Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2000 03 08

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 R~ Elm O!J:K9 u Former 250cc and World Superbike Champion John Kocinski says that. more than likely, he won't be racing motorcycles in 2000. Kocinski, who rode a Kanemoto Honda NSR500 in last year's 500cc World Championship, is currently residing in West Palm Beach, Florida, and is working more on his future in water skiing than he is on getting a ride. "I have this lingering thought about making it to the U.S. Nationals, - Kocinski said in reference to professional water skiing. "It's a pretty steep goal, but I've been within one pass of getting a rating to go to the Nationals - that in itself would be a victory." As for racing again in 2000, Kocinski said: "There aren't a whole lot of deals out there. There is no money in GP racing any more. It's dead. It's just a world of politics and a lot of guys are riding for free. There are a lot of people just scrapping to finish the season - it's not like it used to be. - When asked if he'd been contacted by CastroI Honda to replace Aaron Slight, who recently underwent brain surgery, Kocinski said: ' - "I've got the wrong passport. They've already got one American and their other rider will have to be from Europe. I'm just going to enjoy myself right now. Something always turns up, but I'm not doing any shaky deals anymore. " O O O President Clinton's administration has unveiled yet another initiative that would ban off-highway vehicles (OHVs) from millions of acres of public land, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. Called National Landscape Monuments, the program is the latest in a rapid-fire series of Clinton initiatives to unilaterally ban OHVs from vast tracts of public land. Clinton wants to complete all the initiatives by the end of the year, when he leaves office. "This is the biggest assault on off-highway riding on public land that motorcyclists have ever seen," said Robert Rasor, AMA vice president for government relations. "These initiatives target thousands of miles of trails nationwide. And it's all being done through federal agency rule-making or presidential fiat, bypassing Congress completely." Rasor wants motorcyclists to contact their U.S. senators and representatives to urge them to stop the Clinton administration's unilateral decisions on the use of public land. "Public land use should be debated in Congress where facts can be analyzed and all sides can have their say," Rasor said, The new National Landscape Monuments program, announced by U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt on Feb. 17, is targeting up to 4 million acres in Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, and Oregon for new land-monument status. Under the program, Clinton could simply proclaim the areas as national landscape monuments and OHVs would be banned. The federal Bureau of Land Management, O O O O O O O O O 'l O O o retum. Any appointment of a second rider at thiS stage brings problems of its own. Slight's contract details appear to guarantee him a return to action as soon as the medical fraternity declares him fit to do so. This would leave Perugini (or whoever is Slight's eventual substitute) with either no ride, or the need for Honda to supply him with another brace of RC51 s to complete his season - which is, of course, already of an indeterminate length. Another name which may well re-appear on Castrol Honda's horizon is the only man to have ever won them a World Championship, John Kocinski. Although out of the picture at present, an unsuccessful test for Perugini would make Kocinski a strong candidate for the saddle - but with one or two possible hiccups to his inclusion. First of all, like Colin Edwards, he is an American, which hardly helps with Castrol'6 global sponsorship planning if both riders came from the same country. Secondly, Kocinski may possibly be just too much of a threat to Edwards' title aspirations (if his head is in competitive mode) and may prove harder to shift from his inherited seat - if such a course of action were to come thiS season. o o o John Kocinski vs. Bell Helmets will go to trial on April 24 in the Orange County (California) Courthouse in Santa Ana, California. The court case involves a contract dispute between the two parties. O O D Aaron Slight, released from the hospital in Australia after a successful operation by Professor Michael Morgan to repair a leaking blood vessel in his brain, is reported to be making a good recovery from his surgery, although his first postoperation thoughts of retuming to racing have apparently given way to the realization that his health must come first. Overwhelmed with messages of good wishes for his recovery, Slight and girlfriend, Megan, are expected to stay in Australia for at least two more weeks, according to Cycle News contributor Gordon Ritchie. With Slight's situation still unsure at present, Castrol Honda has taken their first definite steps to replace their star Kiwi with the announcement that ex-Honda 250cc works rider Stefano Perugini (fifth in last year's 250cc World Championship, but without a ride for the coming season) will be given a two-day test of the all-new RC51 at Misano in Italy on February 29 and March 1. A successful test is expected to see Perugini confirmed as their second rider until Slight is fit enough to O O O O O O O O O O Alex Barros, another highly talented and proven Superbike rider (after a few good Suzuka a-Hour rides), seems out of the picture after news that he has signed for Sito Pons' much-impoverished Honda 500cc Grand Prix team. With Pons' sea- " 2 MARCH 8, .2000' cue I e n e __ s accustomed to overseeing activities such as grazing and recreation on its land, would oversee the monuments. The agency also would shift its focus to preservation, which would be another blow to off-highway riding, This latest move is part of an orchestrated campaign to close off vast amounts of land across the United States. The biggest threat to off-highway riding comes from Clinton's "roadless land" initiative that could bar OHVs from almost 80 million acres of U.S, Forest Service land by the end of the year. The AMA has dubbed the roadless initiative "Wilderness Lite" because it would impose all the restrictions of a congressionally decided "wilderness" designation of the land without allowing the issue to be debated in Congress. In January, the president shut down more than 1 milJion acres of public land to OHVs in Arizona by unilaterally creating the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and the Agua Fria National Monument. This month, Clinton also began a process to declare as many as 400,000 acres in the Sequoia National Forest in California as a new national monument. Rasor and AMA Washington Representative Edward Moreland briefed representatives of the powersports industry on the multiple threats during the Dealemews International Powersports Dealer Expo held in Indianapolis Feb. 19-21. For more information, visit and click on the "Protecting Your Right to Ride" button. son expected to be underwritten by Honda (to some extent) their opinion may, however, sway if Barros ever gets his name in the frame for an RC51 ride. One rider who is very definitely off the list of potential replacements for Slight is Juan Borja, who has joined his fellow ex500cc GP class colleague Haruchika Aoki in World Superbike. Backed by the Spanish Ducati importer and his existing sponsor, the Communitat Valencia, co-promoters of the Spanish World Superbike race on June 25, Bo~a will ride in a customer Ducati team operated by NCR Ducati. Rumors that Katsuaki FUjiwara's position in the Alstare Corona Extra Suzuki team is under threat continue as the Japanese rider has been linked to a swap with All-Japan Championship contender Keiichi Kitagawa. A team spokesperson flatly denied that FUjiwara was to be replaced, but the hint that "there will be an announcement in a couple of weeks, " merely added fuel to the fire. The team is known to be dissatisfied with a rider who is very much seen as Suzuki's placeman, and with the pre-season at such an advanced stage, and Akira Ryo seen as their best chance of success in the highly prestigious Japanese series, the experienced Kitagawa would seem like an ideal replacement. An under performer in last season's championsh'ip (with PierFrancesco Chili's two wins on identical machinery showing that at least the bike was a contender), FUjiwara's exceptionally poor shOWing in pre-season tests at Phillip Island did little to for his chances of making a full 2000-season campaign. Back to Willow Springs. Despite the war of words that made it appear as though the AMA would never return to Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, California, an AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike round will be held at the facility, September 29-0ctober 1. The race will be promoted by Hansyllan Motorsports after several weeks of discussion with the AMA and the racetrack. "We're incredibly excited to be promoting thiS event,· said Hansyllan's Steve Rethmeier. "The AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship is America's top motorcycle road racing series, and Willow Springs is a terrific track with a great history. There was a lot of concem there might not be an AMA race at Willow Springs this year. We've put that to rest and are committed to making this one of the best races of the season. Everyone involved is really pleased we could put this together. We're getting a great deal of energy and support from both the track owners and the AMA, and expect to have a tremendous event.· Hansyllan is currently in the process of finding a title sponsor for the race. Reflecting the trend of prosperity across the motorcycle industry, Ducati reports

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