Cycle News

Cycle News 2022 Issue 21 May 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 124 of 137

G ary Fisher had a solid profes- sional racing career, he even became a factory rider, but on one particular June weekend in 1972, "Fish" shot to the stratosphere and rode so far above the rest of the field that he turned in one of the most dominant AMA Grand National Road Racing performances of that era. What made Fisher's Loudon '72 even more amazing was the fact that in the Loudon Classic National (the second most important Ameri- can road race at the time behind only Daytona), he raced a motor- cycle he'd never turned a wheel on until that weekend, and which was almost completely stock. Fisher was a second-generation racer, whose father, Ed, was famous for winning the Laconia Classic (which later became the Loudon Classic when the track moved) in 1953. Ed owned a motor- cycle dealership, so Gary began racing as a youngster. A motorcycle brat, as he referred to himself, Fisher was a very good off-road rider and said he gained a lot of confidence by finishing ahead of racing legend Gary Nixon (the two would become great friends and racing travel mates) in a scrambles event when Fisher was just 13 years old. Fisher began road racing in the AMA Sportsman Class in 1968, and then he racked up a slew of strong finishes as a Novice and Amateur/Junior. He was on a fast track to becoming a factory Tri- umph rider and received Triumph support bikes as a Novice, Junior and into his Expert career, but then came the collapse of the British motorcycle industry and Fisher, like a lot of his fellow Triumph, BSA and Norton riders, got left out in the cold. So as a pro expert coming into Loudon, Fisher's best result had been an eighth at Road Atlanta in April of '72 riding a Ron Krause Honda CR750. Fisher was one of the few riders in the country racing the big Honda four-cylinder at the national level. Honda introduced its CB750 to the racetrack with great fanfare in 1970 with Dick Mann win- ning the Daytona 200 on the CR race version of the machine. But that was it for the Honda factory. It seemed they proved what they wanted to prove by winning the biggest motorcycle race in America and then pulled up stakes. Ron Krause became one of Honda's earliest motorcycle deal- ers in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, in 1959 and later one of its earliest auto dealers as well. So accord- ing to Fisher, Honda Racing was giving Krause backdoor help with his CR750/4 racing effort, even though as Fisher explains, the operation seemed far from semi-factory. And preparation of his race bikes was one of Fisher's biggest bones of contention with Krause's operation. In '71 Fisher raced the Honda and never got close to a points-paying finish. "The Honda in '71 was in the developmental stages to say the least," Fisher explained. "I didn't even have the factory racing igni- CN III ARCHIVES P124 Fisher's Dominant Loudon second-generation winning the Laconia track moved) in 1953. as a youngster. A BY LARRY LAWRENCE Gary Fisher celebrates his victory in the 1972 Loudon Classic. He took that win on a motorcycle he'd never ridden before the race weekend. He set a new race record speed and took home $10,000, a small fortune in 1972. PHOTOS: GARY VAN VOORHIS

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