Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2001 03 28

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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30 YEARS AGO••• APRIL 6, '971 Issue 112 marked our annual April Fool's Issue, and an illustration depicting the "April Fool Freak-Out TT" by Barnett graced the cover. The illustration included a parody of "Little Fauss and Big Halsy" entitled "Little Faust and Big Palsy," which was complete with caricatures of Robert Redford and Michael J. PoUard ... We figured we'd take the term "Road Test" In a whole new direction, and we actually tested a stretch of road on a motorcycle... On a more serious note, J.N. Roberts starred in desert footage for Bruce Brown's "On Any Sunday" as he dominated the Victors Hare & Hound in Luceme Valley, Callfomia, while Brown mmed from a helicopter... Cal Rayborn (Yam) emerged victorious in an exhibition road race held at Ontario Motor Speedway in California. The race was held to showcase motorcycle road racing to the thousands of Automobile Grand Prix fans in attendance at the event, in hopes that they would return for the first Ontario 200 road race to be held at the track later in the year. 20 YEARS AGO••• APRIL " '98' Team Suzuki OffRoad's Frank Stacy was photographed for the cover of Issue # 12 after winning round one of the AMA Two-Day Qualifier Series in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jeff Fredette, on another Suzuki PE250 like Stacy's, stayed within seconds of the leader all weekend, eventually settling for second place... It was announced that Mike Hailwood, a.k.a. Mike "The Bike" Hailwood, died in an automobile accident involving a truck while going out for food with his son and daughter. His daughter died instantly. although his son survived. Hailwood won a total of nine GP road racing championships between 1961 and 1967 (you were allowed to ride more than one class at a time back then) ... Al Baker and Bob Balentine teamed up on a Mugen Honda XR500 to win the overall at the SCORE Mexicali 250 in Mexico... More than 1000 riders showed up for the GNC International Motocross Finals in the Houston Astrodome, and some of the notable winners were Ron Lechien (125cc Intermediate), Ronnie Tichenor (Minibike 50), and Colin Edwards 11 (Teeny Mini 50). '0 YEARS AGO••• APRIL 3, '99' Suzuki's 1991 GSX750 Katana was photographed alongside the famous "Memphis Belle" B·17 Flying Fortress of World War II fame. Although the B, 17 wasn't famous for its speed, as the Katana intended to be, it was a very sturdy aircraft and performed the duties it was designed for quite well. The same could be said for the Katana... Rain is the great equalizer in motocross, and this point was proved at the Hangtown National In Sacramento, California, when John Dowd (Hon) became the first privateer since 1984 to win a 250cc National, and Doug Henry (Yam) became the first privateer ever to win a 125cc National. A one-moto format was adopted instead of canceling the event due to weather, and after the event both Henry and Dowd sat second in points; Henry behind Guy Cooper (Suz) and Dowd behind Jean-Michel Bayle (Hon) ... Round two of the AMA National Championship Enduro Series was run in Pitkin, Louisiana, and Jeff Russell (KTM) won the event in a tiebreaker over Steve Hatch (SOl). T My point in bringing all of this to be experimenting with one-way comhe technology that is used in attention? It's certainly not to point munication to the rider. This would be modern Superbike racing is stagfingers or affix blame. Rather, I think gering. Inline four-cylinder 750cc similar to the current system used in that it is time for the teams and the the United States Automobile Club's engines capable of over 180 horsepower at the rear wheel; V-twins that AMA to seriously look toward the Coors Light Silver Bullet Series for open-wheel race cars. In that series, produce enough torque to pull a implementation of electronic communication - as an added measure of the crew chief is able to transmit freight train from San Francisco to safety, if nothing else - at all information to the driver, but the driDenver; tires that can (almost) withAMA/Chevy Trucks Superbike Series ver is not allowed to communicate stand the torture of 175 mph blasts around the high banks of Daytona events. If such devices were in use back to the team. This system crenow, I believe that these and maybe ates a much-needed additional safety International Speedway; wind-tunnelsome of the other harrowing incidents benefit to the driver, who can be tested bodywork; the latest in hightech data acquisition. that conspired to put a damper on made aware of hazards on the track, what could have been a vintage DayAnd to top it all off, the ultimate in such as a crash in a turn that he may tona Bike Week could have been not be able to see on a mile oval, let rider/team communications devices: alone if his track was a 12-turn, 2.8the pitboard. avoided. In fact, I was under the blind mile road-race course. You know, I remember watching assumption that the AMA had banned Still, legal as it already is, there Sesame Street as a child, and there any form of electronic communicamay be the perception that electronic was always that little segment that started off with the song, "One of tion between rider and team, but this communication a perforthese things is I)ot like the other. is untrue. In chapter five of the AMA mance-enhancing benefit to those Which one is it? Can you guess?" rulebook, under Equipments Stanwho elected to utilize it. It would dards rule two, subsection B, rule Well, can you? seem to me that the AMA could three, radio communication is permitaddress this by establishing a race Sometimes it takes a weekend like ted in Superbike only. While this may control frequency, such as that used the carnage-filled AMA/Chevy Trucks in the Indy Racing U.S. Superbike Series opener witnessed at DayBut even ""hether or not cu ..... League, to apprise the tona International Speedriders of safety situarent technology ""ould be tions or administer way to create such revepenalties such as the lations. It is clearly a iDiproved to the point that stop-and-go, but still case of stating the obvious, and maybe that's such a probleDi could be eliDl- eliminating the team's why the pitboard thing inated in t""o-""ay cODiDIuni- ability to talk to its rider. Personally, I'd has been overlooked for cation,. it still Dlakes sense to prefer it if the teams so long. Here's what I'm talkDie that both the teaDis and stepped up with fullblown NASCAR-style ing about: In the Daytona the AMA should be experispotters for their rid200, Yoshimura Suzuki ers, because even the riders Aaron Yates and Dlenting ""ith one-""ay CODlAMA can miss situaJamie Hacking, along Dlunication to the rider. tions that might develwith Erion Racing's Kurtis Roberts, were op on the race course. not go far enough, it leads But whatever the protocol, electronic involved in a serious crash when the wonder why, if radio communication' communication is feasible and should pace car was pulled onto the track to is being permitted, it is not being be utilized, not just in Superbike but in slow the riders after another incident used. After all, two-way radios are any of the AMA's professional roadrequired a cleanup on the track. The used in most major automobile sancrace classes. Even if it were made AMA threw an orange flag to indicate tions in the U.S. and around the optional, I think that most of the the same, but many riders later claimed that either the flag looked world. So why not bikes? teams would welcome the ability to "We experimented with it several receive added safety information too much like the yellow flag, or they didn't see any flags at all - and years ago," Team Chevy Trucks while on the track. And if they did, I think that, most of ·the time, they they maintained their racing speed. Kawasaki crew chief AI Ludington would find out what the scofflaws who told me when I contacted him regardRace leader Mat Mladin, having ing the subject. "But we haven't elect to run from the police learn most quite a healthy lead already at this attempted anything with the currently of the time: You can't outrun a radio. early stage of the 200, sa.w the Quite simply, it is time to investipace car on the track and slowed, available technology. The problem as did Roberts. Yates and Hacking that we used to have was that the gate additional communication methwind noise would activate the rider's ods besides that of the venerable pitdidn't, and the ensuing collision left microphone all the time." board and the caution flags, because the two Suzuki riders on the ground But even whether or not current the more chances you give a rider to and Roberts with a broken hand. In tech~ology would be improved to the heed such warnings, the lesser the the 600cc Supersport race on Fripoint that such a problem could be chance of a serious incident taking day, a similar incident took place eliminated in two-way communicabetween Valvoline Emgo Suzuki's place on the track. And that's sometion, it still makes sense to me that thing upon which we can all agree, John Hopkins and Team Honda's both the teams and the AMA should loud and clear. eN Miguel DuHamel. Coming up in Cycle News • Special Cruiser Issue • Test: 2001 Honda VTX1800 • Houston Supercross • Georgia NatIonal Enduro cue. e n e _ S • MARCH 28, 2001 83

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