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Motor Racing : Two-Wheel Fans Can Pick and Choose From Bonanza Schedule

September 24, 1987|Shav Glick

Motorcycle racing enthusiasts will have a bonanza this week when their biggest problem may be deciding on which event to attend.

Bubba Shobert, who may be America's finest Grand National rider since the great Kenny Roberts left for Europe a decade ago, will attempt to solidify that claim Saturday night when he rides in the 29th annual Camel Pro Series national half-mile championship at Ascot Park.

Speedway racing old-timers will have a Speedway Reunion Friday night at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa where Jack Milne of Pasadena will be honored on the 50th anniversary of his winning the world championship at Wembley, England. Milne, 80, who is a partner of Harry Oxley in International Speedway, Inc., will take an honor lap on the same cycle he rode in 1937.

More contemporary speedway fans will see the best Saturday night when the 20th annual California State championships are held at Inland Motorcycle Speedway in San Bernardino. If that's not enough speedway, the Ascot track championships will be held tonight on the South Bay Stadium oval.

Shobert, a Texan who lives in Carmel Valley, has won 32 national races--only one fewer than the retired Roberts--yet has never won a half-mile at Ascot. He won a TT steeplechase there in 1985, but has only two seconds and a third on the oval.

A win Saturday night would assure Shobert of his third straight American Motorcyclist Assn. dirt track championship payoff to go alongside the $100,000 he clinched last month in the Camel Pro Series, which combines dirt track and road racing events.

This could be Shobert's final appearance on Ascot's half-mile dirt oval as his contract next year as a factory rider for Honda is for road racing only.

Since joining the AMA Grand National circuit in 1980, Shobert has won in all five types of racing--mile, half-mile, short track, TT steeplechase and road racing. Only two other riders, Roberts and Dick Mann, who rode from 1959 to 1972, ever accomplished that feat.

Shobert's chief challenge is expected from fellow Honda rider Doug Chandler of Salinas, who won the last two Ascot half-miles in September 1986 and April 1987.

Milne's honor lap won't be the only moment of nostalgia at Costa Mesa.

Winners of all but one national speedway championship race since 1968, including two-time world champion Bruce Penhall of Balboa and 1968 national champion Rick Woods, will ride in an exhibition race. Only Steve Bast will be missing from the champions roll call. It will be the final weekly Friday night show of the season.

A match race will pit Penhall and seven-time national champion Mike Bast against the Moran brothers, Kelly and Shawn, both former U.S. champions.

In the state championships, Bobby Ott will defend his title against national champion Bobby Schwartz and former state champions Alan Christian and Steve Lucero, plus the Moran brothers, who will return to England after the state final.

POWERBOATS--Defending champion Jim Kropfeld and Miss Budweiser are expected to win a second straight unlimited hydroplane championship Sunday when the season ends with the $161,000 Las Vegas Silver Cup on Lake Mead. Kropfeld holds a 1,263 point lead over Chip Hanauer and Miller American, winners of the Gold Cup last Sunday in San Diego. There will be 1,600 points at stake in Las Vegas. . . . The world offshore championships, scheduled for Nov. 10-14 off Long Beach, have been moved to Key West, Fla., by the American Power Boat Assn. The move was made after the Long Beach promoter failed to obtain a TV contract for the race.

OFF-ROAD--Four of six championships will be at stake Saturday night at Las Vegas when the final event of the Mickey Thompson Gran Prix series is held at the Silver Bowl Stadium. Mazda teammates Glenn Harris and Jeff Huber are only four points apart in the Grand National truck class, while Frank Arciero Jr. is only 24 points ahead of his brother, Albert, in the unlimited super 1600 single-seater class.

VINTAGE RACING--Former Indianapolis winners Bobby Unser, Rodger Ward and Parnelli Jones are among the drivers scheduled to be on hand Sunday for the Los Angeles Formula One Vintage Car Grand Prix at Willow Springs Raceway. Racing starts at 12:30 and includes a Formula Ford and Formula Russell race as well as six vintage car races.

MIDGETS--The United States Auto Club's Jolly Rancher Candies western regional series will be at Santa Maria Speedway for a 30-lap main event Saturday night while the three-quarter midget cars and drivers race at Ventura Raceway on Friday night.

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