Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2001 10 03

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••• OCTOBER 12, 197t At the top of Issue *39's cover was a picture of "Wild" Bill Gelbke's World's Largest Motorcycle... We also featured a picture of the start to the Novice final in Oklahoma City. Kenny Roberts won the race. Gene Romero won the Expert final... Last but certainly not least on the cover was a picture of a bikini-clad model astride Bruce Penhall's speedway bike, at the beach. The photo was a promotion for Sammy Tanner's Class A Speedway to be held at Ascot on the half mile... A Trans AMA motocross was held in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and the 500cc International class was won by Adolf WeD (Mal), with Sylvain Geboers (Suz) and Torleif Hansen (Hus) rounding out the podium. The 250cc National class was won by Doug Grant (AJS), while Tim Hart (Mai) chased him home in second and Rob Noorgard (Cl) finished third. 20 YEARS AGO..• OCTOBER 7, 1981 Newly crowned Win· ston Pro Series Cham· pion Mike Kidd was photographed for the cover of Issue *39 receiving his hardearned number-one plate. Kidd earned the title with a secondplace finish at the season-ending Ascot Half Mile. Erstwhile defending champ Randy Goss won the event, while Kidd's main title rival, Gary Scott - who was tied with Kidd in points going into the event - finished a close fourth ... Also on the cover was a photo of Honda's 1982 V45 Magna, which was powered by a liquid-cooled 750cc V-4. Among Honda's new 1982 models was the CR480 MX machine ... Fifteen-year-old Russ Nyberg pulled a dark-horse victory at the Houston, Texas, lDBA Lone Star National Pro Stock Drag Race. Sid Pogue was the runner-up in the event, losing with his 9.62-second pass to Nyberg's 9.03... Bruce Penhall added to his magical season by becoming the 1981 California State Speedway Champion as well. He was already the 1981 World Speedway Champion, half of the 1981 World Best Pairs Championship team, and 1980's U.S. National Champion. 10 YEARS AGO••• OCTOBER 9, 1991 Team Suzuki's defending 125cc National Champion, Guy Cooper, kept his hopes of a repeat alive with the overall win in Delmont, Pennsylvania. Cooper's 2-2 finishes, along with the 1-DNF and DNF-1 flnishes of title rival Mike Kiedrowski (Kaw) and teammate Mike laRocco (Suz), gave him the overall and closed him to within 30 points of the series leader. Jeff Ward (Kaw) used 21 finishes to win the 500cc class... Defending National Hare Scrambles Champion Scott Summers (Hon) won the Hardrock 100 in West Virginia, and he was protested for allegedly using a shortcut that both the protesters, Terry Cunningham and Duane Conner, admitted to using, but Summers did not admit to ... Kevin Hines (Suz) topped National Enduro round eight in New Waverly, Texas... Greg Zitterkopf . (Kaw) came from the eighth row to win the Best in the Desert Grand Slam Series' round four in Mesquite, Nevada. Teammate Garth Sweetland finished second, while Danny Hamel (KTM) finished third. y ou see some unexpected things at the Grands Prix. But nothing to equal the sight of Bernie Ecclestone in leathers. Not that he looked bad. Quite the reverse - at a believed 71 (some say he is actually some years older) he may be small, but he looks extremely chipper. The oldest and certainly the richest person ever to have taken the Randy Rollercoaster on the two-seater Marlboro Yamaha, Bernie is also by far the most famous - at least among heads of state and chairmen of megacorporations. And the most sinister. If it was remarkable to see Bernie marching around the paddock in racing leathers, it was remarkable to see him at a bike GP at all. Especially since this was something of a surprise visit. The next day, Bernie was to be seen leaning over the trackside barriers, grinning encouragingly as the crazy iron horses came spurting by. Alongside him, the equally unprecedented sight of Carmelo Ezpeleta, bike racing's nearest equivalent to Bernie, pointing in excitement. The Dorna big boss is seldom seen outside of his palatial portable offices, except at official functions. I could have shown both of them a much better place to watch from, a hundred yards or so further back up the track, if only they'd asked, but that is beside the point. For among all the boyish excitement remained the dreadful question. Just what was Bernie doing there? Just wanted to watch a bike race, said one crony. Or perhaps his wife Siavica did, said another. Maybe she's yet another Rossi fan, jf:;So, and mercifully, the striking ex-model avoided wearing bright yellow like the rest of them - and also took a rather sedate burn-up on the back of Randy's bike. This was barely plausible. More likely, Bernie was there because he wanted to buy something. The circuit, perhaps. Although recently refurbished, Estoril is already lapsing into an air of neglect that adds weight to rumors of disillusionment among the owners. It's probably available relatively cheaply, and certainly has potential. Or perhaps the series. "I liked GP racing so much I bought the business." A nice Christmas present for the wife, perhaps. Buy it for $50 million in used notes; sell it again to Octagon next May for $500 million. As we seem to have forgotten over the last 12 months or so, the GP series is obviously for sale - because buying and selling businesses is what current owners CVC Capital Holdings do for a living. Fanciful notions aside, those with longer memories recalled that last time Bernie knocked around bike GP racing he made five million bucks or mid-'70s, when Giacomo Agostini won the first ever two-stroke 500cc title. On the other hand, there is the imminent (though repeatedly deferred and deflected) demise of tobacco sponsorship in sport. Marlboro may be the granddaddies of paddock puffery, but their tenure remains only temporary. It may be for this reason alone that the Yamaha factory have been engaged in increasingly desperate sponsor-hunting forays in the 'past couple of weeks - even trying to poach the likes of Red Bull from their own satellite team, says the grape vine, as well as approaching Telefonica and so forming TWP then selling it to Dorna, and when he disappeared he took Rothmans away with him to Formula One. And killed off Hockenheimring as a GP venue, rather by the way. I'm told it would be wrong to attach too much significance to the fact that Bernie was wearing a Yamaha T-shirt under his leathers - it was only because that's what was available to him as he was getting togged up. And Marlboro Yamaha was his hosts on the bike. Then again, he could have put it on inside out, or kept the leathers zipped. It may all have been perfectly innocent - but the temptation, when Ecclestone is involved, is to draw a different conclusion. By no coincidence, Marlboro are about the heaviest hitters among bike GP racing's relatively small number of sponsors. They are certainly the longest serving - dating back to the doubtless Repsol and the rest. It may be just a long-term strategy, for when Marlboro have gone. But as far as is known, they have not yet concluded a deal with Marlboro next year. Fl racing already gets the bulk of Marlboro's motor-sport spend. Was Bernie in Estoril to try to secure the balance of the money, for those few years in which. it will continue to be available? Or did he really just come to watch a bike race. Time will tell· and let's hope for a positive outcome. Ecclestone has turned Fl racing into a hugely successful industry. One of his tactics was to kill off all serious rivals. But bike racing is hardly a threat to Fl, and if he wanted to cut it down to size, he would have done so long ago. Perhaps he'll do the other thing instead. CN Coming up In Cycle NelMS Imola World Superblke Finale Motocross des Nations Virginia AMA Superblke Finale Du Quoin AMA Dirt Track Rnale Mount Morris GNCC cue I _ n _ _ S • OCTOBER 3, 2001 83

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