Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2003 10 01

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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o \XIuCiJ c!J O c C EJm (i[})C9 "R , -- Although he had yet to see the letter as of Sunday, Septem ber 21 , AMA Pro Racin g chie f ex ecuti ve officer Scott Hollingsworth was expecting to receive a letter from American Suzuki that threatens a pull out by the Japanese company because of a new Superbike rule package that is on the verge of implementation for the 2004 AMA Superbike season. The Suzuki letter became public knowledge at the Barber Motor· sports Park Superbike race, September 20 ·21, in Birmingham , Alabama, when word leaked of the letter and Suzuki vice president Mel Harris didn't mind talking about it. "Suzuki feels that under the new proposed rules that there is not parity, not an even playing field : Harris said when asked about the letter. "When you talk to some of the other manufacturers, there are already a couple of them who have announc ed they are not going Superbike racing . A couple of years ago, we had 16 riders on the grid. Yesterday, I think, we had six. What used to be the premier class has really gone downhill. And then when you favor v -tw tns over the fours, that 's not even in the books - it's not even fair. All we want is rules that are fair. Under the current situation, we lose dou ble-digit horsepower. And we don 't have the fastest motorcycle out there now . If you go back and look at Mat's (Mladin] pol e results from two years ago, he had faster tim es on the 750 than he does currently on the 1000 . Everybody thinks we dominate. I have an idea that if there was another rider who was out there last year [Harris was referring to Nicky Hayden], we would have a lot of com peti tion . I don 't know how many of th e 10 races that Mat won , and Aaron 's [Yates] extra wins in there , if we would have won all those races. I think it would have been very close. Our point is, we want the rules revi ewed, and we want par ity in racing . People want to come see every manufacturer have a chance; they don't want to see Christopher Gosselaar (Hon) , Jeff Ward ( Hon) . Nick Cumm ings and Ron Hounniet (HooD) were among the big winners at t he Great American Motorcycle Experience at Las Vegas M oto r Speedway in Las V egas. N evada. S ep t e m ber 18 -2 1. G oss elaar won the 125cc Pro motocross eve nt held on the infield o f the LV MS half mile . W ard was the fastest of the fast on the Supermotard track , lapping up to sixth place in one of the main events . C um ming s topped th e field in the $7500 All -Pro flat track half mile. and Ho unniet was the top dog in the fea tured Top Fuel Harley class on the LVMS dragst rip . Other GAME events included speed way, off-road and road racing . Long dist ance motor cycl e jumper Ryan Capes wa s also a big part of the GAME, as he se t a new ramp-t o -r amp wo rld record of 260 feet. O O O O O O D O O O o one manufacturer dominate." AMA Pro Rac in g ha s co n f i r m e d th e cancellation and postponement of the AMA Hillclimb event scheduled for Septembe r 21 a t Hayd en v ill e , O h io . A ccording to Rob King, AMA Pro Racin g techn ica l manage r . se ve re rai ns have eroded t he htlls tde to the po int w here und erl y ing roc k is ex posed , mak in g it Another matter that has Suzuki' s ire is the fact that there will not be a class in which its brand -new GSX-R750 can com pete in the AMA Series next year. While in the past the Superstock class has been a showcase for the GSX·R75 0, next year the cl ass moves to a 1OCOcc limi t. "We also told them that we needed a place for our 750 to race: Harris said. "We hope the AMA would have a class. That has been a o C [ class where a lot of riders first came up to ride in and went on to be champions. Scott Russell was in that class. Kevin Schwantz was in that class, (Miguel ] Duhamel... a lot of riders have raced that 750 class. Where are those guys going to go race now? There is really no comm unication between the (AMA] Pro guys making the rules and the manu facturers who are out here racin g. We sent many lett ers o c impo ssible to hold the race at this locat io n . " In s peakin g to D rew W o lfe of A ction Sp orts . th e event promo ter. we reali zed w e would not be ab le to ade qu at ely pr ep are the hill in time fo r th e race . " said King . " The base of the hill is es s e n t iall y a mud sl ide at th is t ime . " AMA Pro Racing and A ct io n Spo rt s are at te mpting to re schedu le this ev ent at anothe r lo c a t io n . " W it h a co u p le of events left on the schedu le and some open w eeke nd s , we ho pe to hold t his round yet th is year, " sa id King . A MA Pro Racing wi ll iss ue additional in fo rm ation as it becomes avai labl e. this year to them voicing our concerns , with no response. So now C C we're down to D·Da y, and our factory has tested the moto rcycles under the rules that they are tal ki ng about, and they' ve said for the expenditures and the amo unt of mo ney we spend in raci ng, yo u need to reconsider what you are doing , and maybe we have to do something different - go in anoth er direction for 2004. We have a board meeting here this week , but I have to go back because we have a vice presid ent from our factory here who wants to talk in more detail before they authorize what we can do next year in the way of racing .' The lett er thr eatens that Suzuki will pull out of AMA raci ng in 2004 if the rules are changed . When asked if the threat was to pull out of all AMA road racing or Just AMA Superbike, Harris said: "It 's a thr eat. but it' s a mild threat. We want them to re-examine everything . If they don't want to re-exam ine everything, we have to look at what we do. We have to race our 750 somewhere. There is going to be a class - whether it' s in AMA or som ewhere else. We have to have a place to race 750s . We have a 750 Cup in the United States, and we also have a World GSX-R750 Suzuki Cup. We have to have a place for those people to run to make those other events. With all the money I put into the AMA with all the events and things like that, jeez, I could run m y own Suzuk i show and put it on TV and do just as well." The portion of the proposed new rules that irks Harris the most is the one that basica lly forces Suzuki to take a step back from the bike it is currently racing. o o o o o o c c c o o o o c C lear C ha nne l Ent e rt ainm e nt ' s M o t o r Sp orts div ision has announced that the 2003 M anis U.S . O pe n at the MGM Grand Garden A rena on O ct ob er 10- 12 wi ll b e televised on the Speed Channel Saturday . Octob er 25 , fro m 8 p .m . to 10 p. m. EST. The traditio nal 90 minute tel evision show for the M axxis U .S . O pe n has been expanded to tw o hours o f bar -t o -b a r racing. " This twohou r. action-packed program on Speed C hann el ha s a field o f ri de rs c has ing down t he $ 3 00 .000 purse at th is nohold s-bar red event. " said Ken Hudgens. vice pr esid ent of ma rk eting . C lear C hanne l Entert ainment - Motor Spo rt s . " W ith a tremendou s lineup of riders . incl udi ng Ricky Carmicha el . Chad Reed and M ike LaR o cc o . th is should be a great event on Sp eed . W e are excited to expa nd our rela tio nsh ip wi t h S p eed Chan nel, and tak ing the cov erage from 90 minutes to t wo hou r s shou ld e na ble us to cover mo re o f t he act ion . " S pe ed C han ne l pr es ide nt Ji m Liberato re said : " The thing th at d iffer entiates Speed Ch annel from many o the r spo rt s cable netw o rk s is o ur de sire and ability to broadcas t th e definiti ve ev e nt s in o ur a re na . The M axx is U .S . Op en ce rt ainly fit s that model, and 2 O CTO BER 1 , 2 003' c u e certai n objectives , and we think we ' ve done that." Now four-time AMA Sup erbike Cham pion Mat Mladin is also peeved at the thoug ht of the new rules. "My personal feeling is that all the ma nufact urers are running the 1000 Superstock • go and race there," Mladin said. "If the rules in Superbik e can' t be the same for everybody, why not go and race there (Superstock]. Suzuki, Kawasak i, Honda, Yama ha... all of them are going to be in 1000 Supertock. If Suzuki pulls their support from Superbike , it' s going to be Honda and Ducati in Superb ik e. Because. from what I understand, Kawasaki has said no. I'm not 100·percent sure about that . What's so good about Superbike then? All of a sudden Superb ike becomes the next -rated class because all the good guys will be in Superstock. Honda and Ducati can go race their V· twin · that'll be good. "I like the way people think. I showed what I can do on a motorcycl e that' s competitive, and I showed what I can do on a motorcycle that's no t cornpetitive and that' s win thr ee championships . Anybody in this paddock that says the GSX-R750 was as cornpetitiv e as the RC-5I , I want to get whatever they're smo king. Put it that way . "Maybe all the teams that are pointing finger s... maybe it's their rider: M1adin cont inued. "Have a look at their riders, have a look at their crews. Maybe this team's got the best rider, and they've definitely got the best crew no doubt about that. The more I see, the more I think they're all a bunch of losers. Instead of pointin g their fingers at themselves, they point it at everybody else. Whatever happens next year , wh atever bike I'm on, I'll be com pet itive. If that means 1000 Superstock , that's good - it mean s I only have to ride two hours a day instead of thr ee, m uch shorter races." Paul Carruthers > > w e are excited to brin g thi s quality eve nt to o ur viewers . " Rob b ie Floyd , Da vey The FIM has anno unced toda y that the Suzuka Circuit w ill not be able to Coombs and Cameron S tee le w ill c all complete stringent modifications in ti me the race ac tio n. fo r the first round of the 2004 MotoG P World C hampionship . and th e event has the refore been scrapped from the prov is ional calendar, w ith the Japanese These modification s . however. cannot be carried out before the G rand Pri x originally schedu led in A p ril next. Fo r G rand Prix title now going to the M otegi even t i n O ct ob e r . N o r e p lace men t Grand Pr ix has been ann o un c ed , with reached ac cord ing to which the 2 00 4 Japanese G rand Prix . orig inally scheduled on April 4 next. will not take place jo ins Honda. KTM and a g rowing lis t o f t he ch ampi ons hip m aint ainin g it s 16 · aft ermarke t co mpa nie s in offering bonus awa rds a nd bri ngs th e t ot al pos te d amount fo r t he 2003 c ha mpions hi p to nearl y $4 00 ,0 0 0 , incl ud ing a $ 25 ,000 yea r- e nd c ham pi o ns hip bon us . Riders round fo rmula , thanks to the recent additio n of Qatar. on th e circu it of Suzuka. The FIM created th e G rand Prix Safety C o m mission Yamaha is the latest manufacturer to post support for the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Champion sh ip by o ffe ring a generous bo nus awards pack age , accordi ng to AMA Pro Racing . Yam aha C r' "I thin k to go back to the stock throttle bodies. stock air boxes... so m any of the th ings that the y want to be stock that reduce the horsepower and some of the performance on the bike : Harris said, "If you do that in Superblke , then Superstock almost becomes the premier class. Already some of the manufacturers who are not going to be in Superbike are going to be in Superstock. If we were to decide that is where we were going to go. could you imagine (Mat] Mladin, (Ben) Spies and (Aaron) Yates out there on Superstock bikes? That would be your premier class. If we didn't have to take a step back and we were all on a competitive playing field , yes. The rules this year made it pretty competitive racing out there, You had Kawasakis that won, you had Hondas that won, and you had Suzukis that won. We didn't have the top speed; another company did. Why don 't we just stick with the same rules, and we'll be okay." Having not seen the letter, Hollingsworth was commenting on what he had been told the letter says. "I' m aware of the letter, and I think it's disappointing, obviously: Hollingsworth said. "Suzuki is a great company with a great racing heritage . The rules were constructed over a long period of time with a whole lot of input from virtually everyone in the paddock. There were a couple of primary objectives we had in creating the rules, but prin cipa l importance to every manufacturer out there was that there ultimately be a global set of rules for Superb ike racing . I think we are going to achieve that. We honestly believe that the next generation of mul ticylinder 1000cc bikes will be a step ahead of today's, so they will be faster. We did not want them to become immeasurably faster so they m ake our racetracks obsolete, and I think we're going to do that. I believe that at the end of the day we are going to have good , fair c om petiti on amo ngst different engine configura tions. When you set that stage and someone thr eatens to not come racing, it's disappointing , obv iously. We've created a marketing pla tform here for Suzuki to sell the most popular category of bikes being sold in the sportbike market right now - 600s and 1000s. This is the most effect ive platform they have to market thos e bik es in the biggest m arket in the world. We think they need to com e pla y, and we hope they will eventually . Everybod y is going to have som e aspect of the rules that they don't li ke, so you can't go chasing your tail and try to please everybody because you are never going to do it. You have to stay with you r mission of trying to create fair rules that meet your co mpeting in A MA Red Bul l Superm o to eve nts are eligible to earn bonu s awa rd s by usin g the produ ct s of the co mpanies off ering support . This mon ey is in addi tion to the pu rse offered by the prornoter of eac h event. I e n e vv s The follo w inq is a press statement from the FIM r e g a r d in g t h e t r ack .. . " T he Suz u k a C i rc u it has es ta blis he d a lo ng -te rm pr o gram o f work s in clud ing vario us modificatio ns aim ing at imp roving th e c ircui t . pri nc ipally th e safety in view of the Grand Prix co unting toward the M oloGP World C hamp io nship . This program of m od ific a t ion s to im p ro v e safety has been discussed at length wi th the G r a nd Pr ix S a f e t y C o m m i s s ion . this reason , an agreement has be e n la st M ay . The rol e of t hi s G ra nd Pr ix Safet y C o mm i s si o n i s t o wo r k on imp r o v ing t h e s a f e t y aro u nd t he M otoGP W o rl d Cha mp io ns hip c irc uit s . followi nq the ev ol ution of G rand Prix racing in rece nt years , and partic ularly due to a rec ent te ch nic al evo lut io n , whic h incl udes an incr ease in perf ormances of the new M otoGP mo to rcycle s . In t his aspect , the FIM re q ue st ed the MSMA

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