Superbikes: Unique Dedication & Toughness Ordinary
2 July 1998LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY, Monterey, California -- Injuries are such an ordinary part of Colin Edward's and Aaron Slight's lives they are listed on the Team Castrol Honda racers' biography sheets right along with birth dates, hometowns, marital status, hobbies, career highlights and other ordinary personal information.
No big deal is made of them. The injuries aren't prominently positioned on the sheets. They are just, matter of fact, there -- which highlights the kind of unique dedication and toughness necessary to be one of the superbike racers who will be competing at the Dunlop World Superbike event here on Sunday, July 12, to be known as the best in the world.
Edwards, a 24-year-old Texan, is third in the running for the Superbike World Championship. He races with two rebuilt knees, a plated collarbone and screws in his left foot, though he has been racing motorcycles only eight years. "I missed most of last season because of injuries and ended up with a load of operations," he says. "I was very concerned about crashing at the start of the year, but I've had a couple of crashes now and I feel more comfortable. I'm confident in what the bike (Honda RC-45) can do and where its limits are."
Competing at Laguna Seca is special for Edwards. "It's home for me and I love it," he says. "I know the crowd will get behind me just like they do with (Pierfrancesco) Chili in Italy, with (Carl) Fogarty in Britain and with (Troy) Corser in Australia. The Corkscrew at Laguna is awesome. I've been through it on my way to success one day, then the next day it's caught me out and I've ended up sitting on a hay bale watching the other guys go by."
Slight, 32, won both world championship races in Italy on June 21 and is second in the points standings. He has broken his left wrist, right hand, left leg, right collarbone and both feet since he ran his first race in 1984, at home in New Zealand. "As soon as I sat on a bike, I wanted to race," he recalls. "Before that I was interested in other sports. I used to love basketball, but I was about 20 inches too short to play seriously." The Kiwi loves racing in the USA even though he has not had much luck here. "Laguna Seca holds one or two bad memories," says Slight. "I came just 7th and 10th (respectively) in last year's races. Also, I had a run-in with a spectator the police got involved in. It was just one of those things that happens." After being harassed in the Paddock by the spectator, there was some pushing and shoving, and Slight was restrained. Charges were not, however, filed.
Like more than a few of the Superbike World Championship riders, Edwards and Slight reckon they will not be really challenged by more than a couple of the AMA National Superbike Championship riders they will be up against here. "The AMA riders will be out to prove a point, but it will be tough for more than two or three of them to get into the Top 10," Edwards says. "I think Gobert has got a good chance ^ on his day he's talented enough to probably beat any rider in the world. Chandler is never far from the podium."
Australian Anthony Gobert has worked his way up to second in AMA National Superbike Championship points riding for Ducati. Kawasaki's Doug Chandler, from nearby Salinas, is the reigning and three-time AMA National Superbike Champion.
Wildcards who Superbike World Championship racers have not yet faced are Ben Bostrom and Rich Oliver. A San Francisco native who now lives in Granada Hills, Bostrom is a superbike rookie who has fought his way to third in national championship points with strong and stronger performances on his Honda RC-45 and he is due for a win. After dominating the AMA 250 Grand Prix series and winning four straight titles (1994-97), Oliver decided to race a Yamaha superbike this year; like Chandler, he is a Laguna Seca Raceway master.
Event/Ticket Information Call: 1-800-327-SECA www.Laguna-Seca.com Mailing address P.O. Box 2078 Monterey, CA 93942 Remaining Events 1998 August 14-16 The Chrysler Corporation presents the 25TH Annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races Featured Marque - Porsche September 11-13 Honda Grand Prix of Monterey featuring the Texaco/Havoline 300 October 23-25 Visa Sports Car Championships presented by Honda featuring the FIA GT Championship finale HONDA is the official automobile & motorcycle of Laguna Seca Raceway Budweiser is the official beer of Laguna Seca Raceway
Laguna Seca Raceway has been operated by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula since its opening in 1957. SCRAMP is a non-profit organization chartered to benefit local charitable and non-profit groups and to promote economic vitality.
Race events at Laguna Seca Raceway race have resulted in over $8 million being distributed to Monterey Peninsula and Central California groups for youth programs and community service projects, and they have generated more than $1 billion in revenue for area businesses.
Today, SCRAMP is the most important economic and charitable organization in Monterey County.