Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 38 September 22

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 120 of 129

CN III ARCHIVES BY SCOTT ROUSSEAU P120 STEVE BAKER: THE FORERUNNER TO GREATNESS Canadian Championship races and some U.S. National races," Baker recalls. "I did okay at it. Then we got into the Transatlan- tic Match Races to get me over to Europe. The first time I went to the Match Races was 1975. That Like many skidders, Baker says that he never expected to go road racing, but he took the shot when it came to him. "Basically, I got an opportunity to try it through Bob Work and Yamaha of Canada, and we rode S teve Baker isn't bothered that Kenny Roberts is the first name that passes through the lips of most people quizzed about the first American road racer to score a world title. "Most people still think that I'm Canadian," says Baker, now 51 and living in his native Bell- ingham, Washington. "Because I was from the Northwest, up in the left-hand corner of the country, it was a little hard to get hooked up with the right ride because a lot people looked at the Californians as the real hot shoes." Even so, Baker started out just like those Californians, as a dirt-tracker. Those with an under- standing of dirt-track geography will not be surprised to hear that he mainly rode TTs. "We'd ride Castle Rock, Side- winders in Oregon, and we had a track near Seattle called Gra- ham," Baker says. "We used to look at the weather every Friday and then decide whether to go to Sidewinders or Graham." Many forget that Steve Baker was America's first road racing world champion.

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