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Sep 9, 2002

Oliver Will Skip This Weekend's Big-money Race At Willow In Favor Of F-USA Dirt Track

From a press release issued by Team Oliver Yamaha:

Rich Oliver to race the Formula USA Dirt track Pro Singles event September 14th, at the famed Sacramento Mile.

Rich Oliver will make his Formula USA Dirt track debut in Sacramento, Ca. on the mile racing a Yamaha YZ426F. The ride was put together by Bob Hill and Mearl Barnett, who currently race in Pro Singles and wanted to help Oliver get involved in the growing Formula USA series.

Mike Kidd from Clear Channel Entertainment was also very helpful and supportive of Oliver's desire to add to his Grand Prix road racing skills by entering into the Dirt Track racing discipline. Rich comments about the attitude at Formula USA and Clear Channel, "Mike Kidd has been just great; he has welcomed me into the series and has really made me feel that I can find a home there, it's a nice change from what I'm used to dealing with."

Rich comments on his upcoming race, "It's going to be very exciting to be out on the mile track, and to try my hand at something new. I've flat tracked mini bikes for years, I was taught by Kenny Roberts when I rode for his US team, but this is no mini bike or mini bike track! I really want to thank Mearl for loaning me his bike, and Bob for all the help and advice. I just want to do the best I can and learn as much as possible, I don't have too many unrealistic expectations at this point, but if it goes well I'd sure like to race more of these Pro Singles events next season. I can't wait to try a TT race; I'll feel more at home when I get to use the front brake and turn right!"

In the one short week remaining, last minute work is going on with the Yamaha 426 to prepare as much as possible for the race. Kosman Racing is putting together some adjustable fork crowns and racing wheels, and Lindemann Engineering is lowering the suspension and working on the internal valving and spring rates to match the Yamaha to Rich's weight. VP has sent racing fuel and Oliver's mechanic Robert Ward will have one day on the Wilson's dyno in Fresno to jet the bike to the fuel. AFAM has sent all the gearing and handlebars.

Rich will wear his Troy Lee Designed Shoei Replica helmet and Kushitani leathers. Laughing, Rich tells us, "I'll take of the knee sliders!"

That's about all that can be done in time for this race, but Rich plans to build his own new YZ450 Yamaha for next season over this winter, and get on the track again as soon as possible.