It may be hard to remember the motocross world wasn’t about four-strokes. Prior to 1966 and after 1998, four-strokes ruled the motocross world. However, during the 30-year span from 1966 to 1998 four-strokes were persona non grata in the motocross world. It was the age of the light, agile and inexpensive two-strokes. In order to keep the the four-stroke alive, there were special four-stroke-only races —like Tom Whgite’s World Four-Stroke Championship. It wasn’t uncommon for the factory stars to borrow a four-strokes from a hop-up shop and come out to race (or for the race mechanics at the factory teams to build special one-off four-strokes so that Ricky Johnson, Ron Lechien, Goat Brecker or, as in the photo above, Johnny O’Mara could come out and ride a thumper). In Johnny’s case, he’s on a fairly stock 1984 Honda XR500 (with a pipe). For the stars of the 1980s, riding a four-stroke was the same as riding a two-strokes today. It was rebellion.
Click on images to enlarge