Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2004 11 10

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 101 of 103

Russell To The Four would think that after carding three exciting Daytona 200 vic to ries , and then finishi ng runner- up to Miguel Duhamel in the closest Daytona 200 finish ever in 1996, that Scott Russell would have met his waterloo when he returned to battle at the 1997 Daytona 200 on a Yamaha that was basically an iterat ion of the bike that had won the 1993 race wi th Edd ie Lawson aboard. But if you counted Russell out , you couldn't have been more wrong. After an unsatisfactory end to his longtime partnershi p w ith Muzzy Kawasaki for which he sco red his first Dayto na 200 win in 1992, runner- upped to Lawso n in '93, the n came back to win tw o st raight last-to -first romps in '94 and '95 (the latter of t hese bein g Russell's unforgettable crash-a nd-win perform ance) - Russe ll switched to Lucky Strike 5uzuki to take his shot at GP racing for the 1996 season . First, however, came the 1996 Dayto na 200, where he and Smokin' Joe's Honda's Duhamel staged a titanic battle , Russell just missing in his attempt to slingshot past Duhamel at the finish line. Then it was on to the GPs. In a perfect world , Russell's view of Dayto na shou ld have been strictly rearview, a pleasant memory of his old Amer ican road racing days before moving on to bigger and better things in GP. "Y eah, that soun ds good , but it didn't work out like that at all," says Russell, who celebrated his 40th birthday on O cto ber 2B, 2004 . "It was hard to jump into a team like that and just take ove r, especially when Mick Doohan was riding like he was . The [Suzuki) team was good, but I never liked t he bike . I neve r cou ld get it do anything I wanted it to do . Th en I got hurt on it. It was to ugh. We didn't make a lo t of hay whe n th at su n shined." So, come 1997, Russell re turne d to super bike racing, starting in Dayton a with a facto ry Yamaha VZF750 on which he'd had a total of eight days of test time. Though he cou ld certainly be co unte d on to be a facto r in the race, there were questions as to what extent that wou ld be. Afte r all, re igning AMA Superbike Champion Do ug C handler was expected to be sto ut aboard Russell's former Muzzy Kawasaki ride , and Duhamel and Ho nda had one more year of development time on the already proven RC4 5. O n a Yamaha that was basically a 6-yea r-old design , a Russell win wasn't exactly a given. "The bike was what it was ," Russell said. "We came there w ithout ever getti ng a good test in. We were on Dunlops that year, and Col in Edward s had th e thing Y OU going pretty good , and I just jumped o n wha t he was riding. And we didn't change a lot of things. The Yamaha wasn't rea lly tha t good , but it went rea lly good at Daytona. It went aro und the re prac tically by itself. I can't explain it." Russell's comfort level on the bike was rea dily ap pare nt during qualifying, where after his Yamaha teammate, Colin Edwards II, set a record lap of one minute, 49 .274 sec onds to hold down t he numbe r-o ne spo t at th e end of the odd -numbered qual. ifying session, Russe ll went o ut and erased it by bec oming t he first man to lap in the I:485 at Dayton a, taking the his third caree r po le wit h a I:48.999. The handwrit ing was on the wa ll. "Edwards , he rea lly wan ted that [Rolex) wa tch, " Russell re members, "a nd I was sitting in my mot o r ho me, liste ning to them call out the times , and I heard him get on the loudspeaker and say that they might as well put his name o n that watc h right now . I told my boys, That's over. I'm going to go out there and hammer him right now.' And that's just how good it was for me at Daytona. I don 't know why I could do things like that, but it just came easy. Every time I came to Daytona, I felt like I was in my backyard . I knew I was going to win it." The race took place , on March 9, 1997. Russell jumped out to the early lead, with Edwards and Oarler com ing right with him. Edwards passed Russell on the opening lap and led the first two circuits before Russell too k ove r aga in. T he n Chan dle r led lap five before yielding th e po int back to Russell. And that was it. Afte r that, Russell simply seemed to go into another gear. He started to pull away, and nobody - not Edwards, not Chandler, not Duhamel - co uld even get close to him as he built up a 22second lead that would only be cut into by the pace car after a yellow nag came out when privateer Dean Mizdal crashed on lap 49. A 102 NOVEMBER 10.2004 • CYCLE N EWS L few thought that t he second-rurmlng C handler might be ab le to use the break to surprise Russe ll in t he same fashion that Russell was surprised by Lawson in the 1993 race. Nothing doi ng, says Russell. "I knew they'd try, but I knew I had t hem covered," Russell said. "That '93 race was a different story. I knew fro m lap two in that one, when Lawson passed me on that Yamaha on the banking without even draft ing me, that I didn't want to be anywhere near him on the last lap. I knew I wasn't going to beat him. Th is time, I knew they weren't going to bea t me. " W hen they went back to green, Russell simply went back to the same pace he had been running all race long, pulling clear to a 4.5-seco nd margin of victory that tru ly belies his thorough domina t io n of t he event. No t on ly was Russell's fo urth Dayto na 200 win a new record, but it also broke a tie betw een Yamaha and HarleyDavidso n for the most Daytona 200 wins, giving the Japanese facto ry I7 Daytona 200 wins . "It was a cakewalk," Russell said. "The Yamaha was working great. That was the easiest one that I ever won until I won my fift h one in '98." Well, yeah , then the re 's that.. . Sco tt Rousseau 3U YEARS A6U.•. November te. 1974 John DeSoto appeared on the cover at a California night race ... The last Dirt Diggers Hopetown Grand Prix took place, and as usual it drew a record number of people from all different backgrounds... Part five of Gary Bailey's series about how to ride motocross graced the pages of this issue. In it, he talked about how to set up yo ur mot o rcycle prop e rly... We too k a look at the new Husqvarna motocross bikes and liked w hat we saw... We also te sted the Rickman enduro bike. It was a grea t bike and surprising since it was a dualpur pose bike wit h an em phasis on e nduro competition . i!U YEARS A6U..• November 14. 1984 We te sted the 19B5 liquid-cooled Husq va rna _ Husqvarna 25 0WR 2 50WA - - to"'! )i' ...... enduro bike . We . ~J!' ~ really had fun riding the bike aro und the woods for a day and in the end felt that it woul d stack up nicely against the other bikes in its class... Randy Morales and Chuck Miller took top honors at the final round of the SCORE O ff-Road Championship series. Taking second was the team of Dan Smith and Dan Ashcraft, after they had a collision with a car and suffered from a seized motor... Jeff Ward won the Superbowl of Motocross at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Ward was fresh off winning t he 12Scc National Championshi p and finished the year fourth in t he Supercross se ries after this race. --- ,V-- .< y 1U YEARS A6U... November 9. 1994 ihl~~tr-.;"::j ~~~M~;~ f ":"~_=~_=-=:---''':'::=-:=-;::=:::::;. L::"'~:..!~~=~~ 40TH AN NIVERSARY On the cover was o ur annual 12Scc motocross bike shootout, and the winne r was - the YamahaVZ 125... Two-time National Hare Scra mbles Champion Scott Pless inger kept his win streak alive with a victory at roun d e ight of the series. Finishing seco nd was the new champio n, Rodney Smit h... Kawasaki's Danny Hamel w on the final round of the National Hare & Ho und series. He had actually wrapped the title up a week prior, after the AHA announced the final round was actually cancelled ... Mike laRocco took the win at the Golden Cup Supercross in Fukuoka, Japan. He won after early leader Mike Keidrowsk i suffered a derai led chain.

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