moto-xer turned trailie
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: The Berkshires, land of the fire road
I am late to this thread, but I think I can contribute to the "history" lesson.
I started practicing offroad in about 1972 when I got a Honda 50. I used to ride it at the Arnspiger's track on Brainard road, in the middle of cornfields, in Naperville, Ill, a few miles from where I lived. Kurt and Casey Arnspiger were up and coming motocross amateurs, both really talented (Kurt eventually turned pro on an Elsinore 250), and their engineer father used to mod out their bikes in the big garage overlooking their home made back yard track. They had some pretty radically altered Hodakas with Dad-designed pipes, longer swing arms, ported to the moon, god knows what else. By the time they let me store my bikes there and hang out they had graduated to a Rickman and a Monarch, both Sachs engined 125s, top of the line European stuff in those days, and both required HUGE amounts of setup. Which was all totally expected in those days. Wired spokes, ductaped airboxes, upgraded shocks, beefed up frames, on and on. Meanwhile I was out there jumping my Honda 50 (hard tail!) off of three foot drops, experiencing some truly hellacious wipe outs, and breaking the frame at one point. After a few in-betweens (Suzuki 90 with "hop up kit," Honda MT125 (dog)) I graduated to a 125 DKW with a leading link fork. That bike had an iron barrel Sachs engine, big chrome tank, amazing suspension, I laced up a set of Akront rims (hot setup at the time), shimmed the tranny one winter with home-made brass shims and a set of calipers, got a Dremel for christmas, ported the barrel, shaved the piston, etc etc. I was about 15 at the time. That bike handled great but wasn't a real barn burner even after the mods. After that came the Elsinore, which had just come out and set fire to the 125 class. I got one cheap from a buddy who went from that to a Bultaco Pursang for some reason (he was a total squid, rich kid). The Arspigers were kind enough to forward mount my shocks (the hot setup in 1974/5) and I started racing in 1974 at Elkhorn, wisconsin, and a few other midwestern tracks. My friend Jerry and I used to sleep overnight at the tracks in his Volvo in the reclining seats, which, at my present age, would literally kill me--let alone let me race two motos the next day. Youth. Unreal. Anyway, my buddy Jim had a 125 Maico that was always broken, but not a bad bike when running. I ran over his leg and tank when he wiped on an uphill once, WOT, weight back.... ruthless at that age. I typically got a 4th or 5th place start, then fell a lot, usually about 3x per 15 minute moto, but always came back to end up around mid pack. Weighed about 125. Total adrenalin. No earplugs. The tracks were much smoother, and more natural than most are now, wooded, no commercialism, no Red Bull, fire pits, privateers with funky vans, just the smell of Penzoil and Castrol wafting through the trees, sunny summer days, Maicos, CZs, Zundapps, Montesas, TMs, Elsinores...
And, whoever posted that you used to run those 125s flat out was correct. I only knew one throttle position. And you didn't touch the clutch. Second gear starts, throttle all the way open, stomp on the shifter. When in doubt, gas it. This was a difficult thing to un-learn whenI got a KTM450 EXC and tried to ride it in the woods 35 years later. Owee.