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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Page 62 of 63

Whenopportunity kno cks In The Tapes BYSCOTT ROUSSEAU hat is it about once-in-a -lifetime op po rtu ni ties th a t they us ually pres ent th e m sel ve s o n ly af te r you 'v e committed yourself elsewhere? It just always see ms to happen tha t way. Rare cha nces, the kind that will never, eve r ha p pen aga in, u su ally invo lv e so me sort of persona l sacrifice on the pa rt the individua l present ed with the op portuni ty , or those around th e m . Some are sure thi ngs, so me end up in a bus t, but if you d on' t take th e cha nce, you' ll never know. I was faced w it h such a d ilemma recently d u ri ng what wo u ld otherwise see m to b e t he m ost innocuous o f eve n ts: th e recent Yama ha media day held at Adams Kart Track in Riverside, California. The event in and of itself presented no new oppo rtu nity for me, as I had been to tw o previous edi tions of wh at has to be the coolest media sh indig that anyo ne in the ind ustry pu ts on all year . No r was there any surp rise opportun ity in ge tting the chance to mee t with all of th e cha racters and perso na li ties tha t w ill m ake up T e am Ya maha 's squad of racers and supporting cas t for th e 2000 AMA season . And even the lu re o f get ting to burn some laps a t Adams behind the whee l of one of those bitchi n' CRG Yamaha 125cc shifter ka rts presented no occasion that wo uld be so rare as to ~rail my m or e responsib le . plans for the da y. So let me set the stage for tha t sing ular opportu ni ty that put me in the dog hou se. It starts wit h me and m y lovely wife Shawna (see, I'm still payin g for it) pu rchasing a good seco nd hand home in d ir e n eed o f TLC b efore it co u ld be inhabited . We ha d ag reed that the first wo rk d ay at the new 'stead would take pla ce on the same d ay as Yamaha kart da y. Yamah a had not hosted the event at Ad ams in so met hing like four years, its crack com munications team always sugges ti ng th at th e event s h o u ld b e ancho red b y some o ther so r t o f fu n activi ty. On e time they even info rm ally proposed a n L.A.-to-Ca talina per sonal watercraft race. N o than ks . I've been there and done that, and riding a Wave Raider over 26 miles of rou gh ocean is no picn ic. Yamaha might as w ell ha ve restaged a U'S, GP or Superb ikers med ia da y at Carlsbad and made u s all ride TT125Ls for two h ours - it wou Id be way mor e fun. But if you hav e never driven a shifter kart, then you owe it to yourself to find someone who will let you. The diminu tive automobiles are true formula racers, possess ing blinding acce ler atio n, sto pon-a-d ime brakin g and razor-lik e agility. They are capable of 120 mph, which is really hauling ass w hen yours is jus t 3 W in ches off the grou nd. It is th e closest thing to an Fl car that most mortals will ever experience. Put another way, they are a total blast - almos t more fun than motorcycles. So w hen the tim e came for a no ther Yamaha m ed ia d ay, I th ink eve ryone practically begged Yamah a for ano the r sho t at dri vin g the karts, It wou ld be a perfect way to spend the day, han gin g ou t with Yamaha's champions, heroes and futu re stars , an d then teamin g them u p w ith us jou rna lists fo r a series of timed laps to determine which team was the fastest. It' s fu n, but throw a little competitio n into the mix, and it becomes ser ious fun . Still, there was tha t work day to d eal w it h, so I p romised th e wife tha t all I was go ing to do was show up and get ac q uai nted wit h everyo ne, put the nam es with the faces, eat a little of the free Yamag ru b, maybe cu t a couple of practice la ps in a shifter kart and then bail ou t befor e noo n. I had to anyway, becau se my mom was scheduled to land at John Wayn e Airpo rt in Or an ge County a t arou nd 2 p .m ., an d I had to pick her up. She was flying down from Reno just so th a t s h e could h elp u s get to wo rk on the new pad. I cou ld not stay. Under any circu mstances. N one. I even promised Shawna that I would call her a ro u nd 10:30 a. m . a nd confi rm th at I was in fact on m y w ay to the airport, an d I did make that call. Everything was going accord ing to plan. Th en opportunity knocked ... m e ... upside the head. I had actually sign ed up to be on one of the race team s, but on ly so tha t m y name was on a waiver, w hic h cleared me to cu t a few practi ce la p s befo re head in g back to Oran ge Co unty . After Yamaha did its usual slick job of introducing all of the rid ers, mechan ics an d supp ort personne l th at wou ld be p art and parcel to the factory' s mot ocro ss, road race and off-ro ad efforts in the new mill ennium, Yama ha Communicati ons Director Bob St arr stepped up to th e microphon e and began calling the factory riders to the podium on e by on e, and had them pick n ames out of a hat to d et ermine th e teams. "B o Bo" also let ou t that one of the teams was gua ranteed to have a rin ger on it. On e by on e, g uys like Ernest o Fons e ca , D a vid Vu illem in , Ty Da vi s, Jamie H acking, etc., etc., headed up and drew the nam es of the journalists that would be on their teams. It was ge tti ng toward th e end w he n no ne o ther th an si x-tim e AMA Su percross Cha m pion and former 250cc N atio na l M X Champ ion Jerem y McGrath headed to the podium to draw. Mine wa s chosen, as was that of fellow Cycle News guy Kit Palmer . Now let me sto p rig ht her e an d say tha t the opportu nity to be on the sa me team as McGra th, tantalizin g as it may sound, was not enough to persuad e me to . alte r my plans and stay. I have as mu ch respect for "MC" a s anybod y - m ine in creased ex pone ntia lly a fter he made th e decision to lea ve Hond a a nd the dom ina nce that he enjoyed there to mo re or less strike out on his own w ith a new team . There is no ques tio n in my mind that he is the Wa yn e Gr etzky of su percross, having sing le-ha ndedly eleva te d the consciousn es s o f th e sport even o u tsi de th e boun dari e s of the motorcycle industr y. It w asn' t enou gh. Hey, I had plans. I had to go p ick up my !!,om. There was much wo rk to be d on e. Th e n McG rat h als o grabbed th e n am e o f th e rin ger , non e o th er th a n fo u r-t ime 50 0cc W orl d Roa d Ra ci ng Cha mp io n Eddie La w s on, w ho h ad been spo tted han ging around by several eagle-eyed observers earlier in the da y. Tha t very mom ent , I was presented with a lifetime opportu n ity. Not the chance to m e e t M cG ra th a n d Lawso n , no t th e chance to dri ve a shifter kart , but to race a shif ter kart whilst teamed up with a six- ti me su percross champion and a four-t ime world road race ch a mpion, who also happens to be a form er CART driver and one hell of a kart racer. Victory see med inevitable... Well, would you wal k away? I had to find a phone. " Hello, h oney ?" I sa id s ha k ily. "Remember how I told you that I w as go ing to pick up mom ? Well, yo u'd better figu re ou t so me thing else because..." She too k it better than I thou ght , or so I tho u ght, but eve n thou gh she had spoken ve ry few words, I think I su ffere d seco nd - and third -degree burns over 75 percent of m y ear before the cell ph on e was me rcifu ll y sw itched off. H ell , I still d on't underst and wha t a ll th e co nflic t w as ab out. Th e h ou s e w oul d s till be th ere when I go t back. There are d ozens of cabs that roll in ou t of the airport every d ay. This was Jerem y 'McGra th and Eddie Law son . Lord, why do n' t women ever u nd er s tand these things? We ll, we di dn ' t wi n, b ut o n ly because our chea ter team was upstaged . by a n oth er ch ea te r tea m . Dav id Vuillemin comma ndeered Jimmy Button, and Button ' s personal kart, to make u p for any d eficien cies tha t he mi ght ha ve had elsewhere on his team after one of the journalists d id wha t I shoul d have, and left ea rly . Truth be told , I was actua lly the one w ho let my dream team d own , as Pal mer suc ked it up bigtim e and improved u pon his practice time by somethi ng like tw o seconds to ru n a low 52. Lawson cut the only 43 of the d ay, and McGrath was right there with a 44. I blew one corn er and actually slowed up, p os tin g a 50 .9 when m y p ractice laps ha d yielded a 50.1. An d we lost by 37 hu nd red ths. My bad. Still, it was worth it, even thou gh it was so cold when I finally met up wi th m y mother and m y wife th at I had to wear a jacket for the rest of that wa rm autu m n day. Eve n thou gh my secondpla ce tr op h y has sin ce m ysteriou sl y b een b rok en in to two pie ce s . Even thou gh I have bee n constantly ribb ed by Carruthers (w ho finished in third place, one p ositi on below m e) t ha t I d o n ot d eserve to live for failing to win with Lawson and McGrath. But I did wi n, and I have a really neat photo fro m a really neat day to prove it. H ow many p eople will ever be able to say that they got to spend the day racing shif ter kar ts with Jeremy McGrath and Eddie Lawson ? I'm sure that I never wi ll aga in, but I' ll always have th e picture and the mem ory of the day that I threw resp onsibil it y t o th e w ind a n d t ook advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It will serve me well beyon d the time th at m y two trophy h alves meet their d estin y, forgo tten in some beat up bo x in the attic. Life's too sho rt, man . Go for -it, eN I 30 YEARS AGO... DECEMBER 23,1969 20 Y EARSAGO... DECEMBER 19,1979 1 ER A 0Y A S GO... DECEMBER 13,1989 ction fro m In ter-Am finale at Saddleba ck Par k in Sou thern Cali fornfa wa s su fficient for our cover s h ot . Arne Kri n g ( H u s) to ok th e v ictory and clinched the series title as well ... Indians, w ell, Floyd Clymer' S Ind ians w ere p ro filed. Th er e w er e severa l in terestin g new models on offer for 1970, including a loocc "Motocross Scra mbler" ... Sa chs took ou t a win ad that bragged abou t how Brad Lacke y h ad w on th e 250cc Sportsman class aboa rd a Sachs 125 Cross Country at the Salin as Inter -Am . Some how we think it wa s more a case of the rider than the bike... Mark Blac kwell (CZ) we n t from d ead last to firs t in the O pen Senior clas s at the Poso Park, California, mo tocross. n a b attle of cha mpions, Wo rld Tri a ls C ha m pio n Bernie Schreiber (BuD defeat ed Ll. S. Na tional Trials Cha m p io n Marland Whaley (Mon) a t th e ATA El Trial de Espana. Sch reiber also won the V.O.T.E. Trial o ne d a y ea rlier... Sue Fi s h (Ya m) p os ted 1-1 moto scores to claim the wi n at the U.s. Wom en ' s Invi tation a l MX a t Ca r ls ba d Ra cew a y .. . We tes ted th e 19 80 Ma ico 440 and liked it, in terviewed "Wheelie King" Doug Domokos an d liked him , and sho wed yo u photos of the 1980 Cag iv as as they appeared a t the Milan, Ita ly , m ot orcycl e s how .. . Fo r mer G ra n d N a tion a l Cham pion Mert Law will show ed up in ou r Christmas Gift Guide pages peddling (ped a lin g? ) his new Pro Cruiser bicycle . . D A I an Sm it h (KTM ) won the Barstow-to-Vegas Ha re & Hound, finishing just ahead of 1984 Barstow-to- Vegas winne r Ch ris Cra ndall (ATK) . Larry Roese ler (Kaw) was third overall... Kevin Windham (Kaw ) and Josh Steel (H on ) wer e the top dogs at the AMA Win ter Natio nal Ol ympics in Florida. Wind ham wa s u ndefeated for the weeken d , and Steel w as named top Amateu r, ea rning th e Sco tt Golden Goggle Award... Bik es like the Moto G u zz i Da ytona 1000, Bimota Tu a tara a n d Ducati 85 1 were th e hit of the Milan Mo torcycle Show in Italy... A 1960 Royal En field Fury scra mbler was for sale in the Want Ads section of the pa per. The im macu late bike had an as king price of $2500. _ .n ~ Q; .c E CI) u CI) C 63

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