I bet not many people even knew that nine-time AMA Grand National Champion Scott Parker ever earned a national road race podium finish, but here’s the proof. It was Daytona ‘87 and 1986 Battle of the Twins Champ Gene Church was racing the new Buell designed Harley-Davidson. That left Church’s ’86 championship bike, Lucifer’s Hammer, vacant and Harley decided to fill that vacancy with Parker. It was Parker’s road racing debut. He worked his way through the field in the race and made it all the way up to third by the finish. This photo shows Parker (No. 114) sharing the podium with winner Marco Lucchinelli (No. 618) and second-place finisher Stefano Caracchi (No. 621), both riding Ducatis. Parker was thrilled with his podium result. “Man that was something,” he said on the podium. “I got it pretty sideways at one point when I hit oil. I never road raced before and it was a thrill. When I was up there on the banks all tucked in and going so fast, I thought: ‘Man, I hope my mechanic did a good job on this thing!”
The Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana will round off the 2011 campaign this weekend. Read more.
American Superbike Champion Josh Hayes will replace injured Colin Edwards for this weekend’s Valencia MotoGP round in Spain. Read more.
For immediate release: October 31
Hendersonville, North Carolina: Öhlins USA is proud to announce the signing of Les Smith to Team Öhlins USA, for the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross and Lucas Oil AMA Motocross series. Smith will be competing in the Lites class on a Honda CRF250. A 21-year-old native of York, South Carolina, Smith is a three-time amateur champion at Loretta Lynn’s and will now be racing on the Öhlins gold and running number 46, under the leadership of Team Öhlins USA manger, Grant Langston.
About joining the team, Smith said, “They look to have a really good program so I’m excited to be a part of it. Last year I had five top ten finishes in the SX Lites class, and I hope to improve on that. To stay in shape I practice four to five days a week. I’ve got a brand new Supercross track I’m using today. Plus, I’m focusing on my overall fitness this year as well. I have a local trainer helping me out so I’m putting in over time.”
Smith, who’s been riding since he was four-years-old and racing since he was six, added, “My father rode when he was younger and he got me a dirt bike for Christmas. After that a neighbor suggested I start racing, so we all went racing. My first races were at a super-sandy track and my dad pretty much was pushing me around the track all day. I was ready to go home but then a guy told us if I did one more race I’d get a trophy. So I did. I still have that trophy at my bedside. It says, ‘Participant.’
“As I got older I started really enjoying it. Both my dad, Marty, and my mom, Sue Ellen, were involved. Racing became what our family does. Every weekend we go to the track.”
Motocross champion Grant Langston, Team Manager of Team Öhlins USA, said, “I’ve been in touch with Les for a while and he’s a definite player. He’s serious and has a great attitude and it all shows in how he rides. So we’re looking forward to an exciting year with him. There’s a lot of potential in what we’re doing combined with his riding abilities.”
Öhlins USA Off Road Manager, Stacey Berger, said, “We’re excited to have Les signed. It took a little time to get everything sorted but once he rode a bike with our suspension I think the decision was easy for him to make. We look forward to big things from him this year.”
Öhlins USA distributes and services the world’s leading performance suspension for automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles. Öhlins develops its proprietary and innovative suspension components at the highest levels of racing from open-wheel car racing, to Moto GP, to off-road competition on two and four wheels. Öhlins USA also provides training for service centers and dealers. www.Ohlinsusa.com.
Another photo from the WERA sprint race at Road Atlanta in June of 1989. This one is the A Superbike race and shows Mike Reed leading Danny Roberts. Reed finished second to Kurt Hall in this race. Roberts third. Also in the photo are Bill Brown (No. 258), Franklin Knight (No. 34), Jim Sabin (No. 211) and Doug Kidd (No. 139).