1978 AMA Superbike: as close as you like
Intended as an everyman alternative to pure race bikes, its weaving road-based animals made this series the bill-topping sensation
Forty years ago, the superbike racing movement was gathering significant momentum thanks to the sensational American ‘Superbike Production’ series. Already a major spectator draw, the sensational ’78 season kicked off at Daytona with a win for ‘Motormouth’ Steve Mclaughlin – one of the most outspoken characters in the history of American road racing. Mclaughlin was riding a Yoshimura Suzuki, but over the season in the six-race series there were wins by three different manufacturers and five different riders, before Brit ex-pat Reg Pridmore bagged the title riding a Des Roches Kawasaki backed by Vetter. It was his third successive title, having claimed the first-ever AMA Superbike Production title in 1976 riding a Butler & Smith BMW R90, followed by taking the ’77 title on a Racecrafters Kawasaki. His third crown in ’78 came despite Pridmore failing to win a single race throughout the season...
Cooley (left) and Mclaughlin at Daytona, 1978