Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 47 November 24

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 104 of 115

CN III ARCHIVES BY SCOTT ROUSSEAU W hen discussing the honor roll of Team Harley-David- son factory-backed AMA Grand National Champions, Randy Goss' name doesn't carry the same chutzpah as that of fellow Michiganders Bart Markel, Jay Springsteen or Scott Parker, or many others. Maybe it should, though, because when the factory needed him, Goss was there, and he delivered. Unlike the more flamboyant personalities of Springer and Parker, the soft-spoken Goss was more reserved, more cal- culated. Heck, he was arguably easy to overlook, as unlike either of the other two, it took two years for him to score a Grand National win after turning Expert. But just like them, he did make a statement. Goss' first win came on the half mile at Middletown, New York, on June 10, 1979. He started the day by setting a new single-lap qualifying record of 24.450 seconds, breaking Hank Scott's two-year-old single-lap record of 25.066 by more than half a second. Goss then went on to a wire-to-wire victory in the race, pulling away from Scott and Garth Brow in the main event. "It's been a long three years waiting for this," Goss told Cycle P104 RANDY GOSS: HARLEY'S UTILITY MAN enough to attract the attention of Harley-Davidson factory team manager Dick O'Brien, who was in desperate need of a potential replacement for Springsteen, who had struggled all season with his well-documented but equally mysterious stomach ail- ment. If Springsteen couldn't win the title, O'Brien figured, then maybe Goss could. And he would, but in the least spectacular of fashions. Rather than just pick up where Springer left off, laying waste to the com- petition with a series of wire-to- wire and/or come-from-behind wins, Goss earned the plate for News reporter Gary Van Voorhis after winning the race. "It was the horsepower I had that won it for me. Larry Johnson, my father-in- law, and I worked 15 hours a day for the past week to practically rebuild the entire bike. It paid off. Things are really starting to fall in place." Indeed, they were. Goss would go on to win two more Grand National half miles that season, at Des Moines, Iowa, and As- cot Park in Gardena, California. and finish third in the '79 AMA Grand National Championship Series, behind Steve Eklund and Springsteen. That was more than

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