Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2003 05 21

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 114 of 115

~.I(IJ~r!Jj~ 30 YEARS AGO... MAY 29, '973 Don Castro won the San Jose Mile, and for that he slid across the cover of Issue #20. The race was marred by the death of Lloyd Houchins, who collided with Pat McCaul just after the flag ... Jamo Saarinen (Yam) topped both the 250 and 500cc classes at the Austrian Road Race Grand Prix, but only one race later, at the Italian GP, Saarinen and Harley·Davidson factory rider Renzo PasoHni died in a 15-bike pileup on the first lap of the 250cc GP... Bernie Coyne won the Virginia City Grand Prix ... Hakan Anderson (Yam) won the Polish 250cc MX GP in Szczecin. Gunnady Moisseiev (KTM) finished second, while Torleif Hansen (Kaw) got third ... Dave Aldana (Nor) won the Ascot Half·Mile. 20 YEARS AGO... JUNE', '983 The 1983 Suzuki GR650D Tempter showed its rear end on the cover of Issue #20. It was one of two "Tempting" models Suzuki introduced. The GR650D featured airadjustable forks and mag wheels, while the GR650X had nonadjustable forks, spoked wheels, and a price tag $200 less. The GR650D retailed for $2199... Alex Jorgensen topped the San Jose Short Track, while Bubba Shobert and Terry Poovey rounded out the top three. At the next day's San Jose Mile, Ricky Graham did the whipping, while Jay Springsteen and Shobert rounded out the top three... Steve Wise (Hon) won the lexington, Ohio, round of the AMA Superbike Series over Fred Merkel (Han) and Jimmy Adamo (Due} ... Jeff Ward (Kaw), Bob Hannah (Hon) and Brae Glover (Yam) won the 125, 250 and 500cc classes, respec· tively, at the St. Louis MX National. '0 YEARS AGO... MAY 26, '993 Harley-Davidson's Chris Carr graced the cover of Issue #20 as we took a look at the top bikes and their riders in the Grand National paddock ... With his win at the Pasadena Supercross, Jeremy McGrath (Hon) clinched his first-ever AMA 250cc Supercross Championship in his rookie season two rounds early. Mike Kiedrowski (Kaw) finished second, Jeff Stanton (Han) third. Steve Lamson (Han) fourth and Mike LaRocco (Kaw) fifth. Damon Huffman (Suz) won the 125cc main over teammate Phil Lawrence and points leader Jimmy Gaddis (Kaw} ... Scott Russell (Kaw) got his first-ever World Superbike win in the second leg of the second round at Hockenheim. He sat second in points behind first· leg winner Giancarlo Falappa (Due} ... Donny Schmit (Yam) swept all three motos at the sixth 250cc MX GP round of the year in Hungary, moving to within 14 points of points leader Gneg AJbertyn (Han). S ete Gibernau has inherited the late Daijiro Kato's factory Honda. No surprise there, really. Gibernau was Kato's teammate in the Telefonica MoviStar Gresini squad, and he won the South African GP riding a production version of the mighty Vfive. Given the circumstances, Kato's factory machine had to go somewhere, and the only other real candidate was Max Biaggi. If you lean towards the metaphysical, however, you might feel that there is something other than logic at play. Gibernau has had a career of taking over other riders' factory machines. A matter of being in the right place at somebody else's wrong time. It is important to say that his good fortune has been achieved quite inadvertently and without malice. Gibernau comes from a privileged background, grandson of Bultaco founder Don Paco Bulto. From gentlemanly stock, he had no free ride into Grand Prix racing. He had to battle for his start and has had to face a fair amount of inverse snobbery to get where he is. But there is no doubt that when there's a spare bike going unexpectedly, it generally goes to Sete. The first was a factory 250cc Yamaha, in 1996, after ex-champ Tetsuya Harada quit the Wayne Rainey team midseason. Sete was given the bike. The next year, Loris Capirossi reneged on his contract with Rainey, leaving his factory Yamaha YZR500 riderless at the last minute. Step forward Sete. People who think he has more luck than talent probably base it on that time. Sete was still green, and his results uninspiring. When Spanish sponsor Repsol picked him up for the next year, it surely had more to do with his nationality than his championship prospects. Sete's job was to race a production version of the Honda V-twin 500. The factory machine, a very different animal, was earmarked for Takuma Aoki. Then Aoki crashed during preseason testing and suffered crippling injuries. Sete got the bike. And put it straight on the rostrum. It wasn't over yet. For 1999, Gibernau kept the same bike, by now thoroughly outclassed. Until Mick Doohan crashed terminally at Jerez at only the third race of the season. Step forward Sete, once again, to take over the five-time World Champion's top factory I'lSRV-four. Two years at Suzuki followed, largely because Sete was now linked with Telefonica and brought the sponsorship with him. That's often a more valuable weapon in a rider's arsenal than his riding talent. And he took the Telefonica MoviStar money with him to Gresini's Honda team for this year, too. Again Gibernau was a junior partner. He got a production RCV211 V-five, but the money he brought enabled the team to run a full factory machine for the real star of the show, former 250cc World Champion Kato, already a stalwart of the ex-125cc champion's team. Until the disaster at Suzuka. Kato was fatally injured early in the race, a shocking outcome. In racing, mourning can be profound, but it doesn't necessarily last very long and cannot be allowed to get in the way of business. So it was with Kato. His death was an awful loss but immediately begged the question - who would get the factory bike? Biaggi was an obvious candidate. But the team links made Gibernau more obvious, at least to Honda. And while there may be a Biaggi faction once again starting up a grumble about the Luck of the Gibernaus, I am Fernui Fl driver Rubens Bamchello joined Sete Gibemau for a chat during qualifiying for the Spanish Grand Prix. fairly sure that Max himself would not prefer to earn factory support the hard way. (Perhaps I am being that chance. Now we wait to see if the In an upcoming issue at Cycle News uncharacteristically generous there.) My personal view is quite clear. I believe Gibernau is a rather underrated rider, for all the wrong reasons. He has certainly paid his dues and as one of very few riders who had beaten Rossi in a straight fight deserves both great credit and a good bike on which to try to do it again. I'm also biased because I admire Sete's other abilities. He is intelligent, well-educated, clear-minded, fluent in a number of languages, and humane . he is anything but the typical motorcycle racer. Not that there's anything wrong with them, either, but if you want to surprise and impress the world outside racing with someone who far exceeds the stereotype, it is hard to think of anybody better than Sete Gibernau. He could become an important ambassador for all of motorcycle racing. Then Sete went and spoiled it all at Jerez. Chasing Rossi, he got in too hot and hit the dirt in his first outing on a factory four-stroke Honda. It was bitterly disappointing. It is, of course, not over yet. Gibernau is as prone as anybody to the pressures of racing at home. There is a chance he could beat Rossi again at the next race at Le Mans. Circumstances have handed him vagaries of fortune allow him to exploit it. eN Hangtown MX. National Monza WSIK Road Atlanta AlIA SIK Greek World Supermoto Utall Hare & Hound Was"o••al WOICS cucle n.., _ so • MAV21,2003 115

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