L'histoire du moto-cross ainsi que ses principaux stars pilotes internationaux
The usage of two-wheelers where widespread during the world
war II, practically all countries used motorcycles as ordonnances, often in
rough terrain. Germany had a number of war time manufacturers such as DKW, BMW,
Puch, NSU, Zündapp, Ardie, Standard, Horex, Hercules, D-Rad and Victoria.
The Wehrmacht also used some captured better known motorcycles from the allied forces such as Norton, Triumph, Velocette, Ariel, FN, Indian, BSA, Harley Davidson and so on. The usage was perhaps a bit different from motocross but there has always been a strong relationship between army motorcycling and enduro.
The Russian and eastern-european brands at the time was TIZ, IMZ, IZh, L, Jawa, PMZ and Sokol and in Italy Gilera had taken up production.
Army motorcycles where usally equipped with more off-road like tires and a great deal of effort was put into the area of reliability. The army also used sidecars and one can imagine that the sidecar motocross idea came from this.
500GP 1949 (European Championship)
The World Grand Prix series started as a European championship. It wasn't yet a full serie but mere spreads out competitions. The winner in 1949 imola race was Great Britains Harold Lines.
Motocross Des Nations 500cc 1947 - 1949
The international motocross competition started 1947. There was only one class. Motocross Des Nations preceeded the individual European Championship with a few years.
1947 edition was held at 27'th July in Holland (Duinrell) and won by Great Britain: Bill Nicholson (BSA), Fred Rist (BSA) and Bob Ray (Ariel). The Belgium "B" team took second place with J Frenay (Gillet), Marcel Meunier (Triumph) and V Govaerts (Gillet). The Belgium "A" team got third with: Auguste Mingels (Triumph), A Van Hove (AJS) and L Delhaes (AJS). Belgium won in 8'th of August 1948 in Belgium (Spa) with their team Nic Jansen (BSA), Marcel Cox (Triumph) and André Milhoux (BSA). That year Great Britain was second with Hugh Viney (AJS), Geoff Duke (Norton) and Basil Hall (Matchless). Holland got third with Heida, Koning, Van Heukelom but they failed to finish the competition intact
1949, the 28'th of August in Great Britain (Brands Hatch), Great Britain won again with riders: Harold Lines (Ariel), Bob Manns (Triumph) and Ray Scovell (BSA).
took second, This time with the riders Nic Jansen (Saroléa), Victor Leloup (FN)
and R Pickart (BSA). Sweden took third spot with the team Lennart Karlström
(Ariel), Olle Nygren (BSA), Berndt Hasselrot (AJS).
ISDT 1930 - 1949
International organized motocross (scrambling) started in the mid 40's so most of the earlier competition was a mixture of on-off road riding, and of course the ISDT (International Six Days Trial) that started as early as 1913. The ISDT results here starts from 1930. There are two different Tropys that can be won in the ISDT. The Trophy which is the senior main title and the Silver Vase which is a junior competitions. There are of course individual standings in all displacement classes but since it's a team competition we will only list the countries (teams) winners. Unfortunately I don't have much information to provide regarding the competitions before World War II.
The 1948 competitions didn't attract too many foreign riders and other obstacles like gasoline restrictions made it a rather uninteresting event. It was however entirely won by Great Britain. The Trophy team had the following members: Allan Jefferies, capitain (498 triumph), Vic Brittain (346 Royal Enfield), Charley Rogers (346 Royal Enfield), Hugh Viney (498 AJS), Jack Williams (499 Norton).
The Silver Vase (Junior Trophy) team members where: Jim Alves (498 Triumph), Bob Ray (497 Ariel), Jack Stocker (499 Royal Enfield).
In 1949 Great Britain again managed to win the Trophy. The 1949 riders where: Jim Alves (498 Triumph), Bob Ray (497 Ariel), Fred Rist (499 BSA), Hugh Viney (498 AJS).
The Czech Junior team won the Silver Vase. Among their riders where: J Kubes (Jawa/Ogar), E Marha (CZ), F Blaha (CZ), J Krcmar (CZ).
That year it was a more demanding event for both man and machine. The Italians had a full team. The Czeck Trophy team had a fierce fight with the Brittish team but was beaten in the end. They got a bit of revenge since they managed to win the Silver Vase though. The first USA rider named Tommy McDermott took individual gold.
MX and enduro in the 50's
500GP 1952 - 1959 (European/World Championship)
From the 1957 season the former European championship was transformed to the World championship.
In 1952 there where an organized championship with six races
in Italy, Sweden, France, Great Britain, Belgium and Luxemburg. These formed the
first "real" European championship. The title winner was Victor Leloup, Belgium
(Saroléa). Second place went to Auguste Mingels, Belgium (Matchless) and John
Avery (BSA) from Great Britain was third.
In 1953 there where eight rounds since Holland and Switzerland joined the circuit. The champions where first, Auguste Mingels, Belgium (Matchless/FN). His fellow countryman René Baeten,Belgium (Saroléa) took second and Victor Leloup, Belgium (FN) third. The Belgian trio was under pressure though by the Brittish riders that took place four to seven in the final standings.
1954 was somewhat of a repetition regarding the top riders. There where still the same eight rounds. Auguste Mingels, Belgium (FN) won with René Baeten,Belgium (Saroléa) second. Jeff Smith, Great Britain (BSA Gold Star) and Victor Leloup, Belgium (FN) both ended up on the same points, 20p. The young Jeff Smith had been a succesful trial rider and was about to become one of the greatest motocross riders ever.
1955 still consited of the same eight rounds and that year,
the Swedish riders started to crush the Belgian - English dominance. John
Draper, Great Britain (BSA) won the title after Bill Nilsson, Sweden (BSA) fell
within only a few hundred meters from the finishing line in the swedish GP,
losing with just one "1" point. Third was Sten Lundin, Sweden (BSA). The Swedish
riders had funny nicknames, these two where called Bill "Buffalo Bill" Nilsson
and Sten "Storken" Lundin (The storch). Another interesting fact is that all top
three riders rode BSA.
1956 winners where Leslie Archer, Great Britain (Norton) first. John Draper, Great Britain (BSA) second and Nic Jansen, Belgium (Matchless) third.
1957. This was the first year that the series got World
campionship status, there where nine races held at, Sweden (Saxtorp), Italy (Imola),
Belgium (Namur), Luxemburg (Ettelbruck), Holland (Lichtenwoorde), France (Cassel),
Great Britain (Brands Hatch), Denmark (Randers) and Switzerland (Wohlen),
though. This meant also that foreign riders that up to this point had been
racing under English license now could compete representing their own country.
Bill Nilsson,Sweden rode an AJS and managed to win the title in front of René Baeten, Belgium (FN) and Sten Lundin, Sweden (Monark) as second and third.
In 1958 There where 10 races since Austria (Sittendorf) was addeed to the series. The established GP countries got more race tracks and the Swedish GP was held at Udevalla. The Danish in Naestved and the Brittish GP at Hawkstone Park. René Baeten, Belgium (FN) got revenge and took back the first place sending Bill Nilsson,Sweden (Cresent) to second. Sten Lundin, Sweden (Monark) took third just like the previus year.
1959 was the last World MX 500GP that decade and there where 11 races. Germany (Western) contributed with a race at Bielstein. The Swiss GP was held at Geneve and the Belgian in Houlpaix. Sten Lundin, Sweden (Monark) won with Bill Nilsson,Sweden (Cresent) second. David Curtis, Great Britain (Matchless) was third.
250 Coup D'Europe 1957 - 1958
The 1957 results where a bit unclear since there isn't really any clear records. The Maico factory claimed their riders won the championship and the data have been derived from their records.
Fritz Betzelbacher, Germany (Maico) won the title with Willi Oesterle, Germany (Maico) second. Jaromir Cizek, Czechoslovakia (Jawa) took third.
In 1958 there where twelve rounds in Austria, France, Holland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, DDR and Poland. Jaromir Cizek, Czechoslovakia (Jawa) won that year, Rolf Tibblin, Sweden (Husqvarna) was second and Rolf Müller, Germany (Maico) third.
250GP 1959 (European Championship)
In 1959 there where thirteen rounds since Great Britain joined in. Rolf Tibblin, Sweden (Husqvarna) won the title in front of Brian Stonebridge, Great Britain (Greeves) and Jaromir Cizek, Czechoslovakia (Jawa) in third.
Motocross Des Nations 500cc 1950 - 1959
The English domination continued with some minor flaws through the entire 50's.
1950,27 August in Sweden (Värnamo-Skillingaryd), was won by Great Britain, John Draper (BSA), Harold Lines (Ariel 350) and Basil Hall (BSA). Sweden went for second place with Olle Nygren (BSA), Eric Ericsson (Triumph), Helge Brinkeback (Ariel). Motorcycle riders at this time where often more all-round competing in Trial, TT, scramble and speedway. These Swedish riders for example where all about to have success in other diciplines, for example: Olle "Varg-Olle" Nygren, Varg means Wolf became one of swedens best speedway riders at all times. However he had success in the unbearable novemberkasan first. Helge Brinkeback also went for speedway. Belgium was third with: Marcel Cox (Saroléa), A Meert (Saroléa) and Victor Leloup (FN).
1951, 5´th of August in Belgium (Namur), Belgium won with their team Nic Jansen (Saroléa), Victor Leloup (FN) and Marcel Meunier (Saroléa). Great Britain took second with Brian Stonebridge (Matchless), Geoff Ward (AJS), John Draper (BSA). In third was France with Gilbert Brassine (FN), H Frantz (BSA), J Charrier (BSA).
In 1952, 17 August at Brands Hatch, the home team Great
Britain won again with riders: Brian Stonebridge (Matchless), Geoff Ward (AJS)
and Phil Nex (BSA). Belgium got second. Auguste Mingels (Matchless), Victor
Leloup (FN) and A Van Heuverzwijn (Saroléa) where the riders. Sweden was third
with: Hans Danielsson (BSA), Eje Bergman (Matchless), Kuno Johansson (BSA).
1953, 23 August in Sweden (Värnamo-Skillingaryd), Yet another British victory for Leslie Archer (Norton), John Draper (BSA) and Geoff Ward (AJS). Belgium second with the familiar team: Victor Leloup (FN), Auguste Mingels (FN) and René Baeten (Saroléa). Sweden was third again with: Lasse Gustavsson (BSA), Kuno Johansson (BSA) and Bill Nilsson (AJS).
1954, 29 August in Holland (Nörg). Brian Stonebridge (BSA), Geoff Ward (AJS) and Dave Curtis (Matchless) once again won the title for Great Britain. Sweden was second this time with: Bill Nilsson (BSA), Kuno Johansson (BSA) and Gunnar "The Chicken" Eriksson (Ariel). Gunnar "The Chicken" Eriksson went on to take individual gold in sixdays in Czechkoslovakia 1953 and 1955, and he was 2:a in novemberkasan 1954 before he went back to motocross full time in 1955 riding NV-Velocette. Belgium came third: Victor Leloup (FN), A Van Heuverzwijn (Saroléa) and Nic Jansen (Saroléa).
In 1955, 28 August in Denmark (Randers) Sweden won the title for the first time with the riders. Bill Nilsson (BSA), Sten Lundin (BSA) and Lasse Gustafsson (BSA). No other team finished intact but Belgium came in second with René Baeten (Matchless), Victor Leloup (FN) and Jean Somja (FN). Third was given to Holland with: Hendrik Rietman (FN), Frans Baudoin (Matchless), Jan Clynk (BSA).
The 1956,26 August competition in Belgium (Namur), was a new
victory for Great Britain, The riders back then where Jeff Smith (BSA), John
Draper (BSA) and Geoff Ward (BSA). Sweden made second, Sten Lundin (BSA), Lasse
Gustavsson (BSA) and Gunnar Johansson (BSA). Belgium took third with: René
Baeten (FN), Jean Rombauts (BSA) and Nic Jansen (Matchless).
In 1957, 1 September in Great Britain (Brands Hatch) The Brits claimed another title. Jeff Smith (BSA), Dave Curtis (Matchless) and Brian Martin (BSA) was the riders. Belgium once again was at the podium with second place finishing René Baeten (FN), Nic Jansen (Matchless), Hubert Scaillet (FN) Sweden with Gunnar Johansson (BSA), Ove Lundell (Monark) and Raymond Sigvardsson (AJS) was third.
1958, 8 September in Sweden (Knutstorp), Sweden did put in a strong effort and repeated their 1955 win with Bill Nilsson (Crescent), Ove Lundell (Monark) and Lasse Gustavsson (Monark) as team members. Great Britain had to settle for second with Dave Curtis (Matchless), John Draper (BSA), Ron Langston (Ariel). France was third with: Jean Cros (BSA), Robert Klym (BSA) and René Klym (BSA)
1959, 30 August in Belgium (Namur). Everything went back to normal, the title back to Great Britain and the riders where: Don Rickman (Triumph- Metisse), Jeff Smith (BSA) and John Draper (BSA). Sweden din't managed to turn their individual success into a team victory. The Sweds took 2: Ove Lundell (Monark), 3: Sten Lundin (Monark), 4: Raymond Sigvardsson (Matchless) and 7'th place Bill Nilsson (Crescent). This compared to the Brittish riders who managed 1: Don Rickman (Triumph- Metisse), 5: Jeff Smith (BSA) and 6: Johnny Draper (BSA). If the individual places had been counted instead of the total time Sweden actually would have won. But the event must be remembered by the fierce fighting and what a close battle the entire 50's had been. Belgium was third with Nic Jansen (Machless), Hubert Scaillet (Matchless), Lucien Donnay (FN). The 1950 ISDT took place in Great Britain (Llandrindod Wells). Great Britain won both the Trophy and the Silver Vase that year.
In 1951 the competitions where held at San Remo/Varese in Italy. Great Britain once again won the Trophy and Holland won the Silver Vase.
1952 In Austria (Bad Aussee) Czechoslovakia managed to win both the Trophy and the Silver Vase.
The 1953 edition was held in Czechkoslovakia (Gottwaldov). Great Britain regained their title as the leading force by winning the Trophy. Czechoslovakia once again won the Silver Vase. The Jawa motorcycles where still competitive but started their slow decline since the communist leadership had placed restrictions regarding reinvestments and forced the Jawa factory to hang on to some designs for almost 40 years to come.
1954's edition was again held in Great Britain (Llandrindod Wells) The Czechoslovakian Trophy team won the event and Holland won the Silver Vase.
In 1955 the competition once again where held in Czechoslovakia (Gottwaldov). Germany won the Trophy and Czechoslovakia the Silver Vase.
1956 the famous ski resort Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany held the ISDT. Czechoslovakia won the trophy and Holland won the Silver Vase.
1957 edition was held in Czechoslovakia (Spindleruv Mlyn). Czechoslovakia won the trophy and Holland the Silver Vase.
In 1958 Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany held the event just like two years earlier. Czechoslovakia won both the Trophy and the Silver Vase.
1959 in Czechoslovakia (Gottwaldov) the 34'th ISDT went off with Czechoslovakia winning both the Trophy and the Silver Vase just like the year before. During the 50´s motocross was an estasblished sport with international competitions and champions. The most famous brands from this era was the English bikes. The MX bikes from the 50's where heavy, didn't have much suspension and was mostly derived from plain street bikes slightly lightened, sometimes raised fenders and rougher tire patterns.
Triumph had a lightweight 200cc dirt/trial bike named "The Cub", it was a small four-stroke producing 10bhp from it's near kvadratic 63x64mm bore and stroke. It was produced between 1954 until 1968. That gives us an idea about the development speed compared to nowadays when a bike can be obsolete within a year or so. 1958 BSA releases the model C15, It's basically a BSA version of the same bike. Brian Martin and Jeff Smith formed the 50's BSA motocross team. The BSA C15 was released as trials and scramble versions in 1959.
In the early 50's The Czech manufacturer Jawa produced a standard two-stroke road bike (model 11) which was converted into ISDT 250. The factory had some success in ISDT/ISDE (International Six Days Trial/Enduro). 1956 did Jaromir Cizek race the new OHC four-stroke Jawa 500 twin, he won some
One Contender during this period in both Six Days and
motocross was Eric Cheney, who started in the MX des nations team for Great
Britain in 1947, kept scoring medals during the 50's and finally quit racing
Matchless had the G80CS and G3LCT models. The G80 was a 500cc 86mm bore which came into production1956, the production continued until 1967. They where populas as enduro and desert bikes. AJS had their best luck with their 18CS model. The Suede Ove Lundell rode a Swedish Monark and estableshed himself as a top contender in the late 50's. The Swedish riders dominated much of the 50´s with a 500GP championship to Bill Nilsson in 1957 and Sten Lundin 1959. Bill Nilsson rode a Crescent-AJS while Sten Lundin rode a Monark. 1958 René Baeten from Belgium managed to split the Swedish dominance and took the championship. There where many more bikes and riders worth to mention. Follow the link below for pictures and books about this era.
The seventies ruled the earth (at least the dirt)
500 GP in the 70's
Bengt Aberg, Sweden continued to win the 1970 500 GP title on his Husky. Arne Kring, Sweden (Husqvarna) came second and yet another Swede Åke Johnsson (Maico) was third.
One of the greatest names in the sport, Roger De Coster won the 1971 title riding a Suzuki. Åke Johnsson, Sweden (Maico) moved up one notch to second and Adolf Weil, Germany also riding a Maico came third. The drama however was much bigger than it appears in the final standings. Actually only mechanical failure on his Maico costed Ake Johnsson the title on favor to the smart riding Belgian.
Roger De Coster (Suzuki) won again in 1972 with Paul Friedrichs, DDR (CZ) in second. Hekki Mikkola, Finland (Husqvarna) was third.
In 1973, Roger De Coster (Suzuki) took his third consecutive title. Second was Willy Bauer, Germany riding Maico. In third spot we had Jaak van Velthoven, Belgium (Yamaha).
Mikkola, Finland (Husqvarna) won the 1974 GP title. Roger De Coster (Suzuki) had
to settle for second temporarily. Adolf Weil, Germany (Maico) was back in top
three claiming third spot.
1975 was revenge time for the elegant riding Roger De Coster who took his Suzuki back to first place. Hekki Mikkola, Finland (Husqvarna) was second and Gerrit Wolsink, Holland (Suzuki) third.
Roger De Coster (Suzuki) won again in 1976. Gerrit Wolsink, Holland (Suzuki) was secont that year and Adolf Weil, Germany (Maico) third.
In 1977 Hekki Mikkola, Finland has switched to Yamaha and won back the title. Roger De Coster (Suzuki) had to settle for second. An era had ended since he never won back the title again. Gerrit Wolsink, Holland (Suzuki) took third.
Mikkola, Finland (Yamaha) had in 1978 found new inspiration in the Monoshock
equipped Yamaha. Many people claim that the Yamaha superiority at the time was
just as much the reason for Hekkis success as he himselfe. This is nonsense of
course. One shouldn't forget that Honda and Maico in particular had more than a
competitive bike in 1977. Hekki was a hard working rider that almost qualify
under our Iron Man award. The American Brad Lackey (Honda) took somewhat
surprisingly the second spot.
De Coster (Suzuki) was down to third.
The last season of the 70´s, 1979 had a new victor on a new bike. Graham Noyce, Great Britain (Honda) showed a glimse of what we could expect into the 80's. Gerrit Wolsink, Holland (Suzuki) was second and in third place, a new star from Belgium, André Malherbe, Belgium (Honda).
Robert from Belgium continued the 250cc world GP titles winning streak in 1970
riding his Suzuki. His countryman Sylvain Geboers (Suzuki) was second and Roger
De Coster (CZ) third. All three podium places where claimed by Belgians.
In 1971 Joel Robert won again. This year another Swede, Håkan Andersson (Husqvarna) made a move towards the top by finishing second. Sylvain Geboers, Belgium (Suzuki), the oldest brother of one of the most succesful riders ever, eric "the kid" Geboers , came third.
Joel Robert (Suzuki) wasn't about to let anybody in just yet. He took another title in 1972. Håkan Andersson, Sweden now riding a Yamaha took second again. Everything was just like the prevous year with Sylvain Geboers, Belgium (Suzuki) third.
In 1973 The Swede Håkan Andersson finally managed to win the title, still riding a Yamaha. Adolf Weil, Germany (Maico) was second and The Finnish fierce force Hekki Mikkola was third aboard a Husqvarna.
1974 was a sad year for sportsmanship, The Czech Jaroslav Falta won the championship but was outright robbed on the title. The official (very incorrect) standings however had Guennnady Moisseev, Sovjet (KTM) as first and Jaroslav riding CZ as second. Harry Everts, Belgium (Puch) was third though.
In 1975 Harry Everts, the father of Stefan Everts took his Puch to win the championship. Håkan Andersson, Sweden (Yamaha) was second and Willy Bauer, Germany (Suzuki) third.
Moisseev, Sovjet (KTM) came back in 1977 and won the title without the
embarassing help from the communist party putting pressure on the FIM
representatives as in 1974. The Russian riders where really good at this time,
Vladimir Kavinov (KTM) took second. In third, a brand new Belgian that was to
become a great rider André Malherbe (KTM).
The 1978 season had yet another win for Guennnady Moisseev, Sovjet (KTM). Torleif Hansen, Sweden (Kawasaki) was second. In third was the brother of the owner to the Maico factory, Hans Maisch. He rode the GP circuit and developed the Maicos at the same time. Talented rider actually.
In 1979, the last season of the decade another Swede, the supertough Hakan "Carla" Carlqvist won the championship riding a Husqvarna. He is likely the biggest Swedish hero and iron man. Although he holds both a 250 and a 500 title he was always haunted by outrigth bad luck. Besides injuries, machine failures and riding not competitive bikes throughout most of his carreer one could almost never during nearly 10 years see anybody passing him cleanly on the track. Neil Hudson, Great Britain (Maico) was second and Vladimir Kavinov, Russia (KTM) was third.
125 GP in the 70's
The 125cc GP circuit started in 1975. The first ever champion was Gaston Rahier, Belgium (Suzuki). His fellow countryman Gilbert de Roover (Zündapp) was second and Antoin Baborawsky, Czechoslovakia (CZ) took third.
In 1976 Gaston Rahier, (Suzuki) won again. That year another Czech claimed second, Jiri Churavy (CZ). The American Marty Smith, USA (Honda) took third.
Gaston Rahier (Suzuki) won the title again in 1977. Gerard Rond, Holland (Yamaha) was second and André Massant, Belgium (Yamaha) third.
In 1978 The tables turned somewhat. Thge Japanese rider Akira Watanabe (Suzuki) won the championship. Gaston Rahier, (Suzuki) had to settle for second. Gerard Rond, Holland (Yamaha) was degraded to third.
The great Harry Everts, Belgium (Suzuki) won the GP title back in 1979. The defending champion, Akira Watanabe, Japan (Suzuki) was second. Gaston Rahier, Belgium had switched to Yamaha and made third in the last season of the decade.
AMA USA Nationals MX in the 70's
In 1972 The AMA Nationals started and Brad Lackey (Kawasaki), Gary Jones (Yamaha) and Wyman Priddy (CZ) claimed the three first places in the 500 Open Class. The podium places in the 250cc championship went to Gary Jones (Yamaha), Jim Weinert (Yamaha) and Gunnar Lindstrom (Husqvarna).
1973 Pierre Karsmakers riding for Yamaha took the 500cc title followed by Mike Runyard (CZ/Suzuki) and Peter Lamppu on a Kawasaki. In the 250cc class Gary Jones repeated his victory from the preceeding year, only this time he switched to a Honda, Rick Thorwaldson In 1974 there where three classes with the new 125cc class. Jim Weinert on a Kawasaki became the 500cc champion with Tony DiStefano (CZ) and Steve Stackable (Maico) following in second and third. In the 250cc class Gary Jones once again won, this time aboard a Can-Am. Marty Tripes (Husqvarna/Can-Am) took second and Jim Ellis (Can-Am) was third. Truly somewhat a dominace of the american bike Can-Am. Can-Am's are rare vintage bikes these days. 125cc title went to Marty Smith, Bruce McDougal and Chuck Bower claimed second and third. All three 125 pilots rode Honda.
The 1975 season gave us new champs: Jim Weinert (Yamaha), Steve Stackable (Maico) and Pierre Karsmakers (Honda) took top three in the 500cc class. The top three in 250cc class where Tony DiStefano (Suzuki), Kent Howerton (Husky) and Bill Grossi (Suzuki). Kent Howerton is forever connected to the Husqvarna "glory days" of the seventies in USA. The 125cc class champ title went to Marty Smith (Honda). Tim Hart (Yamaha) took second and Dan Turner riding a Bultaco took the third position.
The 1976 final standings in the 500cc class was: Kent Howerton (Husqvarna), Gary Semics (Kawasaki) and Steve Stackable that swiched from Maico to Suzuki to the -76 season. Tony DiStefano (Suzuki) took the 250cc title in front of Jim Weinert (Kawasaki) and Steve Stackable (Suzuki) who took third spot in both the 500 and the 250 class that year. The 125cc class was very interesting this year. Bob "Hurricane" Hannah riding a Yamaha , known as one of the true legends in the sport won the title in a big way but his closest competitors came to be well known names in the following years. They where Marty Smith riding a Honda and Danny LaPorte, contracted by Suzuki.
Smith (Honda) won the 1977 500cc class just in front of Bob Hannah (Yamaha),
Steve Stackable was back on a Maico and kept his tradition by claiming third
place. Around these years the focus was moving towards the 250 class. The top
three riders where Tony DiStefano (Suzuki), Marty Smith and Jim Pomeroy, both
riding Honda. The 125cc class was exiting enough with Broc Glover and Danny
LaPorte finishing on exactly the same points (240). Broc took the title with
Danny in second. Brian Myerscough took third for Yamaha.
The 1978 season felt like the best riders was to be found in the 250cc and 125cc class. 500cc top three went to Rick Burgett (Yamaha), Rex Staten (Yamaha) and former champ Marty Smith on a Honda. Bob Hannah won the 250cc title, Jim Ellis (Honda) second and Chuck Sun riding a Husqvarna took third. Broc Glover won the 125cc title followed by Gaylon Mosier (Yamaha) and Brian Myerscough (Suzuki).
500cc top three was Danny LaPorte (Suzuki), Mike Bell (Yamaha) and Gary Semics.
Gary Semics rode a Honda this year and took back his third spot that he
temporarly lost in -78. Bob Hannah took his Yamaha to yet another 250cc title.
Kent Howerton (Suzuki) and Marty Tripes (Honda) went for second and third. Broc
Glover repeated his title in the 125cc class. Mark Barnett (Suzuki) claimed
second and Brian Myerscough (Suzuki) repeated his third spot.
USA Supercross in the 70's
During the 1971, 1972 and 1973 seasons there was an unofficial 500cc class won by: Gunnar Lindstrom, Blackwell and Pierre Karsmakers. There was only a 500cc supercross championship for the 1974 and the 1975 seasons. The top three in 1974 was Gary Semics (Husqvarna), Tony Hart (Yamaha) and Tony DiStefano riding a CZ. The 1975 season winner was Steve Stackable riding Maico, Tony DiStefano (Suzuki) managed second and Jim Weinert (Yamaha) took third.
The 250 supercross champs during the 70´s started off in 1971 when Gary Jones (Yamaha), Jim Weinert (Yamaha) and Wicks (Maico) was the top trio.
In 1972 we saw the same riders in the two first spots but Gunnar Lindstrom took third spot for Husqvarna.
In 1973 Pierre Karsmakers (Yamaha) won. Mike Runyard (Suzuki) second and Peter Lamppu (Kawasaki) third.
Just like in the motocross series 1974 was a great year for Can-Am motorcycles with Gary Jones first and Jim Ellis third. Marty Tripes (Husqvarna) took second but was very close to win the series only 24 points behind Jones.
Tony DiStefano (Suzuki) edged out Kent Howerton (Husky) by only 30 points. Bill
Grossi was way back in points but took third spot on his Suzuki.
The 1976 season was very interesting since the starting field looked stronger than ever. How about these top six riders ?. 1: Tony DiStefano (Suzuki), 2: Jim Weinert (Kawasaki), 3: Steve Stackable (Suzuki), 4: Kent Howerton (Husqvarna), 5: Gary Semics (Kawasaki) and in 6'th Bob "Hurricane" Hannah riding Yamaha. Huuuh !!.
In 1977 Tony DiStefano (Suzuki) repeated his title win. Marty Smith (Honda) in second place and Jim Pomeroy (Honda) in third.
Bob Hannah (Yamaha) won the 1978 title. Jim Ellis (Honda) in second and Chuck Sun (Husqvarna) third.
The last championship in the 70's saw Bob Hannah (Yamaha), Kent Howerton (Suzuki) and Marty Tripes (Honda) in top three.
Motocross Des Nations 500cc in the 70's
During the 70's the international Motocross Des Nations was a 500cc affair only. Sweden won in 1970(Italy), riders: Christer Hammargren (Husqvarna), Janne Johansson (Husqvarna), Arne Kring (Husqvarna), Bengt Aberg (Husqvarna). Belgium managed second place and the Czeckoslovian team third.
In 1971(France) Sweden won again with: Åke Jonsson (Maico), Bengt Aberg (Husqvarna), Olle Petersson (Suzuki), Christer Hammargren (Husqvarna). Belgium and Czeckoslovakia was once again second and third.
Belgium won in 1972(Holland) with their strong team: Roger DeCoster (Suzuki), Jaak van Velthoven (Yamaha), René van der Vorst (Husqvarna). Sweden took second and Holland claimed third.
In 1973(Switzerland) Belgium reapeated their win with Roger DeCoster (Suzuki) ,
Raymond Heeren (Maico), Sylvain Geboers (Suzuki), Jaak van Velthoven (Yamaha). Sweden was second once again and the Russian team managed third. All Russian riders rode CZ.
1974(Sweden) Sweden won on their home soil once again,
riders: Bengt Aberg (Bultaco), Arne Kring (Husqvarna), Hakan Andersson (Yamaha),
Ake Jonsson (Yamaha). This was also the first year that
United States had a team on the podium. Jim Pomeroy (Bultaco), Brad Lackey (Husqvarna),
Marty Tripes (Husqvarna) and Jim Weinert (Kawasaki) took the second place. The
Russian who mostly rode KTM now settled for third.
Czechoslovakia won in 1975(Czechoslovakia) Antonin Baborovski (CZ), Miroslav Novacek (CZ), Jiri Churavy (CZ), Zdenek Velky (CZ). The surprisingly strong Belgian team Belgium : Roger DeCoster (Suzuki), Jaak van Velthoven (Yamaha), Harry Everts (Puch), Gaston Rahier (Suzuki), had to give away first and accept second spot. Great Britain managed to take third.
In 1976(Holland) the Belgians Roger DeCoster (Suzuki), Jaak van Velthoven (Yamaha), Harry Everts (Puch), Gaston Rahier (Suzuki) got their revenge with a gold. Holland got second place and a very interesting German team: Adolf Weil (Maico), Schmitz (Puch), Rolf Dieffenbach (Maico) And Willy Bauer (KTM) took third.
1977(France) was another win for the Belgian team: André Malherbe (KTM), Jaak van Velthoven (KTM), Roger De Coster (Suzuki) and Jean-Paul Mingels (Montesa). USA took second place with a team of real legends. How about Tony DiStefano (Suzuki), Steve "short stack" Stackable (Maico), Gary Semics (Kawasaki) and Kent Howerton (Husqvarna). Great Britain was third just like two years earlier.
In 1978(Germany) looked interesting and it became a battle between KTM(Russia) and Maico(Germany). Russia with Guennnady Moisseev (KTM), Anatoli Kavinov (KTM), Valerij Korneev (KTM) and Juri Khudiakov (KTM) managed to beat Germany on their land and passed them the second place. The always so strong Belgian team took another podium spot as they made third.
In 1979(Finland) was the next title off to Belgium, Roger De Coster (Suzuki), Harry Everts (Suzuki), André Malherbe (Honda) and Ivan Van Den Broeck (Maico) was the winning team. Great Britain was second and Germany third.
Trophée Des Nations 250cc in the 70's
Belgium dominated the decade completely with a win each year except in 1979 when USSR managed to break the dominance. The Belgian winners between 1970-78 where Rogert De Coster (1970-79), Sylvain Geboers (1970-73), Joel Robert (1970), Jaak van Velthoven (1971-78), Gaston Rahier (1974-75), Harry Everts (1976-78) and André Malherbe (1977). The Russians won the trophee in 1979, their riders where Vladimir Kavinov, Valeriy Khudiakov, Valeriy Korneyev and Guennnady Moisseev. All russians rode KTM.
Bike development in the 70's
Thanks to more powerful engines, rougher tracks and American supercross the bikes developed rapidly during the 70's and mostly the later half. Rear wheel travel was around 4" (100mm) while the forks had around 7" (180mm), fork tubes had a diameter of 32-35mm up until 1974. 1975-1979 the wheel travel increased every year and ended up around 270-310mm (11") at the end of the decade. Ohlins dual Piggyback and FOX air-shocks where the hot stuff during the late 70's.
broke into every mans home with their air assisted bulky forks. Husqvarna was
still a major factor but Maico seemed to have more than a competitive bike
around 1977-1979. In 125-250cc classes the Japanese bikes where competitive
enough but the open class bikes where often european brands except in the end of
the decade when Yamaha started the full 500cc trend offering monster power way
beyond what the common 360-400cc engines delivered. Bultaco, Ossa, Montesa and
Can-Am where the odd bikes then but for the most part just as good as anything
else. The fastest 250's chunked out 30-35bhp at the end of the 70's