THE GRAYING OF AMERICAN MOTOCROSS! THE BIRTHDAY BOY ? GARY JONES TURNS 60
Gary Jones won 250 National Championships for Yamaha, Honda and Can-Am.
In what could be considered a watershed moment, four-time 250 National Champion Gary Jones turned 60-years-old this weekend. Jones was born in 1952 and rose to fame during the founding years of American motocross…and won the 250 titles from from 1971 through 1974. Unfortunately, Gary suffered a serious injury when his leg was sucked into Peter Lamppu’s rear wheel at Daytona in 1975. Jones spent over a year recovering, including having to have the leg rebroken and reset. When Ggary returned to racing, he was mounted on a bike of his own design, appropriately called the “Ammex.” Ammex stood for America-Mexico, as the bike was made at the Moto Islo factory south of the border.
Gary Jones on the starting line with John Rosenthiel and the late Rich Thorwaldson (26) behind him.
We often credit riders for being brave because they switch teams, or in the case of Chad Reed start their own teams, but Gary Jones not only switched teams (he raced for Team Yamaha, Team Honda and Team Can-Am during his four-year reign), but did it on a motorcycle that he financed, designed and tested (with his father Don and brother Dewayne). The Ammex was a creative bike built on a shoestring, but never saw its full potential as the devaluation of the Mexican peso devastated Jones’ investment. Still in all almost 2000 Ammex’s were produced. The company struggled along for a few years, even sponsoring a young Eddie Lawson in dirt track, but eventually it folded.
Gary Jones during the 1977 AMA Supercross Series on an Ammex.
Gary continues to race to this day, and when you consider that Gary Jones has wins in the AMA Nationals, Inter-Am Series, Mint 400, Baja 500, SCORE Off-Road World Championships, Vegas-to-Reno desert race, World Vet Championships (in the Over-30, Over-40 and Over-50 classes) and Baja 1000, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame rider has proven to be one of the most versatile racer in AMA history.
The Ammex 250.
At this year’s World Vet Championship in November, Jones will line up in the Over-60 Expert class and try to become the first rider in history to win Championships is every age group (30, 40, 50 and 60).
Gary Jones today…the big six-oh.
GARY JONES BIO
1971 – AMA 250cc National Champion (Yam)
(based on Inter-AMA results)
– Winner 1971 Baja 500
– Winner 1971 Mint 400
– Team USA at the Motocross des Nations
(seventh overall with Brad Lackey, Jim Pomeroy and Jimmy Weinert–Norg, Netherlands)
1972 – AMA 250cc National Champion (Yam)
– AMA 250cc Inter-AMA Champion
– Second in 500 National Championship
(behind Brad Lackey)
– Won five AMA 250 National events
1973 – AMA 250cc National Champion (Honn
– Won six AMA 250 National events
1974 – AMA 250 National Champion (Can-Am)
1982 – SCORE Off-Road World Champion
1982 – Las Vegas-to-Reno winner
1987 – World Vet Champion (Over-30)
1992 – World Vet Champion (Over-40)
1993 – World Vet Champion (Over-40)
1995 – Inducted into Motocross Action Hall of Fame
1999 – Class 40 Champion – Best-of-the Desert series
1999 – Inducted into AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame
2000 – Second overall Baja 2000
2002 – World Vet Champion (Over-50)
2003 – World Vet Champion (Over-50)
2004 – World Vet Champion (Over-50)