Priddy's bike school, take it!
Soup
NewsFeaturesRacingPointsGarageAdvertisersContact UsNavigation
INTERVIEW ERV KANEMOTO
by Dean Adams (1993)

Q. What is happening for you in 1994 Erv?

A. Itís kind of narrowing up now, but I still donít know much. The biggest thing I worry about is that IRTA will fix the entries and if I canít come up with a sponsor in time ... thatís my biggest fear. Thatíll be the day that I wonít be able to have a team. That time I would assume is coming within the next week or so. I have not been able to come up with anything sponsorship wise. Once the day comes and IRTA fixes the entries and I couldnít have an entry or a start then I have to look at what my options might be at that point. Right now I have been in talks with a couple of people but it looks as if it is winding down to being one in a million that we will end up with a sponsor. I spoke to Gary Howard today and he said that Eddie Lawson would be interested provided we come up with the budget, the equipment. I've spoken to HRC and it is a little late and they have had a deadline of machines, but I think something could be worked out. If we had a budget. 

Q. Could sponsorship come specifically from Honda?

A. No, I feel theyíre working to get things squared away for themselves. 

Q. HRC letting Beattie go, can we take this as a sign they are tightening things up?

A. I havenít heard of late. The original plan that I heard a couple of months ago, indirectly, the rumors were, that the 500 riders would be Mick, Itoh and Criville. They need someone like Itoh or someone like that to do some testing and to development and things like that in addition to racing. All teamís need a couple of riders. The 250 class I think they feel that they are well covered, only they could say but they have Caparossi who battled right to the end and Romboni who was injured, those would be their main guys. 

Q. HRC is certainly gearing up for the assault on the Superbike class, I understand they are going to have quite a presence in the WSC..

A. I could see that they are going to need some people because of the electronics and things, so they are going to need specialists. And Iím sure you would assume that if they are putting in the type of effort that I would expect with the new bike that they are going to feel they are well covered. 

Q. I shudder to ask, but have you any interest in Superbike racing?

A. Well, (sighs) not at this moment. Like I say at the time, when the day comes that I have to look at going to a different team or looking for work other than having my own team, itís whatever might be out there. Right now, I hope to stay in with the GP type racing because I hope that I could turn around and come back. Letís say that the effort is not the quite same size that Iíd like, as long as Iím in I feel that maybe next year I could work towards something else. Letís say that I go to Superbike or do something like that, then it might be a little more difficult.

Q. You have been with Honda for a long time, could you make the leap to a different factory?

A. Well,  thatís the thing. At some point if everything narrows up and I only have a few options, Iíd have to look at what might be out there. My first choice would not be to go to work for somebody, but there is always that option. I may have to do that, provided there is something out there. 

Q. The fuel regulations will change for next year in GP racing. How will that affect the performance of the machines?

A. The new gas will be like AV-gas, a low lead fuel. We were well aware from the end of the season last year which direction they were going. We looked into that and  were testing the new fuels right now, in fact, we finally got our chassis dyno working in Belgium this last week and weíre doing some work on that. At this moment the fuel shows good, the initial tests. We tested maybe five new fuels, they all show some kind of promise, now we have to break out the direction, out of the five, which way to go from there and make one or two more fuels. It shows promise. Weíre, at this moment, it appears that we are running at the same power, or we could say almost the same power as the fuel we used in 1993, the two gasolineís we used last year. The big thing is the detonating qualities, something that will operate in the heat. Right now Belgium has been down in the fifties as far as outside temperature is concerned. So we need to heat up the intake air temperature and simulate a summer condition. 
The initial tests show that it isnít a disaster so now all we have to do is simulate something close to the race conditions. Thatís an interest for me but too bad we couldnít sell fuel to stay in business. 

Q. Have you become more health conscious in the past few years working with the fuel in GP racing?

A. Oh, I mean, yeah, for sure. There is no question but that is a whole different story, weíre around all kinds of chemicals and all kinds of things. As always you become more aware of everything around you the longer youíre on this earth. The thing is, if we think lead and some of those things, the materials are bad for us ...

First we have to determine what the goal of the fuel rule is, what weíre going after, the major objective. Are we looking at doing something that is safer? But if we are talking about a small percentage, if we feel there are some things that are bad in the thing, I think we need to go all the way. But just a small thing or a token thing ...

Weíre racers so whatever the rules are we are going to work towards those limits, the thing is, for me, if we see the rules then we try to understand the rules and try to work right up to the limit. But first we have to decide what our main objective is, is it the health thing and is it something that we feel we are doing something about or are we really going to accomplish something. 

Like I say, my whole thing is racing, whatever the rules are we are going to work towards maximizing what the rules are. 

Q. Wayne Gardner left a fairly large hole in GP racing when he retired. Do you miss the aggressive Australian and did you ever figure his riding style out?

A. I think that everyone, Wayne, Eddie, everyone .. any time a top rider leaves there is a void there. So any time you lose someone like that it is hard, although Barros has stepped up this year and there has been a couple other ones but still it would be nice if Wayne and Eddie were back riding with us. 
Gardner, as you know, rode really aggressive. But the that is his basic personality or nature, he pushes really hard. So in turn it is reflected in his riding. Itís just a matter of understanding when you are working with someone like that, Wayne, understand what his riding style needs and making some sort of settings to suit him. 

Itís impossible to change someone whether you are playing golf or bowling or whatever, itís how you have learned to do what you do best. You canít change them, you just understand their strong points and try to work with that. Wayne just gets on the throttle hard and he gets in deep, (laughs) and so in turn it makes the bike do a lot of things that with the amount of power we have now, the bike wants to move a little bit. Where you  maybe see another rider who is a little more flowing you wonít see the reaction of the bike as much. The bikes have so much power now that youíre forcing the bike to do something it does not want to. There is enough power now that when you get on the throttle, if youíre not pointed exactly in the right direction it is going to reflect it. Youíre going to be able to see it. Someone like Luca is a flowing rider and youíre not going to see quite the same things, but like I say, you utilize the personís strong point. 

Q. You were linked to John Kocinski for a time while he was unemployed this season. Do you see in John Kocinski someone you could work well with?

A. Sure. I didnít get to see him much here, but when he came over that first year on the 250 and then when he rode the 500, we had a first hand look at John. Heís a real talented person and anyone who works with john would be a lucky person.

Q. You have had a large amount of different people who have worked on your team in Europe. How do you pick these people?

A. This year I hired two new Japanese mechanics, one Scottish mechanic and one English mechanic, those were the new ones I got. What Iím looking at now, it is really difficult to say without knowing someone that he really is going to work out. My thought this year was lets hire some new people, people that have not been in the business. There is no question that in working on these machines that skill plays a huge part of it. But the conditions that one works under, that is the hardest thing for most people: the traveling, the long hours, the time off, all of that. Trying to find the person who can cope with that plus there are days because of the schedule that are both good and bad. You need team members that are willing to pick up the load, we need people that are willing to put out more than the usual amount and more than meet someone half way. So that one day you are not operating up to par, someone will pick up the load for you and vice versa. Thatís the most important thing for me is to have people like that and when you have people like that it just makes it easier, we get a whole lot more done. If we have two hours between practice we try to stuff three hours of practice in there. We ask people to do something that is much more demanding than an eight to five job. 

You know, you can talk to someone, you can look at their resumes and you can spend some time with them, but normally, in the winter we go to two tests. And you work with someone for about a week, you understand pretty much all abut them. Thatís one of the things I really enjoy about racing, my thoughts are that racing is like life condensed in a short period, all of life, joy sorrow, the whole gamut of emotions and situations. You can work with someone forever in an eight to five job and never really understand the person because normally they are not pushed to the limit because the work and the hours. But when you work with someone during the racing season, within a week youíre overloaded so bad that you know all about them. Maybe it is just our team, we try to push and do more, as I said, if there is three hours between practices, we try to stuff four hours of work in those few hours. I'm asking the people involved to do a whole lot. 

You can sign a contract from a resume but you work with them for one week in testing in the winter and you basically understand them. The equation would be racing equals life cubed, or something of that sort. That is one of the things that attracts me to any type of competition. 

Q. Fuel injected 500s have not given the incredible power numbers that some thought they would. Is it just because they are early in their design cycle or was its power producing capabilities overestimated?

A. Well, with the two stroke engine, it appears, that we run into a lot of things that with the four cycle engine, we donít. There has been a lot more development on the four stroke and people have been working on them for quite a while. Most all of the major factories, for a fact I would say that every one except for maybe Suzuki, and they probably are working on one, have injected bikes in development. This year you will probably see another company running or testing a bike in the series. 

The carburetor is such a simple thing but it works really well over a wide range. Many of the cars and other vehicles that use injection have, most importantly, bigger displacement and it seems you can keep it in a certain range. But, with a two cycle the motorcycles we are racing now a lot of the times we are operating outside the range. The power bands are wide but they really donít make a wide range of power. Itís very hard to program the thing and it is really just a matter of time before someone will come up with something that will cover all of the areas. Right now it is fairly easy to get the thing to work in certain areas but over the whole range it seems to be a bit of a problem. I would assume the only factor involved is time, in 1994 or 95 we will probably see it. 

Q. Any American riders you are watching?
A. No, not really. We havenít been watching much here in America. This season has not been the greatest season for my team so we have been having our hands full in Europe this year just trying to win races. I have not really looked but I am sure that there are some good riders and some promising riders
 

Q. In your opinion did the death of Mr. Honda alter Honda in any way?
A. Maybe yes and no. I happened to meet Mr. Honda on two occasions and have heard much about him. He had to have been a real great man to do what he has done and to build what he did. At the time that I met him, he was retired at that time so he probably had a lot of influence still but not direct influence. 

Just the couple of times that I met him, he was in his eighties, he was till very astute and really understood machines. I donít think he had a lot of two stroke experience, but I was amazed when I was near a couple of conversations that he was having, to learn that although he wasnít aware of current projects, but when he jumped into the conversation that he understood a lot of things. He was a real engineer. To have been one of the people who worked closely with him when he was building Honda would have been quite an experience. 

The first time that we met him was in 1983 after Freddie won the championship. We, Freddie, George and myself were invited to his home. He gave each of us a painting then and itís something that I dig out every now and then and reminisce about that evening. 

That night he was comparing it to a painting he had there, a Picasso or something and he was saying how much it had cost or how valuable it was. He then said that the paintings he was giving to us were going to be very valuable one day as well. ďSave this painting, itís going to be worth a lot of money one day,Ē he said.

My reaction, which was kind of rude, was why? He said, ďBecause, I painted it.Ē Very few in the world Iím sure. END
 
 

PRIVACY POLICY | CONTACT US | HOME | RETURN TO TOP

© 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Hardscrabble Media


H-D VR1000

Buy a t-shirt