My family and I started
riding in about 1964. We would camp, hunt and ride in
Riverside, California. I didn't like guns much, so the
motorcycles were the only thing that got my attention.
My first bike was a Rupp minibike. After a year I moved
up to some kind of Harley-Davidson 125 2 stroke. It had
no suspension at the rear and the front end used some
kind of bungee-cord !!! Next I had a 250 twin Excelsior,
which was usually firing on only one cylinder. Then a
Yamaha 80, which had the rear fender section removed, so
it was a race bike. A Greeves trials bike was next, then
my first racing motorcycle, a Greeves Challenger.
The Challenger was the old
practice bike of Jim Wilson, a local hero at the time. I
raced it 3 times and won 3 times but my dad had to bring
his welding torches to weld the frame after each moto.
In 1971 I got a job and bought a Bultaco 250 Pursang.
This bike was the start of my racing career. CMC was our
local racing club and if you won 3 races they moved you up
in class. I won my first 3 and went to the intermediate
class. 2 wins later I was gonna be pro so I waited
for the Penton series to start. I won a new Penton at the end of
that series, which I sold along with the Pursang. I had
money and Maico gave me my first motorcycle. That was a
big thing in those days, to be given a motorcycle. Kids
now have no idea....
I was making good money
racing three and four times a week in California while
in High School. We had night races during the week 3
times and Saturday & Sunday for even better money.
One morning I was showing
my mother the cover of Cycle World Magazine which had
the new Honda Elisnore 250. It was way ahead of it's
time and I wanted one!! My mother said I should call
them and tell them I want one. Ya sure !! was my reply..
Well she wrote them a letter outlining my local race
wins, without me knowing...Two weeks later I get a call
from American Honda and I was off and running for the
next 8 years... Good ol' Mom.
Dirt Rider magazine in
Sept. 2000 has me listed as the first Honda MX Champion,
followed by all the greats. So I might not have been the
best ever, but I was the first !! I won the Trans -Am
250 series in 1973 and 1976 for Honda. In 1975 I won the
500 AMA Supercross Series. I had my share of injuries
and retired in 1980. In 1994 at age 40 I started riding
again and won the Mammoth Mountain over 40 World
Championship. Jody Weisel of Motocross Action Magazine
called me after the Mammoth win and wanted to know if I
would like to be a test rider...Let's see, ride free new
motorcycles, a different one each week.
Now 14 years later and I
still lovin' it...... Richard Eierstedt