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Just Another Rung on Albertyn’s Ladder : Motocross: South African world champion rides his way up, with next goal a victory at Anaheim tonight.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Greg Albertyn is a goal-oriented motocross rider from South Africa who has a habit of achieving his objective and then setting his sights on another.

When Albertyn, 22, was 13 he won the South African 80cc championship. Four years later, he set a goal of winning a world championship. With motocross on a decline in South Africa because of the political climate, he moved to Belgium to pursue the world 125cc championship.

He won it in 1992, riding a Honda, and moved up a step to the 250cc world championship circuit, the most prestigious of the traditional outdoor titles. He won on his first try.

“Once I reach a goal, I want a new one, and after I won the 250, I wanted to come to the United States and ride in the Supercross,” Albertyn said. “I almost came then, but negotiations with Honda broke down.”

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So he switched to Suzuki and won a second world 250cc championship.

Now his goal is to win the American Supercross series. To help achieve it, he moved to Corona, near several practice tracks.

“There was nothing more to accomplish in the world outdoors, so I told Suzuki I wanted to come to the United States because this is where all the best riders are,” he said.

Tonight, Albertyn will line up against two-time champion Jeremy McGrath of Murrieta and the rest of the top Americans at Anaheim Stadium in Round Three of the Supercross season, hoping to qualify for his first stadium main event. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.

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Albertyn fell in his heat in the season opener at Orlando, Fla., and suffered a shoulder separation. The injury also kept him out of last week’s race at Minneapolis.

“I broke my wrist in practice after last season, so I missed the European stadium races,” he said. “I haven’t really had a race for three months, so my timing is going to be off. . . .

“I felt good at Orlando. I got a good start and passed (Doug) Henry and (Ezra) Lusk for the lead and was running second when I made a silly mistake. I didn’t jump far enough and hit a ridge and got pitched off the bike. It was brain fade. That came from lack of concentration, and that came from lack of riding time.”

Albertyn is coached by Belgian Roger DeCoster, a five-time world champion while riding for Suzuki. DeCoster recently rejoined his former team after having been with Honda for several years. While with Honda, DeCoster was the mentor of Jean-Michel Bayle, a French rider who came to the United States after winning two world titles.

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“I saw Greg in all of his races last year, and he is a very dedicated and confident rider,” DeCoster said. “He doesn’t possess the finesse that Bayle had, but then no one ever has.”

After winning the Supercross and both American outdoor championships in 1992, Bayle left motocross to pursue a career in motorcycle Grand Prix road racing. Albertyn has other ideas.

“Down the road, after a couple of years, I’d like to try my hand at racing cars,” he said. “After missing two races, I don’t have a realistic chance at the Supercross (championship) this year, but I’d like to get a win or two and be ready to go for the whole thing next year.”


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