At Road America the Human Race Team won its second AMA/CCS Endurance Race of the 1991 season with riders Dale Quarterley and Tommy Douglas. The Human’s led nearly the entire race on its Yamaha FZR1000-powered Bimota Dieci and pulled away from defending champs, Dutchman Racing to win by a lap. Team Toomer rode its Kawasaki ZX-6 to victory in the GTU class and finished a remarkable third overall. The win put the Human Race Team in the points chase for the AMA Endurance Championship. Dutchman went on to win the series championship.
Sports Illustrated came in the mail today with one of my heroes, John Wooden, on the cover. Inside I was surprised to see a two-page spread photo of Loris Capirossi crashing at Mugello.
On one hand I’m happy to see anything motorcycle related in SI. On the other hand it ticks me off that, to the current staff at Sports Illustrated our sport is reduced to only being worthy of coverage via a spectacular crash shot.
When was the last time SI profiled a GP star? Why didn’t they do a feature on Ben Spies’ phenomenal World Superbike season?
Until SI starts considering motorcycle racing a legitimate sport worth covering it will always be lacking in my eyes.
This photo is from a Grattan Eight Hour WERA National Endurance race sometime in the late 1980s. The interesting thing about this shot is that there are three top teams slicing through heavy traffic. These endurance races at times had huge fields of 50 or more teams so the lapped traffic would get thick. The three fast team in this photo are Royale Racing (5) with Doug Henry (not the motocross champ, but the WERA endurance racing champ), Team America (10) with Don Felden and We’re Human Too (60) with Bruce Baldus. These three teams are battling each other while at the same time wading through the traffic of five other teams. With the kind of racecraft needed to be successful on a crowded track, it’s no wonder some of the best road racers came out of WERA endurance racing.
In WERA Pro Series A Superstock action at Willow Springs Raceway in 1991, Michael Martin (96) is shown here sprinting to a lead over Dean Mizdal (behind Martin), Chuck Graves (24) and Dave Deveau (31). On the next lap Graves moved into second much to the delight of the decidedly pro-Graves crowd sitting atop the balcony area in turn four. The Graves fan club fully expected their hero to reel in the visiting Texan and take the win. Instead Martin (running a string of 1:31 laps) continued to pull away; Graves could not make a dent on Martin’s three second lead. Martin went on to a six second win over Graves. “I know Chuck is a great rider here, that made the win really nice,” said a jubilant Martin. Graves later said his Yosh Suzuki had carburetion problems. Brad Hazen took third after a tough fight with Mizdal, Jason Pridmore and Deveau.
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas rung up a magnificent AMA Pro Daytona SportBike victory today at Road America to put an exclamation point on a stellar weekend.
Cardenas once again displayed his late-race brilliance, fighting his way up through a deep pack of contenders to arrive at the front and then biding his time until the inevitable last-lap chess match.
Moving into first place on the brakes on the first corner of the final lap, Martin laid down a blistering lap on worn tires about his GSX-R600, which broke open up just enough breathing space to allow him to hold strong to the checkered flag.
Cardenas took his fifth win of the season with a slim 0.275-second margin of victory. The win, combined with his Saturday podium, saw the Colombian register an important weekend for his championship hopes as he sits third at the season’s midpoint with 184 points.
“I made a mistake on the opening lap and had to work my way up through the pack,” Cardenas said. “Once I arrived to the first group of guys I made a couple more passes and got into the lead. I put in two fast laps and built a little bit of a lead but the guys came back and we started passing in the draft again.
“It was a very intense race to the end. I knew to win this race it would have to be on the last lap. With all the long straights, if you pass someone they can pass you back very easily in the draft. I made the move on the last lap and pushed as hard as I could and protected the inside line in the braking zones. This time it worked out and I won. It was a very good result for me and my team.”
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki also enjoyed a solid day’s work in the AMA Pro American Superbike class, with Jake Holden and Chris Ulrich both improving upon yesterday’s top-ten results.
Holden rode his #3 GSX-R1000 to fifth place after putting in a determined bid for fourth, falling less than a second short of the spot at the checkered flag. Ulrich, meanwhile, picked up ninth at the conclusion of the day’s 50-mile Superbike contest.
Following his second weekend riding with the team in place of the injured John Hopkins, Holden said, “We progressed this weekend and made some good changes on the bike. We learned a lot and I feel we’ll be even closer to the front at Mid-Ohio. I’m still getting used to the bike and how it works, and it’s hard to test and race at the same time, but I think today’s finish was pretty good. I would have liked to be challenging for a podium of course, but I’m happy with today’s effort.”