|No. 47, Wednesday June 14, 2000
Yamaha’s reigning 500cc World MX champion Andrea Bartolini has showcased
the company's two-wheel-drive TT600 prototype in public for the first time.
The machine, which employs hydraulics to drive the front wheel, has been
in development for a number of years and is likely to be a forerunner for
a number of road and off-road models.
“Impressive. Very impressive,” commented the Italian after his first
outing. “The bike is so easy to ride ... I tested the TT600 on sand and
found that on the fast sections the front wheel is always on contact with
the ground aiding traction and control at the front end. It is so stable
? not a hint of the ‘shake’ you normally get through the handlebars.”
Andrea was equally impressed through the twisty bits, says Yamaha.“
You can turn quicker because you get the benefit of power coming through
both wheels, which gives you more speed in the centre of the turn. Mind
you, it takes a bit of getting used to because as you open the throttle
in a tight turn the traction is so good that it takes you off what you
think is the ideal racing line!”
(Ed's note: we point out with some pleasure that Ian Drysdale of Australia
first developed a working version of this idea in an incredibly adventurous
2WD & 2W-steer prototype several years ago. Long-time Yamaha Europe
prototype road-bike tester David Bean is also complimentary about the idea
and its dynamics.)
incredible twist of fate, Isle of Man magician Joey Dunlop topped up his
already impressive Isle and F1 race career with another win or three last
for more detail.
the Lemmings MC (motto: death before courtesy) conducted an official tour
of the event, at great personal cost and risk, and the assistance of Triumph
Motorcycles, to bring you this report:
It were raining on the Isle of Man. It were always raining on the Isle
of Man - but that didn't stop around 60,000 motorcyclists having their
bikes crushed beyond recognition on the Steampacket ferry and spending
their life's savings on a tent site and four or five beers.
The normal population of the Isle (75,000) almost doubles during the
TT (Tourist Trophy) festival which consists of a week of practice and a
week of racing.
The TT started in 1907 and is probably the only thing still keeping
the Isle afloat.
The circuit is all public road and a lap is around 60 kilometres. When
racing isn't scheduled the circuit is open to the public and about half
of it has no speed limit. Police are present but their role seems to be
to encourage everyone to ride faster. They hold cars back on the main drag
in Douglas (the island's capital) so that riders can do burnouts. Your
choice of behaviour is governed only by the instinct of self-preservation.
For the Lemmings, self-preservation comes a long way behind the desire
to reproduce, the desire to go blind from speed and the need to drink hundreds
of gallons of Okells, the local bitter. Of the three people who died over
the two weeks, one did a Lemming-like cliff jump but three deaths is actually
quite a good result considering.
In news just in, a British television company is making a documentary
on the dangers of TT week for both visitors and riders, but it's unlikely
to make much difference as the Isle makes its own rules and needs the money,
thank you very much.
Actually, It's hard to imagine an event like this being possible anywhere
else in the world. It certainly puts Bathurst into perspective.
Most of the visitors are Brits, Germans and French. The Germans have
a poor reputation for machine skill and the circuit is full of signs reminding
them to stay on the right side of the road.
With a circuit this size, spectating is difficult. The front riders
go through and you glimpse them for only three or four seconds. You can
spend two hours watching the race and only see the leaders for less than
thirty seconds. Nobody seems to care, though, and there is plenty of variety
in where you can sit or
David Jeffries and Joey Dunlop had three wins each and were a treat
to watch, however briefly. Jeffries' R1 was uncatchable and an R1 is obviously
necessary if you want to win here.
Joey rode a hybrid VTR Honda with a factory endurance engine in it but
wasn't competitive in a face-off situation. He only won the Formula One
TT because Jeffries blew his bike up on the last lap.
What's amazing about Dunlop, though, is he's 48 years of age. Many people
his age are scared to drive, let alone average 125mph on a crash-and-die
Gossip suggests he may retire this year with 26 wins from 25 meetings.
The trouble is he's raced here 97 times and it must be tempting to do just
three more races..
The Lemmings are off to England now to introduce Wales to Australian
culture. Read about us on the front page of the next "News of the World"
FIRES BEST SHOT & AUSSIES DROP A SPOT
American Kenny Roberts joked that Spanish motorcycle fans should
be shot when they pelted him with rubbish after his third win of the grand
prix season, while Australians Garry McCoy and Anthony West both dropped
a place in the world championships.
The Spanish fans - disappointed at seeing local 500cc heroes Carlos
Checa, Alex Criville and Sete Gibernau crash - threw debris at Roberts
at the Catalunya circuit on the northern outskirts of Barcelona in a repeat
of behaviour six weeks earlier at another Spanish track, Jerez.
"Maybe we should put up signs which say 'anyone who throws things will
be shot by the riders'," Roberts joked.
"I don't think they dislike me but there are a lot of disappointed Checa
and Criville fans out there.
"I think I am going to talk to race control about the safety issues."
Suzuki rider Roberts, the only multiple 500cc winner from seven rounds
so far this season, is now 25 points clear of Yamaha's Checa, who had shared
the championship lead going into his home race.
McCoy, the early series leader and winner of the season-opening South
African GP, dropped to sixth in the points - still on 61 to Roberts' 125
- after a miserable weekend aboard his Red Bull Yamaha at Catalunya. Qualifying
only 18th, McCoy opted for a radical tyre combination for the wet race
- a hand-grooved slick at the rear and an intermediate compound at the
front - but the move backfired.
McCoy was last at the opening corner, was quickly lapped by the leaders,
and crashed in the closing stages - although he remounted to finish 16th,
two laps down and without a point.
"The whole weekend was bad from start to finish," McCoy said. "If the
track had dried, like I thought, it would have been perfect, but it just
stayed the same and that was it.
"It was a gamble, that's for sure, but I had to try something different,
being so far back on the grid.
"Now I can't afford any more mistakes. I've just got to work hard and
get on with it."
Japan's Norick Abe (Yamaha) finished second and young Italian star Valentino
Rossi (Honda) took his third podium of his debut 500cc season, ahead of
Japan's Nobuatsu Aoki (Suzuki), who moved ahead of McCoy in the championship.
However, the Sydney rider still heads reigning world champion Criville
(Honda), Italian superstar Max Biaggi (Yamaha), and Brazilian Alex Barros,
who had pole position for the second straight race and briefly led Roberts
on his Honda before mechanical failure.
Gold Coast teenager Anthony West needed a painkiller before the 250cc
race because of his badly gashed left knee, in which he has 10 stitches,
and he battled through from 24th on the grid to finish ninth on his Shell
Advance Honda. West rocketed to 15th on the first lap and climbed as high
as eighth but lost a place to Japan's Naoki Matsudo (Yamaha) on the last
lap and ended almost 50 seconds behind the winner, Frenchman Olivier Jacque
Although West earned seven points he fell to sixth in the championship,
overtaken by Italian teenager Marco Melandri (Aprilia). West's Japanese
teammate, Tohru Ukawa, took second place at Catalunya, while another Japanese
rider, Jacque's teammate Shinya Nakano, settled for third to retain the
Italian Aprilia rider Simone Sanna scored his debut 125cc win after
starting from the third row of the grid and not having finished higher
than 10th in any race this year.
The 125cc GP was the wettest of Sunday's three races and the many riders
to fall included Italian pole-setter Roberto Locatelli and Spanish world
champion Emilio Alzamora. Italian Mirko Giansanti kept his four-point championship
lead after missing the race because of the wrist he broke in four places
on the first day of practice.
Giansanti also will miss the eighth of the championships at Assen in
Holland on June 24, which will be the halfway point of the season ending
with the Qantas Australian GP at Victoria's Phillip Island circuit on October
More info: <http://www.motograndprix.com/>
says Mondial, the Italian bike brand with 10 125 and 250cc world championships
in the 1940s and fifties, may be on the verge of revival. Declared deceased
in the 1960s, the brand is said to be the front for the development of
a 1000cc-class V-twin, with ambitious plans to go racing in 2002. There's
no indication of who the investors might be and the only web reference
is mondial.com, which is an IT company.
Already lumped with a ban of dark helmet visors on the road, UK riders
may be forced to drop them on the track, according to MCN. Why? It's a
mystery to us ... "bloody stupid" springs instantly to mind as a description
of the situation.
is that a diesel slick caused chaos at the IoM this year, leading up to
the traditional Mad Sunday - put aside for punters to try the course for
themselves. Several people fell and, while it might be traced to a leaky
bus, local coppers suspected foul play.
appearance of two-stroke direct injection technology from Australian company
Orbital is in Aprilia's new 50cc scoot, the SR50 DITECH. Shame about the
name ... but it claims better fuel consumption and unfriendly emissions
lowered by as much as 80 per cent.
world web site <http:www.aprilia.com>
has been hacked by a mob declaring themselves as lone gunmen. The site
is disabled for the time being.
Aprilia theme, the company has released its RSV Mille R in Australia, which
boasts cosmetic, chassis and engine refinements. See <http://www.aprilia.com.au>
(which hasn't been hacked) for details.
have announced that a new version of speed camera is being trialled on
the Auld Dart. One which photographs your numberplate at one point and
records it again some distance down the track, then works out the average
speed. The distance between the two points could be anything from a few
hundred metres to a few kilometres, making it a high-tech amphometer.
Joel Smets won last weekend's 500cc Swedish MX GP ahead of Yamaha's Marnicq
Bervoets and Swede Peter Johansson. Series points: Smets - 249, Bervoets
- 186, Johansson - 178.
Frederic Bolley won last weekend's French 250 MX GP ahead of Pichon (Suzuki)
and Coppins (Suzuki). Pichon leads the series with 249 points, ahead of
Bolley (217) and Beirer (159).
Thomas Traversini scored won the San Marino 125cc MX Grand Prix last weekend
ahead of Grant Langston (KTM). Langston leads the series with 236 points
over James Dobb (212) points and Brown (197).
supersport (600cc) hard man Stephane Chambon is to have a run on a pukka
superbike alongside Frankie Chili in the Alstare Suzuki team at the July
9 round in the USA. The team will also be fielding Japanese rider Katsuaka
Fujiwara. Chambon says he likes the track, where he won last year's world
RETURNS TO WORLD SUPERBIKE
Australia's Peter Goddard will make his comeback to the
World Superbike Championship in round seven of the series at Misano in
Italy on Sunday week (June 18) on a works Kawasaki ZX-7RR.
The 1997 world endurance champion will replace injured Spaniard
Gregorio Lavilla as team-mate to Japan's Akira Yanagawa in the FUCHS-Kawasaki
squad managed by Germany's former 250cc grand prix rider Harald Eckl.
Goddard was a full time works rider in the international series
Suzuki in 1998 and Aprilia the following year, before switching to
race for Kawasaki in the British Superbike Championship this year.
Lavilla broke his pelvis in a crash in round five of the 2000
championship at Monza in Italy on May 21, and was initially replaced
by New Zealand's Simon Crafar for the following race at Hockenheim in Germany
on June 4.
The 35-year-old from Wollongong will be one of four Australians
on the grid at Misano, along with Hockenheim race winner Troy Bayliss on
a Ducati, Troy Corser on an Aprilia, and Anthony Gobert on a Bimota.
women's tennis player Sanchez Vicario was due to be taken for a ride on
the Yamaha two-seater thrill machine with American motorcycle whiz Randy
Mamola in Barcelona - before the GPs at the Catalunya circuit.
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