Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1998 12 16

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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l~ IN THE WIND - < T y Dav i't a n d D 6n; ie 8 ; ok (Yam ) tea me d u p to win the Terrible Town's 250 off-road race in Pahrump, Nevada, on Novem ber 5, The O pe n-class team actually crosse d the finish line as the seco nd mo torcycle , bu t too k th e wi n on ad justed time by 42 seconds over Johnny Campbell (Honi.who soloed the race and finished second overa ll. Third overall we n t to the Nick and Russ Pearson (KTM) team , followe d by the top 250cc team of Bryan Folks and David Pearson (KTM). Rou nd ing ou t the top five was the O ver 30 team of Daryl Folks and Rich Bozarth (KTM). For winning, Davis an d Book pocketed the $10,000 that was up for grabs in the motorcycle di vision of the Casey Folks' Silver Sta te Best in the Desert Series race. Four d iffer ent rid er s wen t ho me w it h wins in rounds n in e a nd 10 of the AMA/PJl Na tional Arenacross Series in Rockford , Illinois, December 4-5. On Frid ay night , Denny Stephenson (H on) sco red the wi n in the 125cc Pro clas s, while Cli ff Palmer (Kaw) topped the 250cc Pro fina l. On Saturday night, Jeff Will oh (Ho n) scored the 125cc Pro victory , whi le d e fe ndi n g ch a m p Bu dd y Antunez (Suz) earned the 250cc Pro final win. Palmer maintains the series po int s lead w ith 299, followed by Antunez wit h 290 and Chad Pederson with 282. Although A MA Superbik e Na tio na l Champion Doug Chandler is still refusing to commen t regard ing his situ ation with Ka wasaki and the Rob Muz z y team , Muzzy updated the situ ation during the Dunlop tire tests at Daytona Interna tional Sp eedway in Da ytona Beac h, Florida, on November 6, He believes the situation will soon right itself. Chandler wasn't on ha nd at the test, though Mu zzy said tha t was du e mai nly to timing and the fa ct tha t th e crew is short-handed wit h the departu re of longtim e crew chief Gary Med ley. "I can't say much about it other than that Doug had some concerns that w~re very important to him," Muz zy said . "Som e of them, cer tain ly, I agree w it h - so me of th em I p rob ably don' t. Some of them Kawasa ki probably agrees with and so me of them they don't. And so we've been wo rking toward s trying to , , SUlJertrackers to debut in 1999 A M A Pro Racing has announced that it is moving forward wit h the Project 2000 dirt track conce pt by in trod ucing the AMA SuperTracker Series for 1999, The decision to move forwa rd wit h the series rules and proposed 10-race 1999 schedule came af ter a 'recen t mee tin g of Grand Nationa l Dir t Track ind ustry professiona ls, w ho met in Las Vegas d u ri ng the w eekend of th e Nov e mber 21 AMA Natio na l Cha m p ions Awards Banquet. The series will exist in con ju nc tio n with th e Grand Na tional and Ha rley-Davidson Sportster Performa nce seri es , w it h Su perTrac ker races held as part of the program at select 1999 Gra nd Na tiona l race venues . The co mp le te 1999 SuperT racker e ven t sc hed u le w ill b e anno unced in mid- Decem ber. To encourage teams to invest in the development of Su pe rTracke r motor cycl es, AMA Pro Raci ng ha s co m mi tted to a three- year p ro gram of SuperTracker races, with a review of rules and series progress sla ted two years in to th e p ro gra m. AMA Pro Racing has guaranteed that current Grand Na tiona l and Harley-Davidson Sportster Pe rformance equipme n t standards w ill remain in place during the three-year SuperTracker review period , and rid ers licensed to compete in the Grand National or Harley-Davidson Sportster Performan ce seri es will also be eligible for SuperTra cker competit io n . Su p erTra cker races will run wit h a minimum of eigh t motorcycles, w ith entries from a variety of en gine manufacturer s, Pu rses are yet to b e d e termin ed but are e xpecte d to b e betwe en $5000 a n d $10,000 per race. An o fficia l AMA Com petit ion Bull etin d et a iling a ll 1999 SuperTracker series rul es will be issu ed after Decemb er 14, 1998. come up with a happy solu tion for everybody. From m y sid e, the bott om line is that I have a lot of resp ect for Doug; he's done a great job for us and I'd .like to do wha teve r we can to keep th e program together and have a viab le solution, But you've got to remember that there's three people invo lved in this - there's myself, th e re' s Kawasaki and th ere's Doug . We 've go t to come u p with so me thing th at works for everybod y, because not everybody has the same agenda . I believe we've d on e that , As far as I know, we h a ve acco m p lis hed th at a nd we' ll be moving forward for '99 wi th Doug. He had stro ng concerns, which he's always voiced , abo ut th e 600 - frankly, he has ne ver w a nt ed to rid e th e 600 , a nd Kawasaki really wa nted him to ride the 600. Tha t was part of his new con tract, but he still feels the same as he did and Russell sig!'s with Harley-DaVIdson ormer AMA and World Su perbike Champion and five-time Daytona 200 wi nner Sco tt Ru ssell sig ned a tw o-year con tract with Ha rley-Davidson on Friday, November 4, that wiIl see the Geo rgia n riding the VRI000 in the 1999 and 2000 AMA Superbike Na tional Championshi p Series. Fittingly, Mr. Daytona signed the contract at Daytona Intern ational Speedway, the site of the Du nlop tire tests, November 4-6. "It took us a little wh ile longer than I thought it would," Russe ll said d uri ng a break in the action at Dayton a on Novem ber 5. "I put the Yamaha deal togeth er in about four days - this took tw o weeks." Russell said that rumor s of him tal king to Harley during the World Superbike sea son - wh en team manager Steve Schiebe and others member s of Harley turned up at the Au stri an round of the series - w ere false. "Tha t was nothing," RusseIl said . "Nothing ever happened until iwo 'weeks ago ." For the past two years, RusseIl has competed in the World Superbike Series on a factory Yamaha w itho u t mu ch suc cess. The move toHarley also puts RusseII back on Dunlop tires, "I cut my teeth on Dunl op , so I can deal with that," RusseIl said. "I'm happy to be back on the Dunlops after the season I had this year - it wa s sad ." Man y question how much RusseIl has left to give, but he says ther e's plen ty. "I'm lookin g forward to it," Russell said . "This is the biggest challenge of my career - right her e. This is it. I am the underdog right now. I wou ldn't be here if I couldn' t ge t motivated for th is." As to whet her or not the tw o-year deal w ith Harl ey will conclude his stellar career, the 34-yea r-old Russell said , "We'll see how we' re do ing at the end of the tw o yea rs." To see how Russell fared durin g his initial 'r ide on the VRI 000, see our comp lete ' coverage of the Dunlop tests tha t start on page 6. F The following tentative ru les are sub ject to change, bu t they do p rovide general equipment standards . - Eng ines fro m approved, 49-s ta te DOT legal motorcycles . Twi n-cy linder, 900cc to 1000cc maximum, four-stroke, air- or liquid -cooled , u p- or downsized to class lim it. Carburetor or production fuel injection is allowed, but carbu re ted engines may not be modified for fue l injection . Fue l-injected engines may be modified for carbu re tion, - Tires will be the same as current GNC tire ru les , - Fuel wi ll be the same as current GNC fuel rul es, - Bodywork beh ind the rid er will be sized to current road race ru les, - Head s on two-valve pus hro d motors can be replaced with available two -valve aftermar ket hea ds , - Number plates will be black wi th white nu mbers . - Minimum weight: 315 1 d ry, 319 1 wet. bs. bs. - Aluminum or steel fra mes (only) are permitted . A committee of kn owled geabl e dirt track sa nctioni ng body me mb ers, tea m owners and en thusias ts has been formed to help gui de th e new class. They include: Dave Burks, president , Dir t Track Owners Group; Greg Crow, tuner, Ga rd ne r Racing; Don Emde, sponsorship consu ltant, AMA Grand Na tional Dirt Track Serie s; Ga ry Stol zenburg, ra ce promoter a nd ow ner of F&S Harle y-Da vidson /Suzuki; Dave Despain, member, AMA Pro Ra ci n g Boa rd of Di rec tors; Bru ce Bober, ra ce manager , AMA G rand N at io nal Dirt Tra ck Series; Rob King, nation al tech n ical manager, AMA Pro Racing; Mark Tuttle, chairman, AMA Pro Racing, an d Me rrill Vand erslice, director of competition, AMA Pro Racing. maybe even stro nge r. From my standpoint , I understand what he's saying, but still, whe n I look at the ot her things, I don 't come to the conclusion that he does, because it's him . I'm su re there's thin gs that I look at that he might sort of understand but not come to the same conclu sion I do." Accor d ing to Muzzy, Chand le r wo n 't co m p e te in th e 600 cc Supersport class in 1999. Itali an road racer Pier-Francesco Chili recen tly completed a th ree-d ay test on th e fac to ry Su z u ki GSX -R750 a t the Suzuka Circuit in Su zuka City , Japan, De ce m ber 1-3. The 34-year-o ld Chil i ended u p lapping at 2:10.5, just off the best lap turned in by Suz uki's lead AllJa pa n Superb ike Ser ies rid er, Keii ch i Kitagawa, who lapped at 2:09,6. "I don't know so we ll th e fou r-cylinder Suz u ki GSX-R," Chi li said at the test. "I' m very sa tisfie d , because my new bike is very competitive . The engine is powerful ; we just need to wo rk to have more power in low ra nge. Fro m the next test session, sched u led for Janu ary in Austra lia, we w ill begin to work arou nd th e chass is an d suspension , I'm very happy and I'm very cha rged u p abou t m y new challen ge. I hope to do a grea t '99 season." Katsua ki Fujiwara, Chili's teammate for th e 1999 Wo r ld Su perb ike Cha mpionshi p, also lap ped at 2:10.5, accor d ing to Cycle News con tributor Paolo Cozzi . Both riders u sed fu el-injected ve rsions of the GSX-R750, Italian Piergiorgio Bontemp i has signed a contrac t to rid e in th e World Su perspo rt Cha m p io ns hip for th e Yama ha BeIgard a facto ry team, tak in g ov er for Vitto ri ano G uaresc h i, w ho recen tly signed to move up to the World Super- , bik e team for Yama ha. Bontempi is on the road to recovery after br eaking both w rists in the World Superbike round at Laguna Seca in July. The 600cc Yam ah a team will also switch tire manufacturers for the coming season, cha ng ing fro m Michelin to Pirelli. Both Bontem pi and h is teammate Massimo Mer egalli are schedu led to test next week in Spa in. According to Cycle News correspondent Paol o Go zzi , Doriano Romboni h a s inked a d eal that w ill see him aboa rd factory Ducatis in the 1999 World Superbik e C ha m p io ns h ip . 'Rom bonis oneyear d eal will put him in the Ben etton G ro u p -backed team th at will feature spons ors hi p from cas ua l clothing lin e, Ka ppa . Du cati will su pp lyt h e tea m' wit h a full factory 996 as well as techn ical support and evo lu tion parts. He will a lso ha ve th e services of former Pier Fra ncesco Ch ili tuner Franco Fame. The 29-ye, -old Rom boni has race d in 125, 250 and 500cc Gra nd Prix, "I signed a one-year, con tract and I' m very happy to switch to superbike with Ducati," Romboni said . "Also, last year Ducati offered me a facto ry bike, but I was a lr ea dy under con trac t w ith MtiZ and I was n't ab le to answer yes , I d on 't know fou rs tro ke bi k es , but I will h a v e three m onths o f w in ter te sts to le arn th e secrets of Duca ti. My goa l: to wi n any race - w hy not?" The Kappa Ducati tea m will also field Mauro Lu cchiar i in th e World Superspo rt Championship. Co m p le te r esu rf a cing of th e Phillip. Island Gra nd Prix circuit was scheduled to begin on December 1, wi th the entire project slated to be comp leted by Christmas. In addition to the resurfacing of the Australian track, a nu mber of gravel traps will be added to further impro ve the safety of one of the world's most po pular race tracks . The traps will be placed in turn two, exiting turn three to tum four, tum six, turn eight and tum 12. IRTA is scheduled to hold its annua l Gra nd Pri x test session at the track on January 28. . Speaking of Ph illi p Is land , th e Au s tralian Grand Prix that was held there at the end of th e 1998 Wo rld Cha mpions hip Road Race season was rece n tly voted as Best Grand Prix of 1998 by IRTA, the team's association. Accordi ng to IRTA, th e Austra lia n round barel y topped th e Itali an G ra n d Pri x, w hi ch was held in Mu gello. The Czech Republic Grand Pr ix, held in Brn o, finish ed third in the voting. Th e r e a ppea rs to b e a co ns idera b le a mo u n t of m o v em ent afo ot in th e AMA Gran d N at ional Champion sh ip Series, as riders, teams a nd sponsors

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