A brief back story as to how this collection of historical championship motocross bikes came to be.
I first got interested in motocross in 1971. I rode in the trails with my Dad that year on a 1970 Yamaha HS1 90cc twin at the family summer home in northern Michigan. After reading motorcycle magazines for a year or so about MX champions like Gary Jones, Joel Robert and Roger DeCoster, I finally entered my first motocross race on Memorial day 1972 in Oscoda Michigan. It is the roughest track I have ever ridden on to this day. Mike Hartwig was there, the Wilson's from K&W cycle who were some of the best riders in the area at the time. I got 15th overall in the 250 class on a Yamaha 175 enduro with a Webco expansion chamber on it. I was hooked. I then sold the 175 and saved up and bought a Yamaha DT2 MX. Around that same time a guy by the name of Barry Watkins with the help of Don Jones (father of Gary), was writing articles in Cycle Guide magazine about making your 250 MX light weight, similar to the factory Yamaha YZ's that the Jones brothers were riding, and you could buy a lot of the parts from Jones Motocross in Walnut California. I was making a $1.90 an hour as a construction laborer in West Bloomfield Michigan, I saved up every penny I made and bought every item Jones sold. I did everything I could to make my 1972 DT2 MX Yamaha exactly like Gary Jones' factory YZ. From that point on I was enamored with works bikes. Motocross at that time was the fastest growing motorsport in the US and it was not uncommon to have over a thousand entries at a single motocross race. My dream was to go to California which was the motocross mecca of the US and ride at Saddleback and all those other places I read about in the magazines. Motocross in Southern California at that time was actually a part of the local culture. Celebrities such as Steve McQueen could be found racing at local races on a weekly basis just blending in with everybody else. Motocross tracks in southern California were everywhere, from the San Fernando Valley to San Diego. You could race 4 or 5 times a week and the competition was very tough. I planned with a few friends from Michigan to go to California but they eventually bailed out. I kept racing in Michigan and Ohio, got pretty good and finally turned pro in the spring of 1975.
In 1975 I was 18 years old. I had a 1972 Chevy van, a 1975 Yamaha YZ250B and $900.00 to my name. One day in June that year, I decided now was the time, I just had to do this. I loaded up the bike and told my parents I was going to California. I didn't know anybody there but after three days of driving, I arrived at Saddleback Park in Orange County in total awe. It was a Saddleback Saturday, where they ran 40 min. motos for the pros. Tim Hart was there on a works monoshock, Rich Eierstedt... these guys were fast! The competition at the pro level was insane and you learned real fast. One day at Saddleback I met a guy named Glen Apling and got to be friends with him and his family. Next thing I knew, he invited me to live with them at their home in Santa Ana. The Aplings, some of the nicest people I have ever met became my family in California. Glen Sr. his wife Betty, the three girls Jan, Kim and Candice and Glen Jr. They were totally into the local motocross scene. His son Glen Jr. had a bike just like mine and we did all the Saddleback, Carlsbad CMC and OCIR night races, at least 3 races a week. What a blast! Each race you would see Marty Smith, Pierre Karsmakers and a whole host of factory riders with works bikes at local races! I remember seeing Bob Hannah test the first RM preproduction Suzuki's. He was winning every single race and no one knew who he was. Everyone thought he was just a guy that would come and go. I thought he was for real and was probably his first fan. I remember hearing the announcer at Saddleback call him "Hurricane Hannah" for the first time. (The story of him getting that name at Hangtown or in Florida is wrong!) I stayed there for about six months and then went back to Michigan to get ready for the 1976 125 Nationals. I planned on competing in this series with another friend I met in California, Kim Blackseth.
Once back in Michigan, I bought a Yamaha YZ125X model and started training. I missed the first national at Hangtown in northern California due to logistics. Kim raced there as he hadn't gone back east yet. He called me up after the race and said "your not going to believe who won"... Bob Hannah!! "He's got this works water-cooled Yamaha... you won't believe it!!" I saw the bike for the first time at Red-Bud the second 125 national event. It was so far ahead of it's time, with many cutting edge innovations that were inconceivable just a short time earlier. The bike is now a part of this collection. Hannah and Smith would battle all year. The battles between those two were much closer than history would have you believe. Bob Hannah was fantastic but so was Marty Smith. Marty had a lot of bad luck but Bob probably would have won no matter what. He was unbelievable and his bike was far ahead of the Honda at first. But at Delta Ohio Marty had the brand new state of the art Honda RC125M Type 2, (also now a part of this collection). That bike was every bit as good as Hannah's OW27 and in some ways maybe better. These bikes cost as much as the median price of a single family home in 1976 at just over $40,000.00 each! Kim had some family issues and had to go back home to California but I decided to continue on with the series. Broc Glover was riding for DG and his Dad, Dick Glover was driving the DG box van to each race. Dick took a liking to me and started helping me out with pipes and parts etc. What an experience that year was.
In between Nationals that year I met my wife Cindy and in March 1977 we got married. We moved back to California and I still planed to race the Nationals again in 1977 but that fell apart as I could barely afford to pay rent. I worked as a Framer, moved up to superintendent and eventually started my own successful Framing company. One day I was invited by Glen Apling to Riverside Raceway to watch Kenny Roberts race an AMA national road-race. On the way home we stopped by a friend of Glen's named Ron Crandall who lived near the track. Ron was also the race director at Corona Raceway. While there I noticed a works Yamaha in his back yard leaning against a detached garage. I asked him about it and he said that it was Pierre Karsmakers' and that Bob Hannah raced it for a while when he first signed with Yamaha. I believed the Karsmakers part but since Bob was the big star at the time I thought he was just making that part up. It took me about a year to talk him out of it. One year and $650.00 later it was mine. In 1978 I owned my first works bike. This was the bike that started this collection. Years later I brought this up while talking to Bob. It was true... It was his. Yamaha gave him Bruce McDougal's 125 and Pierre's 250 in the fall of 1975 when he first signed with them. We were both comparing little details that only he or myself would know about that bike. Amazing!
I eventually changed careers, and moved to Chicago. As a hobby I started a mail order company that imported Tecnosel seats and graphic sets from Italy into the US. Great excuse to make many trips to Italy. I also sold other trick parts for awhile and became the US Mugen importer. Mugen was owned by Hirotoshi Honda the son of Soichiro Honda. To promote all this I built a super trick aluminum framed CR250 Honda and Motocross Action magazine did an article on it. It was a cool bike and in many ways, it was ahead of it's time because of the aluminum frame that was built in Italy. I also sponsored Ty Davis in 1990 and 1991 and we won the AMA 125 West Coast Supercross title in 1990. Our main rival at the time was eventual MX superstar Jeremy McGrath. Throughout all of this, Dave Arnold, Roger DeCoster (who were at Honda) and I became good friends. At the same time I was also getting a lot of leads through the mail order business on works bikes. People were associating me with works bikes because of the bike I had built that was in Motocross Action. Other than the Mugen (first one ever sold in the US) that I bought in 1980, I didn't get the next one until 1991. From there it just snowballed into what it is today and the collection is still growing. I have really been driven to preserve what has been so special to me and many others all these years. I have also met some real nice people and have established some great friendships. Many, whom were great Champions of the "Golden era" of motocross.
Terry Good, Chicago Illinois