Early GNF history

Discussion in 'Race Reports' started by Larry Lawrence, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. Larry Lawrence

    Larry Lawrence Well-Known Member

    I found this story on a floppy disk as I was rummaging through a bunch of old junk. It's a story I did for the WERA Grand National program that gave a short overview of the early history of the GNF.

    I think it would be great for someone to take this and add more recent GNF coverage to sort of come up with a complete history.



    [This message has been edited by Larry Lawrence (edited 02-12-2002).]
     
  2. Larry Lawrence

    Larry Lawrence Well-Known Member

    History of the WERA Grand National Final

    Dr. Peter Frank, his wife Patty and a small group of racing enthusiast began running roadraces in 1973. Then called the East Coast Roadracers Association, the first race was held at Summit Point, West Virginia with some 90 riders competing for trophies. That was the beginning of what was to become the Western Eastern Roadracers' Association.
    During the first two years the races held were just individual affairs, with the main goal being to provide the riders with the maximum amount of track time. During those years the races were few and confined to the east coast. Not a lot of thought was given to crowning champions in the formative years of the organization.
    In 1975 the organization changed to Eastern Roadracers' Association, reflecting the rapid growth of motorcycle roadracing that was due in large part to the efforts of the Frank's. For the first time ERA ran a racing series and crowned national champions. All of the champions crowned in 1975 were east coast riders. Richard Chambers (now the countries leading motorcycle roadracing announcer) was the star that year, winning the ERA Formula One Championship as well as the F/2 title.

    1976
    The landmark year in WERA's history was 1976. That was the year that the name was changed to Western Eastern Roadracers' Association. The racing series now involved riders from all across the nation. And the first national endurance races were held.
    The first WERA Grand National Final was billed in the motorcycle press as east meets west and was held at Texas World Speedway on December 11th and 12th, 1976. Most of the racing was dominated by the local Texas area riders who had already raced at Texas World earlier that season. Freddie Spencer burst on to the scene that year with three wins at the GNF. Riding Yamaha RD 400's, the 15 year old Spencer was dubbed "wonder boy" for his outstanding performance.
    Even though he was the star at the GNF that year, Spencer didn't actually win a title. National titles at that time were earned by accumulating points over the entire season. This was to be the case until the 1982 season when the GNF became a winner take all format.
    Other outstanding performances at the first Grand National Final came from Californian David Emde. Emde bested a talented field of riders in the Formula Two class. In that race Emde battled with Spencer and Tommy Byars before Spencer retired from the race with a broken crank. As the race progressed, Emde pulled away from Byars to win his first Grand National Final event. Wes Cooley was in that race and finished fourth. Emde went on to finish second behind Hugh Humble in the Formula One race, winning the WERA Number One plate in that class. Emde was recognized with the Grand Prix rider of the year award.
    New Yorker Dave Solt's best finish at the Texas World final was third behind Spencer and Forrest Kerns in the 410 Superbike. Solt had accumulated enough points during the season however to win WERA National titles in three classes, more than anyone else that year.

    1977
    The Grand Nationals moved to Florida in 1977. West Palm International Raceway (later renamed to Moroso Motorsports Park) was the sight. The event was held over the New Year's holiday weekend. Lester Wheels Racing won the 24 Hour endurance event held at the GNF that year. Riding for Lester Wheels that weekend was former AMA Grand National Champion Gary Scott. GT Racing with John Long, Malcolm Tunstall, Fred Kling (father of 1989 Michigan Grand Prix Champion Fritz Kling), Phil Pearson and Bill Hurst finished second in that race but won the 1977 WERA Endurance Championship. At one point in the race Tunstall crashed the GT Racing Ducati and was flung into a nearby canal. Members of rival Lester Wheels team were the first on hand to pull Tunstall and his machine from the water.
    In sprint racing Freddie Spencer, Jon Minonno and Mike Callahan each won two events. The best racing of the weekend came in the Formula 4 (125cc GP machines) class. A 13 year old David Langly from Dallas led for two laps before Spencer took over for good. The battle for second was intense between Langly, John Long, Miguel Moreno and Ted Henter. Moreno went on to finish a close second to Spencer, with the three other riders right on his rear wheel.
    In other GNF action that year, Dale Singleton was unstoppable in the Formula One race. Gary Nixon crashed trying to stay with Singleton, Long finished a distant second ahead of Gary Scott and Henry DeGouw.
    Spencer won four WERA National titles in 1977 all on two-stroke machines. Texan Jon Minonno was king of the superbikes, winning three national titles riding Triumphs. Rich Chambers came back in 1977 to win the Formula 2 title. Chambers and Canadian Stuart Shaw made history by becoming the only riders to win titles under the old ERA banner and with WERA. Mike Baldwin won his first National Championship that year, winning the WERA Formula One title.

    1978
    The GNF returned to Texas World for the 1978 season. This GNF will go down in WERA history as one of the greats. The date was moved up to the end of October and the weather was perfect for the "Superbowl of American Roadracing" as it was described by announcer Gordon Delph. A purse of $25,000 was up for grabs, and many of the big name riders of the time were on hand.
    The big race that year was Formula One. Freddie Spencer and Skip Askland tangled in Saturday's heat race, the resulting crash left Spencer with a mild concussion and Askland with a badly injured hand. Spencer made the final the next day but Askland was heading back to California. Dale Singleton won that heat race over Dave Aldana.
    As it turned out none of those Saturday events really mattered much. The one thing that did matter on Saturday was that Mike Baldwin was on his way to the track from Connecticut. Baldwin was fresh off a spectacular season that included being the top points scorer in an International Formula 750 match race at Imola, Italy. Baldwin also beat Kenny Roberts at the Canadian F/750 event. Amazingly Baldwin was coming to Texas self-tuned, self-managed and self-sponsored.
    Steve Morehead took the early lead in the 75 mile final with Spencer and Aldana in tow. Baldwin was slicing through the field at an incredible rate. He soon moved along side Singleton who was running without third gear, in fourth place. In command was Aldana, he and Spencer had gotten around former factory Harley flat-tracker Morehead. By lap ten Baldwin was knocking on the leading trio's door and on the next lap he busted through and went on to win convincingly over Spencer and Aldana. Baldwin won $2600 from WERA for the win.
    That was the end of a very successful season for Baldwin. Baldwin was named to the factory Kawasaki team the next year, and in doing so certainly set some sort of record in going from privateer with zero sponsors, to factory rider, overnight.
    Ironically, Spencer's last WERA racing season was rather disappointing. He didn't win a national title or a race at the GNF. Spencer soon after was hired by Honda, and the rest as they say, is history.
    Canadian Miles Baldwin had a successful GNF by posting wins in Formula Two and Formula Three. Baldwin had a tough battle in the F/3 race with a youngster named Dan Chivington.
    Joe (Ed) Patton of Midland, Texas won two production races at TWS that year. In the Open Production race Patton proved to be a man of no fear, as he manhandled a stock Honda CBX around the intimidating TWS high-banks.
    Jon Minonno capped off a great season by winning in the 750 and Open Superbike classes at TWS and wrapping three National Championships.
    A couple of guys that would make a big mark in WERA history, won their first national number one's in 78'. Bobby Goodin won the 250 Production title while Boonie Knott was F/2 Champ.

    1979
    North Carolina Motor Speedway (better known as Rockingham) was the sight of the 1979 Grand National Final, continuing the tradition of running the GNF at super-speedways.
    Randy Renfrow burst on to the scene with an upset victory in 655 Production. It was Renfrow's first race as an expert. Renfrow had only five roadraces under his belt, but his early success got him into the expert ranks by the Rockingham final.
    Texan Bucky Patterson took a pair of wins at Rockingham on a Can-Am. Michael Shilts finished a close second to Patterson in the 250 Production race and secured the National title. Shilts also won the number one plate in the 250 Superbike class.
    Charlotte's David Reed was wearing the number one plate in the 655 Superbike race. Reed took the final race at Rockingham but had to give up the title to fourth place finisher Tony Desimone.
    Dan Chivington riding a Kawasaki Superbike got off to a fast start in the Formula One race but was soon caught by Richard Chambers and his Union 76 TZ 750. Also in the battle early were Texan's Paul "Hogman" Stephenson and Jon Minonno riding his Triumph for the last time in GNF competition. Chambers used the power of his Yamaha to win the race followed by Chivington, Minonno and Doug Brauneck.
    Chivington came back to win the Open Superbike race mostly unchallenged. Don Sielschott came from behind to grab second over Minonno and Stephenson. Sielschott was riding the wheels off his GS 1000, the bike almost doing a "U" turn on him on the last lap.
    In the title chases that year it was Boonie Knott leading the way with three number one plates in Formula One, Two and Three. Steve Foote of Virginia was also a multiple title winner that year.

    1980
    For the first and only time in WERA history, the Grand National Final was held in a northern state, Indiana. Indianapolis Raceway Park was the sight, and cold temperatures and even light snow were the order of the weekend.
    This GNF belonged to Michael Shilts who rode to three wins. His most satisfying had to be in the 655 Production race where the Waukegan, Illinois rider rode his Yamaha RD 400 to victory over Randy Renfrow and Tony DeSimone. Shilts won three national titles that year.
    Paul MacMillan of Canada was right at home in the cold conditions, he won the 750 Superbike and Open Production classes on his Ducati.
    The most intense race of the weekend had to be the 750 Superbike class. Bobby Goodin and Randy Renfrow blasted off the line and were running away from the field. On the last lap the battle became red hot, but the pavement was still ice cold and the leading duo crashed. That left John Ashmead in the right place at the right time as he motored his Kawasaki to victory. Jim Brady was keeping Ashmead honest and finished a close third just in front of Duane Dreyer who was riding in his first roadrace ever. Goodin and Renfrow quickly remounted and finished 8th and 9th.
    Boonie Knott won the Formula One and Two races but had his chance of winning three spoiled by Hap Eaton in Formula One. Nevertheless, Knott had enough points to successfully defend all three of his 1979 titles. In fact 1980 was the year of multiple titles. South Carolina youngster Jay Parnell won two championships that year on small bikes and two production titles went to Charles Brothers of Texas.
    Without question, Randy Renfrow was definitely the star rider that year in WERA. His four National titles tied Spencer's 1977 record.

    1981
    The Grand National Final headed back south in 1981. To Savannah, Georgia and Roebling Road Raceway. Bobby Goodin really came into his own that year on his Suzuki's and rewrote the record books with five Grand National Championships that year.
    Doug Polen made it famous five years later, but it was Goodin who was the original fast traveling Texan who won every where he went that year. Goodin like Polen raced a fast pair of Suzuki's but these were before the X's and the R's. These were plain old GS models.
    Goodin had four class titles wrapped up coming into the Roebling Road final, but he still had to finish ahead of Boonie Knott to wrest the Formula One title away from the Illinois rider. In the F/1 final Suzuki RG 500 mounted Uri Bergbaum battle with TZ rider Gregg Smrz. Knott and Goodin were locked into a tough, winner take all battle back in fourth. At the finish Bergbaum took the win and Goodin moved his GS 1100 ahead of Knott's TZ 750 to win his fifth title.
    Several of the title chases came down to the final that season. Atlanta's Kevin Eby and Ed Key of Wisconsin had been close on points all year in the C Production race. The riders met at the GNF, Key having a slight points lead, both riders were on the hot new production racer, the Kawasaki GPZ 550. Eby needed to win and have Key finish out of the top five to win the championship. The two diced for the lead all race until the final lap when Eby got an advantage in traffic to take the win. Key finished third and won the C Production title, a class that would prove to be one of the most competitive for years to come.
    Key had a chance to win the C Superbike title also, but he crashed breaking his collarbone. Indianapolis' Jim Knipp was a dominant rider in the midwest on his highly modified Kawasaki KZ 650. Knipp went on to win that race and the title.
    Besides Goodin's record setting season, Knott continued his lock on the Formula classes winning the F/2 and F/3 titles for the third straight year.
    Michigan rider Gerald Thrush took two small bike titles away from Jay Parnell, while Michael Shilts continued his string of championships winning the D Superbike title.

    1982
    The 1982 Grand National Final was the biggest, most extravagant event ever staged by WERA up to that point. Moving to the beautiful Road Atlanta facility, the Final attracted 356 riders from 27 states and Canada. It was a landmark year for the GNF, in that the format was changed to the present day arrangement in which racer's had to qualify for an invitation to the final, with the winner at the GNF being crowned champion. In addition, racing Road Atlanta was received so well, that it was decided that Road Atlanta would become the permanent sight of the GNF.
    The riders at the 1982 GNF got a chance to hone their wet riding skills since it rained every day of the event. A record number of riders showed up at Road Atlanta. Out of the 356 racers going for the gold, one rider stood out that year. Jay Parnell of Sumter, South Carolina rode his GP bikes to three wins and three national titles. Everybody knew Parnell was fast on the 125 GP machinery, he already had won two national titles on them in 1980. What wasn't expected and what Parnell proved at Road Atlanta, was that he was also capable of winning in the highly competitive Formula Two class.
    In the rain Parnell won the F/2 race over former 655 Superbike champ David Reed and F/3 winner Doug Doug Brauneck. Also in that field was former WERA champ Pat O'Leary and future champs Gary Griffith and Mike Harth.
    Lynn Miller was the Superbike king that year, and he won the A Superbike in dramatic fashion over Dale Quarterly and Ed Mullineaux. Corner workers reported that Mullineaux and Quarterly were involved in some serious tank banging. In one of those exchanges, Miller snuck around the outside of the other two putting his Suzuki GS 1000 into the lead for good. Quarterly guided his borrowed Suzuki Katana 1100 into second after an aggressive move nearly put Mullineaux in the mud.
    Miller also won the F/1 title on the same bike, while Quarterly took the A Production title over Miller.
    Don Seilschott continued the now growing tradition of close racing in the C Production class, by making a surprise pass on Santiago Londono for the upset win.

    1983
    The 1983 Grand National Final was a balanced affair, with only two riders (Dale Quarterly and Ed Key) winning multiple titles. The WERA National Endurance Series was greatly expanded in 83' and for the first time since 1977 at Palm Beach, was a National Endurance round part of the GNF.
    Team Ontario won this historic four hour event, but it was Team Hammer who stole the spotlight by winning their first National Championship.
    Yamaha Motor Corporation began their contingency program in 1983 by awarding cash to top three expert finishers riding Yamaha Seca's, Vision's and Virago's. Charles Brothers was the top Yamaha money winner that year, bagging $2700 in WERA events.
    Lynn Miller defended his A Superbike crown by coming from behind to pass Dale Quarterley and Larry Shorts late in the race to win. Quarterley had earlier rode away with the A Production title on a Kawasaki GPZ 1100. Shorts beat Quarterley in the B Superbike race but was protested and failed to make the teardown, handing the title to Quarterley.

    1984
    Randy Renfrow created a lot of excitement by returning to Road Atlanta for the Grand National Final. Renfrow was riding a factory backed Honda NS 500 and rode that bike to victory in the Formula One race after an early battle with Jimmy Adamo. Renfrow also won the A Production on a Yamaha FJ 1100 winning Yamaha contingency dollars in the process.
    Ed Key had the ride of his life against a young new hotshot rider named Kevin Schwantz. It was the D Superbike race, RZ 350's made up the bulk of the field, Key was wearing the number one plate. David Leppelmeier actually led the first half of the race, before being consumed by the Key/Schwantz duel. Key set up Schwantz on the last lap and drafted into the lead to win what he calls his most memorable race.
    Schwantz left Road Atlanta with a few memories himself. Yamaha RZ 500 mounted Brian Berney led most of the C Production race. Schwantz was on a FJ 600 and was having a tough time trying to figure out how to deal with Berney's horsepower advantage. With two laps to go Schwantz took the lead by running the FJ into the turns a lot deeper then most riders would. Schwantz went on to a relatively easy win in B Production.
    Jay Parnell defended his Formula 4 title for the third straight year in 84'. The title brought Parnell's total number of WERA championships over the years to seven. That made him second in the all time win list to Boonie Knott.
    The final endurance round was a repeat of the year before. Team Ontario took the win while Team Hammer rode to their second WERA title.

    1985
    This Grand National Final marked a new beginning for both WERA and Road Atlanta. Both were under new management and both were laying the foundations for future growth. Yamaha contingency dollars were at an all time high and the lure of Yamabucks was evident at the GNF, the grids were filled with Yamaha machines.
    Boonie Knott had a record nine WERA number one plates tucked away somewhere in his Urbana, Illinois home, but the dust was probably getting pretty thick on them. Knott's last championship was won in 1981. Since the change to the winner take all format at the final, Knott had come up empty for three straight years.
    That drought end at the 85' GNF. Knott came on strong riding his Suzuki RG 500 GP bike to two victories in the F/1 and F/2 contests. Arch-rival Jim Knipp was on hand to battle with Knott in the F/2 race, but Knott's experience at Road Atlanta paid off and he beat Knipp by eight seconds.
    Doug Brauneck was expected to be a bit more of a problem for Knott in the F/1 race, but Knott was up to the challenge and went to win an unprecedented 11th WERA championship. That record will likely stand for many years.
    Texan Meril Moen was the only other multiple title winner. Moen surprised the favored Yamaha riders by winning on a Kawasaki Ninja 900 in the A Production and A Superbike races.
    One of the all time classic GNF races was the traditionally exciting C Production race. That event pitted three riders of wildly different styles.
    Bart Peterson was the Yamaha contingency king, having won in the neighborhood of $20,000 in so called "club races" that year. Peterson was a wild man on a roadcourse, racing his rag-tag machines to the limits. Peterson didn't have fun unless he leaned on his competition occasionally. Ed Key was a reserved, mild mannered guy who was always smooth and in control. The third rider was Greg Tysor, an ex-flattracker who came up in the roadracing ranks quickly.
    The three riders rode wheel to wheel the entire race. On the final lap, Key held the lead going down the back straight. Tysor and Peterson were in his draft and made there move as they exited from underneath the Nissan Bridge. Tysor went around the outside of Key where there was very little track to be had. It looked as if Peterson was boxed out. Undaunted, Peterson went out into the alligator bumps on the outside of the track and swept by Tysor and Key to take the win in a photo finish. Key later summed up the exciting race by saying that he was "going so fast on the last turn that he was on the verge of losing control, and he was still passed."
    Cycle Tech Racing came out of no where to win the 1985 WERA Endurance title. The team came loaded, not only did they have the trickest race bike in the U.S. that year (in the not yet available in this country GSXR 750), they also had a pretty acceptable stable of riders in Wes Cooley, Dave Aldana and Joe Osowski. When Cooley was injured early in the season, Cycle Tech picked up a snotty nosed kid named John Kocinski. Kocinski not only led the team to the title (setting track records all along the way), he also found time to win the WERA Formula Two crown.

    1986
    The 1986 edition of the Grand National Final was filled with excitement. WERA hosted the first ever Suzuki GSXR and Honda Interceptor finals. It marked the first time since the 1978 Texas World GNF that many riders from the west and northwestern parts of the country competed head to head for national titles.
    "Rocket" Ron Ewerth was the big winner at the GNF taking home three WERA titles. Ewerth beat the now famous Bart Peterson in the A Production event. Peterson tried hard that year but never seemed to be able to master the GSXR's like he had the Yamaha FZ and FJ the year before. Ewerth then went on to outride a talented field to win the B Production Championship. In that field was an up and coming guy from Florida named Thomas Stevens, established WERA stars Ed Key and Greg Tysor and youngster Fritz Kling.
    It took a year, but Tysor finally revenged his 85'loss to Peterson in the C Production race. Tysor battled with Peterson and Kurt Hall before pulling out a lead in the closing laps and winning the title.
    The Michigan based High Tech Racing Team won the final round of the WERA/EBC National endurance series. It was a most satisfying win for the High Tech team members, since the team had finished second three times that season.
    The big news was that Team Hammer regained the WERA number one plate. Team co-founder Bruce Hammer made a rare appearance at Road Atlanta to help celebrate the teams third National title.
    A new team called the Human Race Team, finished a close second in the series that year riding a Yamaha FZ 600.

    1987
    The growth of the Grand National Final continued in 1987 with over 500 riders converging on the picturesque Road Atlanta. Four riders took multiple titles in 87'. A flock of new riders were making there mark on the GNF's that year and they included Scott Russell, Jamie James, Thomas Stevens and Cam Roos.
    Stevens had shed his "win or crash" riding style of the season before, and now was one of the smoothest riders on the circuit. He owed that improvement to his many miles of endurance racing with Team Suzuki (formerly Team Hammer). Team Suzuki earned yet another WERA endurance final but had a tough way to go thanks to the Human Race Team. The Human's got serious in 87' and moved up to the big Yamaha's.
    Dutchman Racing won the endurance finale, but it was the excitement generated by the tight championship race between Suzuki and HRT that had everyone on their toes. Half way through the six hour race Team Suzuki blew an engine. The crew made the change in 42 minutes. Had the engine swap taken only three minutes more the title would have went to the Human's. Team Suzuki won their fourth National Championship by a scant 1.1 point.
    The C Production race again lived up to it's ever increasing top billing. Stevens won the race on the track, but the win, the $1500 and the number one plate went to Greg Tysor. Stevens was told penalized a lap for weaving on the warm up lap just as the green flag was ready to drop. Mad and frustrated, Stevens pulled off the grid in protest. As the bikes went screaming off to the first turn, Stevens changed his mind and decide to race anyway.
    Kurt Hall, Greg Tysor, Scott Russell and Jamie James sprinted to the front of the field early. By the half way point Stevens had amazingly caught the lead group. On the final lap it was Tysor holding the lead. Stevens drafted by him on the long downhill section of the back straight and bullied his way to the win. WERA officials decided not to penalize Stevens for the warm-up lap infraction, but Tysor quickly protested saying that he saw the flags indicating that Stevens was a lap down, so when it came to banging handlebars, he saw no reason to risk crashing racing a guy who wasn't really racing for the lead. Tysor's point was valid and he was awarded the win.
    Stevens went on to win two titles of his own defending his A Superbike title and winning Formula One.
    Scott Russell broke the Suzuki hold on the big-bore production classes by winning the A Production title on a Yamaha FZR 1000.
    Cam Roos rode an imported from Japan FZR 400 to two national titles. In the clubman Larry Burkholder rode a horribly outmatched Yamaha SRX 600 single and led Roos most of the way. Roos and his hyper-Yamaha finally went by Burkholder in the closing stages of the race.

    1988
    Cam Roos was the big man in last year's Grand National Final. Roos won four championships riding his Yamaha FZR 400 and Honda CBR 600. Other riders now had the potent little FZR 400's but it was Roos who had a year head start in setting the bike up. The Georgian rider was unbeatable all season on the bike.
    Roos won easily on the Yamaha, but his most impressive win came against Kurt Hall in the C Superbike race. The two riders battle from the start. Hall was in the position he wanted to be in on the last lap, on Roos' tailpipe. Roos got a lucky break when Hall bobbled at turn five causing him to lose the draft. Roos unfortunately ended his weekend with a spectacular crash in the Suzuki GSXR 750 final.
    Hall was close in several classes and he finally got the job done winning first national title in B Production.
    Michigan's Al Lainhart won the Formula 3 title for the third time in four years. Lainhart rode a 125 MBA GP bike to victory over Jim East and his four-stroke Kawasaki GPZ 305.
    Jesse Morris won his fifth WERA title in the Vintage III class. Morris has ridden the same triumph to all five titles.
    On the WERA National Endurance scene it was the Human Race Team winning at the GNF and wrapping up the 1988 title. It was the first time a Yamaha had won the series since Team Wanker did it on a RD 400 back in 1979.
    Team Suzuki's hard luck at Road Atlanta continued. Bolts holding the rear wheel to the sprocket sheared off and the team lost valuable time when they mistakenly thought the problem was with the clutch and changed it two times.
     
  3. Mongo

    Mongo Administrator

    Cool!


    Do you mind if I make this into an actual page?
     
  4. Larry Lawrence

    Larry Lawrence Well-Known Member

    Go for it.
     
  5. Motorman

    Motorman Well-Known Member

    Larry,Your posts have brought back memories. I stand corrected on some of my previous posts for the GNF as my memory has run a few races together and lack the documentation from that season but concerning the 85 GNF Ewerth's wins,A+B Production on Saturday,tuned and prepared by Vic Fasola,correct?On Sunday He entered B Superbike race and won,FZ750,followed closely by Steve Nardello,FZ750and Troy Sorenson,GS750E,would this be correct?

    Now concerning the heat that has come from my presence here,it was not my intensions to get into a pissin contest,I have the highest respect for you as a journalist and as a person.Your honesty and integrity is above reproach,an all around nice guy,IMHO!
    I dont think I am wrong there.I am probably out of my element here as I truely have meant no harm.If by chance I have caused you any problems,please accept my apologies,was not my intent.I would also like to thankyou for not stoopin to the lower levels where some other members of this board reside.
    My intensions for my posts were to get John to give you straight answer,from what I read, you were not given one,hope you get one.
    My personal feelings toward the AMA problems are that a change is long over due, but the Ulrich factor may be good,but as he has other intrests closely related to the sport and AMA that a conflict of intrest may be present, or atleast setting himself up for that accusation,it could start a new contraversy within AMA and among riders.Is this a concern we should be concerned with?What are your views on this,I for one respect your opinion.
     
  6. mad brad

    mad brad Guest

    alright motherman, get back over to the general column with your banter. [​IMG]
     
  7. Larry Lawrence

    Larry Lawrence Well-Known Member




    Unfortunately, I don't remember the details of who the tuners were. Vic sounds right on Rocket Ron, but I would have to go back and read the Cycle News or American Roadracing coverage to be sure.
     
  8. SteveJones

    SteveJones New Member

    Great piece...

    Might there be any other source of articles or notes about the 79 - 84 time frame, specifically for the Endurance series?

    Steve Jones
    #522 back in 1984
     
  9. YamahaRick

    YamahaRick Yamaha Two Stroke Czar

    This thread looks like it could use this ... :)



    [​IMG]
     
  10. MilleArp

    MilleArp Microbrew Snob

    Wow, how old is THAT piece of paper ?
    :wow:


    And, great history lesson !
     
  11. Buckwild

    Buckwild Radical

    YR seems to have an endless supply of interesting artifacts.:cool:
     
  12. MarkB

    MarkB All's well that ends well

    1988
    "...On the WERA National Endurance scene it was the Human Race Team winning at the GNF and wrapping up the 1988 title. It was the first time a Yamaha had won the series since Team Wanker did it on a RD 400 back in 1979."

    There was a TEAM WANKER in 1988???!!!! :D
     
  13. HACKSAW

    HACKSAW New Member

    Old Endurance Champ

    STUMBLED ON THIS FORUM WHILE CHECKING TO SEE WHAT WERA WAS UP TO THESE DAYS.

    I RODE WITH TEAM COWBOY (CORNY HUH?) BACK IN 1982 WHEN WE WON THE THE CONTINENTAL TIRE ENDURANCE SERIES IN THE HEAVYWEIGHT SUPERBIKE CLASS. YEAH - WE WERE THE HICKS FROM OHIO THAT BEAT THE ULRICH/TEAM HAMMER CHEVRON SPONSERED TEAM OUT OF CALIFORNIA.

    I LOOK BACK ON THAT YEAR AS PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST TIMES OF MY LIFE. I HOPE ALL OF YOU THAT ARE NOW RACING REALIZE HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO BE ABLE TO COMPETE IS SUCH A GREAT SERIES.

    WHAT A YEAR - WE STARTED OUT WINNING IRP THEN BACKED THAT UP WITH A SECOND AT WATKINS GLEN. WE WERE THE FIRST TO RACE ON THAT TRACK IN YEARS - HAD TO SHOVEL THE MUD OUT OF THE CORNERS JUST SO WE COULD PRACTICE (REGRETABLY WE DIDN'T GET TO RUN THE "BOOT" - NOT ENOUGH CORNER WORKERS) I FELT LIKE I COULD FEEL THE PRESENCE OF SOME RACINGS GREAT NAMES - ANDRETTI, HILL, SURTEES, FITTAPALDI - YOU KNOW THE LIST. IT WAS GREAT.

    NEXT WAS TEXAS WORLD (4th) THEN SECOND AT ROAD ATLANTA - GOD I LOVED THE 'DIP" IN THE BACK STRAIGHT (NOT THERE ANYMORE) AFTER APEXING YOUR SUSPENSION WOULD UNLOAD AND SHOOT YOU OUT TO THE EDGE OF THE TRACK - PROBABLY DOING ABOUT A BUCK SIXTY BACK THEN.

    OH SHIT - I FORGOT NELSON LEDGES- HAD A FEW PROBLEMS THERE - KEPT BREAKING THE BIKE - ESPECIALLY WHEN WE FELL. ENDED UP 9th AND LOST ARE POINTS LEAD.

    THEN IT WAS ON TO ROAD AMERICA IN ELKHART LAKE - WHEN GOD SAID MAKE ME A ROAD RACE TRACK - THIS WAS WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT!

    FOUR MILES OF SUPERBIKE HEAVEN. THREE STRAIGHTS WHERE WE USED TO SAY YOU COULD 'BE ALL YOU CAN BE". COMING OUT OF THE CAROUSEL, THRU THE KINK AND INTO CANADA CORNER - AWE - SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY.

    HOW WE DO. NOT BAD - WE WON! BUT NOT WITH OUT SOME UNUSUAL EVENTS. JUST AFTER TAKING THE WHITE FLAG MY CO-RIDER - RAY DEASEL - STARTED RUNNING OUT OF GAS - WITH ANOTHER FOUR MILES TO GO. WHEN HE FIGURED OUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING HE PULLED OFF THE TRACK, LAYED THE BIKE OVER SO THE GAS RAN OVER THE FRAME FROM ONE SIDE TO THE OTHER, WON THE RACE AND RAN OUT OF GAS COMING ACROSS THE FINISH LINE. NO BULLSHIT - GET AN OLD COPY OF CYCLE NEWS AND READ ABOUT IT.

    2nD AT BLACKHAWK - 3rd AT ROCKINGHAM AND A PLAQUE AND NUMBER 1 PLATE THAT STILL HANGS ON MY OFFICE WALL TODAY. I'LL BE SIXTY THIS YEAR - BUT IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY - REMEMBER - WE'RE NOT HERE FOR A LONG TIME - BUT WE ARE HERE FOR A GOOD TIME! Y'ALL MAKE SURE YOU DO!!
     
  14. kenessex

    kenessex unregistered user

    Hi Larry,
    Thanks for putting that up. It sure brings back some memories. The first GNF I ever went to was the one at IRP my second year of racing. I remember changing a clutch in my brother's bike with the snow flakes falling into the side of tha engine while we had the cover off. It was so cold I pulled out of the 410 superbike race cause I couldn't feel my right fingers anymore coming down the front straight. I couldn't feel if I was braking or not. But my favorite scene from that GNF was Ed Key wearing his down coat over his leathers and his TZ250 spit him off into a cloud of feathers everywhere. I was at a few of the early GNFs and there are lots of stories to go with them.

    Thanks for the memories
    Ken
     
  15. John29

    John29 Road racing since 1973

    Funny, but for some reason my memory is telling me that the first year Team Hammer contested the entire WERA National Endurance Series was 1983. It's also telling me that 1983 was the first year that Team Cowboy raced against Team Hammer for the overall championship...with a somewhat different result...
     
  16. Chango Malo

    Chango Malo Well-Known Member

    I cannot find this history of Team Cowboy beating Team Hammer for the overall WERA National Endurance Championship. Where does it exist?

    Did they wear cowboy hats? Or just overalls like the fat farmer?

    Is it true the fat farmer was packed in the ice at Roebling Road on the hot day due to his collapse?

    I am a student of history. Let me know por favor.
     
  17. rick burdick

    rick burdick Rick122

    Just came across Larrys post,thanks for keeping those days alive Larry!
     
  18. rick burdick

    rick burdick Rick122

    What happened in the wet Interceptor 500 final again Larry?I do remember that Polen the master won,and Canadian wfo wildman Johnny Ramsay crashed out! :)
     
  19. Shenanigans

    Shenanigans in Mr.Rogers neighborhood

    Required reading for the noobs. Excellent post by Larry.
     
  20. Millwoodva

    Millwoodva Well-Known Member

    Very nice Larry... memories for sure...
    As I read the 1983 section, I was looking for my name as Formula 2 Champ..
    I rode an RD400 (Kevin Cameron engine) to victory over Dave Shusters (sp)
    (Reno Leoni tuned) Ducati 600 Pantah... not much print for GNF novice back then..
     

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