Motorcycles
 
News #40, April 26 2000

Welcome to issue 40 - here is the news...
Honda 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...?

Congratulations 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>.

Speaking 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 second event.
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 Edwards (Honda)

Race 2 Result: 1. T. Corser (Aprilia); 2; Noriyuki Haga (Yamaha); 3. Pierfrancesco Chili(Suzuki), 4; Gregorio Lavilla (Kawasaki); 5. Colin Edwards (Honda).

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.

Phillip 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 to retire.
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 the winner.
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.
MV Agusta 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...

Speaking 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...

It seems 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?

Speaking 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.
BMW 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.

Harley-Davidson 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).
Word 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)




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Article by Guy Allen

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