Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1972 05 09

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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N ~ a.. '" N .... Cl Cl ' > ::;: '" ~ W Z w ..J U >U By J ohn Huerter Pho tos b y Hu e rt er an d Joh n Be th ea CO LORADO SPRIKGS, COLO.. April 3 0 , 1972 - Jim Ri ce came t o Co lorado to make the Pike's Peak Mile h is race, in the same way that his nam e is associated w ith t he San J ose track, He to ok t o th e track lik e h e'd ridden it d o zens of times before. From th e first prac tice o n Saturd ay, through th e 25-1ap Main Even t, he always looked co m pletely in co n trol an d very , very quick, He managed to find the fastest lin e an d h old it no matter wh at th e tr ack conditio n or how man y holes, ruts o r wh oop-de-docs devel oped in the former p ony track. Jim might have gon e unn oticed in the hard-charging, talen t-loaded tim e tri als and he at ex cept that h e was usu all y leading. He was first to qualify under 43 seconds (finishing as third fastest qualifer behind Brelsford and R ob erts) and won his heat co mfo rta b ly. In his fir st National o f th e 1972 sea so n (a nd the first sin ce he lost his fa ct ory BSA sp onsorship) Jim Ri ce p ic ked up where he' left off at the en d of th e 1970 se ason , wh ich w as hi s best ever. Desp ite R ice's time of 17: 54.1 6 and his co m p le te ly under-control race, he probab ly w as n o t th e p re -race p ic k, excep t am o ng so me of the o the r racers. Fast qu ali fier Mar k Brelsford looked very strong. The o ld iro n -engined Harleys all qualified and we re moving very fas t w ith no ap paren t me chanical prob lems . Mar k was seen riding his m ini -bike aro und the · track af ter win ning the first heat, parti cularl y watching th e p aths taken through turn s three and four. A rut on the outside o f turn four twisted the front end o f Bart Markel's XR causing him t o unload over the handlebars. Bart lav sti ll and stunned for what seemed ' like a lo ng time bu t was consci o us and moving wh en the ambulance to ok him to th e hospital for X-rays of a possible back injury . Roberts and Dick Mann traded the lead several ti mes in the second he at in a furio usly fo ught con tes t th at had the en thusiastic crowd screaming for the o ld veteran and the young challenger. On the last lap , it was R oherts ahead of Mann by abou t tw o bi ke len gth s. R ice ju mped to a quick lead in th e th ird an d fi nal Ex pe rt heat an d hel d it over a hard-ch ar gin g p ack for th ree lap s. Th en J ody Nich ol as , o n a d irt machine fo r th e fir st tim e sinc e last Octobe r, ja bbed a h ay bale under th e railing with his iro n foo t an d severely cri n kled h is Harle y -Davison . F orrne r N orton rid er Nich ol as ha d qu ali fied on Dave Se h l's second bike aft er seven lap s p rac tice , bu t ende d his new- found ride on the H·D very ab ru p tly. Dave Hansen , wh o had moved in t o a q ualify in g slot wh en T om R ockwood's bike developed m otor ailme nts . wen t down with J ady an d the fla g cam e o ut fo r a restart. Foll o win g th e sin gle fiJe. restart, Rice kept his lead and w en t on to win the h eat. J ody w as su ffering di zzy sp ells and a large bruise under h is left sh oulder. Hansen was n ot hurt bu t was un abl e to res ta r t. Friday n igh t's Ascot winner, Dave Aldana, didn 't sh ow up a t th e Colorado mil e t rac k. He was riding in th e Els inore GP fo r Kaw asaki. Virtu all y all o f th e remaining Na ti o na l dirt tr ac k talen t was there , including all ten o f th e winners of 1971 cham p ion shi p dirt tr ack events. Of th ose, R ock wood h ad bi ke problem s; R ob ert E. Lee stuc k his foo t in o ne of the ' h oles o n turn one , sp ra in ed an an kle and didn't transfer ; Bart Mar kel sp en t so me time in the hospital ; Dave Sehl didn't make it to the Main. All the rest of the field of cham pions made it into th e 25 ·mile Expert Main Event. The six fastest qualifiers wer e Brel sford, Gary Scott, Rice, Cal Rayborn, Kenny R oberts , an d Chuck Palmgren . All exc ep t Palmgren turn ed th e mil e in 4 3 seconds or less. Brel sford's 42 .78 had se t th e p ace . Rice was later to avera ge a scorch in g 42 .96 fo r th e full 25 miles, partly because he really had the course d ialed in and partl y due to a he alth y aw areness o f th e level of tal en t which h ad m ad e it t o th e Main . T he sole tw o-str oke in th e Expert ran ks was a Kaw asaki 5 0 0 ridden by TT ch am p , S on n y Burres. He see me d to h ave trouble getting th e three-cylinder machine turned in th e co mers . an d di dn't make it to th e Main wh ere th e lion's sh ar e of th e $ 12 ,0 0 0 purse plu s an $ 2 2, 0 0 0 in p oss ible est imated co n ting eney green w as to b e d ivvied up. T he Ex pert Semi was w on by Mert, Lawwill, wh o grabbed the lead o n lap four o f te n and. af ter so me co n ten tio n from Keith Mashburn. st re tc hed it o u t. Mashburn held second to th checkered ~ and the tw o led the tr an sfers to the Main rounding ou t th e five Experts wh o made it the hard way . When Bouncin g Bob Malley went bananas with the green fla g for the Expert Main, an y o f hal f a dozen in th e field seemed able and re ad y t o take the win. Through th e dust and wind on the high Colorad o prairie, it cam e up Brelsford. Ri ce an d Roberts on the first lap. Then Rice found the insid e gro ove . du cked under Mark. an d it w as his race co m p le te ly for th e ne xt 24 lap s. Brel sford hung on to secon d . an in cr easingly lon g way bac k, th en it was Kenny R oberts cl osing ever so sligh tly on Mark to ro un d o u t th e top three. Th e sm o oth, speedy R ice lap ped mos t o f the o ther rid ers in th e field, all th e way up to sixth pl ace, p assin g Gene Romero o n th e fi na l lap much as Gen e had lapped him in winnin g the Grand Na ti on al Championship at the Sacramento Mile in 1970. Jim found, and stay ed in , an insid e groove th at was ac tu ally under th e overh an ging fen ce railing on th e co rners. He and Brelsford were really the o nly o ne s con sist en tly rid ing th e t ight in sid e. R oberts a ttacked the co rn ers every lap but didn't hold as tight. Ri ce d idn't change his position on the in sid e groove by m ore than an in ch in 25 laps. T ha t, an d the very fast, trouble-fre e BSA he prepared himself, was what won the first Pike's Peak Mile for Jim Ri ce. While holding hi s trophy, in between smootching several trophy girls, Rice grinned. "I lik e- Colorado n ow!" "What I co u ld re ally usc is a shower." On Saturday, National Number 22, Terry Dorsch, had said, "If R ice gets in front, he co uld run away with it." Jim Rice ' did all of that . and for this year at least, th e Pik e's Peak Turf Club is his track. T h ere's n ot mu ch d oubt wh o the favo rite w ill be in th e nex t Na tion al Mile, whi ch j ust hap pens to be on Rice' s ho me grounds at San Jose. JUNIOR RACE In th e Jun ior ra n ks, wh ere some riders were ridi ng their first m ile eve r, it was D roste . Droste an d Dros te. The sometimes c a r-j u m p e r turned flat-trac ker, then qualified by win ning his hea t going aw ay , and held off H-D moun ted Scott Brels ford in a fast 43.81 to lead th e 15-lap Junior Main Event wire to wire. A lo cal rid er (from Denver), Del "Ch ubby" Armou r, turned in the lo w qualifyi ng tim e fo r th e Juniors, disp lay ing an aggressive rid ing stv le that saw h im co nstan tly a t tac kin g' the co urs e , usually with good res ults . Mech ani cal troubles ke p t h im fro m transferri ng to the Mai n . Sc o tt Brelsford led his heat co mfo rt ab ly , and see me d assu red of a no-sweat transfer to the Main, the n t ook the white flag fo r the last lap to b e th e chec kered and figured the race was over . Tw o riders zipped by him, st ill wi c king it o n . an d he figured ma ybe h e'd better get back on it . at least to find ou t what had happened. Sc ott ma naged the last transfer slot, eve n after cru isin g ab out half of the last lap. Some of the II -D team riders, in cluding brother Mark , were seen talking to Scott in the pits before the Jun io r Main . Perhaps they were p oin ting ou t th e di fferen ce between th e whi te an d checkered flags ? Scott d id seem to h ave th e flag problem sorted o u t b y th e Main Event.

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