Mar 23, 2002
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Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>About 40 friends and family members gathered Saturday afternoon at a GP Send-off party for young American John "Hopper" Hopkins, who leaves next week for Japan and the first MotoGP race of the 2002 season.<BR><BR>The party was hosted by Hopkins' mother, Linda, at the family's home in Ramona, California.<BR><BR>A film crew was on hand to interview notable figures in Hopper's racing career, for a film project documenting life on the Grand Prix circuit.<BR><BR>Attendees included Barry McMahan, Hopkins' mechanic during his AMA-Championship-winning 2000 (750cc Supersport) and 2001 (Formula Xtreme) race seasons, who flew in from Alabama for the event. Also present were Doug Gonda, Hopkins' manager; Al Lyons, the 50cc, 80cc, 125cc and 250cc team owner who took John Hopkins under his wing following the death of Hopkins' father, Roy, when Hopkins was about 12 years old; John Ulrich, owner of Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki, the team Hopkins rode for in 1999, 2000 and 2001; Iain MacLean, representing Red Bull Yamaha; racers Leigh Crawford and Chris Ulrich; and many family friends and associates from Hopkins' days as a young motocross racer.<BR><BR>A Red Bull bar was on site for the gathering.