Dave Knapp wheeying his Yamaha FZ750 Superbike over the hill at Grattan circa 1986. Knapp was one of the fast guys at Grattan who won a lot of WERA and CCS Superbike races at the twisty Michigan circuit. He came out of flat track racing and made a seamless transition to road racing. In those days Dave had an endurance team called Free Bird Racing. The hand-written WERA forms were often hard to read and my wife typed up the results inadvertently renaming the team Free Bud Racing. Dave said the team members decided they all liked Free Bud better so that’s what they called the team from then on.
This Curtiss air-cooled V8, with builder Glenn Cutiss riding, went 136.3 mph over the measured mile at Ormond Beach, Florida, on Jan. 23, 1907. It was not only the fastest speed ever attained by a motorcycle, but the fast by any vehicle. Curtiss’ run on Ormond Beach was astonishing for the time. His outright speed record held for 12 years and it took 23 years for a motorcycle to go faster. Curtiss’ massive V8 was essentially a 4000cc beast built on a beefy bicycle frame. Can you imagine riding this thing on a fairly narrow beach reaching close to 140 mph? It boggles the mind.
World Superbike Champion Fred Merkel wheelies his Honda over the finish line after winning the first leg of the Canadian World Superbike round at Mosport in 1989. Giancarlo Falappa won the second race. Merkel went on that season to win his second consecutive World Superbike Championship, this after winning three AMA Superbike Championships for Honda in the mid-1980s. Merkel’s Hall of Fame bio can be read here.
LOS ANGELES, CA (January 29th, 2010) -Team San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart underwent surgery this afternoon, to repair a broken scaphoid in his right wrist. Following Round 3 of the 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, in Anaheim, CA, Stewart continued to experience severe pain in the wrist. Although previous x-rays had not indicated there was a break, an MRI performed yesterday and reviewed by medical experts today, revealed the bone was broken. Surgery was performed immediately by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Arthur Ting, of Fremont, CA and was completed without incidence.
As a result of the surgery, Stewart will not be competing in San Francisco this weekend. His return to the race track will depend on how quickly he is able to recover post-surgery and will be evaluated and determined on a weekly basis. “James is a true champion. The fact that he rode as competitively as he did making the podium at Anaheim 2 with a broken wrist (unknowingly) is testimony to that. He’s anxious to heal and get back on the race track as soon as possible,” said Larry Brooks, Team Manager.
Pascal Picotte was amazing at Daytona in 1990. The Canadian 600 Supersport Champion, who had just turned 20, was the breakout performer that year during Bike Week. This photo is of Picotte winning a runaway victory in the CCS Expert Heavyweight Superbike on his Yamaha Canada OW01. He was even more impressive when the AMA Pro events started later in the week.
In the AMA 600 Supersport Series race he had to start from the back of the grid after crashing in his Heat race. From the back of the field Picotte and his Fast Performance Racing School Yamaha was a blaze of white, cutting through the field at a pace faster than the leading trio of Thomas Stevens, Dave Sadowski and Jeff Farmer.
Inexperience cost Pascal that day. He was just about to crack into the top five after only about 10 laps, after working past maybe 60 riders, when he pitched it away. From my perspective it appeared to be the classic racing mistake of getting used to passing riders at a certain pace and then not adjusting when you get up to the faster riders near the front of the field. He was trying to pass talented riders like John Hopperstad, David Leach and Michael Barnes just as he’d done to the 35th place guy two laps before and it just wasn’t going to happen. He got back on his battered bike and still managed 16th. Regardless of the crash, the announcers had tracked Pascal’s progress with considerable enthusiams and his reputaiton in America was launched that day.