THE BEST OF JODY’S BOX: YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME AGAIN, BUT YOU SHOULD WANT TO
Strangely, for a man from the past, I don’t miss it as much as some of my contemporaries. I don’t ride vintage races. I don’t accept offers to do exhibition races, even if they are in exotic countries. I don’t go to track, shop, race or brand reunions. I don’t do interviews. I don’t talk much about the old days—except when I use it to highlight the current days. As a rule I eschew going to places that will be filled with people who want to talk about the good old days. Not that I don’t think they weren’t the best of times, just that I don’t think listening to boring stories about them will enhance my memories.
When people start a conversation by saying, “Do you remember me?” I looked like a deer in the headlights of a car driven by Jason Lawrence with Josh Hill riding shotgun. I have always been blessed with “race amnesia” I can’t remember what happened in my last moto by the time I take my helmet off. I live in the moment, and when the moment is over I am a blank slate. Thus, there is no way that I remember someone that I once raced against at Strawberry Hill in 1972. Without fail I can promise that if you ask me, “Do you remember me?” I don’t. I can also promise that when you walk away I’ll turn to whoever is next to me and say, “Who was that guy?”
Since I have never stopped racing, taken time off or done anything other than ride, test and race motorcycles, time is kind of a blur. My time on Sachs, DKW, CZ, Hodaka, Maico and Montesa blend seamlessly into today’s KX450s, CRF450s and KTM 350SXFs. I don’t really remember when one started and the other ended or should that be when one ended and the other started.
YOU MAY THINK THAT MODERN MOTOCROSS BIKES ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE ANTIQUATED BIKES OF THE 1970S, BUT YOU ARE WRONG. SO WRONG!
The only thing I do know is that nothing has changed about motocross from the day I started in 1968 to today. You may think that modern motocross bikes are so much better than the antiquated bikes of the 1970s, but you are wrong. So wrong! In 1971 I went to the starting line on a bike with two wheels, the fastest engine available and the best suspension possible. I rode hard and when the race was over I gave a casual flick of my left hand to the guy behind me to show him that I respected his effort. Guess what? That is exactly what I’m still doing today. Is the bike I’m riding today better than the one I was raced 40 years ago? No, it isn’t. It has two wheels, the fastest engine available and the best suspension possible—so what’s new?
You might be one of those people who believe that you can compared a 2021 YZ250F against an old fashion CZ 250 to prove how far we’ve come, but that’s pseudo scientific hokum. Just as you can’t have Scotty beam you and your YZ250F back to the 1970s, I can’t bring the ethos, atmosphere, tracks and mindset of four decades ago to modern times. Suffice it to say that on its own playing field and in its own time a 1966-1976 CZ 250 is every bit the match for a 2021 Yamaha.
If I want to relive my past, I can visit the Early Years of Motocross museum and see my 1974 Hodaka Super Combat (shown at the top of this page). I have no interest in ever riding it again—which was my sentiment in 1975 when I replaced it with a new bike. But what is interesting to me is how much that bike differs from the bikes I test today. And I don’t mean how antiquated it looks, but how innovative it was. Look closely. It doesn’t have the stock rims, hubs, brakes, forks, triple clamps, gas tank, spokes, footpegs, seat, fenders, exhaust, airbox, side panels, swingarm, shocks or frame. Everything was custom designed to suit me—try that today.