Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1998 04 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 77 of 78

AVIEW FROM THE FENCE BY ERIC JOHNSON hile the AMA Supercross Series is beginning its final run down the homestretch toward its inevitable conclusion in Las Vegas, evada, the prestigious FIM 250cc World Championship Series is now up and running in Europe. Three rounds into its 16-event, globetrotting 1998 campaign, the world's fastest natural-terrain motocross pilots have shaken off the winter doldrums, whipped themselves into fighting shape and gotten their bikes sorted out and dialed in for a shot at the 37th annual running of the 250cc World Championship. To that end, I received a phone call this, morning from my friend Stefan Eveits, who was back home in Dilsen, Belgium, after placing second in yesterday's Grand Prix of Holland which was held. in the ominous brown sand of Valknenswaard, site of America's 1991 Motocross des Nations win. Everts after tangling with American Tallon Vohland, which ultimately sent both of them down into the silica - finished out the day with 4-1 finishes for second overall to French sensation Sebastien Tortelli. Everts, a four-time World champ, is the ultra-fast elder statesman of the Grand Prix circuit. The son of another four-time World Champion, Harry Everts, Stefan, more so than any other contemporary GP combatant, has experienced the ups, downs and ups of World Championship motocross. And after a veritable lifetime spent around the sport, "Stefun," as he is affectionally known across Europe, is a savvy, worldly professional who attacks the sport with a comprehensive, detail-oriented plan. As a testament to this master plan, Everts has recently walked away with the first two GP wins of 1998. First blitzing to a 1-1 stomp-off at the rain-battered season opener in Talevera, Spain, the defending champion replicated the W result the very next weekend in Agueda, Portugal. Round three, held Sunday in Holland, was held on Everts' home turf in Valkenswaard, a mere 20 minutes from his Belgium. ''I'm a little disappointed in my result yesterday, because in the first moto, I was coming through the pack very quickly and got caught up behind Vohland," explained Everts over the phone in regard to his afternoon of sandblasting. "1 tried passing him a number of times and got a little bit impatient and took a chance in a tight comer. Neither one of us backed off and we both ended up on the ground. "In the second moto, I got a bad start," he continued, "but' passed everybody right a.way, got into'the lead and pulled away to a 13-second lead. I'm a little disappointed, though, because I really wanted both moto wins yesterday." Backed by the enormous financial and technical resources of Honda-Japan for the third consecutive -season, Everts is extremely pleased with the motorcycle with which he has been provided for the 1998 GP wars. "It's the best bike I have ever ridden," he enthused. "It handles so well. that I can do whatever I want with it. I can put the bike wherever I want." From winning the last three 250cc World Championship titles, Everts is now a marked man, as such acclaimed riders as L.A Coliseum Supercross winner Sebasti~ Tortelli and Motocross des ations hero Pit Beirer would like nothing more that to knock the crown prince of FIM motocross off his throne. Said Everts in regard to his factorybacked adversaries: "Tortelli is certainly the guy to beat. However, he's not as fast this year, but he is riding smarter. I can still go a little bit faster than him, though. Pi t Beirer is going very fast, but sometimes he'rides over his limit and ends up on the ground and DNFs." Managed by Dave Grant, the Honda- 30 YEARS AGO... supported team for which Everts rides is the most professional and well-funded outfit in all of Grand Prix motocross. Operating out of two American-styte semi trucks, complete with the full-on In'dy Car-style hospitality setup, the Everts/Grant race team recently came to terms with Phillip Morris, and will sport the tobacco giant's L&M brand as part of its colorful livery. "The team is very good," Everts said. "We just had a very busy weekend because we now have two big semi trucks and all kinds of hospitality to deal with. The Phillip Morris deal has worked out well, but Dave has been so busy keeping everything organized and running that it's hard to keep track of him." Riding in tandem with Everts as part of the Honda team is Frenchman Frederic Bolley. Said Everts in regard to his tail-gunning teammate: "Bolley didn't do that well in Valkenswaard yesterday. He's struggled a little bit in the first few races, but I know he will be better in the GPs to come; we get along real well and he'll be in there fighting all year." Hugely popular in all the motocrossing nations of Europe and South America, the enterprising Belgian has initiated a number of creative personal projects that will ultimately promote his name and the sport in general. Foremost among these endeavors is a full-color photo book that will celebrate the flashy and, at times, flamboyant champion. ·'My book will be done this.week," Everts said enthusiastically. "It should be real nice with all the pictures, and I was able to have Roger DeCoster and Joel Robert write introductions for me. The book is being translated into four different languages and will go out all over Europe." .. And the other projects? • "1 will also have an Internet page up in three weeks," he continued. "Here's something I have not told you about: There's a song being put together about MAY 16, 1968 20 YEARS AGO... MAY 3, 1978 e reported that some 600 motorcyclists made the trek to Calico, California, for the ninth annual Frontier Day and Buffalo Feed... Over 150 dirt track riders made their way to the San Jose Fairgrounds to do battle on the half mile. Jim Rice (BSA) won the Amateur race hands down, while Dan Haaby (H-D) got past Mer! Lawwill (H-D) in the early going of the shortened Expert main event and held on for the win... Mel Dineson of Bakersfield, California, ventured to the Arizona IT Championships in Tucson and cleaned house, winning both the 125 and 250cc Expert ... classes ... The big boys were in force at dlrlsba d Raceway's AFM National motocross. Gary Bailey (Hod), Russ Darnell (Gre) and Ron Nelson (Mon) were the 125, 250 and 500cc Expert winners, respectively... Our "Meet ~~iii;;:~ the Racer" profile was on Mert Lawwill. he Hurricane struck again. Bob Hannah (Yam) made it three for three in the AMA/Mr. Pibb 125/250cc National Championship MX Series in Houston, Texas, going 1-1 for the 250cc win. This time, however, Mark Barnett (Suz) scored the overall win in the 125cc class and took the series points lead away from Broc Glover (Yam)... Heikki Mikkola (Yam) beat out Roger DeCoster (Suz) and Brad Lackey (Hon) for the overall win at the 500cc World Championship MX Series opener in Swi tzerland ... Speedway rider Jim fishback (Yam) proved his versatility by winning the AMA ISDT Qualifier in California City, California... Johnny Cecotto (Yam) won the second round of the Formula 750 World Championship Series at Paul Ricard in France... We rode the works Yamaha OW38 of World Champion Heikki Mikkola... Alex Jorgenson, Wayne Rainey and Jeff Haney were all victorious in Bates Pro Series Friday night half mile action at Ascot Park. W •..... T me. It's a techno song being done by a DJ over here and will involve some commentary about me. It's a dance song, with commentary being read over the music - so I won't be singing-on it." Last July, Everts took advantage of a hia tus in the 250cc GP sched ule and hopped on an airplane bound for New York. There to take on the Americans on their own soil, Everts dazzled the U.S. specta tors with his smooth and effortless riding style. And while he didn't win the event, he displayed all the speed and determina tion required to do so. Back in January, Everts stated that, due to his decision to compete in the Namur, Belgium, 500cc Grand Prix as a wild card this August, he would not be able to visit America this summer. However, as of Monday morning, there appears to be a possibility that he will, in fact, swing through Maryland for the Budds Creek National. "There's still a chance that I wilL come over for Budds Creek, which takes place between Czechoslovakia and Italy," Everts said. "l'm not sure yet if I will come or not, though. I have a lot going on, and I know it will be hot and humid at Budds Creek that time of the year, and that could be hard on my body with all the travel. I'll wait and see." In the meantime, the champion has set his sights on title number five. Fed up with the long and cold Belgian winter, the housebound Everts has focused exclusively on his race program. "The weather here has been lousy and cold," he said while staring out at the falling rain. "1 couldn't even train last week because of all the rain and cold. The weather people keep saying it's going to get warm and sunny, but I don't know. But overall, I have not been up to anything too exciting, just racing and winning GPs." fN Oh, is that all? 10 YEARS AGO... APRIL 27, 1988 hree-time and defending AMA Grand National Champion Bubba Shobert edged out Scott Parker (H-D) at the season-opening Sacramento Mile. Doug Chandler (Hon) was third... Rick Johnson (Hon), Jeff Ward (Kaw) and Ron Lechien (Kaw) finished onetwo-three at round seven of the AMA/Coors Supercross Series in Texas Stadium... The American road race contingent won a few battles but once again lost the war to the U.K. at the Eurolantic Challenge road races in England... Former World 500cc Champion Marco LucchinelIi (Due) scored the victory in the first-ever round of the World Championship Superbike Series at Donington Park, England... Scott Tyler (Yam) won . the Olympia, Washington, round of the Mick- . ey Thompson Ultracross Series... Charlie On (H-D) won the first National dirt track race of his career at the Dixie Speedway 600cc National Short Track in Woodstock, _ Georgia. (OX T

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