Cycle News

Cycle News 2022 Issue 11 March 15

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 140 of 153

W ith this year's Daytona's Bike Week now in our rearview mirror, it's a good time to look back when another NASCAR track, Talladega Superspeed- way, hosted its own mini version of Bike Week. At its height in the early 1970s, the Talladega weekend featured national road racing on the track's high banks, complete with a national radio broadcast (the MRN Network) of the race, AMA Motocross Nation- als on a temporary infield track and flat track racing on a short track across the street from the big speedway. The event attract- ed motorcycle racing fans from across the Southeast and, one year, a motorcycle gang brought chaos to the Alabama facility. In the late 1960s NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway founder Bill France was looking to build another Super Speedway. This time he wanted to go even bigger and faster than Daytona. He searched for a suitable location across the Southeast before finally landing on Talladega on the site of an old airfield. France broke ground on the new track in the spring of 1968. The still unfinished track opened a year later at a cost of $4 million. The track was named Alabama International Motor Speedway. The name would remain for 20 years, all through the motorcycle racing years, until 1989, when the facility's name was changed to Talladega Superspeedway. According to ex-racer and World Superbike founder Steve McLaughlin, "Big Bill" France CN III ARCHIVES P140 When Had Its Own Bike Week BY LARRY LAWRENCE Attendance approached 20,000 at the height of Talladega's popularity. Note the grandstands here in the 1973 race with Don Castro (11) and Gary Fisher (21) racing down the front tri-oval. PHOTO: GARY VAN VOORHIS PHOTO Talladega hosted both AMA Road Race and Motocross Nationals on the same weekend. Here Brad Lackey races on the temporary track en route to victory in 1972. When Had Its Own Talladega

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