H us) ca p tu red the 1987 AMA N a tio na l Hare Scra mbles Champ ionship with th e ov erall victory at Devil's Ridge in Raleigh , North Carolina ... Team Ga mma (Suz ) won the WERA six-hour road race at Summi t 'C' Poin t, Wes t Virginia. . 10 YEARS A GO... N M 4, 1987 OVE BER yele News tested the 19 88 C Ho nda CRSOORj and the Cagiva V587 road racer... To mmy Watts (Kaw) won the 500cc Pro class at the fina l round of the CMC/Dodge Truck Trans- Ca l Se ries a t Ca rlsba d Racew ay in Ca rlsba d, California, to wra p up th e seri es title in th e class ... Dick Mann hosted his fourth ann ual . Vin tage Dirt Bi_ke Rall y a t Sandhill J ay Springsteen at speed on Lucifer's Hammer In 1983. Photo from the Ranch in Brentwood, Ca liforn ia. Sever- Cycle News Archives, r-, 0\ 0\ ...... 0\ N ... Q) B u o 71

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