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SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Carr Gets Down and Dirty, Rides His Harley to the Pole

April 21, 1996|SHAV GLICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Chris Carr stunned the American motorcycle public Saturday by putting a Harley-Davidson on the pole for today's Los Angeles Superbike championship race.

It was the first time the orange and black Harley colors had even been close to a pole since the American manufacturer joined the Superbike fray in 1994.

Drawing on his dirt track experience on a dirty, bumpy Pomona Fairgrounds parking lot track, Carr, the 1992 Grand National dirt track champion, turned a lap at 89.598 mph. He posted his time over the 13-turn, 2.1-mile circuit during Friday's first round of qualifying and no one could better it Saturday.

"I don't think I've ever qualified better than 10th or 11th before," a jubilant Carr said. "This caught us all by surprise. I'm glad I waited for Harley to build a superbike so I could go road racing."

Carr, who lives in the High Sierra community of Valley Springs, began riding a Harley when he joined the Grand National circuit in 1986 and he has never ridden for any other manufacturer.

After winning the AMA title, Carr raced two more years on the dirt--twice finishing as runner-up to Scott Parker--before switching to road racing last season. Last year he split his time, winning his seventh 600cc title on the dirt and being named rookie of the year on the road.

"I guess you could say having raced on the dirt helps," Carr said. "I'm not afraid to slide the bike around if I have to. And Mike Hale, who won last year at Pomona, came up from the dirt."

Two other dirt trackers, Larry Pegram of Baltimore, Ohio, on a Ducati, and Doug Chandler of Salinas, on a Kawasaki, will start on the four-rider front row with Carr in today's 30-lap main event.

Pascal Picotte of Canada, who won the 750 SuperSport support race Saturday on a Suzuki, is the other front-row starter. Mark Miller of Long Beach finished second as Suzukis swept the first seven SuperSport positions.

Canadian Miguel Duhamel, winner of the Daytona 200 and defending series champion, qualified seventh on his Smokin' Joe's Honda at 89.011. Duhamel, who now lives in Burbank, fell on the first lap last year, got up and finished 11th. After that, he won a record six consecutive races to win the Superbike championship.

Jess Roeder of Monroeville, Ga., scored another first Saturday night when he won the 883 national riding a Harley-Davidson on the half-mile Pomona Fairgrounds horse racing track. It was Roeder's first win in the dirt track support series.

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