Monday, April 21, 2014

Scooter Pilotes' (Part 3)

Casey Stoner. (Source: images)
And the Madness just keeps rollin' on, as we've finally made it to the white flag lap of this trilogy, with some more names of two wheel knee dragger cross overs, as below is the final quick listing of various Scooter Pilotes' I've somehow managed to learn have tried their hand in what are known affectionately as Tintops', or in some cases "Taxi Cabs;" Hooah!

Names are listed (in no particular order) as this list by all means isn't complete, albeit the third such cropping of various names I've gleaned over the years. As I've included "The Doctor," albeit he's not officially switched disciplines...

Formula 1: Part 1
John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, The Rodriguez Brothers, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Francois Cevert, Johnny Cecatto, Damon Hill, Mark Blundell and Mark Webber.

IndyCar: Part 2
Joe Lenard, Danny Ongais, Swede Savage, Eddie Lawson and Jeff Ward.

Tintops: Part 3
Joe Weatherly, Paul Goldsmith, Ricky Carmichael, Valentino Rossi, Wayne Gardner, Barry Sheen and Casey Stoner.

(Years Denoted are for only the respective years raced in the Top categories)

Joe Weatherly
Motorcycles: 1946-50
Championships: 3
AMA Grand Nationals (Between 1946-50)
Cars: 1952-64
Championships: 4
Grand National Modified: 1952-53
Grand National: 1962-63

Have No idea how I discovered Joseph 'Joe Weatherly's cross-over prowess all those years ago... Nevertheless he won three titles on Scooters' before transitioning into the world 'O 'RASSCAR; ACK!

Reportedly he was such a Showman that enjoyed partying into thy 'Wee hours that he was bestowed the moniker of Clown Prince of Racing... Along with being voted most popular Grand National driver in 1961.

As Weatherly's crowning achievement was winning the Grand National championship, the forerunner of today's Sprint Cup title back-to-back in 1962-63 before his untimely death at Riverside International Raceway a half century ago...

Paul Goldsmith
Cars: 1956-69
Championships: 2
USAC Stock Car: 1961-62
Indy 500 Starts: 6

Another name I've got NO idea how I discovered, (possibly thru his association with Joe Leonard) but Paul Goldsmith seems like an interesting character, having raced motorcycles in the AMA with his career highlight being victory at the 1953 Daytona 200. And before today's singular NASCAR Sprint Cup series, he won the lesser known USAC Stock Car crown twice, along with making six of his eight Champ Car starts in the Indy 500 where he had a best finish of third place in 1960...

Barry Sheen
Motorcycles: 1970-84
Teams: Suzuki, Yamaha
Championships: 3
Formula 750: 1973
500cc: 1976-77
Wins: 23
Poles: 18

British Superstar bike rider Barry Sheen raced before my tenuous introduction to all things motorsports, especially 500cc Grand Prix machinery - as Sheen retired before I started watching Scooters' on thy 'Telie and hence really don't know anything 'bout him.

,His four wheels career apparently was a bith 'Sketchy" since I can only find one fleeting reference claiming he ran a Toy-Yoter' Supra in the British Touring Car Championship, (BTCC) presumably in the late 1980's?

Yet far more is made of his flamboyant lifestyle, particularly his marrying a former Penthouse Pet of the Year; Partying with the likes of James Hunt, Ringo Starr and George Harrison - along with being one of the first riders to reep the benefits of personal endorsements.

Sheen and his family moved to Australia's Gold Coast after his retirement in hopes that the warmer weather would help somewhat offset his injury induced Arthritis, as sadly he died at the age of 52 from throat and stomach cancer...

Wayne Gardner
Motorcycles: 1983-92
Teams: Honda
Championships: 1
500cc: 1987
Wins: 18
Poles: 19
Cars: 1993-2002

Wayne Garner's claim to fame is becoming Australia's first ever 500cc Grand Prix motorcycle champion, defeating arch-rival Eddie Lawson during his reign as top GP rider of the late 1980's.

Garner was so quick that he was bestowed the nickname of the "Wollongong Whiz," and delighted his adoring fans by winning the inaugural Phillip Island Grand Prix Scooters' race in 1989, before repeating the following year.

After retiring from bikes at the end of the '92 season, ironically the same year as Lawson, Wayne switched over to four wheels, beginning in the Australian Touring Car championship's 5.0-liter division, the forbearer to today's V8 supercars, which he contested for several years before moving onto Japanese Touring Cars, as "Captain Chaos," his not-so flattering nickname for his apparent causing of crashes in Tintops' retired for good at the end of 2002...

Casey Stoner
Motorcycles: 2006-12
Teams: Honda, (2006, 2011-12) Ducati (2007-10)
Championships: 2
MotoGP: 2007, 2011
Wins: 38
Pols: 39
Cars: 2013-Present

Casey Stoner has always been somewhat of  an enigma to Mwah, although I was delighted with his knocking "the Doctor," aka Valentino Rossi down a notch during his career, although his first world championship seemed to be overshadowed by the superiority of the Bridgestone tyres he ran on... Yet he was utterly dominant that year, winning ten races!

Having been labeled "week" due to his mystery ailment, initially diagnosed as anemia, and later correctly diagnosed as lactose intolerant, Stoner rebounded by triumphantly winning his second world championship for Honda in 2011 before his  shock retirement announcement in May, 2012.

But Stoner's defining moment for Mwah was his gritty ride at Indianapolis during his final season's campaign, after having torn ligaments in his ankle during qualifying - he gritted out a gutsy performance with a fourth-place finish!

Stoner signed a one-year 'Aussie Touring Cars contract in 2013, running in the Ute's' division, and I haven't heard if he's racing again this year?

And he's a legend Down Under, having gone undefeated on home soil by winning the Australian GP six-years consecutively... Along with having met his wife who asked him to autograph her midriff in '03 before the couple married in '07; ironically the couple's first child, a girl was born in 2012 on arch-rival Rossi's birthday. (Feb 16)

Ricky Carmichael
Motorcycles: 1997-2007
Teams: Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki
Championships: 16
AMA Motocross)
125cc: 1997-99
250cc: 2000-06*
AMA Supercross)
125cc lites East: 1998*
450cc: 2001-03, 2005-06
Wins: 150
125-250cc AMA Motocross: 26
250-450cc AMA Supercross: 48
250-450cc AMA Motocross: 76
(Excludes AMA SX/MX)
Cars: 2009-11
Teams:  Kevin Harvick Inc, Turner Motorsports
Poles: 1

* = Perfect Season: 8-0 in 125cc lites; 24-0 twice for Outdoor Motocross season's 2002, 2004.

Known as "The Goat," a la Greatest Of All Time, (ever) certainly there's those who'd disagree, like somebody named Muhammad Ali; Hya! Yet Ricky Carmichael truly was one of thee BADDEST BAD ARSES ever on two wheels as his wins & championship totals are truly astounding! As I haven't even included his multiple Motorcycles des Nations triumphs, etc.

Carmichael then tried his hand in the world 'O Roundy-round, presumably hoping to make his way to the B-I-G SHOW, a la Sprint Cup and began by running late model "Bombers" before jumping into 'PickemUp Trucks, driving the No. 4 Chebbie' for 'RASSCAR BAD BOY Kevin Harvick - before running his final two seasons for Turner Motorsports.

Unfortunately, at the end of the season his longtime backer Monster Energy Drinks transferred their sponsorship to Kyle Busch's Nationwide team, leaving Ricky on the sidelines and back to doing Supercross commentating as a TV Analyst...

Valentino Rossi
Motorcycles: 1996-Present
(MotoGP: 2002-Present)
Teams: Honda, (2002-03) Yamaha, (2004-10, 2013-Present) Ducati (2011-12)
Championships: 6
Years: 2002-05, 2008-09
Wins: 67
Poles: 45
(500cc: 2000-01)
Teams: Honda
Championships: 1
Years: 2001
Wins: 13
Poles: 4
(250cc: 1998-99)
Teams: Aprilia
Championships: 1
Years: 1999
Wins: 14
Poles: 5
(125cc: 1996-97)
Teams: Aprilia
Championships: 1
Years: 1997
Wins: 12
Poles: 5

Valentino Rossi is known as "the Doctor" for good reason, ultimately carving up the competition en route to a staggering sum of nine world championships including seven in the top class, being the sport's final 500cc titlist before transitioning to today's MotoGP championship.

And wouldn't I-T have been kOOL! If Rossi had actually decided to switch to F1? Having taken part in the 3-day test at Valencia in 2006 with la Scuderia, (Ferrari) naturally! Although having spun out in damp conditions on Day-1, Rossi rebounded on Day-2 to finish P9, (of 15) ahead of Mark Webber, David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli, just one second adrift of Michael Schumacher in P3. And on Day-3 he narrowed the gap to 'DER TERMINATOR (M. Schumacher) to just a bit over one-half second.

Valentino's passion seemingly lies with Rallying, claiming one of his boyhood heroes was the late Colin McRae, who taught the Italian the basics of rally driving before he beat his mentor at the 2005 Monza Rally Show. As Rossi won the event three years on-the-trot.

Rossi's debutant WRC event took place at the '02 Rally Great Britain, followed up by outings in New Zealand and Britain once again with varying degrees of success, as the affable Italian who leads in all-time MotoGP wins with 80 (combined) will likely attempt to transition to the WRC whenever he decides to call it quits on his remarkable motorcycle career...