MXA’S WEEKEND NEWS ROUND-UP: THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF SUPERCROSS STARTS ON SATURDAY

REMEMBERING JOEL ROBERT (1943-2021)

There was a time in American motocross when every teenage racer knew he had to pronounce Joel Robert’s name with the proper accent. To be in-the-know, you had to say “Joe-el Row-bear” or suffer ridicule from your friends. But fame and fortune are fleeting things. Of course, a six-time 250 World Champion like Joel Robert will never be truly forgotten, but the glory does fade with each new generation of motocross fans. In memory of Joel, who died of a heart attack on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, MXA wanted to go back to a happier time with Joel—not to his glory days, but back to the roots from whence he came.

The first time I rode a motorcycle. “I was 6 years old when my father took me out with his Vespa scooter. I would let the clutch out too quickly and stall the engine. Finally, I started riding, but I was so little I couldn’t put my feet on the ground, When I wanted to stop, I would ride into the garage and put my hand against the wall.”

My first race. “I was 16 years old, but you needed to be 18 years old in Belgium to race. My dad told them I was 17-1/2 and my passport was a little bit modified. They saw me take some laps in practice and let me race.”

My first win. “I was still 16 years old, and it was at a rain race in Chimay, Belgium. I raced a Zundapp 250 street bike that my father had turned into a motocross bike. I only made it three laps on the muddy track, but I was the only guy able to make it up and down the hill. No one else finished the first lap, so they stopped the race and said, ‘You are the winner.’”

My first sponsor. “In 1964 I got a CZ that the Belgian importer gave me. It wasn’t a works bike, just a stocker. When I was racing in England, I got free Castrol oil and Dunlop tires. In Italy, I got some chains from Versachi. I didn’t have any real sponsors at that time, but I won the 1964 250 World Championship on that bike.”

My first time racing against Roger DeCoster. “It was at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1964. He wasn’t an international rider at the time, just a local Belgian rider who had the opportunity to race the GP. He was younger than me. I don’t know how he finished, maybe 18th or something like that. It wasn’t until 1965 and 1966 that he came out on the Grand Prix circuit.”

My first World Championship. “I had no car at the time. A friend of mine agreed to take me to the 1964 Swedish and Finnish GPs, but after Sweden he left me in Sweden alone. Torsten Hallman was the 1963 World Champion, and I was fighting with him for the 1964 Championship. Amazingly, Torsten Hallman took my bike to Finland, and Dave Bickers gave me a ride. Torsten and I were fighting very hard at the races, but were good friends after that. It was a really good time. In 1964 I won the Championship too easily. I didn’t know that you had to work hard. In 1965, 1966 and 1967, I finished second in the 250 World Championship. After that I learned how to win, but it was more difficult for me.”

My first Japanese bike. “In 1968 Olle Peterson signed with Suzuki and worked on developing the bike for the next two years. When I signed with Suzuki in 1970, the bike was a really good bike. It was light and handled well, although it was not as powerful as the CZs. The races were 40 minutes plus two laps, and after 30 minutes we were still in good shape because the Suzuki was so easy to ride.”

My first visit to America. “Coming to America was a dream for me. Torsten Hallman and Edison Dye brought us over for the Inter-Am, and we drove from New York to Los Angeles. There were six European riders, and it was good fun for us to race against each other, but the Americans were not as good. I was surprised that the Americans were not very good at motocross. We did a lot of motocross schools, and it was sort of like a vacation.” 

 ARE YOU READY FOR HOUSTON #1: HERE IS THE ANIMATED TRACK MAP

2021 AMA NATIONAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP STARTS ON MAY 29

2021 AMA SUPERCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP STARTS THIS SATURDAY, JAN. 16

THE COMPLETE 2021 MONSTER ENERGY SUPERCROSS TELECAST SCHEDULE

*Same-day delay, ^ Taped coverage

WP AIR SHOCK RETURNS ON BARCIA’S GASGAS 450: THIS WEEK IN MXA #3

MXA FIRST RIDE VIDEO: 2021 HUSQVARNA FC350

• REM GLEN HELEN GETS BUSY & HOT IN JANUARY • RACING ON THE 16TH, 23RD & 30TH

With races on Jan. 16, Jan. 23 and Jan. 30th, it’s time to get in gear.  For more info go to www.remsatmx.com or Click Here for REM’s Facebook page.

• 22ND ANNUAL TEXAS WINTER SERIES ROUND 3 AT VILLAGE CREEK ON JAN. 23-24

For more info go to www.freestonemx.com

2021 WORCS SERIES STARTS ON JANUARY 22-24 IN LAKE HAVASU

For more info go to www.worcsracing.com

WE RIDE MIKE ALESSI’S WORLD TWO-STROKE CHAMPIONSHIP YAMAHA YZ325

MXA PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: VINTCO VINTAGE MOTOCROSS PARTS—FOR 1970 THROUGH 1980 BIKES

VintCo specializes on vintage motorcycle parts. Originally they focused on making connecting rods for Ossa and Bultaco motorcycles. Now they have expanded into manufacturing rods, crankshafts, camshafts, bearing kits, cylinders and pistons for all modern dirt bikes. With over two decades of engineering and practical design experience in extremely high-horsepower modern engines, we are leveraging that expertise in manufacturing components for the vintage market. VintCo makes a wide range of new parts to replace the hard-to-find components you need to keep your vintage bike performing. For more information go to www.vintco.com or call (515) 210-9977.

1976-1981 YAMAHA YZ125 1976 TOP END PISTON KIT (56mm STANDARD)

VintCo has all new top end piston kits to help you keep your 1976 Yamaha YZ125 going! These full top end kits come with everything you need to get your rebuild done easily and cost effectively. This kit includes a high quality VintCo piston kit (piston, rings, pin and clips), top end bearing and a full top end gasket kit. All components made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques to ensure an as good or better than OEM fitment and performance. This standard bore (56mm) kit will save you 10% compared to buying the pieces individually. More size options also available. Retail price: $159.95.

1976-80 YAMAHA YZ125 CLUTCH KIT

VintCo has all new clutch plate kits for your 1976 to 1980 Yamaha YZ125. These clutch plate kits will save you time and money as they come complete with steel and friction plates as well as the springs to complete the job with ease. The VintCo clutch plate kits are made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques to ensure an as good or better than OEM fitment and performance. Our clutch cork friction plates are infused with aluminum particles designed to ensure smooth power delivery and fade-free performance. VintCo steel clutch plates won’t expand and do not fade like aluminum clutch plates. The clutch springs are heat treated for maximum life. This newly manufactured clutch plate kits from VintCo will help you keep the ride going! Retail price: $79.95.

1976-1981 YAMAHA YZ125, 1974-1981 YZ250, 1974-75 YZ360, 1976-1979 YZ400,1979-75 YZ400 1980-1981 FRONT WHEEL BEARING KIT


VintCo has high-quality wheel bearing kits to get you back on track. These wheel bearing kits are made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques to ensure an as good or better than OEM fitment and performance. This Yamaha YZ125 (1976-81), YZ250 (1974-81), YZ360 (1974-75), YZ400 (1976-79), YZ465 (1980-81) front wheel bearing kit includes the two bearings and seals to complete your build with ease. The OEM part numbers are provided to ensure an exact fitment as well. These replica wheel bearing kits from VintCo will help you keep the ride going! Retail price: $14.95.

1974-1981YAMAHA YZ125,1978-1979 KAWASAKI KX125 WRIST PIN BEARING

VintCo now has high-quality wrist pin bearings available for most popular vintage bikes. These wrist pin bearings are made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques to ensure an as good or better than OEM fitment and performance. This 16 x 20 x 19.5 wrist pin bearing fits many models, some of the main models are: YZ125 (74-81) and KX125 (1978-79). The OEM part numbers are provided to ensure an exact fitment as well. A new high quality wrist pin bearing is a needed investment when doing top-end work on your vintage dirt bike. Retail price: $19.95.

1974-1976 YAMAHA YZ12 CYLINDER SLEEVE (56mm STANDARD)

A new cylinder sleeve can save a vintage bike’s life. VintCo offers high quality USA made, cast-iron cylinder sleeve for your vintage machine. This cylinder sleeve fits your 1974-76 Yamaha YZ125 machine. These high quality cylinder sleeves are made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques to ensure an as good or better than OEM fitment and performance. All dimensions are provided for an experienced and qualified machinist to install in your cylinder. The ports are angled correctly so there is significantly less port matching work required than in other sleeves. This sleeve will be able to be bored and honed to your stock size VintCo piston kit. A new, high-quality, cast-iron cylinder sleeve can help your vintage bike run like new. Retail price: $129.95.

1972-73 HODAKA WOMBAT, 1973 COMBAT WOMBAT & 1974 SUPER RAT CONNECTING ROD KIT

VintCo has all new heavy-duty Connecting Rod kits for your early 70’s Hodaka 125cc machines. These Connecting Rod kits will save you money over a new crankshaft. Their Connecting Rod kit fits 1972-73 Hodaka Wombats, 1973 Combat Wombats and 1974 Super Combats. VintCo rods kits are manufactured with heavy-duty forged steel and made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques to ensure an as good or better than OEM fitment and performance. Kit includes a rod, crank pin, big end bearing, wrist pin bearing, and two thrust washers. This newly manufactured connecting rod kit from VintCo will help you keep the ride going! Retail price: $159.95

1974-1978 HONDA CR125 PISTON KIT

This 1974-1978 Honda CR125 Piston kit includes rings, pin and clips. The piston is forged, made in Germany, Mos2 coated for break-in and available in standard and over-sizes. The wrist pin bearing sold is sold separately. Retail price: $119.95

1981 MAICO 490 TOP END GASKET KIT

New quality gaskets are critical to any engine rebuild and VintCo has high-quality, top-end gasket kits to get your Maico back on the track. These gaskets are made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques to ensure an as good or better than OEM fitment and performance. This standard bore 86.5mm 1981 Maico 490 top-end gasket kit includes the head, base (three options) and exhaust gaskets to complete your build with ease. The OEM part numbers are provided to ensure an exact fitment as well. Retail price: $39.95

1981 SUZUKI RM125 MAIN BEARING KIT

Having new main bearings with new main seals is a must and VintCo has the solution. These engine main bearing kits are made with modern materials and manufacturing techniques. The high-quality main bearings are made in Japan. This kit includes the two main bearings and two oil seals to complete your build with ease. This main bearing kit will fit the 1981 Suzuki RM125s. Retail price: $24.95.

For more information on Vintco go to www.vintco.com or call (515) 210-9977.

• MXA FIRST RIDE VIDEO: 2021 HUSQVARNA FC250

MXA MOTO-QUIZ: WE WERE ALL YOUNG ONCE

Any hardcore moto fan should be able to recognize this young racer. He was at one time the highest paid 250 East/West rider .

MXA SHOOTOUT VIDEO: 2021 HONDA CRF450 VERSUS HUSQVARNA FC450

CLASSIC MXA COVERS: THE SUGAR BEAR LEADS

That is Kawasaki-mounted Billy “Sugar Bear” Grossi winning the 250 Support class at the 1973 Round Atlanta Trans-AMA on the February 1974 cover of MXA (Five months later, Billy’s brother Bob Grossi would make the July 1974 cover.) Adolf Weil won the 500 class at Road Atlanta ahead of Roger DeCoster, Hakan Andersson, Willi Bauer and Gerritt Wolsink. Mike Hartwig was the first American in sixth place.  

MXA SHOOTOUT VIDEO: 2021 KAWASAKI KX450 VERSUS YAMAHA YZ450F

MXA AD OF THE WEEK: THE BOYS TO BEAT IN THE 1981 “MR. MOTOCROSS” SERIES


If you are wondering why none of these riders names rings a bell, that is because this is the race poster for the Australian “Mr. Motocross” Championship from 40 years ago.

Stephen Gall won the “Mr. Motocross” title four times.

MR. MOTOCROSS AUSTRALIA (1974-1990)
1974 …Trevor Flood (Yam)
1975 …Gary Flood (Bul)
1976 …Tony Gunter (Suz)
1977 …Tony Gunter (Suz)
1978 …Stephen Gall (Yam)
1979 …Tony Gunter (Suz)
1980 …Stephen Gall (Yam)
1981 …Stephen Gall (Yam)
1982 …Stephen Gall (Yam)
1983 …Ray Vandenberg (Suz)
1984 …Jeff Leisk (Hon)
1985 …Jeff Leisk (Hon)
1986 …Craig Dack (Hon)
1987 …Craig Dack (Hon)
1988 …Craig Dack (Yam)
1989 …No series
1990 …Craig Dack (Yam)

MXA FIRST RIDE VIDEO: 2021 GASGAS MC 450F

HAVE YOU SEEN THE FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE OF MXA YET?

What’s in the newest issue of MXA? How about Shootout between the 2021 Honda CRF450 and the 2021 Husqvarna FC450—go ahead and guess which one won, you have a 50/50 chance of being right. Or how about complete and thorough tests of the 2021 KTM 450SXF, 2021 Yamaha YZ250F, 2021 Kawasaki KX450F cross-country, 2021 KTM 250SXF and Carson Brown’s BBR Honda 190.

We wanted to take a little confusion out of what is the most confusing shootout season ever by doing  shootouts against worthy contenders—this month it was the 2021 Honda CRF450 against the 2021 Husqvarna FC450.

Why is MXA testing the 2021 Kawasaki KX450X cross-country bike? That’s simple, we race cross-country races, SRA GPs, WORCS races and endurance races all the time. And since the KX450X is just a KX450 motocross model with a few off-road concession, we felt right at home on it.

The 2021 KTM 250SXF is a high-rpm rocket ship that just happens to be blessed with a strong midrange and usable low-end. This is the magic formula for success in the 250 class.

It has only rained in SoCal twice in the last ten months—once two weeks ago and once on the weekend of the World Vet Championship. The rain at the World Vet was a shame because for Friday practice the track was perfect—it didn’t stay perfect for Saturday and Sunday.

The 2021 Yamaha YZ250F has the perfect low-to-mid powerband for the average racer or play rider. It doesn’t have the high rpm power of the KTM, Husky, GasGas and Kawasaki, but it gets out of tight corners better.

In the hierarchy of Austrian motocross bikes the 2021 KTM, 2021 Husqvarna FC450 and 2021 GasGas MC450F managed to use the same shared package three different ways. If you asked KTM what the 450SXF was designed for, they would tell you that it was “Ready to Race.” We concur.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO MXA SO THAT YOU NEVER MISS ANOTHER ISSUE, PLUS GET A $25 ROCKY MOUNTAIN GIFT CARD TO COVER YOUR COSTS

If you subscribe to MXA you can get the mag on your iPhone, iPad, Kindle or Android by going to the Apple Store, Amazon or Google Play or in a digital version. Even better you can subscribe to Motocross Action and get the awesome print edition delivered to your house by a uniformed employee of the U.S. Government. Did we mention the $25 gift card for any part you want from Rocky Mountain ATV/MX? You can call (800) 767-0345 or Click Here (or on the box at the bottom of this page) to subscribe.

MXA FIRST RIDE VIDEO: 2021 GASGAS MC 250F

KEEPING TRACK OF THE 2021 RACE SCHEDULES

crowd fans 2020 Anaheim 1 Supercross main event-5104The 17-round 2021 Supercross series is coming back, but only to Florida, Indiana, Texas, Georgia and Utah.

2021 AMA KICKER ARENACROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
Jan. 8…….Starkville, MS
Jan. 9…….Starkville, MS
Jan. 15…….Lubbock, TX
Jan. 16…….Lubbock, TV
Jan. 22…….Guthrie, OK
Jan. 23…….Guthrie, OK
Jan. 29…….Denver, CO
Jan. 30…….Denver, CO
Feb. 5…….Reno, NV
Feb. 6…….Reno, NV
Mar. 5…….Amarillo, TX
Mar. 6…….Amarillo, TX

REVISED 2021 AMA SUPERCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP (UPDATED)
Jan. 16 (Saturday)…Houston, TX
Jan. 19 (Tuesday)….Houston, TX
Jan. 23 (Saturday)…Houston, TX
Jan. 30 (Saturday)…Indianapolis, IN
Feb. 2 (Tuesday)….Indianapolis, IN
Feb. 6 (Saturday)…Indianapolis, IN
Feb. 13 (Saturday)…Orlando, FL
Feb. 20 (Saturday)…Orlando, FL
Mar. 6 (Saturday)…Daytona Beach, FL
Mar. 13 (Saturday)…Arlington, TX
Mar. 16 (Tuesday)… Arlington, TX
Mar. 20 (Saturday)…Arlington, TX
Apr.10 (Saturday)…Atlanta, GA
Apr.13 (Tuesday)…Atlanta, GA
Apr.17 (Saturday)…Atlanta, GA
Apr. 24 (Saturday)…Salt Lake City, UT
May 1 (Saturday)…Salt Lake City, UT

2021 AMA NATIONAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
May 29…Pala, CA
Jun 5…Thunder Valley, CO
June 19…Mt. Morris, PA
June 26…Southwick, MA
July 3…Red Bud, MI
July 17….Millville, MN
July 24….Washougal, WA
Aug. 14…Unadilla, NY
Aug. 21…Budds Creek, MD
Aug. 28…Crawfordsville, IN
Sept. 4…Pala, CA
Sept.11…Hangtown, CA

2021 PROVISIONAL GRAND PRIX SCHEDULE (UPDATED)
Apr. 3…Muscat, Oman
Apr. 25…TBA, Italy
May 16…Agueda, Portugal
May 23…Oss, Holland,
May 30…Teutschenthal, Germany
Jun. 13…Orlyonok, Russia
Jun. 20…Kegums, Latvia
Jul. 4…Jakarta, Indonesia
Jul. 11…Semarang, Indonesia
Jul. 25…Locket, Czech Republic
Aug. 1…Lommel, Belgium
Aug 8…Uddevall, Sweden
Aug. 22…KimiRing, Finland
Aug. 29…Igora, Russia
Sep. 12…Afyonkarahisar, Turkey
Sep. 19…TBA, China
Oct. 10…St, Jean d’Angely, France
Oct. 17…Intu Xanadu, Spain
Oct. 31…TBA
Nov. 14…Neuquen, Argentina

2021 SCOTTISH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Mar. 27/28…Tain
Apr. 24/25…Duns
May 15/16..Lochgilphead
Jun. 26/27..Reserve date
Jul. 10… Doune (Youth)
Jul. 17…Doune (Adult )
Aug. 14/15…Rhynie
Sept. 4/5…Desertmartin, Northern Ireland

2021 AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Apr. 11…Wonthaggi, VIC
May 2 …Canberra, ACT
May 30…Gillman, SA
Jun. 27…Maitland, NSW
Jul. 25…Wodonga, VIC
Aug. 9…TBA, QLD
Aug. 14….Coolum, QLD
Aug. 14….Coolum, QLD

2021 ADAC GERMAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Apr. 18…Dreetz
May 16…Moggers
Jun. 6…Reutlingen
Jul. 3…Bielstein
Jul. 18…Tensfeld
Sep. 5…Princely Drehna
Sep. 9…Gaildorf

2021 MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS
Sep. 26…Imola, Italy

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Photos: Dan Alamangos, Debbi Tamietti, Jody Weisel, Daryl Ecklund, MXA

QUIZ ANSWER: That is Josh Grant.

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