Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2003 04 16

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 r c c c Mike LaHerty (KTM) captured his first win of the year after topping the AMA National Enduro round in Alexandria. Louisiana. on April 6. The KTM rider started off fast. going up a couple of points on his competitors during the first loop. and that would prove to be the difference. Lafferty held on to score a twopoint margin win over Randy Hawkins (Yam). 24-26. Third place went to Barry Hawk Jr. (Yam) with 28 pOints. while fourth place went to another Yamaha rider. Robbie Jenks. who dropped 29 points. l) w u " U The U.S. Grand Prix will return in 2004, with America certain to host a round of the MotoGP World Championship. according to a highranking Doma official. "What I will say right now is it's confirmed that we will have a 2004 grand prix in the States: said Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Doma Promociones de Deportes, the GP rights-holders. "I confirm we will have a 2004 GP in the States, and we will confirm which is the place and maybe in Jerez (the site of the May 11 Spanish GPJ or before Jerez." Ezpeleta said that the choice was between Barber Motorsports Park, in Birmingham, Alabama, and Homestead-Miami Speedway, in Homestead, Florida. There's also the possibility of the GP's retuming to Laguna Seca in the future. he said, though that depended on the track's being homologated. Ezpeleta and other Doma and F1M officials have visited both the Florida and Alabama sites, and each had its strengths and weaknesses. "The racetrack for us is much better Birmingham than Homestead: Ezpeleta said. "The facilities are much better in Homestead than Birmingham." Ezpeleta said he was impressed with the quality of the Barber racetrack. "The racetrack is fantastic: he said, adding that he'd met with track owner George Barber. The 2.3-mile road course. laid out over natural terrain, has 16 tums and 80 feet of elevation changes. The racing surface is 45 feet wide with plenty of run-off. "It's in the mid· die of the standard of any European racetrack. And also the racetrack can be safe and the layout can be funny. This is, I think, a layout that's safe, and the layout is fantastic." The only class to initially go to the United States will be MotoGP, with the rest of the race weekend filled with American races. AMA Pro Racing's director of communications Kerry Graeber said he wasn't aware of any agreement to run AMA races at the GP. "Officially, AMA Pro Racing knows nothing about it: Graeber said at Califomia Speedway. "We know nothing about AMA Pro Racing being involved with MotoGP next year. It's news to us. Fundamentally, we're not opposed to having MotoGP in conjunction with one of our events, but as of right now we are unaware of that." As for the facilities, Ezpeleta said that "at the beginning we will go just there with the MotoGP class, and really we need 12 garages and to make temporary garages." Barber currently has six garages, and the MotoGP class, with its 24 bikes and 12 teams, needs 12. "For example, Homestead - it's much better. All the facilities are fantastic. The press room, the villas. But I think we will look at all possibilities.• Dougie Lampkin (Mon) and his teammate Takahisa Fujinami (Mon) each came away with a victory in the opening round of the World Trials Championship. held over the April 5-6 weekend in Bangor. Northern Ireland. Defending World Champion Lampkin won the Grand Prix overall to start a campaign that sees him in search of a record equaling seven World Championships. FUjinami won the first day. topping Lampkin. with Adam Raga (GG) finishing third. On the second day. Lampkin topped Marc Freixa (Mon) and Albert Cabestany (Bet) to take the win. Lampkin leads the title chase over Fujinmai. 37- 33. o o o o c c c c o c c c c " L o The AMA has announced that Progressive Motorcycle Insurance will become a major sponsor of AMA Sports dirt track and speedway racing in 2003. Under the terms of the agreement, Progressive will be the title sponsor of the AMA Dirt Track Grand Championships and the presenting sponsor of the AMA National • Becoming title sponsor of the AMA Dirt Track Grand Championships is a natural extension of that involvement. Sponsoring the AMA National Championship Speedway Series prOVides Progressive with the opportunity to bring an exciting form of racing to our customers and independent agents on the West Coast. We're very excited about both sponsor· ships." For more information about the AMA Progressive Insurance Dirt Track Grand Championships or the AMA National Speedway Series, call AMA Sports at 614/895-1900, extension 1242, or send an e-mail to Championship Speedway Series. The 2003 AMA Progressive Insurance Dirt Track Grand Championships will take place June 30 through July 6 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The week-long event will enjoy its 27th annual renewal and is expected to attract a record 1500-plus entries from the nation's best amateur and pro-am dirt track riders. The AMA National Championship Speedway Series. presented by Progressive Insurance. enters its second year in 2003. For many years. the AMA National Speedway Champion was crowned based on just a single night of racing. and this new three-event format offers Progressive more exposure in the West Coast market. • Progressive's sponsorship of AMA Sports' dirt-track and speedway programs underscores the company's commitment to AMA competition" said Bill Amick. vice president of AMA Events & Entertainment. which oversees AMA Sports. 'We couldn't be more pleased about this opportunity to showcase Progressive Motorcycle Insurance to new audiences. complementing the company's current sponsorship of AMA Pro Racing's U.S. Flat Track Championship." The 2003 season marks Progressive's fourth year as title sponsor of AMA Pro Racing' s U.S. Flat Track Championship. according to Progressive Insurance motorcycle marketing manager Miriam Deitcher. 'We've been thrilled with the results of that [U.S. Flat Track) program." Deitcher said. 8 o c " l.J n u (l U C o o C r l.J o C o o o o 2 ApRIL 16. 2003' .. U .. I II! Harley-Davidson will be the • Featured Marque" at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2003, to be held July 18-20 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Celebrating the 1oath anniversary of the founding of Harley-DaVidson Motor Company, the event will feature an exhibit of classic motorcycles and memorabilia. Benefiting the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. the weekend will include raffies for two Harley-Davidson motor-cycles: a restored 1941 FL • Knucklehead"; and a 2003 100th Anniversary Heritage Sotftail. donated by Harley·Davidson and autographed by Willie G. Davidson. Reigning as Grand Marshal of AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2003 will be Mert Lawwill, 1969 AMA Grand National Champion. Lawwill. who was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998. was one of the top riders on the AMA circuit during the S n D _ As to when the race would be, that would depend on the circuit. "My feeling, just my feeling, is that it will be the beginning of the year,' he said. The weather in Florida would make it a better choice at the beginning of the season, he said, noting that that time of the year might not be as conducive to racing in Birmingham, which would host the race at a later date. There has been speculation that a U.S. GP would replace the round in Brazil. That race, the Rio GP, runs on September 20, the same weekend, coincidentally, as the first AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike race at Barber Motorsports Park. Ezpeleta confirmed that safety delegates Claude Danis, of the FIM, and Franco Uncini, of lRTA (Intemational Road Race Teams Association), had visited both sites. Ezpeleta also said that Claude Danis had gone to Laguna Seca, which had agreed to do the work to make it safe for a GP. "Apparently Laguna Seca is ready to make works for a GP, but not for 2004," Ezpeleta said. Ezpeleta said that Danis had gone to Laguna Seca to work on the World Superblke homologation. Uncini said that Birmingham had been on the GP radar for some time. "We inspected Birmingham since two years," said Uncini, the IRTA riders rep. "When we were going to Brazil: for the Rio GP, "we stopped in Birmingham, and it was in construction, and we request some suggestions. They did them, and they succeed.' Uncini, the 1982 500cc World Champion, said that he'd also inspected Homestead and that it had its advantages, though the layout wasn't among them. "We enjoy especially Binningham, which is ready: he said. "We know that it is ready to have a MotoGP race. We visit also Homestead, but we propose some modifications, and it depends for the moment if they make the decision. At the moment we can say Birm· ingham is ready, Homestead can be." The modifications at Homestead include softening the transitions onto and off of the front and back straightaways. Homestead is owned by the Intemational Speedway Corporation, parent company of Daytona Intemational Speedway and other racetracks. "From our view, they must make modifications," Uncini said. "Birmingham, the circuit is perfect for MotoGP. They listen to our suggestions. It looks more like a European circuit." The last USGP was held in 1994 at Laguna Seca and was won by Luca Cadalora on a Marlboro Yamaha. Henny Ray Abrams , 960s and 1970s. He's also remembered for his role in the movie On Any Sunday, the 1971 classic that chronicled Lawwill's bid to defend his AMA Grand National title. The legendary Mid-Ohio circuit will again host American Historic Motorcycle Racing Association CAHRMA) road racing throughout the weekend; AHRMA motocross. observed trials and dirt-track racin'g also will be on the schedule. In all, the AHRMA racing events are expected to attract more than 1100 competitors. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2003 will also feature two vintage bike shows as well as a custom bike show; the traditional AMA Swapmeet. North America's largest; a slate of guest speakers. including Jean Davidson. author of • Growing Up HarleyDavidson"; demo rides offered by HarleyDavidson, Buell, BMW, Triumph and Moto-Guzzi; an array of vendors featUring new products from top manufacturers and dealers; the annual Motorcycle Hall of Fame Auction of motorcycles and memorabilia; and an original 1941 'Wall of Death" drome. with vintage Indians and Harley-Davidsons defying gravity on its hardwood walls. This year marks AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days' 12th retum to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Motorcycles preViously honored with the "Featured Marque" distinction include BSA, Honda, Norton. Penton, Vincent, Indian and, most recently. Spanish motorcycles. Spectator tickets for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2003 are available from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at 1-800-MID·OHI0 or For more information about AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2003. visit or call 1-8oo-AMA-J0IN. According to reports from Reuters, shares of Ducat; stock soared on April 3, on continuing market speculation that its core shareholder may sell out, triggering a full takeover for Italian motorcycle company. Ducati shares closed 16.3-percent higher at , .33 euros against a one-percent rise on both the Milan bourse and the DJ Stoxx index for European automakers (Zurich: SXAP - News), according to Reuters. "There are rumors out there again that (U.S. fund) Texas Pacific Group (News - Websites) is set to sell its stake,' a trader told Reuters. Texas Pacific owns 33.5 percent of Ducati, according to market regulator Con sob 's website. A sale of the stake to one investor would trigger a full takeover under market rules that say any buyer taking 30 percent of a company must bid for the rest of the shares. Texas Pacific declined to comment, Reuters says. Ducati's net profit fell nearly 40 percent last year. hit by a strong euro, restructuring of its U.S. business, and development costs. There has also been frequent speculation the bike maker could be sold to historic U.S. rival Harley-DaVidson. according to the report. but Ducati has regularly denied the rumors. Clear Channel Entertainment-Motor Sports has announced that the Motor-

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