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No. 51, Monday July 9, 2000

Bonneville revealed!

2000 bonneville

   Early pics of Triumph’s new Bonneville have leaked out via the publication of a new book, Triumph Bonneville and TR6, written by Timothy Remus and published by MBI. The 790cc twin, designed by John Keogh, runs a new frame employing the powerplant as a stressed member. A six-speed gearbox from other models in the range is employed, with fifth gear blanked off. This effectively gives the machine four speeds plus an overdrive. The machine’s styling is closely matched to that of a 1969 Bonneville, running the bigger Euro tank with eyebrow badge. A difference between these drawings and the bike due to be launched later this year is the real thing has rubber kneepads on the tank. Our thanks to Union Jack Motorcycles for putting us on to this.

Aprilia has continued its aggressive expansion campaign with the purchase of Laverda. Established in 1949, Laverda has been struggling badly in recent times, with a number of companies shaping up as potential suitors. Last year it showed the design for its 900cc Tre road bike, which was intended to revive its fortunes, but failed to find the money to put it into production. Since then the company has been reduced to producing a limited number of its outdated twins out of spares stock. Aprilia meanwhile is booming, with a high-profile world superbike campaign and the recent acquisition of Moto Guzzi for around $100 million.

As Italian Valentino Rossi became the seventh winner in nine 500cc world championship races this season, controversial Anthony Gobert was the only Australian to score a world championship point at the British Motorcycle Grand Prix. In his first 500cc ride of the year, Gobert finished 15th on a Modenas bike.
After a brilliant qualifying performance that put him third on the grid, Garry McCoy had a disastrous race, finishing 17th - although the Red Bull Yamaha rider set the fastest lap of the 500cc race after a late tyre change as the Donington Park track dried.
There have now been a record 19 500cc races without a back-to-back winner. Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts, second at Donington and now 29 points clear of Spanish Yamaha ace Carlos Checa, is the only multiple winner this season.
Ulsterman Jeremy McWilliams, aged 36, led eight laps at Donington before finishing third on an Aprilia twin.
Gold Coast teenager Anthony West crashed out of the 250cc GP and has a broken bone in his right hand but is expected to race his Shell Advance Honda at the German GP on July 23. The Donington round was the first race at which West has not finished this season.
German Ralf Waldmann on an Aprilia snatched victory from Frenchman Olivier Jacque on a Yamaha in the 250cc GP at the last corner, while Japan’s Youichi Ui won the rain-interrupted 125cc GP - his fourth win of the season on his Spanish-built Derbi bike.
Jacque and Ui now lead the championships in the two smaller classes.
More info: <http://www.motograndprix.com>

We’ve yet to find out how, but Yamaha rider Noriyuki Haga overcame his three-week suspension from world superbike racing to win the first heat at Laguna Seca last weekend. He dominated the event, taking a 2.6 second lead ahead of the battle for second. Colin Edwards (Honda) got the latter in front of his home crowd, ahead of Australian Troy Corser (Aprilia) and Ben Bostrom (Ducati). Troy Bayliss (the Australian stand-in for Carl Fogarty) took out the superpole contest but didn’t feature in the top 10 results.
In race two, Corser shadowed a battle for the lead between Bostrom, Haga and Bayliss, then slipped through and walked away from the half-way mark. He eventually built up a comfortable seven-second-plus cushion ahead of Haga, Bostrom and Yanagawa. Bayliss was eventually forced back to seventh.
More info: <http://www.superbike.it>

We forgot to mention that last week’s edition represented our first birthday.

In issue 48 we ran a trivia question: in what year did Jim Filice and John Kocinski contest the Castrol Six-Hour in Australia, and on what bike. A number of folk replied, and we received this from Don Cox, the competition columnist for Two Wheels mag: "It was 1986 on a Yamaha FZ750. I met them at the airport. When they came out of customs, the Yamaha bloke and I saw the Fox bags and such and looked at the guys (and Jimmy's wife) and thought: that can't be them, they're too small! 

  "I drove JK to Yamaha at Silverwater. He wanted to stop at Jim Eade's to look at the Triumphs, because his father sold Triumphs in Little Rock! I recall trying to explain the link between the American war of independence and the founding of a colony 12 years later in Sydney. JK looked at me blankly. This was the same guy who latter got up Mike Scott because he didn't know the meaning of the word frequently!"

Suzuki’s 400cc Burgman scooter is about to experience some hot competition, with persistent rumours of a 500cc Yamaha nearing production, and a new one referring to a 600cc machine from Honda.

Our thanks to the folk who sent us messages, pics and tributes after the death of Joey Dunlop just over a week ago. Reader Bill Donnelly sent us one, which we’ve placed here. Joey’s funeral was last Friday, and you can send tributes or messages to www.honda-racing.co.uk/joey - we’re told they’ll be forwarded to the family. Should you wish to send a donation to Dunlop’s favourite charity, make it payable to "The Romanian Orphans", c/o James Mc Mullan & Sons, 22 High St, Ballymoney Co Antrim, BT53 6AQ Northern Ireland.

Ducati is recalling all 748, 916 and 996 bikes prior to the current model year to have their rear axles inspected. Apparently they can crack.

On a happier note, UK MCN tells us that last June’s World Ducati Weekend at Misano attracted 17,000 bikes and 23,000 people.

Second-generation motor-racing commentator Murray Walker recently missed an F1 GP for the first time in 50 years, thanks to a motorcycle. The 75-year-old gent dislocated his hip while kick-starting a 1931 Rudge.

Australian rider Anthony Gobert - taking on a guest ride with the Kenny Roberts Proton team at last weekend’s Brit GP - has been quoted by Cycle News magazine that he feels some frustration with the KR3 GP bike. Apparently it’s too small for him, However team boss KR Senior has said he is happy with the feedback from Gobert, which has already encouraged some significant changes to the machine. "Anthony's told us things that have really taken us further down the road. We're far away in lap times, but we're not so far in finding the engineering to solve that," he told Cycle News.

Former superbike racer and multi-Australian champion Robbie Phillis has added to the ranks of the Australians populating the GP circus. He’s working as rider liaison for the Petronas team and was spotted lurking in the pits at the British GP.

KTM rider Grant Langston took out both motos of the South African 125 MX GP to extends his lead in the championship. Standings: Langston 342, James Dobb 298, Mike Brown 278.



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Article by Guy Allen

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