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At Willow Springs today Rich Oliver not only won the 250cc race, but also took 4th in the main event. He competed against 1000cc Zuks and still took 4th. I am going to miss watching this guy race. Sorry for the title, I am still tired from being out in the heat all day. It shoud say 'Is this guy awesome or what?'
 

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Rich Oliver is a fantastic racer. Makes you wonder why the factory superbike ride never panned out. I remember him a couple of years ago after winning the 250 race at Laguna he pulls off in the corkscrew strips his plastic and throws it to the waiting fans. Awesome sportsman!
 

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CBRjack : Rich Oliver is a fantastic racer. Makes you wonder why the factory superbike ride never panned out. I remember him a couple of years ago after winning the 250 race at Laguna he pulls off in the corkscrew strips his plastic and throws it to the waiting fans. Awesome sportsman!
After Rich won the 250 race at Laguna this year, we waited at the corkscrew, but he threw nothing. Oh well.
 

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I have known Rich for several years and he is a very nice person, if not a bit on the serious side.  To give you an idea of how nice he is, we were at Mid Ohio a few years back for the National where one of my teammates was running my TZ (as I was recuperating from a pretty bad crash).

Right before qualifying, the damn thing starts to leak oil from the clutch shaft where it meets the case.  Rich's truck had blown up before Mid Ohio and he had transferred all of his gear and parts to a Ryder truck and when he walked by our garage and saw us frantically pulling the case cover off, he stopped and ask if he could help.  He then took me back to his truck and proceeded to hand me basically an entire bottom end for the TZ (shift drum, clutch shaft, complete trans etc. etc.).  We pulled the cassette out and he put an entire new trans together along with the clutch shaft, final drive et al.  We slammed it back together and Tommy made qualifying without incident.  Later we found that when doing some routine periodic maintenance, we inadvertently swapped 2 O-rings and the one that handled oil control for the clutch shaft was the correct diameter, but the wrong thickness (one bad thing about the TZs, as they use several very similarly sized O-rings throughout the engine and trans).

When I returned all the parts to Rich later on, I asked how much I owed him and he just laughed and said 'nothing, how did your rider do?'

A class act all the way around . . .
 

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Almost forgot . . .  Evidently Rich never found himself in the good graces of John Ulrich, or Suzuki may have had a few more GP titles.  When queried about a replacement for Kevin Schwantz in 95, Ulrich (who basically introduced Suzuki to Schwantz several years ago) named 2 riders: Rich Oliver (who had run a full season on a 500 running the FUSA series on a Marlboro YZR500 for team Roberts) and Scott Russell.  At the time (the story goes) Suzuki pressured Ulrich into a single recommendation and everyone knows the outcome, as Russell turned out to be a total waste of time, money, resources, development ad nauseum and saw the downfall of the marque as a top contender (even though KR-JR won in 00 due to lack of competition).  Russell ended up burning a lot of bridges and essentially brought a pocket knife to a gunfight.  Had Rich been given the nod, I think history would have been a bit different.

Just one persons opinion . . .
 

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abtech : Almost forgot . . .  I think history would have been a bit different.

Just one persons opinion . . .
I never knew that!!! I am a huge Russell fan. I had no idea he and Oliver were up for the same spot. Learn something new every day.

Didnt he race superbike or supersport at one point and not do well, or not like it or something? I always wondered why he never ran in Superbike. I think he surely would have schooled them.
 

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I think he did some Nationals on a Yamaha 750 but I could be wrong. This guy is a master on that TZ putting out 100hp ridding the pegs with his ass off the seat all the way down the 1/2 straight at willow. He did 20 laps for the 250/50 for 1st & 80 laps in the Toyota 200 for 4th Running 1:22
 

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it's bad enough that the ama punters had to kill the whole 250 class - the bastards also killed the new FX class rules for a 330 one-off 2-smoker...
 

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Over the PA, they said the telimetry said he ran a 1:19 on about lap 60 I wonder if the transponder was funky, but reguardless, its amazing. I watched the race from olivers pit wall, on his last pit stop, he chugs water from a big sports bottle, chokes on it, pukes it up, half a second later the rear stand drops and he grabs the clutch, and hes off! Amazing.
 
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