Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2001 04 25

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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By 30 YEARS AGO..• MAY 4, 1971 Harley-Davidsonmounted Cal Rayborn was photographed for the cover of Issue *16 while leading the AMA Road Atlanta 125-mile National, but it was Kel Carruthers who dominated the event, coming from behind to win the National on Sunday, the day after, he won the 250cc Expert race. Riding Don Vesco-prepared Yamahas, Carruthers also became the first non-American to win an AMA National Road Race in history. Dick Mann (BSA) and Ralph White (Kaw) finished second and third in the National, respectively. Kenny Roberts (Yam) rode to an easy Victory in the combined Junior and Novice AMA Ughtweight road race... In conjunction with the AMA Road Race, the Spring-AMA Motocross series visited the Atlanta, Georgia, area, and Barry Higgins (Oss) dominated the 250cc class, while Gary Bailey (Bul) and Ted Presson (Yam) rounded out the top three. The Open class was won by Barry Blalock (Suz). 20 YEARS AGO••• APRIL 29, 1981 One of Cycle News' test bikes, this one a Maico 490cc TT bike, graced the cover of Issue *16. We built the machine hoping to make an underdog TT machine, but we ended up building a genuine contender instead. Rod Spencer rode it to fifth place in a National TT... Team Husqvarna's Scot Harden and Brent Wallingsford won the Las Vegas 400 Hare & Hound. It was the duo's fifth straight finish in the event, with the record reading: three consecutive second places and two consecutive wins - a full house. That's hard to beat, even in Vegas ... The NMA World Mini Grand Prix was run at Saddleback Cycle Park in Orange, Califomia, with Troy Blake (Yam) taking the coveted Yamaha Race of Champions. Some of the other winners that weekend included: Dustin Evans (Pee Wee Mod), Mike Healey (83cc Stk Int Div J, 83cc Mod Int Div 2, 83cc Mod Int 12+), Bobby Moore (83cc Stk Ex Div 1), Ron Lechien (1 OOcc Mod) and Curt McCuistion (125 Stk Ex, 125 Mod Ex, 250cc Open). 10 YEARS AGO.•• MAY 1, 1991 Reigning 500cc World Road Racing Champion Wayne Rainey (Yam) sped across the cover of Issue *16 on his way to his third straight USGP win. Kevin Schwantz (Suz) held second until the 21 st lap, when Jl'lichael Doohan (Hon) passed the Suzuki hero in turn 11 at Laguna Seca and made the pass stick. The only' participating motorcycle brand that wasn t represented on the podium was Cagiva, but Eddie Lawson rode the brand to a strong fifth place... Round 12 of the AMA Camel Supercross Series was expected to be a homecoming for North Carolina native Damon Bradshaw (Yam) but, instead, Jean-Michel Bayle continued his dominance of the series at the muddy event. Bradshaw had the holeshot but crashed out of contention, while diminutive speedsters Guy Cooper (Suz) and Jeff Ward (Kaw) rode well enough in the mud to garner second and third, respectively. Jerom~ Buehl furthered Peak/Pro Circuit Honda s dominance by winniing the 125cc main over teammate Brian Swink... Team Green's Larry Roeseler and Garth Sweetland finished one-two at round four of the AMA National Hare & Hound Series. Roeseier led most of the way on his KX250, but Sweetland finished less than 30 seconds behind him on his KX500. Final lVIolo CHRIS JONNUM ~I hen word first surfaced late last year that anew, top-level offroad series would debut in 2001, I had mixed feelings. Being a longtime die-hard off-road aficionado and participant, I was, of course, happy that the discipline was apparently healthy enough to support such a series, but I was concerned that it would only further dilute a segment of motorcycle competition that is already arguably watered down. After all, even before the advent of WORCS (World OffRoad Championship Series), this country's top off-road racers were spread out between Racer Productions' Grand National Cross Country Series, the AMA's FMF National Championship Enduro Series, National Championship Hare & Hound Series and National Championship Hare Scrambles Series, Best in the Desert's Silver State Series, and SCORE's Tecate Off-Road Series. Even the pair of ISDE Qualifiers once again comprise a stand-alone series, and then there's the various one-off races like the Tecate Hare Scrambles, the Moose Run, the Adelanto and Flat River Grands Prix, and the Alligator Enduro. Then again, it's nice to see someone taking a shot at bringing the success and close competition of the thriving GNCC Series - all of whose rounds are east of the Mississippi - to the western States. As the GNCCpromoting Coombs family has proven, pitting the country's top riders in well-organized competitions with multiple laps around challenging courses that are accessible by spectators is a winning formula. Though the WORCS Series is still young, it has the potential to elevate western off-road racing to the level of the GNCC Series, which this year is actually enjoying television coverage unheard of for American off-road. Some have expressed concern at the lack of tradition with this relatively new form of off-road racing, but you can't argue with success. After all, some of the top off-road riders in Europe - the heart of off-road tradition - are abandoning the continent to come race in the States (usually in the GNCC Series). Top Euro names like Paul Edmondson, Shane Watts, Luea Trussardi, Geoff Ballard, Jan Hrehor, Davide Trolli and Buhomil Posledni are among those who have left Europe to compete here. That the Euros are coming is an argument used by fans of the new format. That the top Americans in the GNCC Series are actually former motocrossers is an argument used by critics. I'll stay out of that issue (for now), but the Euros' forsaking of their offroad realm (where the FIM World Championship Enduro Series is pretty W much the only game in town) for the variety of the U.S. sheds some light on my own aforementioned dilemma. Apparently, there's something to the very American notion that competition is good. Vou like tradition? Hit an old-school National Enduro like the Cherokee Cycle Club's classic Greensboro, Georgia, event. Prefer flash? Take in a talent-laden GNCC round like the Daytona Bike Week opener in Okeechobee, Florida. Dig high speed? Sign up for an eyewatering speed-a-thon like Best in the Desert's Vegas to Reno. Can't get enough gnarly woods? The Ohio Enduro Riders Association's two-day ISDE Qualifier in McArthur, Ohio, is right up your alley. Simply put, the American shot-gun approach assures that there's a little something for everyone. The only problem with all this is that very few people share the same opinion as to what constitutes a great off-road race or series. Hence the current situation, with the country's best racers scattered all over America on any given weekend. GNCC has reached such a status that it usually gets priority, but its rounds are still rarely graced by the likes of heroes such as Ty Davis, Destry Abbott and Johnny Campbell. And where those guys do battle, you'll rarely find woods aces like Michael Lafferty and Randy Hawkins. All of which leads me to question whether any of America's umpteen elite-level off-road circuits actually comprises a true "National Championship" - a series on the same, best-against-best aura as the Chevy Trucks National Motocross Series. I was whining about this dilemma the other day to my colleague Kit Palmer (another died-in-the-wool offroad devotee), when he off-handedly tossed out an elegantly simple solution to the series-plethora predicament: Add another series, of course. Actually, Kit really wasn't suggesting that a whole new chain of races be dreamed up and organized. Instead, he'd like to see the country's top offroad promoters get together and coordinate a sort of phantom- or umbrellaseries consisting of one race (already in existence) from each of the major series. Call it the American National Championship Off-Road Series. Vou may posit that the concept is faulty, since woods heroes would be out of their element in the desert, and hare & hound icons wouldn't know what to do with an enduro computer. I, on the other hand, think that this is the best thing about it. As it is now, most of our riders rarely venture outside of their specialty, since there's little incentive for doing so. But with ANCORS (hmm, that acronym doesn't exactly connote speed and skill, does it?), they'd only have to endure one or two such unfamiliar situations, and they'd have the inducement of that prestigious ANCORS Championship (we might have to rethink that title) to encourage them. There are already a few riders (Davis and Watts come to mind) who appear hungry for such a series, as they periodically leave familiar ground to llpoach" in new venues. Another neat thing about Kit's idea is that there wouldn't really be any extra work for each promoter, other than to decide which single one of his or her events would best represent its respective series, and to make sure that the date for this one race didn't conflict with any of the other ANCORS rounds. In fact, I predict that the new series would draw more attention to the various series that comprise it, and that promoters would soon be jockeying for the prestige of hosting an ANCORS round. Riders who followed the various series would especially look forward to attending the premier round that was a part of ANCORS and, if more ANCORS rounds were required, you could throw in a couple of the oneoffs that I mentioned above. Obviously, there are a few stumbling blocks. Vou'd be dealing with a variety of different points systems, so you'd probably have to mandate a separate system for the overall series - most likely just something simple based on overall finish, though you could even determine class champions if so desired (and no throw-away ridesl). And, given the diversity of terrain encountered over the series, there's the potentia I for a problem with expenses, as riders would be tempted to campaign KX500s out west and KTM 200s in the east. I suggest stipulating that each rider must use the same motorcycle (or at least class; i.e. 250cc two-stroke) for all of the ANCORS rounds, as this would help determine not only the best allaround off-road rider, but also. the best all-around off-road bike. Something must be done if we are to save once-noble (but now dwindling) circuits like the AMA National Hare Scrambles and Enduro Series, while still embracing the innovations brought about by now-healthy series like GNCC. Why not ANCORS? I strongly feel that such a diverse collection of premier races would truly determine the single best, all-around off-road rider in the United States. Of course, such a prestigious. title would require a unique, memorable championship trophy. Might I suggest a golden boat anchor? (Okay, so I'm not as good as Kit at new ideas.) CN • Dallas Supercross • South African Road Race GP • Australian World Superbike • Houston AMA National Dirt Track Coming up In Cycle News III U III I • n _ _ lIS • APRIL 25, 2001 83

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