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

Classic Bike (UK) - - CONTENTS - WORDS GEZ KANE

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

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