Cycle News

Cycle News 2021 Issue 36 September 8

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 128 of 141

C al Rayborn rode hard and made road racing look easy. In any discussion of the best road racer America ever produced, Rayborn's name always comes up. Rayborn emerged from San Diego, California, in the mid- 1960s and immediately became a contender on any road course in America. In the first AMA National road race where his Harley KR made it to the checkered flag, he finished second. That was at the old Greenwood Road Way in Indiano- la, Iowa, in August of 1965. During a three-year stretch, from 1967 to 1969, Rayborn won seven of the 13 AMA National road races held. He won the Daytona 200 back to back in 1968 and '69, and his victory in '69 was the last 200 won by Harley-Davidson. He also gave Harley-Davidson its final AMA National road-race victory. That came in 1972 on the new alloy XR750 at Laguna Seca, where he beat Gene Romero on a factory Triumph and then-rookie Kenny Roberts on a factory Yamaha. But for all his accomplishments stateside, perhaps his most amazing feat was going to Eng- land for the Trans-Atlantic Match Races in 1972, where he rode one of the notoriously unreliable iron-barreled Harley-Davidson XRs. "The DNF record of those cast-iron XRs was so bad that Harley didn't want to send him over there," said Match Race teammate and friend Don Emde. "He convinced them [that] with the cool weather it would be okay. What he did over there was incredible." CN III ARCHIVES P128 Remembering CAL RAYBORN BY LARRY LAWRENCE Cal Rayborn never won a championship but was regarded as one of the best road racers ever.

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