News  #35, March 24 2000

Australian GP racer Garry McCoy has gone from being an unemployed cabinet maker to 500cc winner in the space of less than a year with his victory at the opening Welkom round of the GP circus in South Africa.

The win has thrown international tipping competitions into chaos, as McCoy was generally not rated as a championship threat. The Australian newspaper this week summed up the general feeling with its front page headline, "Who the hell is Garry McCoy?"

McCoy's triumph made him the eighth Australian to win a 500cc Grand Prix. In winning at the opening round he joined recently-retired five-time world champion Mick Doohan (54 GP victories), 1987 world champion Wayne Gardner (18), Daryl Beattie (3), Jack Findlay (3), Jack Ahearn (1), Ken Kavanagh (1) and Kevin Magee (1) in the club of Australia's 500cc winners.

While several Australians have won in more than one category of GP motorcycle racing, Sydneysider McCoy is the first Aussie to win in both the 125cc and 500cc classes.

His two 125cc wins were at the Australian Motorcycle GP at Sydney's Eastern Creek in 1996 and in Malaysia in 1995.

Last Sunday's success was a stunning achievement for McCoy, who a year ago was sitting on the sidelines without a GP ride. He was drafted into the Red Bull Yamaha team in the middle of last year as replacement for New Zealander Simon Crafar. At that time, he was contemplating a roller-coaster racing career which had seen him win, chase a former team through the courts for payment, get dumped on a European roadside after a heated debate with a team manager and finally find himself sitting at home without a ride and pondering a return to his trade.

McCoy started ninth on the grid at Welkom and climbed through the field, withstanding a strong challenge from Spaniard Carlos Checa on another Yamaha.

"I felt good right from the start and when I got into third place I knew I just had to keep my pace and get past as soon as I could," McCoy said. "I started the race just wanting the best result possible, so to win is fantastic. Last year we couldn't really test the bike as I came in mid-season, but this year we've done a lot of testing and tried a lot of different settings. I'm really confident with the bike, especially now I have it set-up how I like it."

Red Bull Yamaha team director Peter Clifford described McCoy's victory as "one of the great races of all time."

"For Garry to come from so far behind and pass world champions is as much a tribute to Hamish Jamieson (McCoy's chief mechanic) and the team as it is for Garry's talented riding," Clifford said.

Australian teenager Anthony West finished fifth in the 250cc GP in South Africa, in which Japanese riders took the first three positions - with Shinya Nakano victorious on a Yamaha ahead of Daijiro Katoh and West's teammate Tohru Ukawa on Hondas.

The second round of the FIM Road Racing Championships will be held at Malaysia's Sepang track on April 2, while the Qantas Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix is the final round of the season at Victoria's Phillip Island on October 27-29.
Geoffrey Harris

Since McCoy has thrown the championship expectations wide open, here is some info on his background:
Place & date of birth: Camden, NSW, 18.4.72
Marital status: single; 
Height/weight: 168cm/57kg
GP debut: 1992, Australia; 
GP wins: 3 - 2 in 125cc, 1 in 500cc
Hobbies: motocross, fitness, science fiction
Previous best 500 GP position: 3rd, Spanish GP 1999; 
500 GP races: 9 including last weekend
World championship positions; 1998 - 17th 500, 1997 - 7th 125, 1996 - 12th 125, 1995 - 22nd 125, 1994 - 13th 125, 1993 - 19th 125, 1992 - 23rd 125.

The CEO of Norton Motorcycles, Robert Kilpatrick, 48, of Minnesota, has been charged with two counts of offering forged checks totaling $24,000 on the account of a previous employer. USA-based Norton has been in the news for the last couple of years for attempting to revive the classic British name, initially with some wild V8 machinery such as the Nemesis and then a much softer V2 cruiser. The company is said to be left with no assets other than the brand name.

According to Michael Doohan, on Australian 250 GP racer Anthony West's web site: "Ant did a fantastic job in South Africa, both in qualifying and in the race. To qualify on the front row and finish fifth in his first Grand Prix on the Shell Advance Honda NSR250 was a good performance considering he had only one day of testing on a bike that is new to him." The site is well worth a visit at

To avoid being lynched, we should mention that the Ducati Owners Club of Victoria is holding its annual raffle. Tickets are priced at $10 and there are only 8000 in the draw. First prize is a Duck 996SPS. Contact: DOCV Raffle, PO Box 16, Box Hill  Vic 3128. Telephone enquiries can be directed to freecall number 1800 996 996. Tickets are also available via credit card payment, either through mail or by telephoning the freecall number.

Former world superbike champion Doug Polen is back in the saddle this year and is contesting a USA domestic Formula USA races series on a Ducati 996. Polen won the world championships in 1991 and 1992, and the USA superbike title in 1993.

Ohio University in the USA is hosting that country's annual Women & Motorcycling National Conference on July 13-16. According to the blurb it is a meeting of motorcycling enthusiasts, industry leaders, and presenters with various expertise relating to women and motorcycling.

This year's world Ducati Rally has changed dates. The Misano event is now on June 9-11.

Rumour has it that the Indian name may yet make it into production after a sorting of the disagreements between Bad Toys Inc - which built a prototype cruiser - and the owners of the Indian name.

Last weekend's opening round of the 500cc World Motocross Championship - at Broadford, Victoria, Australia - saw KTM-mounted Belgian Joel Smets dominate proceedings. A surprise was the high-profile performances of Australians Andrew McFarlane and Michael Byrne. New Zealand's Darryll and Shane King also scored well, with Darryll scoring a stunning second place in the final moto.

Results - 
Moto One: 1. Joel Smets (KTM); 2. Marnicq Bervoets (Yamaha); 3. Andrew McFarlane(Oz-Kawasaki); 4. Michael Byrne (Oz-Honda); 5. Shayne King (NZ-KTM); 6. Darryll King (NZ-Husqvarna); 7. Andrea Bartolini (Yamaha); 8. Willie van Wessel (Husqvarna); 9. Peter Johansson (KTM); 10. Christian Burnham (VOR).

Moto Two: 1. Joel Smets (KTM); 2. Darryll King (NZ-Husqvarna); 3. Marnicq Bervoets(Yamaha); 4. Andrea Bartolini (Yamaha); 5. Peter Johansson (KTM); 6. Avo Leok (KTM);7. Shayne King (NZ-KTM): 8. Willie van Wessel (Husqvarna); 9. Andrew McFarlane (NZ-Kawasaki); 10. Gert-Jan van Doorn (VOR).

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Article by Guy Allen

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