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 Taichi Yoshimura and Honda in the 1972 Trans am

                   

After Honda's success during 1971 and 1972 in developing, racing and winning on a 2-stroke motocross bike, see here, Honda of Japan decided to sell a production 2-stroke 125 and 250. Now for the first time, Honda would offer a 2-stroke motorcycle to the public. In 1972 Honda factory rider Taichi Yoshimura on the super light-weight RC125 and RC250M works bikes, delivered wins in the 125 and 250 class in the "All Japan Motocross" national championship.  As 1972 was drawing to a close, the 1972 Trans am series was underway in the US. The US market was the biggest market in the world and growing and the Trans am series was the biggest series in the US at that time. To get exposure for the CR250 that would be released in the spring of 1973, Honda decided to enter the last two Trans am races of the series. The last two events were at Carnegie Cycle Park in Northern California and the finale at Saddleback Park in Southern California. Two 1972 RC250M's were painted in the colors of the soon to be released CR250M Elsinore production bikes and local Southern California riders Jim Wilson and Bruce Baron were hired to compete in the 250 support class in the final two events. Honda also decided to send their number one Japanese rider to compete in the open class Taichi Yoshimura. It was Taichi after-all that was most  responsible for the development of the bikes. Taichi was kind enough to send us a brief recollection of the events and photos from his own personal archive. Our good friend Holly translated Taichi's brief story in English.

Taichi Yoshimura;      

1972 was the first year that Honda raced with the 2-strokes. It was a last minute decision by Honda of Japan to enter the final two Trans am  races in the States. We didn't have a 500cc bike so a we bored up the cylinder of my RC250M a few cc's. I don't remember exactly what the displacement was but the minimum we had to be for the open class was 251cc. I was the first rider to compete in the Trans am series on a Honda. The team manager of American Honda at the time was John Blum. I don't remember too much about those races but I remember everybody was talking about Marty Tripes and he later joined the Honda factory team in 1973. My results in the two races were as follows.

Carnegie Cycle Park   November 26, 1972

1st moto 16th

2nd moto  DNF (gearbox)

3rd moto  18th       

Saddleback Park   December 3, 1972

1st moto   15th

2nd moto   21st

3rd moto   17th

 

American Honda mechanic Jon Rosenstiel pushes Jim Wilson's RC250M #18 thru tech inspection behind Bruce baron's #76 RC Honda at Carnegie Cycle Park. This was the first motocross race in the states for Honda.

 

Taichi Yoshimura looks on as American Honda team manager John Blum pushes the first (if by only a few cc's) Honda open class motocross bike thru tech.

                     

 

   Taichi waits for moto one. Ake Jonsson can be seen in the background with the infamous "Whoop-de Chews" chest protector on.

 

                                        Heading to the starting line, a photographer films history. Where is that super 8mm film?

 

 

 

 

  P  Photo: Mike Roll  supplied by Mark Raiche  

   

                         Jim Wilson, Taichi Yoshimura and Bruce Baron pose for a photo at Carnegie November 26th, 1972.

                   

                  Taichi and Honda got the attention of the British press. Photo courtesy of the Jack Clark scrapbook collection.

                                   

                                                                             Bruce Baron at Saddleback

 

                                                    Jim Wilson's RC250M at Saddleback awaiting numbers.

 

 Jim Wilson at the original America Honda race shop in Gardena California with a pre-production CR250. To the far right on the floor are the two original 1972 RC250M's that were used in the 250 support races in the Trans am series.