GODSPEED! DEWAYNE JONES (1950-2016)
By Jody Weisel
I suppose that I knew Dewayne Jones for most of my motocross life, but, in truth, I never really knew the real Dewayne Jones. He lived in the shadows of his dominating father and more talented brother for most of his life. I knew Dewayne, but really didn’t. That seems strange to say about someone I thought that I knew so well, but I only knew Dewayne because Gary and I were buddies. I was as close to Gary as any friend could be throughout the last 40 years. Gary and I would go to races together, work on bikes and hang out in the evenings. Dewayne wasn’t always there, but when he was he displayed a wry sense of humor and ready smile. Occasionally Dewayne would race with us, but he had his own life—apart from Gary and I and motocross. Although not motorcycles.
There is no doubt that Dewayne was the black sheep of the Jones Gang. He was the rebel and while he had factory rides with Team Yamaha, Team Honda and Team Can-Am, he always played second fiddle to his brother Gary. But, he didn’t play second fiddle to very many other riders on the AMA National circuit in the early ’70s. Dewayne’s best finish was 2nd in the 1973 Lake Whitney 250 National. He had 6 top ten 250 National results and 1 top ten 125 National score (9th at the 1974 Hangtown Classic).
Over the last five years Dewayne fought a long battle against cancer, and even looked as though he beaten it less than a year ago. Every time I saw Gary I would ask him about Dewayne and he would give me the most positive reports. Then, six months ago I asked Gary how Dewayne was, thinking he was going to tell me, as he had in previous report, that Dewayne was doing great. But, he didn’t say that, he said, “It has come back.” Those are scary words.
I remember the last time I saw Dewayne, who at the time was still racing dirt track and Supermoto and looking very healthy. It was two years ago at Glen Helen. He had ridden his street-legal Honda CR500 out to hang with us on a Thursday practice day. We talked for about an hour about his suspension company and his interest in dirt track racing. He showed me all the trickery on his CR500 and how he got it to be street legal in California. We parted with plans to get together soon.
I think I’ve said, “We should stay in touch” to Dewayne 20 times over the years I’ve known him. And we always did, but mostly by accident, never by plan. Today, on the day of his death, I wish I had planned better. I’d like to see his happy-go-lucky face one more time.
Dewayne Jones passed at 12:56 a.m. on June 19, 2016. His daughter Stephanie was by his side. He is survived by mother Melinda, daughter Stephanie, son Jason, brother Gary and sisters Lois and Melinda. Dewayne’s father, Don Jones, passed away in 2008 at the age of 84.