Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2003 03 19

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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c o o o r -"\ L Mike Lafferty (KTM) won the second round of the Grand National Cross Country Series in Washington, Georgia, March g. After taking a DNF at the opening round less than a week earlier in Palatka. Florida, Lafferty rebounded with a dominant win. He pretty much led from start to finish in what were rather muddy conditions. Opening-round winner Barry Hawk Jr. (Yam) took runner-up honors, extending his lead in the series. Third place went to defending GNCC Champion Rodney Smith (Suz), while fourth and fifth went to Jason Raines (Yam) and Robbie Jenks (Yam). respectively. Steve Hatch (Suz), Fred Andrews (Kaw), Randy Hawkins (Yam), Brian Garrahan (KTM) and Doug Blackwell (Hon) rounded out the top 10 overall. [ffJ@J[?!?fj 7J@@@D~@@~ Two-time World Champion Barry Sheene, 52, died at a hospital near his home on the Gold Coast of Australia on Monday, March 10, after a long bout with throat and stomach cancer. Sheene was arguably the best-known British motorcycle racer of all time. Sheene, who won the 500cc World Championship in 1976 and 1977, was diagnosed with cancer last year but had vowed to fight the disease through altemative therapies and his faith in God. In the last month, however, his condition deteriorated and he was bed-ridden. Sheene won 19 500cc Grands Prix in his career and won backto-back 500cc World Championships in '75 and '76. Sheene retired from racing in 1984 and moved to Australia where he worked in television. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and two teen-age children, Sidonie and Freddie. "He was my greatest rival," three-time World Champion Kenny Roberts said on Monday, March 10, after hearing of the passing of the man he fought tooth and nail with to eam his titles. "Even with me and [Freddie) Spencer, who was probably a bigger rival as far as America, my rivalry with Barry on the racetrack was bigger because we raced every week together," Roberts said. "I wouldn't be where I'm at if it wasn't for Barry. Barry was the right rival at the right time when I got to Europe. He was the guy. He spoke well, he was a big name, and he said what he wanted to say he didn't pull any punches in the press. "People talk about the year with Spencer, but mostly it's about the total picture, and Sheene played a bigger part in that picture_ If one of the Italian racers were there that lasted the year, I wouldn't have had the career that I had. Barry made that because he was Barry Sheene. Even though all the press built it up that we were enemies, off the racetrack we never had a problem. On the racetrack, we wouldn't give each other an inch, but off it there was never a problem. When I started the World Series, he was the first guy I went to and he said, 'Yeah, I'm in.' And he never wavered from that. He was just a solid guy. The press blew it up to more than what it was, but we enjoyed it anyway. He would say something bad about me, and I would get to say something bad about him - we enjoyed that. But we never really carried it off the racetrack. "I never thought I'd have to say something about Barry under these circumstances because he was very young. I didn't know I'd be dealing with this. This will take a few days to sink in." Florida and California shared the most championships at the ninth annual Spring Classic in Texas with eight each, while Michigan was third with five and Texas fourth with four. There was a record turnout of 2227 total entries. Suzuki continued its winning streak with the most championships once again, taking 15 of the 44 up for grabs. Honda and Yamaha each shared eight, while Kawasaki won seven, KTM four and Cobra two. Virginia's Zach Osborne debuted the KTM 85 SX and won the 85cc <12-13) Stock class and was runner-up behind Matt Lemoine (Kaw) in the 85cc <12-13) Modified. Broc Hepler (Suz) was the top 125cc Pro rider, taking the 125cc A and 125cc A/Pro Sport, while Nick Adams (Yam) won the 250cc A and 250cc A/Pro Sport, as well as the Four-Stroke 201-650cc classes. Davi Millsaps (Suz) was impressive on his way to three championships. Jeff Emig (Kaw) won the Vet 30+ class. Guy Cooper (KTM) won the Vet A 25+ class. Mike Alessi (Hon) took the 85cc (14-15) Stock and Modified classes, in addition to the 85-105cc Senior Supermini and the Mini FourStroke. He won half of California's titles. Paul Carruthers C C C (~ the timetable for Vuillemin's return is unknown at this point, though we've gotten word that Vuillemin will be out for the rest of the supercross series. Vuillemin was able to walk out of the hospital on his own at apprOXimately 8:30 p.m. the same evening. Updates will be forthcoming as more information becomes available. Cards and letters can be sent to David Vuillemin c/o Yamaha Racing, 6555 Katella Avenue, Cypress, CA 90630. Ty Davis (Yam) took the overall win at the Ocala, Florida, round of the World Off-Road Championship Series (East), March 1. Second place went to Brian Garrahan (KTM), followed by Jim Jarrett (Yam), Josh McLevy (Yam) and Russell Pearson (Yam). ..I ,=-.. >l o Team Yamaha Factory supercross rider David Vuillemin was injured in a heat-race crash at the Daytona Supercross on Saturday, March 8. Vuillemin was working his way through the pack in his heat race when he came up short on a double-jump. Vuillemin was thrown over the front of his YZ250, landing on his back. Though able to stand on his own a few minutes after the crash, Vuillemin began having difficulty breathing and standing and was then transported to Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach, Florida. Though Vuillemin sustained no internal injuries, a C-scan did reveal a compressed vertebra. The initial prognosis is that he will not require surgery, but O O O O o r 2 MARCH 19, 2003' cue I @[}o@@[jj]@f) Racer Productions, the producers of the AMA Grand National Cross County Racing Series (GNCC Racing), announced that due to a failure to remove a course marker at The Hurricane GNCC in Palatka, Florida, March 4, and the resulting effect on the race's outcome, there will be one throwaway score added to the 2003 GNCC Pro Bike Overall Championship. A rider's best 12 of 13 races will now count toward the 2003 GNCC Overall Pro Championship. Weather conditions for the inaugural Hurricane GNCC were severe, as heavy rains throughout the week covered the course e nevvs in deep water and mud. In an effort to prOVide Tuesday afternoon's bike race with fresh woods, a new trail section had been precut and pre marked with arrows before the event. Wrong Way ("W") markers were then placed over top of the course arrows on this new section for the morning race. The "W" markers were then removed before the afternoon race, leaving the course arrows. In previewing the course, one "W' marker was overlooked at the trailhead. As a result, at least two of the leaders in the Pro class, KTM's Mike Lafferty and FMF Suzuki's Rodney Smith, missed the new section and took the longer morning course, losing nearly one and a half minutes to the competition in the process. "We regret this unfortunate situation," said Jeff Russell, GNCC trail boss. "And I take full responsibility. The rest of the riders followed the markers into the new section, but for Mike and Rodney, I am sure that it was confusing." Both Lafferty and Smith eventually failed to finish the race due to other circumstances. "Had they finished the race, we could have adjust- ed their time to make up for the error," said Russell. "Since they did not. we determined the proper decision was to add the throwaway score. As a result of thiS decision, the best 12 of 13 scores will now count towards the 2003 GNCC Overall Pro Championship, rather than all 13 events. " Marc Freixa (Mon) won the Nice round of the Indoor Trial World Championship on March 7, topping teammate Dougie Lampkin (Mon) and Adam Raga (GG). Raga continues to lead the championship with one round remaining, 180169, over Lampkin. Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. has announced that Carlo Di Biagio, chief executive officer, has resigned from the company for personal reasons. Federico Minoli, chairman of the board, will assume chief executive responsibilities, according to Ducat!. "We are very grateful to Carlo for his important contributions to Ducati since the early days of the turnaround and in particular during the busy period of the IPO in 1999,"

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