Last week, I received an e-mail from Doug Toland, a longtime personal friend and for many years a valued member of the Cycle World staff. While thumbing through the March issue, he'd come across 25 Years Ago. He recognized himself as one of the photo models on the cover of that 1985 magazine.
"That was my first issue," wrote Toland. "We shot the photos in December, 1984. I was riding the Kawasaki Ninja 600. I rode the Cagiva Alazzurra 650, as well, but, for sure, I was doing the wheelie on the Ninja. It doesn't seem that long ago..."
Toland went on to describe the circumstances that put him on the cover. "Lori Tyson, a friend who knew David Edwards at Cycle World, called me and said that the magazine needed a rider for a photo shoot," he recalled. "The shoot took place somewhere north of Los Angeles. Former racer Larry Theobald was the other rider. Dave Hawkins shot the photos."
At that time, Toland was an up-and-coming roadracer. His speed and smooth style earned him part-time rides in 1985 in AMA Superbike with Yoshimura Suzuki and in WERA with Team Hammer (later known as Team Suzuki Endurance, Valvoline Suzuki and, presently, Team M4 EMGO Suzuki), with whom he shared the 1986 WERA National Endurance Championship. He also did select events that year in AMA Superbike for Vance & Hines Suzuki.
In 1988, Toland joined Cycle World full-time as an associate editor. He also continued racing and in 1993, he became the first American to win the FIM World Endurance Championship. He later returned to AMA competition, teaming with Kiwi Andrew Stroud under the Erion Racing Honda banner to take the AMA SuperTeams title in 1996. Toland also raced in the AMA Supersport and Formula Xtreme classes. He retired after the following season.
Toland remained on the CW staff as a test consultant until 1997, when he joined American Honda as a product evaluator. He is currently employed as Assistant Manager, Motorcycle Dealer Support/Techline.