Cycle News

Cycle News 2021 Issue 06 February 9

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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CN III ARCHIVES BY SCOTT ROUSSEAU P108 GIVE 'EM A BRAKE! (OR the straightaway speeds weren't so high, and you could slide the back wheel by just shutting the throttle off. It was supposed to be a safety feature for extreme conditions. We never thought that somebody would put the brake on while they were racing." But many riders did begin to use brakes to their advantage, racing down the straightaways and applying the binders, thus gaining the ability to hug the low line. Mann remembers that the young lions of the day, such as brakes on them," Mann says. "But for years, we had been in favor of putting brakes on all the dirt track bikes." It sounds as if it should go without saying, but the ideology behind the adoption of brakes was safety. The rub is that no one actually anticipated riders using them in normal race condi- tions. "Let me tell you, I had no idea that anybody would ever put the brakes on to go around a cor- ner," Mann says. "In those days WHEN FLAT TRACK RACING SAID YES TO I f not the end of an era, the start of the 1969 AMA Grand National Championship dirt track season was the beginning of the end. For it was then that the AMA first allowed the use of rear brakes for dirt track racers. Before that, part of the spec- tacle of flat track racing lay in the racers' abilities to race inches apart from one another before pitching their machines into the corners purely with throttle control. "It all depended on the track, but there were places like Sacra- mento where you'd run it in there deep and gather it up and then just get right back on the throttle without ever using a brake," 1970 AMA Grand National Champion Gene Romero remembers. "I doubt that there are many riders who could do it like that now." In actuality, says brake propo- nent Dick Mann, who notched a title each in the different eras (1963, 1971), the brake rule came about as the result of what was happening in the short track por- tion of the discipline. "Brakes came about because the two-strokes were beginning to dominate the short tracks, and they needed to make it fairer for the four-strokes, so they put

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