Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1998 04 08

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 .'" .- .... In rainy conditions, Belgian Stefan Everts (Hon) won the opening round of the FIM World Championship 250cc MX Series in Talavera, Spain, on March 29. Everts went 1-2, losing the first moto to Pit Beirer (Hon) of Germany. Beirer suffered a pair of falls in the second moto before retiring to the pits. Second overall went to Los Angeles Supercross winner Seoastien TorteIIi (Kaw) of France. Tortelli went 3~2, while American Tallon Vohland (Yam) went 7-3 for third place. Rounding out the top five overall were Beirer and Justin Morris (Hon) of Great Britain. Defending champion Doug Lampkin (Bet) started his World Championship Observed Trials season off right by topping both days at the season-opening round in Madrid, Spain, March 28-29. On day one, Lampkin beat Marc Colomer (Mon) and Amos Bilbao (G-G). On the second day, Takahisa Fujinami (Hon), who had finished eighth the prior day, climbed to second, just ahead of Colomer. Defending champ Mike Lafferty (KTM) scored the overall win in round two of the AMA/ Acerbis National Enduro Series in BeHeplain, New Jersey, on March 29. Finishing second was New Jersey's own Fred Hoess (Suz), while Kevin Bennett (Hon), Rich Lafferty (KTM) and Bill Adkinson (KTM) rounded out the top five. The win put Lafferty at the head of the series leaderboard, followed by seventh-place finisher in New Jersey Matt Stavish (Hon) and opening-round winner Ty Davis. Chris Walker (Kaw) and Niall Mackenzie (Yam) split wins in the opening round of the British Superbike. Championship at Brands Hatch on March 29. Walker topped Sean Emmett (Due) and James Haydon (Suz) in winning the first race while Mackenzie was able to hold off Steve Hislop (Yam) and Walker to win the second leg. Scott Plessinger (KTM) won the. final round of the AMA PireIli/Moose MidSouth Winter Hare Scrambles Series, held in Dickson, Tennessee, on March 29, 1998. Mike Sampson (TM) finished second overall, followed by Duane Connor (G-G), John Machino (TM) and Blair Bersano (Kaw). ~ 0\ ...... 00 ~ l-< ,;;. ........ 2 With the World Championship Road Race Series scheduled to open its season on April 5 with the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, two teams have announced that replacement riders will be used because of injuries to their regular riders. The first to be replaced was·Yamaha Team Rainey's Jean-Michel Bayle, who continues to battle with the concussion he suffered during preseason testing in Malaysia in February. The Frenchman is reportedly having problems with balance and he may not return to action until the third round of the series in Spain on May 3. Bayle will be replaced at SuzuJ,a by veteran Yamaha test rider Kyoji Namba. "I think it's the best dedsion," team owner Wayne Rainey said. "Jean-Michel is doing very well now. He's had many tests and all of them have been okay, but I think it should help him knowing that he doesn't have to hurry back. He's now working on his fitness again so that he'll be in better shape mentally and physically when he comes back. We're not sure if he'll do Malaysia (round two on April 19), but after that we'll now test at Albacete (Spain) on April 27 on our way to Jerez, and that should give him much-needed time on the bike before he gets going in Europe." The second rider to be replaced is Team Suzuki's Katsuaki Fujiwara, who has also been withdrawn from Suzuka because of injury. Fellow Japanese racer Keiichi Kitagawa will replace Fujiwara, who suffered ankle injuries in a preseason crash at Eastern Creek in Australia. Kitigawa is a regular in the AIl-Japan Superbike Series. Four-time 250cc World Champion Max Biaggi showed he has every intention of being a factor in his rookie season of SOOcc Grand Prix radng by leading the way in the final preseason test at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan, March 23-25. Marlboro Honda's Biaggi lapped at 2:06.999 on the third day of the test, bettering the times turned in by the rest of the 500cc field. Second quickest at Suzuka was Kyoji Namba, the man who will replace the injured Jean-Michel Bayle at Suzuka. Namba lapped at 2:07.162 on the 1998 Yamaha YZR500 with wildcard Yamaha entry Noriyuki Haga third fastest at 2:07.328. Repsol Honda's Tadayuki Okada and four-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan were fourth and fifth with times of 2:07.338 and 2:07.757, respectively: Team Yamah~ Rainey's Norifumi Abe, Team Suzuki's Nobuatsu Aoki, MoviStar Honda's John Kocinski, Horida NSRSOO-mounted Alex Barros and Repsol Honda's Alex CriviJIe rounded out the top 10. The second American in the lineup, Californian Malt Wait, carded the 22ndquickest time at 2,10.611 on his Honda V-twin. The fastest of the 250cc riders was nondefending 125cc World Champion Valentino Rossi, with the Italian lapping at 2:08.804. Australian World Superbike racer Peter Goddard was philosophical about his up-and-down first race with the Suzuki World Superbike team after staging a promising buildup when he grabbed the • first provisional pole. Goddard was bumped back to seventh grid position in the new Supe.rpole qualifying method and then crashed while second in the first leg. "The wind blew me eff line a bit into the MG hairpin, right to where a big bump is," Goddard explained to Cycle News contributor Darryl Flack. "It's the most important one to miss and I hit it and the front end went away. I looked at the telemetry later and the forks almost bottomed ou!." Fighting for position with Japanese sensation Noriyuki Haga at the time of his spill, Goddard reserved his judgment about the Yamaha rider's chances in 1998. "He's certainly aggressive and doesn't mind sticking it in, and he's got good bike control - he's the new wild child, I suppose," Goddard said. "We'll see how he goes at the European tracks and I understand that he will be commuting from Japan for each race, so that will probably count against him:' In the second leg, Goddard led home "Kawasaki's 'Akira Yanagawa by just .015 of a second, and counts him elf lucky to have clinched fourth place. "The engine wasn't quite on 'song after the crash in the first race - it must have sucked in some dirt." Former two-time 500cc World Champion Barry Sheene is one of many to sing Goddard's praises in lifting the Suzuki GSXR750 from also-ran to serious contender. A longtime advocate for the Australian to play some role in Suzuki's World Superbike effort, Sheene had further words for the Harris-run team: "PeteT's doing a great job and I think a WestCoastF~tTrack Series to debut F ormer Grand National Champions Gene Romero and Chris Carr are teaming up in the hope of restoring grass-roots and professional dirt track racing on the West Coast with the announcment of their West Coast Flat Track Series. The series, which is the brainchild of 1970 AMA Grand National Champion Romero, will include four AMA-sanctioned Pro-Am events at three California dirt tracks. Carr will promote the opening round of the series, which is scheduled to run on May 9 at the Lodi Cycle Bowl in Lodi, California. The series then moves to Southern California, with a stop at the Perris Auto Speedway half mile in Perris, California, on June 6, followed by dates at Bakersfield Speedway in Bakersfield, California, on July 18 and August 22. Three classes - 600cc Expert, 600cc Pro Sport and 883cc - will carry a minimum $3000 purse, with the possibility of additional support classes being added. "We are going to deliver AMA ProAm radng in areas where we have a great' base of racing enthusiasts, but where there are not nearly as many races as there were when I was coming through the ranks," Romero said. "The Perris and Bakersfield half miles should make for great high-speed action, and we're really glad to have Chris Carr's short track at . Lodi on the schedule as well:' Both tarr and Romero hope that the series will attract enough participation and attention to allow it to expand and develop into a premier series that will serve as a launching pad for future Grand National champions and contenders. "There's no greater sport than dirt track racing," Carr said. "This type of grass-roots program brings grea tracing to. the fans and gives young riders a chance to develop:' For mor~ information, write Gene Romero Promotions, 879 E. Cameron Ct., Brea, CA 92681, or call 714/529-6054 or 209/544-1027. Send e-mail inquiries to t'N GRomer0333' . lot of the can go to him for making the bike so competitive this year. Quite frankly, Suzuki should've got Troy Bayliss as second rider to Goddard because, with all due respect, Jamie Whitham's just not doing it:' North American Sport Bike (NASB) preSIdent Roger Edmondson announced on March 30 that he now has a con-, firmed NASB schedule. The series, which began at Daytona International Speedway in March, will consist of seven rounds. The second round of the series will be held May 8-10 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, before heading to round three at Buttonwillow Raceway in Buttonwillow, Califorl1ia, July 3-5. Round four is scheduled for Heartland Park in Topeka, Kansas, August 14-16, with another round to be held at Road Atlanta, August 28-30. The final two rounds will be held in Florida, with round six being held at MetroDade Motorsports Complex in Home•stead and the final round scheduled for Daytona, October 21-25. "Our goal at NASB is to expand the sport of road racing to a new audience and part of that strategy is to bring the 'sport into new markets," Edmondson said. "We had hoped to have a race at WatIcins Glen in May of this year, but after meeting with track officials, we have agreed to postpone the event until 1999 - to give us more time to develop a proper marketing effort. We are p'leased that we have three new markets for the sport on the schedule. We bring Central California its first Pro race at Buttonwillow in July. Fans in the central lime zone will have a race at Topeka in August and Pro radng will return to South Florida when we visit Homestead in September." While Carl Fogarty was lucky to have made it to the line in the first World Superbike race of the year at Phillip Island, Troy Corser was equally fortunate to finish second to the Brit, and not just because of the 1?ruised left foot he sustained in testing on Wednesday. "My foot was pretty bruised and I'd thought I may have had trouble shifting through the ra,ce, but the biggest concern we had was fuel consumption," Corser explaine4. "The tea.m thought it would be real touch-and-go, but we made it:' The 22-lap race around the picturesque Australian circuit was 60 miles. Kawasaki Racing Team rider Neil flodgson had a weekend to forget in Australia, after starting from 14th despite equaling Peter Goddard in running the fastest trap time. The 23-year-old then stalled his bike on the grid just seconds before the start of the first race and was lucky to restart the engine after Kawasaki team members gave him a push, against the wishes of the starter. Claimc ing the windy and hot conditions were the worst he'd ever raced in, Hodgson finished a disappointing eighth after fending off a remounted Aaron Slight. Returning in the second leg, Hodgson claimed he was T-boned in turn four on lap five and retired on lap ;ix when his engine appeared flat. "Maybe it had something to do with the crash, I don't know," Hodgson said afterward. "I don't know what it is with PhiIlip Island but I never seem to have any luck here. I really like the track, but looking at the results, it's been a complete waste of time. I shouldn't have bothered coming, really." Runner-up in the '1 don't wanna be here" stakes at Phillip Island was Scott RusseIJ, who told one television network, "I wanna go home!" following his miserable results. Dirt tracker-turned-road racer Chris Carr has turned dirt tracker again, full time. The 1992 AMA Grand National Champion has decided to terminate his AMA National road racing deal with Earl Small and concentrate on running the remainder of the AMA Grand National Championship Series scryedule. "The deal with Earl Small was that he gave me the bikes and the parts and the transporter, and I had to come up with the funds .to keep it going," Carr said. "I, just came up short, and I was losing as much money road racing as I would have made dirt tracking." Carr will reen ter the dirt track arena with mechanic

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