Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eddie Lawson "Superbiker"

The ABC Wide World of Sports "Superbikers" was a really big deal to me. An opportunity to see up close and personal the best of the best in Motorcycle Racing,having at it on the Carlsbad Raceway, half pavement, half dirt track on specially built Factory Hot Rods. My main focus was to see newly crowned 500CC GP World Champ, Eddie Lawson in action and to barrack for the Dirt Track contingent.
It was a made for TV race so it wasn't really a spectator event,so I snuck in the Pit gate and once I was in the infield I had it made, hanging out with the creme de la creme of the two wheel racing world. Practice was about to start so I headed for inside the hairpin at the end of the straight. I was the only person there and here they came, right out of the gate, on it 100%, tires squealing, chirping ,hopping ,backing it in to Turn 1. Wow! something to see and 10 feet away. They let the riders out in big groups and finally Eddie's in the mix. I am standing there and one other guy shows up and hangs on the fence as Kent Howerton and Jeff Ward on their Bad Ass Kawi KX 500s are putting on a balls out, synchronised sliding performance. Kent is in front and Wardy 5 feet behind mimicking his every extremely sideways move. Lawson keeps coming around about half speed like he's going to the corner store for a six pack. In frustration I yell out to the guy standing on the fence," What's the deal with Lawson!?" The guy walks down to me and asks if I'm a Lawson fan , Hell yeah, who aint!" He tells me Eddie practices one section of the track at a time and eventually links them all together. He says don't worry, Eddie will get the Pole and win today. Soon Lawson is screaming down the straight and sliding into the corner with such grace he makes the other guys look like cowboys on bucking broncs. As most guys do in these kind of situations after hanging out a while, we introduce ourselves, Rob Morrison ! only one of my Norton Factory Flat Track heroes. He tells me he and Eddie are buds from way back and when practice ends he says lets go to Lawson's pit. Which we do and I meet Eddie and his girlfriend and Rob tells him I'm a big fan and he gives me a really cool T-shirt from Yamaha celebrating his new World Championship. Eddie went on to get fast time in qualifying and won the race,just like his friend Rob predicted.

This was in the days before Racers were guzzling constantly from giant bottles of their sponsors energy drinks. Eddie's choice of revitalization, chocolate milk. Yamaha bought along the 500 GP Bike he just won the Championship on.
Kick starting the 500 Widowmaker as these were called. Last of the big bore,air-cooled era.
I am fairly sure this is the Heat start. Team mate Wayne Rainey #60 and Camera bike in the mix.
Eddie takes off on a warm up lap.Perfect control ,spinning the wheel a bit and no wheelie.
Making time on a right hand pavement 180 corner.