Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1999 11 24

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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Nick Wey (Kaw), Cha d Pederson (Hon), Cha rley Bog ard (Suz) and defend in g champ Buddy Antunez (Suz) were the big winners a t the se cond a nd third rounds of the Nati onal Arenacross Series held at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York, November 12-13. Wey scored the win ahead of Denny Step hen son (Suz) in the 125cc Pro class on Friday, while Pederson topped Pedro Gonzelez (Kaw) in the 250cc class. On Saturday, Bogard scored his first-ever arenacross win over An tu nez in t he 125cc cl ass, w hile An tu nez ca me ba ck to win th e 250cc. Go nza lez cu r r e n tly o w ns th e se r ies points lead over Steph enson, 124-1 16. Antron Brown (Suz) claimed his third NHRA Pro Stock Bike National win of the seaso n when he defeated a red-lighting Craig Treble in the Automobile Club of Sou thern Californi a NHRA Fina ls at the Pomona Fairpl ex in Pomona, California , on November 14. In related news, Matt Hines (Suz) claimed his third success ive NH RA Winston championship title in the class after series rival Angelle Seeling lost to Greg Underdahl (Suz) in th e second round of elim ina tio ns . By winning his second-round race aga inst Tony Mullen (Suz) , Hines was able to retain the crown. Shane Watts (KTM) an d Mike Healey (Kaw) ran ra mpant a t th e fo u rth reinstallm ent of the classic Elsinore Grand Prix on No ve mber 13-14 in Lake Elsi nore, California. Watt s won Saturday' s 125cc and 250cc races, but it was Healey who reigned victorious at the end of the pr emier Ham el 100 on Sun day. Healey who led two of Satu rday's events before breaking d own, turned his luck around during the 26-lap feature ra ce to lead Walts and Dave Ondas (Kaw) across the finish line. Scott Myers (KTM) won the Open race. Not to be outd one by the success of hi s rid ers wa s KTM fron t man Sco t Harden , w ho beat ou t Br e n t Wallingsford and Marty Moates am ong others in the Legends race. • '" '" '" ~ 2 Tw o-time World Champion Valentino Ro ss i ha s signed to rid e a Honda NSR500 in the 2000 500cc World Championship Ro ad Rac e Se ries . Aprilia a n nou nced tha t it had lo st Ro ssi to Honda with a press release on November 8. "After ma ny negotiations, Valentino Rossi has decided to con tinue his career with an other constructor in the 500cc class. Ap rili a th a nk s Valentino Rossi for these four years together and we hope to see Vale at the top also in this new challenge." Rossi has signed a twoyear contract with Honda Euro pe, with H onda Ita ly playi ng a big role in th e co n trac t neg ot iations . Repor te d ly , Rossi's d eal w ith Honda will pay him only half of wha t Apri lia offered him to s tay . Rossi' s crew will be headed by Aus tralian Jeremy Burgess, the curre nt crew chief for Mick Doohan and the former head mech anic for bo th Fred di e Spencer and Wayne Ga rd ner - a move th at throw s eve n more dou b t into Do ohan ' s fu t ure p la ns . " I' m ve ry happy," Rossi sai d . " I talked with Honda abou t th e possib ility to have a real factory NSR, not a support ed bike, and Honda [gave] me a lot of guarantees. Further, I will have the su pport of Jeremy Burgess, the chief mechanic that I had requ ested during the whole negotiation . Now I'm very excited, bu t I have also a lot of fear. I want to test the bike as soon as possible because I have a lot of thin gs to know abo u t 500 and NS R. I wa nt to thank Aprilia because they give me top bikes in the last four seasons and I wo n a lot of races and two wo rld titles. If I'm in SOO with a top machine, I mus t also thank Aprilia . I cannot say if in the future Rossi and Aprilia will be together. I cannot exclude anythin g." Commen ting on Rossi' s move to 500cc Grand Prix racin g, Mar lboro Yam ah a' s Max Blagg i said: "I'm very happy that Rossi decided to move to 500. It's a very difficult decisi on fo r a ny rider. N ow Val entino has en tere d into th e ad u lt world , because the 500 [class] is the main category. To race in 500, he will have to be an ad ult. To race in 500 is a pleasure, but th ere' s al so p ress u re . D o yo u rem emb er X e vin Sch w antz, Wayn e Rainey and also Mick Doohan? Pleasure and pr essure - th is is reality. I hop e to have a very interes ting cha llenge w ith Valentino. But now I know that prob ably I won ' t see Mick Dooh an on the tra ck next season . My d ream was again to challenge Mick." In a related move, Honda 's 125cc World Cha m pions hip runn er -up Marco Melandri has sig ned a three-year contract with Aprilia, taking over the spo t vacated by Rossi. Fo rme r AMA and World Superb ik e Cha mp ion Troy Corser is expected to sign a con tract th is w ee k to ra ce a n Aprilia RSV Mille in next year's World Su pe rbike Champion ship, accordi ng to Cycle News corresponde nt Paolo Gozzi. The o ne -yea r co n trac t w ill ha ve a n op tion for a second yea r, and the Australian will be the lead rider on the team managed by Giacom o Gu ido tti. Corser test ed th e Ap rili a on No ve mbe r 11 in Valencia, Spain, turning in just four lap s in a pou ri ng rain . On N ovember 12, Corser completed anoth er 10 lap s on the wet track before departing on Nov ember 13 to mee t with Aprilia regardi ng the contract. The team hasn 't deci ded on a se co nd rider yet , though Brit Jeremy McWilli ams is a t the top o f th e li st. McWill iam s ha s al re ady sai d th at he won 't be returning for another year on th e QUB Tea m Optimum sq uad aft er four yea rs with the tearn . v rser is Co expected to test the bike again, November 15-16, in Mu gello, Italy, along wi th Apri lia test rider Alessandro An tonello. Tetsuya Harada will also be on hand at the test, riding the new Aprilia RSW500 V-twin Grand Prix bike. Ducati's Carl Fogarty and Ben Bostrom tested in Imola, Italy, Novemb er 11-12, th ou g h bad wea ther hampered th eir efforts. Fogarty tes te d th e proto ty pe 2000-m od el Du cati 996 with Bost rom rid in g a u se d 1999 m od el. It was Bostro m's first ou ting wit h the Wor ld Superbike team and also his first ride on Michelin tires. Bosto m did roug hly 70 lap s on the rain y first d ay of th e test, while Fogarty comp leted 30 laps prio r to crashing. The second da y of testing saw rain in the morning with over cast skies in the afternoo n, wit h both riders using ra in ti res for mo st of the d ay before switching to intermed iates. Fogarty completed 55 lap s. "I like the new engine a lot," Fogarty said. "This engine is more powerful than the last 996 versio n I rode in Jap an. Also, riding in the we t showed that it is very smooth and easy to ride." Ducati will test again in Valencia, Spain, December 2-3. The Ducati team has picked up so me a d d it io nal spon sors for ne x t yea r' s Worl d Superbike effort, namely In fostrada, Ita ly'S largest manufacturer of p hones, and Sony Playstation. Kawasaki's Ricky Carmichael suffered a , broken collarbone during a practice crash at the Bercy Supercross in Paris, France, French fry Bercy_SX -----,, _ A lthough Jeremy McGrath won eve ry race he finished at Paris, Franc e' s Bercy Supercross, Nov ember 12-14, he didn't finish one, and thu s it was home-crowd favo rite David Vuillemin taking the King of Bercy title. McGrath 's single DNF was cau sed by a freak mechanical gremlin wh en the needle in his carb uretor broke during Friday' s second moto. "If it wasn' t for a little bit of misfortune, I'd be the King of Bercy," McGrath said. "Congratulations to David [Vuillemin]. He rode really well." Poor starts hurt the Yam aha -mounted Vuillemin, though he had great success passing slower riders on the track's tight confines. Even on the times w hen Vuillemin d id gate well , McGrath , on his Chaparral Yam aha , wa s alwa ys just a ha ir better and he fend ed off the Frenchman's advances each time. . "Jeremy is the real king of Bercy," Vuillemin said. "He won five ou t of six races and jus t had a mechanical problem." Thi rd over the three evenings of racing went to Honda' s Kevin Windham, who looked to be strugglin g in the small arena. Frenchm an Thierry Bethys was fourth, with Honda's Ezra Lusk completing the top five. ' The Prince of Bercy title - which goes to the top rider in the 125cc su pport class went to another Frenchman, Rodrig Thain . Yam aha rider Ernesto Fonseca, who rode' well but suffered from multiple cras hes, followed the KTM rider in second place. FMF Honda' s Casey Lytle was a consistent third. . on Saturday, November 13. The injury is expecte d to kn ock Carmich ael ou t of action for the next three to four weeks. Tea m Ho nda 's Ezra Lusk prop osed to his girlfriend Jennifer Stacey at the top of the Eiffel Tow er in Pari s, Fran ce, on Sunday , November 14. No wedd ing d ate has been announced. Bring the noise: The FlM is expected to raise the noise limit of the World Superbikes to 110 d ecibels fro m the forme r li m i t o f 103 d ecibel s, acc ord ing to so u rces a t t he FIM . Th e d eci sion is so me w ha t o f a su rprise, co ns ideri ng FIM Presid ent Francesco Zerbi 's statements during the 1999 seaso n. "We must limit th e noi se emission during races," Zerbi said several times last season. The new noise limit will allow the use of new exhaus t systems and more likely more power from both the twins and the four-cylinders that compete in the series. Suzuki Italy has signed a deal with the Italian Endoug team to manage its GSXR600 effor t in the Super sport World Championship in 2000. The team is trying to re tai n th e services of Brit Ka rl Harris and Cristiano Migli orati . Ita lia n Pie r-Francesco Chili a nd his Suzu ki teammate Katsuak i Fujiwara of Japan were sche d uled to begin testing th e 2000 Suz u ki GSX-R750 at Jer ez in Spain, beginning on Mond ay, Nove mber 15. All the World Superbike teams will test at Phillip Island in Au stralia from Febru ary 6 to February 8 wit h ano ther team-wide test sched uled for Valencia, Spain, March 6-12. The seaso n begins in Valencia, Spain , on March 12. Fred Sp encer Sr., the 73-year-old fathe r of thr ee-time World Champion Freddie Spencer, d ied on October 27 at his home in Loui sia na . Spencer had never fully recover ed fro m a boating acci den t he suffered on Labor Day weekend in 1984, w hich left his left a r m paral y zed . Spencer Sr. was instru mental in the racing career of his son, Freddie. "My dad was a great father," Spencer wrote on his Web site. "The things he taught to me as a boy - to always work hard and never gi ve u p - game me the confidence to become a cham pion. He gave me endless su p port, and his gui dance was instru mental in my success both on and off the track. He will be greatly missed by my entire family ." Spencer is survived by his wife of 52 years, Ju ne , tw o sons, Fred d ie and Dan n y, and a daughter, Linda . According to AMA Pro Racin g' s Ro n Barri ck, a decision will be mad e shortly o n th e fu tu r e of the AMA Superb ike National scheduled for Willo w Springs, April 28-30. Origina lly slated to be th~ second round of the AMA Su pe rbi ke N ational Champi on ship, the re is ~ ch a nce th a t th e Willow Sp rings race, won' t take place. "We are in essence asking them to hold that date," Barrick said. "Ther e is a seg me n t of the family [the Huths, owne rs of th e Rosam ond, Ca li~ fornia, racing facility] that wan ts to hold, the race and a segment that doesn't. It's: more of a personal decision than a business decision ." Barrick also said that he hop es a decision on the forma t of th~ combination World Superbike and AMA Superbike race at Lag u na Seca in Jul y will be made by the end of November . Form er 500cc Grand Prix race r Ro d Hasl am will return to racing in 2000, rid-' ing a H onda in th e British Superst ock Ch ampionship . "A t the moment, I'm looking forward to racin g the Fireblade' as a bit of fun, but once the first race i~ underway it will be far from that ," said, the 43-yea r-old Haslam. Ha slam's son, Leon, will contest the 2000 European and British 125cc Ch ampion sh ip s and w ill also compete in the British 250cc series on a Hond a RS250. , Sean Emmett a nd Sha ne Byrne w ill mak e up the tw o-man Harris Hond a Racing effor t in the Brit ish Superbike Championship next year, racing Honda RC51 s. The British series gets underway on March 26 a t Brands Hat ch. Former' Cas trol Honda 600cc World Sup ersport rider James ToseIand will also compete in the British Sup erbik e Championship: riding a Honda for Vimto Honda. Toseland finish ed l l th in the World Supersport Championship. Shane Nalley, former mechan ic to off: roa d racer Steve Ha tch, has repl aced Mark H yd e as Ameri can Su zuki ' s. Na tiona l Dual Sport Coordinator. Nalley' will travel the cou ntryside and represent Suz u ki a t vario us Na tional Dua l Spo rt events for 2000. Marlboro Yamaha' s Ca rl o s Ch eca logged up som e 120 laps during hi s, recen t two-day test at Jerez in Spain . "I feel even more confid ent on the bike than I did during the last few races of th season," said Checa. "I feel more coml fo rtable too a nd the new se tu ps th af we've tried have given me a lot mo re feed back; th e feeling is good . Our la p times were fine, but the test was more abou t findin g the right feeling." '

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