Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2003 01 29

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 68 of 69

30 YEARS AGO••. FEBRUARY 6, 1973 Mike Haney won his first event, the Yamaha Gold Cup TT in Houston, Texas, in his 12th year of professional racing, and for the feat, he was placed on the cover of Issue 1/.4. Randy Scott and Jim Odom rounded out the top three, wbJJe early leader Kenny Roberts clipped a hay bale and stalled his machine on the 11 th lap... The second day of racing in Houston featured the Houston Short Track; this time Roberts claimed the victory abeaq of Gary Scott and Odom... Marty Tripes (CZ) won the extremely muddy Winter AMA Series event in Orlando, Florida, after a race-long moto-two battle with Rich Thorwaldson (Suz), who finished second. Gary Semics (Hus), Brad Lackey (Kaw) and Mike Runyard (CZ) rounded out the top five overall in the Open Expert class. 20 YEARS AGO.•. FEBRUARY 9, 1983 David Bailey (Hon) won his very first 250cc supercross main event at the series opener in Anaheim, California in front of over 70,000 fans, and for that he graced the cover of Issue 14. Johnny O'Mara (Hon), Broc Glover (Yam), Bob Hannah (Hon) and Kent Howerton (Kaw) rounded out the top five, both overall and in the points standings ... We gave our impression of the 1983 Yamaha YZ125K, which we found was "a serious racer." It retailed for $1789 ... Johnny O'Mara (Hon) won the 125cc Pro class at the CMC Golden State Series in Adelanto, California, ahead of Jeff Ward (Kaw). Bob Hannah (Hon) won the 250cc Pro class ahead of his teammate David Bailey (Hon). Donnie Cantaloupi (Yam) won the 500cc Pro class, while Goat Breker (Hon) finished second... Scot Harden (Hus) won the Barking Spider Hare £, Hound in Calexico, California. 10 YEARS AGO... FEBRUARY 3, 1993 Rookie Jeremy McGrath (Hon) won round three of the AMA Supercross Series at Anaheim Stadium; he was on the cover of Issue #4. McGrath passed teammate Jeff Stanton on lap three, then went on to score the win in front of 55,817 fans. Mike Kiedrowski (Kaw), Mike laRocco (Kaw) and Damon Bradshaw (Yam) rounded out the top five, while Bradshaw led the points standings, 61-60 over Kiedrowski, who had a further single point on McGrath in third. Damon Huffman (Suz) won the I 25cc main... Bob Hannah wrote in a letter chastising a reader who claimed he heard Hannah make a derogatory comment about lappers during the main event of a supercross, which Hannah claimed was impossible, since he does the TV announcing, not the floor announcing. Hannah did add, however, that lappers are "either being too young, old, slow, or whatever and should go race somewhere else or quit. I did.' ne of the more carefully observed remarks of last season came First off, the Japanese factories clearly love racing - and not only for from Colin Edwards. When 1 asked the Grand Prix-bound new World Superbike Champion why, among the many options, he had chosen the apparently ill-favored Aprilia triple, he said: "Because the factory and the racing department are experienced at winning.' He meant in the smaller classes, where, in fact, the Italian brand has risen to almost complete domination over the last 10 or 15 years. But he believed the point would also be valid in the top class, in spite of a serial lack of success so far, with the V-twin 500 two-stroke and the super-powerful but wayward three-cylinder 990 four-stroke. Personally, I was unconvinced, but strong test results following the switch to Michelin tires suggest I might be wrong and Edwards right. Both of us would be happy with this outcome. And so, doubtless, would Cosworth, whose most recent dabble in two wheelers has not covered the Fl giants with glory. Meanwhile, the new Ducati is producing some blinding test performances, with Loris Capirossi's blasting lap records as far afield as Jerez and Phillip Island, and Troy Bayliss now starting to catch up, after being at first rather flabbergasted at his new teammate's extraordinary daring and corner speed. (To my great joy, the results are coming from the FourPulse motor rather than the V-twinlike Twin Pulse. This is only because the obvious reasons of gaining publicity while also developing engineer- responsibility for the switch to the ing techniques. They love it because to get off-the-record confirmation that it's such pitiless fun. For all the right reasons, in other words. the main impetus and certainly most Second, the Japanese factories have a curious relationship with one another. Curious, at least to West- the rest falling into line. O time also Cagiva and Aprilia) presented a united front in taking new 990 four-stroke rules, it is easy of the details came from Honda, with It might seem far-fetched to suggest that similar thinking prevails in erners, where in business anything goes, and rivals remain rivals until they can be bought out and taken over. The Japanese do the same thing, but very differently. In the same way that Honda holds sway in the marketplace, it is also regarded by the others as some sort of senior partner in business. And in racing. It was Honda, of course, who led the way into international competition, straight in at World Championship level, with its hugely significant foray to the Isle of Man in 1959. History records that Suzuki followed one year later. What is not so widely known is that Suzuki virtually asked for Honda's permission to do so. Yamaha was in a similar position. the racing departments - that Honda should be allowed to set the pace, and the others be content to strive to catch up. Yet if that is not the whole truth, it at least contains part of the truth. And the Honda-dominated record of race and champi~nship wins over the last 10 or more years backs it up. Of course, the pace Honda set is a fast one. But if the home-grown rivals accept that as their final target, there will be at least an element among them that will be content only to catch up. The inevitable result is that victories will come only now and then, and the seniority of the Big H will remain ultimately unchallenged. The Italians are free from such constraints. There will be no red faces Nothing wrong in this, of course, especially in the light of subsequent events. It's just rather surprising. The question that arises is: How different is it all today, more than four in Bologna if the Ducati turns out to be one step ahead of Honda's standard-setting V-five. Ditto over at Aprilia. World domination is a legitimate ta rget for both of them. decades later? And the evidence of the results suggests that it hasn't changed very much. It remains to be seen whether they have the ability to achieve it... but if For example, while the manufacturers' association (including at the they fail, it won't be for reasons of deference. eN of the noise: the latter bike has a pleasing and Duke-like droning growl, but the Four Pulse is in another league, with a snarling howl or gutwrenching compleXity - like nothing less than a twowheeled FerrarL) These two factories have something else in common, apart from both being independent and Italian. It is the broader truth: they are not Japanese. In the racing context, this might turn out to be worth rather a lot. This has nothing to do with engineering ability and everything to do with heritage and hierarchy. A skim over Japanese GP history explains why. Sportblke Special Issue Ducatl 999 Test R6 Project Bike San Fnnclsco Supercross cue' e n e _ S • JANUARY 29,2003 67

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