Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1998 03 25

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 Yamaha riders swept the first three positions in the opening round of the AMA National Enduro Series in Wickenburg, Arizona, on March 15. Ty Davis scored the overall win, followed by Kelby Pepper and Doug Blackwell; all riders were aboard YZ250s. Finishing fourth overall was Matt Stavish (Hon), while defending champ Mike Lafferty (KTM) rounded out the top five. Six-time champ Randy Hawkins (Yam) finished seventh, one spot behind Jim Gray (KTM). Buddy Antunez (Suz) won three out of four races in rounds 25 and 26 of the AMA/PJI National Arenacross Series in San Francisco, California, March 13-14. Antunez, who is closing in on his second straight series title, won the 250cc class on both nights and the 125cc class on Saturday night. The 125cc class win on Friday night went to Cliff Palmer (Kaw). Palmer topped Jeff Willoh (Suz) and Chad Pederson (Kaw) in the 125cc race on Friday night, with Antunez beating Pederson and Willoh to win the 250cc class. On Saturday night, Antunez beat Nathan Ramsey (Kaw) and Palmer to take the 125cc win prior to besting Pederson and Palmer to take the 250cc win. With two races remaining, Antunez leads Pederson 827-768 in the series standings. Matt Hines (Suz) took the first step toward defending his NHRA Pro Stock Championship when he beat Dave Schultz (Suz) in the rain-delayed opening round of the series in Gainesville, Florida, on March 14. Round two of the series is scheduled for the new Atlanta Dragway in Georgia, April 16-19. Ernesto Fonseca (Yam) and Josh Demuth (Suz) were some of the big winners at the GNC International Final in Mosier Valley, Texas, March 13-15. Fonseca topped the 125cc Expert class over Brett Racine (Kaw) and Matt Walker (Hon), while Demuth won the 250cc Expert class over Keith Johnson (Yam) and Jeff Northrop (Kaw). Chase Reed (Kaw) pulled off two class wins in the 125cc Stock and Modified Intermediate djvisions, while the top Mini-class rider was Jonathan Shimp (Yam). Dutch rider Leon Giesbers (KTM) won an International preseason motocross GP race in Lommel, Belgium, on March 15. Giesbers went 2-1 for the overall win, while defending World Champion Stefan Everts (Hon) took second with a 1-3 and Belgian Joel Smets (Hbg) third with a 3-2. a: ~ ffi a> ~ i1 iii ~. Las Vegas Motor Speedway was host to the Inaugural Freestyle Motocross Challenge. A $15,000 purse was posted by 4-Leaf Entertalnment/Fleshwound Films and Lawrence Lewis Productions, and the winner was Travis Pastrana (shown), who pocketed $5000 of the purse. Pastrana jumped In front of more than 8000 fans and a panel of JUdges that Included Jeremy McGrath, Jeff Emig and Buddy Antunez, among others. Second place went to Edgar Torrenterous with his versions of heelclickers and nac-nacs; third went to the "Flyin' HawaIIan," Clifford Adoptante; fourth was taken by Moto XXX's own Brian Deegan; and fifth place went to Mike Jones. Sondra Peters Doug Dubach (Yam) won the final round of the Thunder Bikes class of the U.S. Off-Road Championships in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, on March 14. Dubach topped his teammate Spud Walters, who had already wrapped up the series crown, and Chris Knox (Hbg). The Thunder Trucks class in Pontiac was won by motocross legend Rick Johnson in a Chevrolet. Reigning 250cc World Champion Max Biaggi turned in some quick laps on his Kanemoto Honda NSRSOO during a test session at the Jerez Circuit in southern Spain on March 12 and 13. Biaggi lapped at 1:43.3, according to team timing, and that was slightly quicker than the lap turned in by MoviStar Honda's Carlos Checa at the recent IRTA tests. Checa also holds the lap record at Jerez of 1:43.301. The test was only Biaggi's second outing on the NSRSOO, with the 26-year-Qld putting in some 70 laps. Another who is turning heads during preseason Grand Prix testing is Frenchman Regis Laconi. Laconi, who is riding It's true - Cannondale to 9make malate eles ; 00 ~ ,...... ..n C'l ~ ~ ~ ::E 2 Cannondale - a well-renowned bicycle company based in Connecticut - will manufacture and sell Cannondale offroad motorcycles, with the first model scheduled to be released this spring, according to Cannondale. Although details of the project are sketchy at best, Cannondale will reportedly use Swedish-made Folan engines and the bike will be a high-end 400cc four-stroke. Former AMA 250cc Grand Prix racer Chris D'A1uisio is known to be the designer of the new bike, along with former motocross racer Mike Guerra. A press release issued by Cannondale didn't offer much in the way of details. "We'll be bringing considerable innovation to at least three different areas of motorcycle design," said Cannondale founder and president Joe Montgomery. "We'd love to discuss the new motorcycle in detail, but all we can really say at this point is that we're incredibly excited, and we can't wait until the unveiling this spring." Cannondale already has a solid reputation for innovation and the company has won several awards based on its bicyc1e designs. Cannondale makes all of i~s bicycle frames in its two Pennsylvania factories and sells its bikes in more than 60 countries around the world. l'N a Red Bull-backed factory Yamaha YZRSoo, recorded a time of 2:07.892 at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan on March 10 - a time that .would have put him on pole position for last year's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. His lap was also only a tenth of a second slower than Mick Doohan's Suzuka lap record. The Suzuka test came only a week after Laconi had recorded the fastest laps of the off-season at Phillip Island in Australia. "I am delighted with Laconi's performance," Yamaha Grand Prix manager Shuji Sakurada said. '1 have been very impressed with him during testing and am quietly surprised by how fast he is." Behind Laconi's best time was the one turned in by Yamaha factory test rider Norihiko Fujiwara, who lapped at 2:08.540. Team Rainey's Norifumi Abe lapped at 2:08.637, almost a second quicker than his qualifying time for last year's Japanese Grand Prix. Laconi's Red Bull Yamaha teammate Simon Crafar lapped at a best time of 2:09.284. Team Rainey will test again at Suzuka during the IRTA test that is scheduled for March 23-25, and the team is hoping that Jean-Michel Bayle will return by then. The Frenchman suffered a concussion in a crash during testing at Shah A1am in Malaysia at the end of February and hasn't ridden since. Yamaha factory World Superbike rider Noriyuki Haga will ride a Yamaha YZR500 as a wild-card entry in the opening round of the 500cc World Championship at Suzuka on April 5. Haga, who will team with Scott Russell on factory Yamahas in the 1998 World Superbike Championship, will race in the Japanese GP just two weeks after opening the World Superbike Series in Australia. Haga has won at Suzuka before, teaming with Colin Edwards II to win the 1996 Suzuka 8 Hours. Yamaha has also announced that test rider Norihiko Fujiwara will be a factory wild-card entry for the second round of the SOOcc Grand Prix Series in Johor, Malaysia. Former Australian Grand Prix promoter Bob Barnard has been appointed executive raceway director of the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center. The Australian, who directed operations and construction at the Adelaide Formula One circuit and Phillip Island and Eastern Creek's motorcycle venues, also helped bring the U.S. Grand Prix to Laguna Seca in 1993. "We're excited to add Bob Barnard to the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center team," said Jim Se!wa, chief operating officer of Panoz Motor Sports. "His background in track management and event marketing is extensive and enhances our overall strategy to hold world-class motorsports events." The initial phase of construction at Road Atlanta, located in Braselton, Georgia, is now complete, with its first race scheduled for March 14. Changes include a revised course layout and resurfacing, new gravel traps and retaining walls - which bring Road Atlanta up to FIA and CART safety standards. Road Atlanta is scheduled to host rounds six and seven of the AMA/ MBNA Superbike National Championship, May 29-31. The Extra television show that will feature Jeremy McGrath is scheduled to air on March 21 on most NBC affiliates. The show was rescheduled from its original air date due to breaking news. McGrath is also scheduled to be featured in Sports IUustrated magazine, with the story scheduled to be wrapped up at the New Orleans Supercross. Team SplitFire/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ricky Carmichael had his helmet stolen from his team's pits just prior to the main event at the Daytona Supercross, March 7. According to Carmichael's close friend Johnny O'Mara, Carmichael's custom helmet meant a lot to him and he's "really bummed" about its disappearance. If you have any information as to the helmet's whereabouts, please call O'Mara at 714/829-6302 ext. 6302. Veteran Australian road racer Malcolm Campbell will become the oldest rider to ever compete in a World Superbike Championship race when he attempts to qualify for the opening round of the series at Phillip Island, March 20-22;, according to Cycle News contributor Darryl Flack. The 45-year-old, a twotime dual Australian Superbike Champion, will pilot a privately entered Ducati in his first World Superbikj! event in over five years. A pole positiol} winner at World Superbike races in 19~ and 1989, Campbell has set himself realistic goals. "To get into the top 16 would be above my expectations," Campbell said recently. Campbell, who competed in several 500cc GPs in 1988 for the Elf Honda team, has been competing in the Australian 600cc Supersport Championship with his rookie teenage son, Scott. The older Campbell finished eighth in the 1997 title chase. A report on the Australian motorsport television program RPM has indicated that former Suzuki 500cc GP rider Daryl Beattie was approached to take over the Repsol Honda NSRSOOV vacated by the injured Takuma Aoki. Following two disastrous, injury-marked years with the former Lucky Strike-sponsored team, Bea ttie declared tha t he would sit out the 1998 season. RPM host Bill Wood announced that he believed that Beattie had been offered the ride which has now gone to Sete Gibernau, but declined it. Co-host Barry Sheene said: "I find that really silly, if Daryl turned it down. I mean, Luca Cadalora's sitting around without a ride, so Honda may have approached him." Guy Cooper (KTM) finished third in round three of the 1998 Australian Supercross Championships in Brisbane on March 14. The final race was won by 2Q-year-Qld Craig Anderson (Yam), followed by Cameron Taylor (Suz). The 36-year-old Cooper will also contest round four at Wayville, in South Australia, on March 21. Both Aaron Slight and his Castrol Honda teammate Colin Edwards II lapped under the superbike lap record during a private Honda test at Eastern Creek in Sydney, Australia, March 1213. Slight lapped at 1:31.41, almost two seconds quicker than the existing superbike record held by Australian Troy Bayliss. "With the start of the championship a little more than a week away, it was important that I was on pace, and I'm very happy with my best time," Slight said. "This test at Eastern Creek was an important one for tires. We can now go to next week's opening roun~ confident with the Michelins we have available." Edwards, meanwhile, lapped at 1:32.201 in his first visit to the 2.44mile circuit. ''I'm happy with the progress we've made during preseason testing," Edwards said. "We've got one more test at Phillip Island next Wednesday, and that should leave me fully prepared and ready for some race action."

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