Who were you racing against at that motocross meeting?

 You gotta start somewhere riding motocross! 

As mentioned in a previous post, I started my motocross career aboard a twin shock 500cc Honda XR which was an enduro bike and not really suited for thmy 1st motocrosse rigours of motocross, but it was all I had.

 After some success with a couple of overall wins under my belt, I bought a second-hand British built 500cc CCM which was an awesome beast but would shake itself to death during a race. The other challenge with this machine was due to the fact that it was powered by the old B50 BSA engine with the Quaife 3 speed box which had the gear lever mounted on the right side of the cases (typically British) with the rear brake lever on the left. On more than one occasion I would find myself in top gear, charging downhill or into a corner then applying firm pressure onto the right lever which resulted in the engine revving itself silly because I had kicked it down a gear, forgetting that the right pedal was the gear lever and not the brake pedal. This clearly had to go.

What I need now is a proper motocross bike.

What followed next was a brand new 490 Maico Alpha 1. Now I had a proper motocross bike and rapidly went from junior status to intermediate, and it was with this bike that I achieved expert status in my 1st season of motocross.

I recall going to a particular meeting where I found myself right in the zone, you know what I mean; it’s when everything drops into place and you can’t put a foot wrong. After the practice session, I lined up for the first race. When the starting gate dropped, I was gone. Leading into the first bend I just focused on riding as fast as I could. Every time I raced along the top finish straight I could hear another bike, which I thought was right behind me, it sounded like it was going like the clappers, and this spurred me to ride even faster. Eventually, a man waved a chequered flag at me. First race of the day, first place!

 When I finally stopped to see who was in second place, I had to wait ages before he arrived. Strange!maico motocross bike

The second and third races were carbon copies of the first with this other rider right behind me. I knew he was there because I could hear his engine screaming as I raced along the top straight. Again, having finished first, there was no one right on my tail chasing me for the win. As I sat and pondered as to what was going on, I suddenly realised that every time a bike went past the commentator on the top straight, the sound of the machine would be picked up on his microphone and broadcast over the sound system.

It was then that the penny dropped, the screaming 2 stroke I could hear right behind me was in fact the sound of my own bike being broadcast over the sound system. I was actually racing against the sound of myself. I was so focused on getting away from this ‘other’ bloke, that it never once occurred to me that the sound diminished the further away I got from the top straight. Duh!!!

That’s it, I’m done with motocross.

As I mentioned in a previous post, riding motocross in ‘82/’83 was great fun but it would take all day to ride a 15 minute practice and three 15 minute races, a long day for one hours riding. Another reason for leaving was due to the fact that in ’83 there seemed to be a culture brewing whereby it was more fun to take you out than to simply race you handlebar to handlebar. I lost more skin that season than ever before or since. 

I still had a hankering to go back to enduro racing which typically would be of 100 mile duration per day with 2 or 3 special stages or tests along the way. This suited my riding style, also my mental and physical fortitude better.

 I was never a naturally gifted motocross rider but what I did posses was the determination and tenacity to finish a race.

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