Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1990's

Cycle News 1999 12 15

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 . ", ~ / .' ~ De nn y Stephen s on (Suz), Ch arl ey Bogard (Suz) and N ick Wey (Kaw) were the big winners in rounds seven a nd eight of the Nationa l Arenacross Series in Rockford , Ill in ois, December 3-5. Stephenson won the 125cc main event on Friday and then won the 250cc main on Sa turday, w ith Boga rd tak ing the 250cc honors on Friday and Wey win ning Satu rday's 125cc final. Meanwhile, Budd y An tu n ez had a consistent weekend with two second-place finishes, a third-p lace finish and a fourth over the course of the two da ys to lead the champi onship after eig h t rounds, 246-235 , over Stephenson. Newl y crowned 250cc World Champion Valen tino Rossi had his first ou ting on the Ho nda NSR500 that he will race in next year's 500cc World Championship on November 29 in Jerez, Spain. "You can im agine it could be worrying, because until you are on it, you don ' t know exactly what is waiting for you," Rossi said prior to his ride. The bike he rode was Alex Criville's spare, set up for him by former Mick Doohan crew chief Jerem y Burgess. After 40 laps on the first day of the tes t, Rossi had lapped at a bes t of 1:45.12. "Tomorrow I want to go 1:44," he sai d beforq leavin g the track. Then he went ou t and did more than that, according to Cycle News con tri butor Pao lo Gozzi. At the end of day two, Rossi was d ow n to a 1:43.5, just behi nd Ho nda's Sete Gibernau and Tadayuki Okada, the pair lapping at 1:43.2. Not bad considering those two are seasoned 500cc GP riders, and Rossi had only been on the bike for a few hours . 'The Honda 500 is beautiful, but you have to be careful ," Rossi exp lai ne d a fter the test. "You wa n t to give it gas right away, but you have to be ca reful beca use th e NSR is an an imal read y to u nloa d yo u a t a ny moment. With the Ap rilia 250 you have to be careful with the gas when you are in first, second and third gear; wit h the NSR every mom ent is goo d to fly away. Ho nda' s chassis surp rised me very much; it's quite easier to rid e than my Aprilia 250. That was a difficult bike, a good school for the 500. Now I have a feeling for the power. There is a difference of 100 hp - that's not a lit tl e thing . In th e la st tw o to three hours, I was more su re and sta rti ng to wo rk a little on the setup. Surely during the race it will be more difficult, but conside ring the present situation, I think I will be able to respect my plan and hope to be fighting for the pod ium as soon as possible. And, if possible, end ing the first seaso n w ith some w in s." Ross i has a fierce rivalry wi th fellow Ita lian Ma x Biaggi. That will only get worse now tha t he is joini ng Biaggi in th e 500cc class. Rossi knows tha t repeati ng Biaggi' s feat of winning his first-ever 500cc GP will be a difficult task. "I think it will be impossible, but it doesn't interest me too much," Rossi said . "For me it' s enoug h to win also later, but it's important to repeat as soon as possible - not like Biaggi, w ho has won jus t three races in two years on the 500." 2 Jeremy Burgess was im p res sed w it h Rossi's first time ou t on the bike. "I was surprised from Valenti no's performance in his two learn ing da ys on the Ho nd a," the Australia n sa id. "Withou t a d oubt, he is a great talent and Honda was right in taking him. Th ese first tests were only u seful to tr y th e bi ke, to s how him wh at 's wa iting for him and to mak e his Christmas happ y. Th e biggest p art of our wo rk will sta rt in January, but this first time was surely interestin g." Rossi will test again a t Jerez, January 24-26, prior to testin g at Phillip Island in Australia in February . Gas Gas debuts 2000lineu O n November 14 and 15, Gas Gas North America held its annual dea ler association meeting in Laurel, Mississippi, unveiling part of its 2000 model-year lineu p. Making their North American debut were six enduro models, with three EC and three XC models available in 2oocc-,250cc-and 300cc-engine sizes . This marks the third consecutive year that the Spanish off-road motorcycle manufacturer has exported enduro bikes to the United States bu ilt exclusively to "American-rider standards." Gas Gas North America President Don Knight explains, "Gas Gas only ship us bikes tha t are made to our specifications. Our [Gas Gas North America's] philosophy is to sell a bike that is-ready to race right out of the box. Each year our development team gives them a want list, and they bu ild us that motorcycl e, that you can only buy in the United States.". According to Knight, his company has team ed up this year with Na tio nal Enduro Cha m pion Te r ry Cu nni ng ha m, aftermarket off-road specialis t an d 20-time ISDE partici pa nt Drew Smith, and FMF's Don Emler to work on American pro duct develop me nt. Knigh t says the emphasis is on maki ng the bikes more Ame rican-rider friend ly. The European-based models feature a nicke l-pla ted chromemo ly perimeter frame, aluminum subframe, Nissin brakes an d hydraulic clutch, and American additions inclu de engine blu e- The AMA ·is ask ing off-hig hway motorcyclists to take immed iate action in the face of a rapidl y ex pa nd ing threat to m o to ri z e d r e cr eati on n ati on w id e, accordi ng to the AMA. The threat comes in the form of an order fro m Presid ent Bill Clinton di recting the U.s . Forest Service to ban a number of activi ties on sacalled "road less" lands in the national fo r es t sy s te m . Wh e n C li nto n fi rs t annou nced the plan in October, he ind icated his order migh t a ffect abo ut 40 mi llion acres of id en ti fi e d road le ss lands. He said that he would also have the age ncy consid er new ru les coveri ng smaller, unin ven toried roadless parcels. The Forest Servi ce established a publiccomment period on the prop osal end ing Decem ber 20. Bu t with th a t d ead line ap proach ing , th e d et a ils of the p resid ent' s p la n ar e con tinui ng to cha nge dramatically, according to the AMA. In docu ments relea se d December 1, less than three weeks before the end of the comme n t p er iod , a revised tabulat ion showed that more than 62 million acres w o u ld be a ff ec ted b y th e p ropo sa l. Ad d in g in th e uninventoried p a rcels could bring that total close to 80 million acres, rather than th e 40 milli on origi nally announced . That's an area of land rou ghly equal to th e combine d size of Virgin ia , West Virg inia , Maryl and , Pennsylvania and New Jersey . Althoug h d es ign at ed "r oad less," th at land contai ns th e vas t ma jo ri ty o f motori zed recreation op portunities in the national fo res ts, p art icu la rl y in th e We s tern states. For purposes of designa tion, any rou te less than 50 in che s w ide a n d " travelways resul tin g fr om off- roa d vehicle use," are not con sidered road s. This includes nearly all of the trails used by off-highway mo torcyclists and ATV r iders . Off -h ighway e n th u s ias ts a re being asked to immed iately e-mail their conce rns abo u t th e proposal to: roadless / w o_ ca et -slc @fs .fed .u s, o r se n d comme nts by fax to. 801/ 517-1021. The AMA wo uld like you to ask Forest Service officials to length en the public comment period by 90 da ys to allow in terested parties an opportu nity to respo nd to the Clinton plan . Answer Racing w ill be the title sponso r of the Planet Honda tea m for the 2000 AMA Nationa l Motocross and AMA EA Sports Supercross Seri es, according to printing and porting, FMF ex haust, fro nt and rear-suspension va lv ing , Excel r im s and a 3.2-ga llon fuel tank. As Knight pu t it, "Whe n you consi de r we're s tar ting w it h the European EC model tha t has already proven itself by w inning the World Enduro Series ove rall in 1996 and 1999, you can see whey we feel these are the best off-road bikes availab le i the U.S." . Th e EC models come with a conventional Ma rzocchi for whi le the XC versio n uses an inverted White Power fork and bille alu mi nu m triple clamps. Both mod els come standard wi th a Ohli ns shock. The meeting was also used to announce the rest of the Gas Ga lineu p, which includes a SOcc wa ter-cooled mini racer, a 250cc M bike, and 250cc and 300cc ATVs. A soon-to-be-released 250cc fue injected fou r-stroke will be available in MX and end uro versio n and a 400cc fuel-injected water-cooled thu mper is scheduled fo release in 2001. "Since '97 [Gas Gas ' firs t yea r importing bikes to the U.s .] we've doubled our Ll.S. sales numbers each year, with our dealer taking d elivery on over 800 units in 1999," said Knight. "We expec to import over 1200 bikes for the upcomin g year ." Steve Berkne Answe r. The team will cons ist of JeanSebas tian Roy, Jason McCormick, Isaiah Johnson and Matt Wal ker. Japa nese road racer Dai jiro Katoh will ride for the Honda Gresini Racing Team in th e 250cc World Championship in 2000. Th e 23-ye a r-o ld will rid e in th e tea m that wa s h e a d ed b y Lori s Capirossi in 1999. Capirossi was offered $600,000 to return to the team, accord ing to Cycle News cont ribu tor Paolo Gozz i, b u t h e wanted do u b le th at a mo u n t. Thus Katoh, who has won the Japa nese GP twice - in '97 and '98 - and this year finished second in the All-Japan 250cc Cha mp ions hip, has repl aced him. And what of Capirossi ? H e is n o w negotiati ng w ith the Tino Villa Raci ng team that will field a Hond a NSR250 in nex t yea r's GPs. Tetsuya Harada will not move back to the 250cc GP class in 2000 as Aprilia has talked him in to sta yin g on the V-twin 500cc Aprilia RSW500. "This is a [Jan] Vittewee n deci sion and we d o not d iscu ss th e d eci sion o f our ra cing s ta ff lead er," sa id Aprilia owner and presi- dent Ivan o Beggio during the press con ference to officially announce the thre e yea r con tract of 250cc GP rid er Marc M elandri. Melandri tested the Ap rili on Mond ay, December 6 in Jerez, Spain a n d wi ll conclud e on Decemb er 8 Report edly, Meland ri is bein g pa id $1. million a year in his three-year deal wit Aprilia and Benetton . . Colin Edwa rd s II a n d h is Cas tro Ho nd a teammate Aaro n Sligh t conclud ed their Philli p Island test in Australi on November 30 with Ed war ds lappin at 1:33.6 and Sligh t at 1:34.4 (the tra c record is a 1:33.019, set by Troy Corser). Yam ah a' s Noriyuki Haga also participated in the test, trying Dunlop tires, as the Japa nese ride r is now likely to return to the Dunlop fold for the 2000 World Superbike season. Ducati 's Carl Fogarty and Ben Bostrom recently tested at the Valencia track on which th ey will ope n th e 2000 World Superb ike Cha mp ions hip on March 12. Both of the factory men tested Ducati's new engi ne, with a single injector per cylind er, and a lot of different Michelin co m pou nds . Fogarty co m p le te d two Abbott and Brown best in the desert K awasaki Team Green' s Destry Abbo tt and Brian Brown came from a next-to-lastplace starting posi tion and steadily mad e up time all day to win the final round of Best in the Desert's Silver State Series, the Terri ble's Town 250 in Pahrump, Nevada, on December 4. Their victory not only gave them the series championship, but it also meant they wo n the $10,000 first-overall bike pri ze money pu t up by the Herb st family, owners of the Terrible's Town casino . Mont clair Yama ha' s Ty Davis and Russell Pearson actua lly led most of the race and appea red head ed for the win, which would've been a rep eat for Davis, but the engine on their bike failed internally (no cau se determined at this time) thr ee miles from the finish, giving them a DNF for their efforts . Honda' s Joh nn y Campbell and Tim Staab actua lly crossed the finish line first on their XR650R, in 4:57:28, but they lost to second finishers Abbott/ Brown on ad justed time. The winning time was 4:54:55. This was Campbell's second year in a row to finis h second at this race. Last year, Davis /Donnie Book beat Campbell (w ho soloed) by 42 seconds. Third went to Over 30 Pro-class winners Mike Healey an d Scott Morris on a KX500, in 5:18:57. Rounding ou t the top five were Paul Krause/Nick Pearson (Yam) in Open Pro (5:20:01) and Over 30 runners-up Rick Bozarth/Daryl Folks (KTM, 5:20:38). The Terrible's Town course was a very rough, beaten-up course that hammered equipment all day .

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