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No. 43, Tuesday May 16, 2000

With world champion Alex Criville's return to form, Honda has equalled MV Agusta's record of 500cc GP victories at Le Mans last Sunday.

Race report: despite painful injuries Australia's Garry McCoy narrowed the lead of the only two riders ahead of him in the 500cc motorcycle world championship after what his team called "an awesome performance" in the French Grand Prix.
And Aussie teenager Anthony West has led a GP for the first time - in only his second season in the 250cc world championship.

Spain's reigning 500cc world champion Alex Criville scored his first win of the season after a daring pass on Japan's Norick Abe on the final lap of the 4.3-kilometre Bugatti course at France's famous Le Mans venue. Criville also gave Honda its 139th 500cc victory, equalling the record of the MV Agusta marque, while it also marked tyre maker Michelin's 250th GP win in 500cc racing. "The bike is now ready and so am I," said Criville, who had been under criticism for his early performances this season.

McCoy, heavily bruised and with a grazed left elbow from a crash during Saturday's qualifying, finished an heroic fourth on his Red Bull Yamaha, just 4.3 seconds behind Criville - with Abe's Yamaha and young Italian star Valentino Rossi's Honda sandwiched between them.

Italy's flamboyant Max Biaggi, who had started from pole position, crashed his Yamaha after four laps while American championship leader Kenny Roberts led half the race on his Suzuki before dropping back because of a sprained knee and rear tyre problem to finish sixth.
Spaniard Carlos Checa, the most consistent rider of the season and second in the championship, finished seventh after choosing the wrong rear tyre.

McCoy earned 13 points from the race, Roberts 10 and Checa nine. They now go to the sixth of the 16 rounds - the Italian GP at Mugello on May 28 - with the American on 90 points, the Spaniard 80 and the Australian 61, while Criville's victory has boosted his tally to 59. The season concludes at the Qantas Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Victoria's Phillip Island on October 27-29.

McCoy, winner at the season-opener in South Africa and third in Malaysia, was exhausted after the French race, the tiny 28-year-old Sydneysider physically shattered by the struggle of manhandling his Yamaha from ninth place early in the race. He rode the final stages of the 28-lap event with a severe cramp on the inside of his left leg, having put extra strain on his legs to compensate for his injured arm.

Two hours after the race McCoy was still being treated by Red Bull Yamaha team trainer Philippe Vidal. "I feel really sore and think it will be worse tomorrow," McCoy said. "The muscles on the inside of my left leg cramped up. I was trying make up for my left arm. Right on the end of my elbow hurts a lot. I haven't had an X-ray but I might get one to check it out.
"I took it easy from the start as I wanted to preserve my tyres and my body. Also, I had it in mind for the first five laps not to crash.
"I'm pretty happy to get fourth with these injuries, although it is a little disappointing to think that I may have taken it a bit too easy at the start.
"About halfway through the race I got some oil on my right boot and it kept sliding off the rear brake. My tyres were consistent - after five laps they stayed the same until the end.
"It was a good day just to get some points and I gained a few on Roberts and Checa in the championship." 

Red Bull Yamaha team manager Peter Clifford said it was "an awesome performance by Garry considering his injuries. The crash in qualifying didn't help and perhaps what he needed was a front-row start, which looked possible in qualifying, and to be away with leaders," Clifford said. "He was ninth and in a bunched group on the first lap but in the last third of the race for many laps he was the fastest rider on the track." 

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Gold Coast rider Anthony West led the 250cc GP for two laps after the leaders, Japanese pair Daijiro Katoh and Tohru Ukawa, ran off the track. West later dropped back as he struggled with the settings of his Shell Advance Honda and finished a career equal-best fifth while Ukawa, his teammate in the Australian-run team, fought back from seventh place, 10 seconds off the lead, to a memorable victory.
  "It was good leading, until everyone came by me!" West said. "Unfortunately my bike set-up was nowhere near what I wanted. I couldn't hold the right line with the front tyre and every time I tried to get on the gas the rear would come around." 

With 53 points, the young Queenslander retains sixth place in the 250cc championship which is still led by Katoh - who recovered to finish sixth at Le Mans - on 91 points, followed by Yamaha's Shinya Nakano (second in France) on 87 and Ukawa on 77.

Japan's Youichi Ui won the 125cc GP in France on a Derbi bike from Italian Mirko Giansanti and Spaniard Emilio Alzamora on Hondas - the reverse order of the championship table, which Alzamora heads with 81 points to Giansanti's 76 and Ui's 70.
More info: <http://www.dorna.com/index.html>

World superbikes, race 1: A tense last few laps was the net result of a close two rider battle at the front of the first race with Pierfrancesco Chili eventually losing out to Colin Edwards after 25 circuits of a hot and humid Donington Park. The main local interest proved to come from INS Ducati rider, Neil Hodgson, who overcame the threat of Yamaha 's Noriyuki Haga to claim the final podium position, three seconds ahead at the flag. A good day for the local riders saw Chris Walker (Suzuki) and James Haydon (Ducati) in fifth and sixth, with the next best of the regulars being Akira Yanagawa in seventh place. The return of Aaron Slight to competitive action after missing the first three races of the season, delivered him a ninth place finish. Colin Edwards' win means he has regained his lead in the World Championship, and now heads up Noriyuki Haga by 119 points to 117.

Race 2: A crash-strewn race appeared to give Frankie Chili a start to finish win in the second World Superbike event of the day, only for the Italian to surrender a three-second lead on the final lap due to a technical problem. Overhauled by the local wild cards, Neil Hodgson (Ducati) and Chris Walker (Suzuki) Chili pulled in to the side of the track after the final lap. Hodgson's win was his first in World Superbike, and Walker's second was his first trip to a WSB podium. It was also Ducati's first win of the season, albeit from the UKSB GSE INS team. A crash suffered by Championship leader Colin Edwards prevented him capitalising on the World Championship lead he had won earlier in the day, and despite re-starting his machine, he was forced to retire, yielding his lead to Noriyuki Haga who was fourth. Troy Corser was another high-profile crasher who, just like Edwards, fell at Redgate corner and was eventually forced into the pits. Aaron Slight improved on even his excellent points scoring finish in race one to finish 7th in the follow-up. The championship itself, shaping up to be a race between Edwards' Honda and Haga's Yamaha, now stands at Haga 130 points, Edwards 119.
More info: <http://www.superbike.it>

Australia's works Kawasaki rider Andrew Pitt finished less than half-a-second from a podium finish in today's third round of the World Supersport Championship motorcycle series at Donington Park in Great Britain. Pitt, who is in his first year in the championship, completed the 23-lap race in fourth position on a Team Kawasaki ZX-6R, finishing just 0.315-secs behind German Jorg Teuchert, who claimed the final place on the podium with third on an Alpha Technik Yamaha.

Defending champion Stephane Chambon of France won the race on an Alstare Corona Suzuki by 5.305-secs ahead of this year's series leader, Great Britain's Jamie Whitham, on a Belgrada Yamaha. Teuchert clocked the fastest lap of the race with 1-min 37.632-secs around the 4km circuit. Pitt qualified eighth and was relegated to 12th in the first corner of the opening lap when he was forced to slow to avoid contact with other riders around him. The 24-year-old recovered and steadily improved his position as the race wore on, closing on Teuchert toward the finish. In the final stages of the race Pitt planned to attempt a passing move on Teuchert, but his chances of a top-three podium finish evaporated when he misjudged the number of laps remaining. Pitt thought there was an additional lap when the race finished.

Pitt secured 13 points for his result at Donington Park, which boosted his championship tally to 21. He improved from 14th to seventh position overall in the championship. Whitham retained the lead in the championship with 58 points, one clear of Chambon.
Three other Australian riders contested the round and were listed as not finishing: Kevin Curtain, Nigel Arnold and Karl Muggeridge (who also won pole).

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after round 3):  Whitham 58, Chambon 57, Teuchert 46, Kellner 29, Casoli 28, MacPherson 22, Pitt 21, Meregalli 19, Cogan 19, Lindholm 18

Results of the DOCV Ducati 996 SPS Raffle, drawn Saturday 13th May 2000 at 9:00pm. Details of the winning tickets are: 1st prize ticket number 2671; 2nd prize 4751; 3rd prize 218; 4th prize 4841; 5th prize 6732. On behalf of the Ducati Club, congratulations to the winning ticket holders and thanks to everyone who entered the raffle. Surprisingly no Duke Club member, nor any friend of a member won anything! (To me that sounds like an admirable but appalling flaw in the organisation - Editor.)

From an H-D media release: Harley-Davidson enthusiasts rumbling along the information superhighway can now ride into The Genuine Harley-Davidson RoadStore, a new e-commerce section of the www.harley-davidson.com web site, which opened its e-doors on April 3. Across the continental US, riders can purchase from a wide selection of Harley-Davidson MotorClothes and Genuine Motor Accessories products. More than 2600 products are available for browsing, and more than 1000 products are available for purchase online. Unlike traditional e-commerce sites, which service customers with a centralised warehouse system, the RoadStore customers are serviced by a network of actual Harley-Davidson dealers. This offers RoadStore customers the option of purchasing products to be shipped directly or held for pick-up from their selected dealer.

Corona Suzuki's Mickael Pichon climbed the podium yet again on Sunday, winning the Czech Republic Grand Prix overall with a second place and a win in the two races. The French ace now moves 39 points clear of bitter rival Fred Bolley, after recording his 6th race victory from ten starts this season. Tyre choice proved to be crucial on the stony track set in a picturesque Czech hillside. World Championship standings: 1 Pichon 182. 2 Bolley 143. 3 Beirer 107. 4 Coppins 93. 5 Federici 85. 6 Cooper 73.

500cc MX moto results (Austria): RACE ONE 1. Marnicq Bervoets (Yam) 2. Andrea Bartolini (Yam) 3. Peter Johansson (KTM), RACE TWO 1. Peter Johansson (KTM) 2. Andrea Bartolini (Yam) 3. Joel Smets (KTM).

125cc MX moto results (Croatia): RACE ONE 1. Mike Brown (Hon) 2. Luigi Seguy (Yam) 3. Jeff Dement (Hon), RACE TWO 1. Mike Brown (Hon) 2. Grant Langston (KTM) 3. Luigi Seguy (Yam).

Another Chinese motorcycle business has contacted us looking for an Australian distributor - in this case it's for bike security locks. See the website at <http://www.ecplaza.net/simon-tech> and contact Cho Sung Ile at e-mail saulicho@hotmail.com. They also make rice cookers and mobile phones.

Reader-recommended websites:
"These guys do bike hire and run tours from Sydney - and do a very good job of both. I had a great time at the end of last year on a tour to the Great Ocean Road and back," Gideon Lupton
See: <http://www.bikescape.com.au>
"I am sending my  little brother Glen's web page (the part that is specifically bikes) so, if you  want to, you can include it in your bike oriented web-pages bit," says Reigan.
See: <http://www.users.bigpond.com/gas/our/mbikes.htm>
"He also did some photography for  the recent Bultaco Rally Weekend at Braidwood NSW and posted the pics at this site":
<http://www.users.bigpond.com/dorans/Bul/Bulindex.htm>
Don't forget the Anthony West website.
See: <http://www.antwest.com>
And Rob Milton's site for the Radio 2SSS Ride Rage bike show.
See: <http://www.ozemail.com.au/~rjmilton/>




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Article by Guy Allen

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