Alabama bound with Jon Taverner

Inside Motorcycles contributor Jon Taverner took a motorcycle touring trip from southern Ontario down to Alabama and back through the Tail of the Dragon. He shares his six day, 4100km account. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:09

MOPAR CSBK Test Day at Shannonville Motorsports Park

Story by Frank Wood. Shannoville Motorsports Park, June 7, 2012- Riders competing in the Mopar Canadian Superbike Championships had a free pre-season test day today and were blessed with perfect weather for their outing.

Friday, 08 June 2012 14:23

Remembering the First World Superbike Race – Part Five; Bimota Win Part One

At Donington Park in England in the spring of 1988, a brand new series made its debut, based partly on World Championship TT-F1 standards, partly on AMA Superbike guidelines, and centered on the popular Anglo American Match Race series.  The Donington midlands venue, recently fully revamped, was one of the safest and most popular bike racing circuits of the era. 

As expected, British riders made up almost half of the debut SBK grid. The new fuel injected Bimota Yamahas where the pre-race favorites, once the many gorgeous Honda RC30s on hand proved to be in a near-stock state of tune.

However, the Bimota machines were plagued by teething problems, ranging from rough running to leaking fuel.  Long before the days of Power Commanders and other useful electronic tuning devices aimed at fuel-injected sports bikes, the Bimota crew at one point blamed the local airport for inadvertently “jamming” their YB4EI’s fuel control systems.

The seldom seen Ducati squad and their brand new water-cooled, four-valve 851 Desmo twin attracted loads of attention too.  Former World Champ Marco Lucchinelli was a real motor mouth, and enjoyed all of his media opportunities.  I clearly remember the Ducati crew stopping work for lunch, setting up a table between their machines, and sitting down for pasta and wine.

The first round of the Superbike World Championship featured the then-new two race format, still used to this day in SBK.  However, the Donington opener was scored on aggregate, producing one combined result, the way motocross GPs were run at the time.

This means that the record books show just one set of results, unlike any other round of the series (except for events with rain-outs, like Monza 2012).  Here comes the spoiler alert:  in case you don’t know the April 3, 1988 result, Lucchinelli on the new Ducati is listed as the first-ever SBK race (and round) winner.

Honda’s Fred Merkel was scored second, a much better result than he expected with his brand new Rumi Honda RC30.  Third overall belonged to the second kitted RC vee-four, the Honda Britain entry of famed “real road racing” king Joey Dunlop.  Cool, wet and always changing conditions helped Dunlop to the podium.

But before the racing started, there was controversy on the grid prior to leg one.  Officials wouldn’t let the crews push start the bikes for the warm-up laps, and some of the machines, certainly the Ducati, were difficult to start.

In the days before plug in starters, rear wheel rollers and the like, this was a big issue.  Lucchinelli simply leaned the big Ducati against the wall and waited for everyone to calm down – there was no way he could bump start the thing by himself.

After some angry discussion, it was decided that the team’s crew members would be allowed to help start the bikes after all.  Indirectly, this mix up led to the issue of vapor lock on Bubba Shobert’s American Honda VFR750 Interceptor. The American flat track ace missed the start – and these pre-warm-up problems at least provide a reason (or maybe an excuse).

Race one started with a good fight up front, but gradually Bimota’s Davide Tardozzi pulled clear to earn the “leg one” win.  But it wasn’t straightforward – ignition issues returned near the end of the race, and Lucchinelli almost got by Tardozzi on the final lap.

Canadians Gary Goodfellow and Michel Mercier were well inside the top ten for much of the opening race, staging a great dice as they moved through the pack, sometimes banging fairings.  But Vancouver-based Kiwi Goodfellow got mixed up with a lapped rider and crashed, reinjuring his foot.  “Goodie” was out for the rest of the event, and his trick F-1 style, Don Knit-backed Yoshimura Japan GSX-R750 entry was certainly much the worse for wear.

Monday, 11 June 2012 21:11

Luminox Pole Award Returns to CSBK

From a press release from Frontline CSBK Inc.- Canada’s premier road racing series organizer,Frontline CSBK Inc., is pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year Tactical Products Canada are partnering with the MOPAR Canadian Superbike Championship series in providing the Luminox Pole Award for fast qualifier in the Harley-Davidson XR1200 Cup.

Monday, 11 June 2012 09:34

Labrosse and Duhamel Together Again for the First Time

Inside Motorcycles exclusive by Colin Fraser- St. Eustache, Quebec: Current Autodrome St. Eustache track owner Alan Labrosse was a top motorcycle road racer in the early 1980s, winning AMA Nationals in the 250cc and Formula One categories, as well as representing Canada in 250cc Grand Prix World Championship action in Europe. 

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 14:26

Springfield Flattrack: Lawrence and Labelle Miss the Show

Story by Frank Wood- Two of Canada's top dirt track racers, Doug Lawrence of Mississauga, ON, and Mike Labelle from Welland, ON, failed to make it into the main event in their respective classes at the AMA Pro Flattrack Springfield Mile held on May 27 at the Springfield Illionois Fairgrounds.

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 14:06

Taylor Dominates Niagara

Story by Frank Wood- Canadian dirt track champion Donald Taylor of Port Colbourne, ON, dominated the opening round of the Canadian Motorcycle Association Dirt Track National Championships held at Niagara Raceway in Welland on June 2.

Monday, 04 June 2012 19:17

Duhamel shows the way at Autodrome St-Eustache

Canadian motorcycle road racing legend Miguel Duhamel was back on the track at Autodrome St-Eustache on Friday, although not in a competitive sense. The multi-time American Motorcycle Association (AMA) champion was in the role of guest instructor at the official licensing day for the Honda CBR250R National Race Series, which will be part of this summer's Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship.

Monday, 04 June 2012 09:38

Golo's Shaw-O'Leary Scores Maiden Sportbike Win

Story by Frank Wood- Rising teenage sensation Austin Shaw-O'Leary of Falmouth, Nova Scotia tasted victory in his first appearance in the Amateur 600 and Amateur Sportbike classes at the opening round of the Atlantic Roadracing League (ARL) 2012 held at Atlantic Motorsports Park last weekend. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012 19:28

Suzuki GSXR-1000: Suzuki Opts to Refine, Not Redesign, for 2012

This review was first published in the print edition of Inside Motorcycles, Volume 15, Issue 1 March/ April 2012. Story by Costa Mouzouris/ Photos by Andrea Wilson.

It's been about two years since I've ridden a Suzuki GSX-R1000. I have had the good fortune of riding every version of Suzuki’s open class Gixxer since 2003, and I can now add the revised 2012 model to that list.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 16:51

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