A few weeks ago, I ventured down to Chehalis - that be Washington - to soak up a little vintage motocross via AHRMA racing action. This race being a national event and held at "The Farm", a sweet natural style course, attracted a decent crowd of racers and various old iron to gawk at. Being semi-old guy, this era of dirt bikes is right up my alley, and seeing 'em back in action fires up the memory banks and puts a smile on my face.
I hit this shindig last year and penciled it for 2012, scoring some rare solo time - being family guy and all - no one else interested in Old 'N' Loud motorcycles. Armed with a camera and few hours to myself, wandered around and took a few zillion pics. A fun afternoon for me...
Vintage Penton, old school CZ, and even older school Greeves dance left to right. The Greeves sporting leading link fork and tiny overall size.
The only jump on the course, air not required. Course design geared towards fun and older bikes, not modern big air and huge risk. Even so, vintage or not, motocross it is with some risk involved. Almost all folks sporting modern safety gear - not a bad idea.
BSA thundering around the course with open pipes. This era of bike pre-dates my involvement with motocross "back in the day". By then, two strokes ruled and four stoke bikes rendered ancient iron. Of course, the tables are now turned with four strokes outnumbering two stroke bikes for modern motocross. However, that game is rigged and I'll save that for a future debate. In any case, seeing this era of old school four strokes in action is pretty damn cool. Sorta like a living history lesson.
Bultaco Pursang chasing a Honda Elsinore. Words you don't hear very often in this Day 'N' Age.
Rubber band starts were the order of the day, as was fuming out the second wave of racers with two stroke exhaust. Gag, cough - hey, that smells like my teenage years. 50 to 1 ratio acting as memory inducing smoke machine.
Don't venture to an event like this with an empty truck or trailer, blank check or large wad of bills. You could wind up driving home thinking up excuses as to why you really need a vintage Husqvarna, certainly the family would understand. Ah, maybe. Lots of nice bikes for sale, sitting in the epicenter of intended demographics. This clean Husky 125 had me thinking...
Kawasaki KX, complete with modern Works Performance shocks. Restored to race, not just be "collectable" and collect dust. This bike collects dust the correct way, from race action.
Very vintage BSA ready to roll. During my dirt bike daze of the mid to late '70s, I thought these old bikes were Fred Flintstone junk. I had a friend during that era, who restored and rode similar bikes for fun. I thought it was a total waste of time. Not now, I dig looking at and hearing these motocross dinosaurs. Old pal Dave, wherever you may now be - you were right all along - these bikes are cool.
Well prepped CZ ready to rock. I've never owned or even ridden a CZ, but have always been fascinated by 'em. Much motocross history involved. If I ever get the time and dough to race vintage motocross, I plan to track down a clean CZ to do just that.
Yamaha TY175 at rest. Observed Trials was to be the "next big thing" during the dirt bike hey day of the '70s. That never happened and trials bikes soon disappeared from most manufacturer's line ups, the big four anyway - Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki - leaving the Spanish gang to provide the best tools for trials. That be Ossa, Montesa and Bultaco, all of which with a rich observed trials history.
Clean pair of Yamaha DTs soak up the sun. A few of these lived in my childhood neighborhood in various displacements, a friend of mine letting me ride his 100cc version at times. Heady stuff and assisted with planting the seed of all things dirt bike into my developing 12 year old brain.
Cheering makes you go faster and chase harder. Real grass and dirt course providing some proper roosting action.
Vintage YZ and vintage spectator get a little loopy.
Can you say "Snail Pipe"? Yeah, I thought you could. CZ, complete with snail pipe, blurs the course.
Bultaco Pursang frolics in the sun.
And yet another Pursang, this one in purty red, catches a little air.
BSA gets sideways in the shade.
Maico 501 puts down the power.
"Hey kids, follow me..."
Front row seats. No problem getting close to the action.
Track well suited for vintage racing, real grass included at no extra charge.
Vintage Ossa on the go.
Fast dude on Maico 125 lays it down.
Hay bale provides camera protection.
Track side lunch. Nothing healthy here to look at, please move along...
Checkered flag means you're done. Let the boasting and/or excuses begin.
I talked to this guy for a bit, said he's been racing motocross since 1964. And still does so on this '69 CZ. Motocross, bicycles, surfing, skateboards - whatever your "thing" is - nothing cooler then someone who's been at a long time. And doesn't plan to stop...
How often do you see a nicely prepped Matchless for motocross duty? Not often is a safe bet.
Maico and CZ pose for the camera, wheels turned coyly to the left.
Early '70s Ossa 250, Mick Andrews Replica model. I've ridden one of these a few times during the '70s, being pals with a family that was big into observed trials. They had a few trials bikes in their garage besides the Ossa, including a Montesa 123 and 348, along with a few Suzuki RL 250s. Plonk, plonk, dab, dab...
Even though this was a vintage motocross event, a few trials bikes around, since they held the AHRMA vintage trials event the day before. Maybe next year, I'll check that out as well.
Yamaha XS 650 powered motocrosser. Welcome to Crazy Town, but really well done Crazy Town.
Interesting bike built around a Jawa speedway motor. The details on this bike blew me away when spotted at a vintage show a few months ago. Dude said he raced it hard and after seeing it in action, he wasn't kidding.
Can Am compresses front fork and memory bank - popping out memory of high school me passing a Can Am dealer during school bus commute - eyes peeled to bikes displayed in front of shop. I'd sit on the right side of the bus everyday for the best view.
When I shot this event last year, you couldn't swing a broken swing arm without knocking over a trick CZ. This year, appeared to be the bumper crop of nice Maicos. No problem there, change can be good.
1974 Suzuki TM125. I owned one of these in '76 during high school. My first real dirt bike, bought off a friend after he upgraded to a new RM125. Ah, the memories...
Another Can Am to ponder and remind you of Jimmy Ellis.
Home brew Penton/Honda creation. Wacky, yet not bad looking.
File this under "Pending ER Visit", the Yankee 500 twin dirt bike. If I remember my history correctly, motor was based on two Ossa 250cc cylinders. First time I've seen one in the flesh, uh, metal. Interesting stuff.
Yup, another insanely nice Maico. Very nice indeed.
Bad Brad was here...
Okay, last Maico. I promise (well, not really). This one in full flight. I dig this shot, if I may say so.
Full on extra bonus points for matching kit. Very cool. Modern safety gear be damned.
Super clean, street legal, Husqvarna 360 for sale. This one really had me thinking. Lucky for my wallet, seller in a rush for his next race, so I walked away. Damn, this would be fun to own. Imagine riding this to work...
Tank badges read like a history timeline: CZ, Maico, BSA, KTM...
Overall, a fun day in the sun watching and hearing classic motocrossers - bikes and people - do their thing in the dirt. I haven't spent any time on a dirt motorcycle since 1981, yet this stuff is completely burned into my brain with many good memories attached. If money and time allowed, I could easily see myself jumping into this vintage racing scene. Could happen eventually. We'll see. Until then, I'll hit events occasionally and enjoy as the knowing spectator.
We'll conclude this little adventure with a slideshow of additional pics, mostly action shots. Enjoy...