News #40, April 26 2000
Welcome to issue 40 - here is the
is raising the touring bike stakes with a monster 1800cc version of its
trademark boxer six, fitted to the new Goldwing.
The machine, expected to debut at this September's Munich show,
will be more than just an upgrade. It will be a complete revamp of the
machine, which has been overtaken in a big way in the handling stakes by
BMW's K1200LT luxocruiser.
Rumours started last year about the revision of Honda's 26-year-old
flagship, with some stories suggesting the bike would arrive with a full
two-litre powerplant - maybe that's being kept back for a future upgrade.
We can't wait to see what new accessory Honda can possibly
devise to add to the voluminous feature list. Wind-proof ashtray, a self-washing
setting or perhaps an on-board loo...?
to the folk running the revived Easter motorcycle festival at Bathurst.
Our reporters say the crowd figure was 30,000 for the weekend - which is
heads through the gate over four days rather than actual crowd.
The entertainment scored approval, and the police presence was
low key and friendly. Our reporter reckoned it was much the same crowd
as when Bathurst was a big thing 15 years ago - just with more grey hair.
Race-goers appreciated the big TV screens scattered around the
circuit, allowing them to follow the action across the mount, and organisers
have confirmed that it will be on again next Easter.
As for the racing itself, we're light-on for detail at this
stage, though we hear the R1 versus Hayabusa battle in Formula Xtreme was
won by the more nimble Yamahas. Check out <http://www.eventms.com.au>.
of events, the world superbikes at Phillip Island were full of drama with
Australians taking out both races. In a weird twist of fortunes, Anthony
Gobert took victory in treacherous weather on his Bimota - an event which
had his team near-hysterical with joy - while fellow Aussie Troy Corser
(pictured) dumped his Aprilia in the mud. It seems that Gobert was probably
the only top-echelon rider who opted for full wet rubber for the race and
this, combined with his lurid sliding riding style, were enough to
win by a handsome margin.
The Bimota still needs a lot of work to be truly competitive
however, as Gobert couldn't even manage a top five position in the dry
Corser - who dominated the pre-race superpole sprint - made
up for the race one debacle by working his way through to the front and
staying there. For Aprilia, a win in a dry race was a rich reward for a
year learning the ropes in superbike racing.
Four-time world champ Carl Fogarty had a miserable conclusion
to a weekend where he never really seemed comfortable. He settled for a
distant second spot in the first race; in the second he ended up colliding
with a lapped rider and spearing off the circuit. For several tense minutes,
it wasn't known just how badly injured the Ducati-mounted Briton was. It
turns out that, apart from concussion, he has a fractured arm which could
see him out of action for up to seven weeks. This may see the end of his
career, as Fogarty has been talking of retiring at the end of this year.
Race 1 Result: 1. Anthony Gobert (Bimota); 2. Carl Fogarty (Ducati);
3. Vittoriano Guareschi (Yamaha); 4. Lucio Pedercini (Ducati); 5. Colin
Race 2 Result: 1. T. Corser (Aprilia); 2; Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha); 3.
Pierfrancesco Chili(Suzuki), 4; Gregorio Lavilla (Kawasaki); 5. Colin Edwards
Championship Positions (after four of 26 races) 1. Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha)
71; 2. Colin Edwards (Honda) 67; 3. Troy Corser (Aprilia) 51; 4. P-F Chili
(Suzuki) 43; 5. Gregorio Lavilla (Kawasaki) 42; 6 Gobert 36; 7 Fogarty
36; 8 Fujiwara 27; 9 Aoki 26; 10 Bostrom 18.
Island was also the scene for the first battle in the world supersport
champs and Australian Andrew Pitt was rated as a strong contender after
dominating qualifying. Mike Porter brings us this report:
Australia’s Andrew Pitt was forced to withdraw from the opening
round of the World Supersport Championship motorcycle series at Phillip
Island after colliding with Spaniard Ruben Xaus at more than 240km/h.
Pitt, who started his championship debut from second position
on the grid, led most of the opening four laps until being passed by Xaus.
As they rode down the main straight on the following lap the front of Pitt’s
works Kawasaki ZX-6R made contact with the rear of Xaus’ Ducati. The impact
damaged the air intake and fairing on Pitt’s machine and he was forced
The race was stopped after 10 of the scheduled 21 laps because
of rain. After a brief delay it was re-started in wet conditions for the
remaining 11 laps, with times aggregated from the two sections to determine
Briton Jamie Whitham, who was third when the race was stopped,
finished first in the section and was declared overall winner with a time
of 37-mins 39.549-secs. He was followed by Italian Paolo Casoli on a Ducati,
and 1999 world champion Stephane Chambon of France on a Suzuki.
Whitham clocked the fastest lap with a time of 1-min 37.752-secs
around the 4.5km circuit. The leading Australian was Adam Fergusson, who
finished fourth, 12.108-secs behind Whitham.
World Supersport race result: 1 James Whitham, GB (Yamaha) 37m 39.549s,
2 Paolo Casoli, Italy (Ducati) 37m 47.932s, 3 Stephane Chambon, France
(Suzuki) 37m 49.726s, 4 Adam Fergusson, Australia (Honda) 37m 51.657s,
5 Pere Riba, Spain (Castrol Honda) 37m 53.685s, 6 Christophe Cogan, France
(Yamaha) 38m 06.690s, 7 Wilco Zeelenberg, Holland (Yamaha) 38m 07.950s,
8 Massimo Meregalli, Italy (Yamaha) 38m 08.053s, 9 Fabrizio Pirovano, Italy
(Suzuki) 38m 11.161s, 10 Cristiano Migliorati, Italy (Suzuki) 38m 16.145s.
is now said to be working on a hi-po version of its 750 F4S, aimed at superbike
racing. Output is said to be 145hp (108kW), or 17hp on stock. Numbers are
likely to be kept to a minimum - only 200 are required for series homologation.
meanwhile the release of the naked version of the F4, called the Brutale,
is on schedule for this September's Munich show. UK MCN suggests it may
be running a bigger capacity version of the firm's four-cylinder powerplant
- perhaps 890 or 990cc. The latter, coincidentally, matches up with the
2002 regs for GP racing - now there's food for thought! A return of MV
to the GP circus that it dominated decades ago? Start saving for those
2002 Phillip Island tickets...
of hi-po, the Kawasaki ZX-12R versus Suzuki Hayabusa top speed hunt continues
- all in the interests of science dontcha know. The latest mag to give
it a whirl is Italian Superwheels, which took the machines to the Nardo
speedbowl. The Kwaka got 306kmh and was frustratingly pipped by the Hirebus
at 309kmh. You Suzuki owners out there can all relax now...
that Kiwi rider Simon Crafar still has a black cat stuck somewhere in his
leathers, After battling some pretty ordinary conditions on the Castrol
Honda superbike (normally ridden by countryman Aaron Slight) on the weekend,
he's been told the ride goes to Japanese test rider Manabu Kamada for the
Sugo round next weekend. Crafar's results weren't brilliant, although the
genius who put him on completely inappropriate rubber for the first race
wears some of the responsibility. Why not just blindfold him next time?
of fast four-strokes, GP rider Valentino Rossi will have his first-ever
race on a four-stroke later this year. The bike is a full race version
of Honda's VTR1000 SP-1 and the event is no less than the Suzuka Eight-Hour.
is working on a new version of its base-model R100R twin, with bigger engine
size and an altered front suspension design that's likely to make it on
to other bikes in the range. Motorcycle Online at <http://www.motorcycle.com>
has been showing off some spy shots like the one here.
is the official supplier of escort bikes to the Olympics. You'll be seeing
a lot of Hogleys on the teev from June 8, when the Olympic torch lands
in Oz and gallivants about the country for a mind-numbing 100 days before
they actually manage to light something with it. The bikes are specially
modified Road Kings and the lady modelling the example shown here is Australian
olympian Nova Paris Kneebone, who will be carrying the torch on its first
Australian leg (pic: Greg Garay).
is that Australian 500cc GP contender Garry McCoy, currently third in the
world championship, is pretty chuffed with recent testing on his Red Bull
Yamaha. The diminutive 28-year-old said after a French test session, "I
think we've taken another step forward with the bike," McCoy said,"I really
enjoyed riding at Le Mans and I would have still been going on Friday night
but they closed the track at 6.15pm.
"The bike is getting better and I'm getting more used to it,
I guess, so it's more fun to ride." The confidence is backed up by team
manager Peter Clifford, who said, "Garry's never been one to really set
the hot lap times in practice or
testing - we've always thought of him as a racer, but he certainly
put in two superb days of testing.
"The team is learning more and more about what he needs for
his style, which is pretty unique, and every time we give him something
he works with it." (info: Geoffrey Harris)
[Back Issues | Motorcycle
[Roadtests | Travels]
[Calendars | Garage