FORGOTTEN MOTOCROSS TECH: JOHNNY O’MARA’S SIGNATURE BOOT GAITERS
The nylon gaiters kept your boots clean, but boot sponsors wanted their boots to show, so JT Racing put their logo on the boot gaiters.
Motocross history is filled with examples of creative ideas that were heralded as groundbreaking, but, because of the rapid rate of change in development, sank into the swamp of forgotten technology. Although some ideas are best left abandoned, others were truly innovative (if not ultimately successful). MXA loves to reveal motocross’ tech trivia. Do you remember this idea? Johnny O’Mara’s boot gaiters.
In 1980, Johnny O’Mara was just a local SoCal Pro, but he was managed by famous Baja racer Al Baker, who was also the Mugen importer for the USA. Hiro Honda, the son of Honda founder Soichiro Honda, wanted a rider to race his all-white, water-cooled, Honda ME125. Al Baker suggested Johnny O’Mara, and the un-touted O’Mara won the 1980 125 USGP at Mid-Ohio on it.
In one of the greatest marketing moves of all-time, Hiro Honda wanted Johnny to wear all-white gear on his all-white bike. But, the all-white ensemble was ruined by Johnny’s red Scott plastic boots. Thus, Mugen had Bill Walters make Johnny white motocross pants that went down over his red boots. Having to order custom-made pants became troublesome, so Johnny later switched to Velcro-attached, white nylon boot gaiters. They were the hit aftermarket product of 1981.
The Mugen team only lasted one year, but Johnny got a factory Honda deal for 1981 and kept his signature boot gaiters and was joined in the fashion statement by David Bailey.