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Superbike Archive: 1976
by dean adams
Saturday, February 14, 2004

This is a summary of the first season of AMA Superbike racing. Prior to 1976 the "Superbike Production" class was not an official part of the AMA roadrace national weekend and run intermittently as a support class side-show. (Although it is a fact that Steve McLaughlin won the first official Superbike Production race, Yvon DuHamel in fact won the first Superbike production race held at an AMA national, at Laguna Seca in 1974. DuHamel, father of racers Miguel and Mario DuHamel, rode a Pops Yoshimura Kawasaki that day.)

Date: March 05 1976
Venue: Daytona International Speedway

Race Report: Steve McLaughlin, who would later go on to start the World Superbike series in 1988, won the first official AMA Superbike race in history, at Daytona in 1976. This race featured a photo finish at the line with Reg Pridmore (BMW) leading on the final lap but being passed by McLaughlin and almost passed by drafting ex-Cycle editor Cook Neilson inches before the finish.

Editor's Note: Victory circle for this first event was all European bikes, with BMW in first and second, and Neilson's Ducati in third.

Results:

1. Steve McLaughlin, BMW

2. Reg Pridmore, BMW

3. Cook Neilson, Ducati

4. Wes Cooley, Kawasaki

5. Mike Baldwin, Moto-Guzzi

6. Kurt Lenz, Kawasaki

7. Terry Thompson, Kawasaki

8. Kurt Liebman, Ducati

9. Art Kowitz, Kawasaki

10. Fred Waiti, Kawasaki

* *************************
Date: August 01 1976

Venue: Laguna Seca Raceway

Race Report: Future California Superbike School founder Keith Code featured heavily in the second official "Superbike Production" race in history. Code was passed by Reg Pridmore early in the race and Pridmore won. Mike Parriott and Code both rode Yoshimura Kawasakis, tuned by the legendary Pops Yoshimura.

Editor's Note: Plenty of weird morphodite bikes in the field, including fourth place finisher Dick Fuller on a, yes, Yamaha 350. Randy Mamola in 250 Lightweght event.

Results:

1. Reg Pridmore, BMW

2. Keith Code, Kawasaki

3. Mike Parriott, Kawasaki

4. Dick Fuller, Yamaha

5. James Haverlin, Triumph 750

6. Will Hardin, Kawasaki

7. Tip McPartland, Kawasaki 750

8. Dick Kilgroe, Kawasaki

* ***************************
Date: October 03 1976

Venue: Riverside Raceway

Race Report: Pridmore wins again over his teammate Steve McLaughlin. Cook Neilson led for a short time but the Butler and Smith BMWs passed him by half distance. Neilson and the Ducati led again but suffered some sort of oil puking nightmare and he slowed. Pridmore passed him for the win, and championship

Editor's Note: Purse for this event? Pridmore netted $375, Neilson $260 and McLaughlin, $180. Last race of 1976 season.

Results:

1. Reg Pridmore, BMW

2. Cook Neilson, Ducati

3. Steve McLaughlin, BMW

4. Gary Fischer, BMW

5. Wes Cooley, Kawasaki

6. Mike Parriott, Kawasaki

7. Lang Hindle, Kawasaki

8. Steve Maloney, Triumph

9. Keith Code, Kawasaki

10. Dick Kilgrove, Kawasaki

Although a short schedule, Reg Pridmore on a BMW is the first AMA Superbike champion of all time.

ENDS

Where There's Soup There's Fire ...
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Lost @ Ducati
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Interview, Erv Kanemoto, 1993
Interview, Tom Kipp Jr. 1993

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