Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1998 03 18

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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IN THE WIND David Cobos (G-G) came out victorious at the final round of the World Championship Indoor Trials series in Madrid, Spain, March 7. Amos Bilbao (G-G) was second, but it was third-place finisher Doug Lampkin (Bet) who was in the spotlight as he begins his second consecutive reign as World Champion. Lampkin's main rival, Marc Colomer, faltered as the series wound down and failed to make the final in Spain. Lampkin finished the series with 136 points to Colomer's 109. Steve Colley, fourth on the night, was third in the championship with 102 points. Cobos, with 90, was fourth. A new dirt track Duck? T 'he Team Undo dirt track racing squad showed up to Daytona Bike Week '98 with this Ducati 916, one of two Project 2000 motorcycles that the Jim Landes-owned team has been building as testbeds for the AMA's production-based dirt track class of the future. Crew chief Rick Canode, the head wrench for Grand National rider Brett Landes, has been working hard to get the machine, which was donated by Ducati North America, Stephane Roncada (Hon) snatched up the 125 and 250cc Pro-class wins at the third round of the GFI Winter Motocross Series South, held at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California, on March 8. Roncada topped Casey Johnson (Kaw) and Michael Brandes (Suz) in the 125cc Pro class and Brandes (Suz) and Akira Narita (Hon) in the 250cc Pro class. Dan Berg (Yam) won the 500cc Pro class over Chris Ridgeway (Yam) and Kenny Zahrt (Yam). FCC Technical Sports Honda V-twin 500cc rider Matt Wait crashed out at the four-day IRTA test at Phillip Island, Australia, on March 4, according to Cycle News contributor Darryl Flack. The 21-year-old Ca1ifornian, who completed the most laps of any 500 rider on day two, parted company with his bike in turn one and sustained injuries to his foot. He was brought back to the pits by ambulance and took no further part in the test. On day one, Wail ran a best time of 1:35.824, slower than the 1:35.41 turned in by fellow Honda V-twin debutante, Garry McCoy. Red Bull Yamaha's Regis Laconi carded the fastest time at Phillip Island so far this off-season with a 1:33.29, which other teams claim was done on a qualifying tire. Riding the revamped Suzuki RGV500 Gamma XR88, Nobuatsu Aoki maintained his consistent form to finish second fastest on day one with a 1:34.05, followed by Max Biaggi with a 1:34.65, his quickest time of the test. The Shell Advance team didn't get off to a good start after Juan Borja fell after just two laps on day one, Russell's Ma and despite not being seriously hurt, he didn't return to the test. Later in the day, McCoy sustained a hand injury after striking one of the many Phillip Island seagulls. Bad weather played havoc over the four-day test, with a final-day rain-out prompting many of the riders to fly out early. Four-time SOOcc World Champion Mick Doohan thrilled Formula One fans with two demonstration stints at the opening round of the Formula One World Championship at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, March 6-7. The 32-year-old Queenslander reeled off several hot laps around the fast road course on his Repsol Honda NSRSOO, pulling a number of • IC 00 0\ 0\ ,..... 00' ,..... ~ U l-< ~ ~ 2 Five-time Daytona 200 winner Scott Russell was the guest of honor at the NBA basketball game between the Orlando Magic and the Seattle SuperSonics at the O-Rena in Orlando, Florida, during Bike Week. Russell was introduced to the crowd and served as the official starter for a children's Big Wheel race. ready for testing as soon as possible. Canode said tha t he thinks the 916 should provide a good starting platform for the experimentation process. "We're still at least 30 days away with it," Canode said. "So far, between this and the Honda (VTRI000), the Ducati is a lot closer to the numbers in terms of geometry. We're probably going to start right out with 18-inch wheels on it in order to get some more clearance in some vital areas." Canode also said that some aspects of the project have been extremely time-consuming if not outright frustrating. "Building the fuel lank has been a brick wall," Canode said. "John Kite at Missile Engineering has been worJdng on it, and he called me the other day and cried 'Uncle.' We've been having problems with it because we really want to retain the Ducati look. Bu t we did go to a twin-shock setup in the rear, even though the single-shock suspension might work better down the road. We want to get it as basic as we can so that we don't have to be quite as precise with the settings right from the start." Does Canode, a seasoned dirt track mechanic with a lot of experience on the Honda and Harley-Davidson dirt trackers of the current program, think that the new class will succeed? "If interest is any indication, yes," Canode said. "Ducati is very interested, and I'm surprised at how many people know about these (new bikes) - people weren't necessarfN ily dirt track fans before this." 120-mph wheelies and running at more than 170 mph down the front straight. On Saturday night, Doohan was a guest on a top-rated TV variety show, "Hey, Hey, It's Saturday," which was broadcast live from Albert Park in front of a huge crowd of 80,000 people. Interviewed by host Daryl Somers, Doohan was asked if there were changes to the rules governing motorcycle racing in light of the new controversial regulations in Formula One governing treaded tires and a narrower wheel track. "Well, we have changes to the fuel for this year. Tha t may not sound like a big deal, but it's basically meant that Honda have had to redesign the whole motor. We'll just have to wail and see how things go." Asked about his chances of securing a fifth straight title, Doohan said, "It doesn't get any easier." Later, Doohan was a judge for several amateur comic acts, including a corpulent group of young ladies who sang a medley of Spice Girls songs dressed in their oversized "girl power" outfits. While he gave his score, Doohan was asked if he liked the real Spice Girls: "Actually, I couldn't tell the difference," he noted. The Yamaha YZF-R1 continued its dominant Australian performances after clean-sweeping both races at round two of the Australian Production Superbike Championship at Wanneroo Park in Western Australia on March 8. After grabbing pole position, former Australian Supersport 600cc Champion Kevin Curtain (Yamaha RJ) took the first 14-lap leg from Marty Craggill (Kawasaki ZX-9R) by 1.1 seconds, with Steve Martin (Ducati 916 SPS) 2.74 seconds back in third. Honda CBR900s filled the next three placings, in the hands of Adam Fergusson, Greg Moss and Shawn Giles. Curtain repeated the dose in the second leg, this time beating Martin by 2.4 seconds, with Craggill five seconds back in third. Benn Archibald, who led the title chase going into the round, was taken out in the first leg, fin- ishing 11th, and suffered a deflating front tire in the second race to end up a lap down in 12th. The record now stands at three wins to the R1 and one to the Ducati 916SPS, while the ZX-9R has yet to take the checkered flag first in Australia in 1998. And after totaling a ZX-9R at the previous round in South Australia, Craggill destroyed another bike during practice in Western Australia. Kentucky Governor Paul Patton signed legislation that revises the state's current mandatory helmet law for adult motorcyclists, according to the AMA. The modified law allows riders over 21 who have at least one year of riding experience to ride helmetless, provided they present proof of health insurance when they register or renew registration of their motorcycle. The AMA opposes legislation that assumes that motorcyclists and the potential cost of their injuries are a drain on taxpayer dollars. World 500cc Motocross Champion Joel Smets has joined the list of injured riders in Europe. Smets, who only two weeks ago won the Beaucaire International in France, crashed while training on his bicycle and injured his right shoulder. Smets was to contest several international races in the coming weeks, but he is sure he will be okay for the opening round of the World Championships in April. Trampas Parker won a round of the Italian Motocross Championships. He recently led home World 125cc MX Champion Alessio Chiodi (Hus), Alessandro Puzar (TM) and Claudio Federici (Yam), proving that his challenge for this year's World 125cc Championship will be a strong one. Tentative dates for the 1999 World Motocross Championships have been released by the FIM and, if all goes well, the United Sta tes will host the last

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