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MOTOCROSS ACTION CLASSICS: NOVEMBER 1973 ISSUE

December 10, 2013
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BY ZAP
 
On the cove rof the November 1973 is Texan Jumpin’ Jack O’Leary (with his Full Bore boots, leather “leathers” and Carerra goggles) aboard a strapped tank YZ at the Lockhart MX track in Texas.
 
Long before Chaparral, BTO Sports and all the rest, the mail order business was alive and well over at Speed Center USA. What were some of the standout deals for the day? How about a Shoei full-face helmet for $32.95? Bill Walters GP Pants for $79.95. Motocross suspenders for $4.95. Preston Petty fender for $5.00. Then there’s the Jim Davis mouth guard that offered “dentist designed protection.”Of course you could also get a Hooker header expansion chamber for $32.00 to $53.00. Those were the days!  
 
The MXA wrecking crew started off the issue with a test of the Bultaco 250 Pursang. The Spanish-made bike cost a whopping $1195, weighed 220 pounds, had Betor suspension, fiberglass fenders, right-side five-speed shift, an Amal carb and Pirelli rubber on a pair of Akront rims. As for the seat, the test riders said, “One thing you won’t notice, at least until you ride the bike is the saddle. It isn’t a seat, it’s a torture rack.”

Quote: “A Skyway silencer replaced the unlamented chrome pickle. Shocks worked, but were the noisiest units tested since the infamous Southeast Alabama Chickenwire Trampoline of ’04”

 
MXA Mid-West editor, Pete Szilagyi covered the Inter-AMA series. The Inter-AMA was a 250-based series that ran through the summer and preceded the 11-race Trans-AMA series that ran from September through December.Brad Lackey showed up on a factory-backed Kawasaki and reeled off a few sweet clickers for the camera (above) while Yamaha’s Pierre Karsmakers was the only rider capable of putting a Japanese bike in the top five overall.

There is a lot of historical confusion about the Inter-Am, Inter-AMA, Trans-Am, Trans-AMA and Trans-USA names. Let’s clear it up. The Inter-Am was Edision Dye’s original series. The Inter-AMA was what the 250cc Inter-Am series was called after the AMA took it over.The Trans-AMA was the AMA’s attempt to knock-off Dye’s series (there never was anything called the Trans-Am…at least not in motorcycle racing).  Eventually, the Trans-Am car racing series and Pontiac took offense to the name Trans-AMA and threatened to sue the AMA. The Trans-AMA series was changed to Trans-USA for the last two years of its existence. Back in 1973, Husky-mounted Heikki Mikkola was the overall winner of the four-race Inter-AMA series. Third place overall was Bultaco rider Jim Pomeroy, who took the top American honors. 

 
America’s other top Euro star was Jim Pomeroy. Jim got a full color page of him dropping out of the peristyle at the Los Angeles Coliseum (where the second annual Superbowl of Motocross was run).

In a strange bit of Supercross irony, MXA said, “Open the program and what did they see? Circus. Apparently, Mike Goodwin’s media max had hired the Barnum & Bailey’s PR man. Whoever he was, his overstatements were exceeded only by his sense of schlock.” Imagine 35 years later and Barnum & Bailey’s would actually be running the show! As we all know, Marty Tripes repeated his first year win, only this time he was a Honda. There wouldn’t be another Japanese bike crossing the line until Tim Hart brought his Yamaha in at eighth. Maico rider Robert Plumb won the 500cc Support class with current MXA wrecking crew member Lars Larsson finishing fifth. 

 
 
The Mammoth story featured a full-page shot of CZ-mounted Ron Pinnick leading Jim Wilson ? a classic ’70’s MX image.

From the Inter-AMA & Superbowl to the Mammoth Mountain Motocross the November issue featured a wide range of race coverage. Although the race in the high Sierra hamlet (elevation 7000′)  is now best known for it’s big Vet and Amateur weekends, back in the day the Mammoth race was held on a single weekend and always featured some of the best riders in California with a de facto challenge always thrown down between the North & South camps. Tim Lunde took his Penton 125 to the 1973 win over a Monark-mounted Marty Smith and (future AXO owner) Jim Hale. Doug Grant  took the 250 class aboard his Bultaco while Kenny Zahrt took the Open class aboard his own mighty Bultaco. 
 
On page 49 of the November 1973 issue you’d find a novel comparison test between the new Yamaha YZ250 and YZ360.

One of the first things held up to MXA scrutiny was the cost of the bikes (at a whopping $1800 and $1900 respectively). As the MXA wrecking crew surmised the cost of the bikes was due to these factors: “You’re paying for the cost of developing the bikes. That includes the rider’s salaries, the gas that Don Jones used in his motor home, the quarry-full of grinding stones he wore out rubbing on proto YZ cylinders, a horrendous Holiday Inn bill, and a few of Jimmy Weinert’s long distance calls home to his girlfriend.” How fast was the bike? Apparently, one “well known expert class rider who had been on some mighty fast bikes in his day” took the YZ360 out for a test ride on the street and promptly looped the bike out “like a 25 cent carnival ride.” From the strapped steel tanks to the hollow axles and drilled out bits, both the Yamaha’s were deemed more than race-ready and essentially the bikes ridden the year prior by the factory team.

 
QUOTE: “One item likely to be the most damaging to the YZ’s longevity is the scumbag air cleaner…” 
 
Long before he made a name for himself as a factory Maico, Suzuki and Kawasaki rider,  “New Shoe” Steve Stackable was a lanky Texan making waves in the Lone Star state aboard a Action Supply-backed CZ. Stackable is currently flying gliders in Southern California.  
 
 
 
 
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