Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2000 05 17

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 101

T h e AM A /C h e v y Trucks S u p e r b i k e N atio nal at Sears Point Racew ay in So no mao C alif o rn ia . wa s in d efi ni t el y post poned at 3 :45 p.m. o n M onday . M ay 8 a day aft er rain caused the postponement of the race from S und ay . M ay 7 to M ay 8 . Alth ough it w a s dry on M o nday . w ater was seeping throug h th e pavement in at least two areas of the race track. making it un saf e for rac ing . Attempt s w ere m ad e thro ugho ut the day to try and cure t he problem . b ut nothing seemed t o w ork . A cco rding to the A MA and tra ck officials , they w ill work dilig ently this week to try and find a makeup da t e in t he sc hedule . Speculat ion ce nters around the race being N ati o nal Hare Scrambles round tha t was held in G ood S pring s . Pennsy lvania, M ay 7. Pat Garrahan (KTM) finished second and Fred Hoess (Hu s) thi rd . C o mpleting the top five w ere Brian Garrahan ( KT M) a nd Richard Lafferty (KTM). Po int s leader Paul Edmo nd son sat o ut the eve nt w it h an injured thumb . D avid Watson ( Hon ) an d James Large (H -D) t ook t o p ho nors a t t h e ope ning round o f the AMA N ational HiII- "A t the m om ent, world motorcycle racing offers two toplevel championships , whi ch are co mpletely different from each other," Flammini said. "On the one hand, we hav e GPs with two-stro ke prototype b ik es, an d on the ot he r Wo rld Supe rbike • hig h· performance four-strok e ma ch in es based on production bikes. Both are success ful and very pop ula r. I wo uld say that motorcycle raci ng is goi ng through a magic period. So why change the ca rds on the tab le? We have been wo ndering about th is for several months. If the GPMA (Grand Prix Manufacturers A ssoci ation ) pro posal goes through and we get 1000cc four-s troke m achinery in GPs, we will have two championships that are the same. I am fi rm ly convinced that the FIM can not give the go ahead for this proposal. Ou r accord guarantees us absolute priority with the Supe rbike form ula - four-stroke, high-performance bikes - and as we are entrepreneurs who have started up a p roject from scratch, taking it to a top -class world level. we will of course take any action necessary to protect what we believe to be our right. This will also be in defense of all those who have dedicated years and years of work and resources to taking part in the World Superbike Championship." It seems . in fact , that Interpublic, the world 's secondlargest advertising agency and ow ner of Oc tagon Mo torsport, has al ready issued a notice to the FIM that lega l action will be taken if the co ntract is vio lated. "' can not co nfirm this news," said Flammini. " But the FlM m ust exam ine the situation ca refu lly: four-strokes are already allowed in Gr and s Prix (with a maximum engine size o f 500cc), and Dorna has asked to have 1000cc simply to da ma ge Super bike. But two identical cha m p ionships will co nfuse spectators and send costs roc ketin g sky -high. In 10 yea rs we ha ve created a championship th at is one o f th e biggest in world wide m otor sport. We have thr ee .categories (Wo rld Superbike, Supers port and Superstoc k ) with 52 per- managem ent perso nnel of the seven ma nufac turers cur rently involved in th e championship (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasak i, Ducati. Aprilia and Bim ot a), an FIM technical del egate fro m Spain and Mau rizio Flammini, president of Octa go n Motorsport, the America n company that owns the World Superbik e Series . D eci sio n s wer e made that are destined t o radically change the Superbike scenario, but the current World Super bike tech nical regulations will , however, rem ain uncha nged . The new regulations. outlined in August of 1998 and scheduled to go into effect in 200 I, have been cancelled and the manufacturers are no longer obliged to sell race kits to privateers at a fixed price of $40.000. The reason behind this rapid U- turn are clear: With the "kit-bike" regulations , the leading manufacturers would be " pulling out" of the championship because by sell ing the materia l to sate llite teams they would no longer really be interes ted in tak ing part with their current , biq -bud get (average of SI 0 million) factory teams. Tec hnical development woul d then co me to a standstill because no m anuf act urer would clea rly be able to m ake the best tec hnology avai lable on the market. And the resources available for the racing divisio ns wou ld >=< L: C o r r C ........ be diverted into th e developme nt of 1000cc four-stroke p rototypes for Grand Prix raci ng . Wor ld Superbik e would then ha ve scored the equiv alent of a goal in its own net. paving the way fo r the op position - in th is case, the Gr and Prix series. Produ cti on -based World Superbike racing wou ld have loo k ed a lot like it did 10 years ago when the championship fir st started (m aybe with the addit ion of a couple of officia l teams). But that' s not all that ca m e out of the meeting . The man ufactur ers, Ducati and Aprilia included, hav e also agreed to stand ard ize eng ine size at 1000c c fro m 2003 onwa rds. Th e aim of this mov e is to wipe ou t the size adv ant age the twin cy li nder 1000 cc bikes hav e ov er the four-cylind er 750 cc ma chin es (and also the thr ee-cylinder 900cc design , whi ch has been adopted by Ben elli ) . However, abo ve all , it is to allo w the m anufacturers to enter Wor ld Sup erbike with raci ng rep li cas of th eir best -selli ng bik es. Yamaha . for exam p le, sells very few R7s while the RI is a very popular m ach ine. A s well as for co m me rcia l reasons, th is pro posa l also aim s to make entry into GP racing unattractive for the rnanufectu r ers. Superbik e, therefor e, appears to hav e co m e up with a tr um p card. Flammin i, the man who first beli eved in thi s form ula by in vesting his m oney in t he Wor ld Superbik e Ser ies since 1g90 , is com ing out with all his guns blazing in the ba ttl e aga inst Grand Prix racing. 2 M AY 17, 2000 · cue I II! held sometime around the Willow S pring s roun d in Southern C alifo m ia on O ctober 1. Doug Blackwell (Yam) won the A M A The World Supe rb ik e Series has opted for continuity in an effort to stav e off the entry of fou r-str ok e 1000cc bikes into the Grand Prix series. Du ring th e week end of the J apanese World Sup erbike rou nd in Su go, two important four-h our m eet in g s were hel d. Pr esent at th o se me et ing s were t op '-' "I will neve r invest in grand fa thersl" Action Group bass Giuseppe Luongo, an peop le with old-fash ioned ideas an the /,AX GPs. Billy Hamill (G M) is back on the W orld Speedway Champion sh ip trail afte r wi nning the opening ro und o f the 2000 G rand Prix Serie s at th e M arketa Stadium . in the C zech Republic, on May 6 . Hamill made it through to th e final after so me hard racing . and he took the checkered flag in th e B ig Fina l w ith o nly inc hes to s pare ov er Eng land ' s Mark Loram (Jaw) . Chris Louis (G M) and Todd Wiltshire (GM) filled the remaining places . Motocro sser J eff Em ig was once again seriously injured, th is time while pra ct icing at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bem ardino , California, on Thu rsday , May 4 . Em ig. who was ju st pr epar ing to return to racing following a Decem ber 30 inci dent in which he broke bo th wrists, over -jumped an obstacle , separated fro m his bi ke, and fell to the ground , suffe ri ng a co m pou nd fracture to his tibi a and fibu la and injuring his back . He und erwent surgery to his leg the sam e day, and then had back surgery on Satur day, May 6. The latt er operation was a 13hour procedure to replace and fuse his L-2 vertebra , " E v er y thl n g went good ," sai d Strategic 3 Team Coord inator Tony Stran o gio. Em ig's Stra t egic 3 team has been out of action for some time, with the other pri m a ry m ember, Phil Lawrence, still rec overing from shoulder surgery. Lawrence expects to be back in action in approximately one month. '1 • n e vv m ane nt teams. "This, among st othe r thin gs, gives work to thousands of people. We will defend our investments over the decade with every mean s available, together with the support of th e manufactu rers, for whom World Su per bik e has becom e a 'fl y wheel' for increased sales and a veh icl e of incredi ble prestige in every co mer of the worl d." Ac cording to th e FlM pr esid ent Francesco Zerbi , World Superbi ke shoul d co ntinue to be the cham p ionship fo r pro du cti on-based bik es, whil e pr otot yp es will ra ce in Grands Prix. "T his distin cti on is not clear for the general public ," Fl am mini said. "T he co ncept can be ap p lied in m ot or rac in g where a prot ot y pe can immediat ely be distinguished fro m a production car. In m ot orcycle raci ng, the publi c (the m ain protago nist of the success o f our spo rt) cannot see th is distinction. Today a Superbike and a GP bik e, on televi sion , are virtually identic al. The only difference tha t th e spectato rs can notice is the engine size. Therefore a large-cylinder Sup erbike, 75 0 or 1000cc, and a 1000cc four -stroke GP pro totype s climb Se ries in D elbart on , West V irg inia. M ay 7. W at so n to p ped the 540cc class and Large the 800cc cla ss . W atson also took secon d in the 800cc c la ss. Re ad on if you o r your child would like to join B en Ev ans as a w inn er of t he Cycle News Brass Brain Award , wh ich recognize s the im po rta nce o f a good education (in addition to talent on the trac k) . D eadline for B rass Brain elig ibility applicat ions f o r t he AMA Amat eur Dirt T rack G rand N at io nal Champion ships is Jun e 2 3 ; deadline f or the A MA Am at e u r N at io nal R o ad Rac ing G ran d C h ampi ons hips is J u n e 3 0 ; d e adl in e fo r t he Po n c a City NMA Grand Nationa l M o t o c ro s s Championsh ips is J u ly 14 ; and deadline fo r the Loretta Ly nn's AMA A m a t e u r Nation al M o t o c ro s s Ch arnp ion ships is J uly 14. To app ly , se nd the fol low ing inf ormat ion to Cycle News: C o py o f report ca rd ; ride r name ; event; ride r's complete address : phone number; e-mail ad dre ss (jf ap plicab le) ; cla sse s to be co ntested : and rider num ber. S en d to Cy cle News B rass B rain, 3 50 5-M C adillac A v e.. woul d be the same bik e for the general publi c . We must also underline that lap ti mes for World Superbik e and a 500 GP bik e are, and will be even more in the future. very close. Five hundreds are generally faster, even though a Sup erbike that comes st ra ig ht fr om th e deal er ' s showroom alread y has superb performance. Th is ju st does not happen in car racing." Th e U·tum on " k it -bike" rules is the ace up Flammin i's slee ve. ' "When the m anufacturers agreed in August 1998, the sit uation wa s different: th e nu m ber of participants in Wo rld Superbike was thinning out beca use costs were increasing. No w th is is no longer the case: we have seven different m anufacturers and 33 perm anent riders, with full gr ids everywhe re. Furthermo re, and this confi rms the valid ity of current regulations, we always have spectacular, hard -fough t races . In the first six races, five different manufacturers have won. Riders on five different bikes are leading the tab le. We want to maintain this exciting bala nce . In addition, in 10 years , our public at the ci rc uits and in front of the TV has increased exponentially and will increase even further in the next few years. "M oreo ver, it was th e manufacturers and the factory teams them selves who ex pressed thei r perplex ity o ver the 200 I kit-b ik e regulatio ns," co ntinued Flammini. "They told us tha t races exist in order to continue to carry out de velop- men t and research wh ich is the n transferred into production. A top fac tory team told us that 52 improvements carried out on th eir Sup erb ik e were the n tr ansferred onto pr odu ction bikes in j ust one season's racin g. Th e manufacturer s need to prot ect their secrets and not all the ex perience of a company can be m ade availab le for everyone, or at least it ca n, but only after a per iod of testing. Th e 2001 regul ations would no longer allow this im portant and delicate developmen t pha se in World Sup erbike. Furth erm ore I am convi nced tha t it is not possible to stop the techn ol ogical dev elopment of an alre ady well establ ished form ula such as Wor ld Supe rbike." The ma nufac turer s hav e given themselves a two-month period to look at the prop osa ls to be put forwa rd to the F1M . On e po ssib ili ty is t o partiall y revi se the '9 8 k it propo sals, m aking the m m ore limited from a technica l point of view each manufacturer would have to sell 3 0 ki ts, but they would contai n sta nda rd co m ponents and not evolution material, whi ch would rem ai n the excl usive prerogative of the factory team s. But th e pr iv at e team s are oppo sed to th is so lution. For them it would be a lot more co nvenient to buy th e compl et e bike used in the previ ou s seasons by the fac tory teams . som eth ing th at Ducati has done fo r yea rs. Official ratification of all th e norms, including the inc rea se in engine size t o 1000cc st arti ng from 2003, will come during the FlM 's annual co ng ress. Paulo Gozzi

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's - Cycle News 2000 05 17