A tribute to
About 6 or 7 years
ago Don Jones sent me all of his own personal photographs to
scan. He was a without a doubt the biggest inspiration for me to
start this collection of bikes and motocross history. I was
saving these for my museum but as a tribute to Don, enjoy these
never seen before photos of a true legend. For other rare Jones
photos featuring Don, Gary and DeWayne, visit the photo vault.
If you have a story
or a letter you want to share about Don Jones send it to
and it will be
posted at the bottom of this page.
Cards and letters
to the Jones family can be sent to the address below.
C/O Jones Family
17525 Alder Street unit 1
Hesperia, Ca 92345
Don in front of his first motorcycle shop 1958.
He was a Matchless/BSA dealer and eventually became the first US
Don in the front
yard Hacienda Heights, California 1958
Don won a couple of
flat track championships way before Gary and DeWayne were in the
picture. Here he displays his gold.
Don and Gary 1962
This photo was
taken October 17, 1966 Look closely and you can see a cable
going down to the exhaust port on Gary's Bultaco. This was the
first exhaust power-valve. Don Jones was far ahead of his time.
Gary and Don at
Osteen's Cycle Park 1968
Don and Gary with a Yamaha AT1-MX
also invented the practice starting gate. Here he pulls the wire
for Gary and DeWayne. Standing to Don's right is a young Marty
Here Don is working
on DeWayne's 1971 YZ Yamaha. I believe this photo was taken in
Don and Gary trackside in Jacksonville Florida 1972
Jones Motocross in
Walnut California. To me this was sacred ground in 1972.
The sub 200 lb. DT1
AZ that Don and Barry Watkins built for Cycle Guide. This was
the bike that got me hooked back in 1971. They called it the AZ
because everything from A to Z was either changed or modified.
accessory frames for the Yamaha MX bikes 1972. They even made
six out of Titanium.
Jones wheel foam,
fiberglass YZ tank, YZ style clutch cover and a fiberglass
Fiberglass YZ tank and Jones frame.
Early Team Honda photo with a Kawasaki spy on the floor. Can you
name these people?
Don applied a Yamaha reed valve to the CR250 and Gary won the
1973 National Championship.
There wasn't enough damping on Gary's Can-am rear shock so Don
added another shock damper.
Don's pride and joy, Gary and DeWayne going at it on a couple of
modified CR Honda's. Their mom Melinda designed those jerseys.
I was saddened to hear of Dons'
passing. I didn't know him personally but I was fortunate to
have met him and and the boys at Saddleback in the late 60s'
when they were developing the Yamahas. It was clear that he was
an impressive innovator/motorcycle genius. My fondest memory of
Don is a picture that was printed in Motocross Action showing
Don holding up a hardcover book titled "Everything I Know About
Motorcycles". I'm sure it was tongue-in-cheek (my memory tells
me it was done by the then AMA Motocross referee John Lancione-but
my memory is suspect after all these years) but the fact is if
that book contained all of Dons' knowledge of motorcycles then
that would be one hell of a book. I wish I still had a copy of
great tribute you wrote about Don Jones. I only met him
briefly at the San Diego Museum for the Motocross
America exhibit but will always treasure my photo of me
sitting on a hay bale sandwiched between Don and Marty
Tripes. How we all fit on one hay bale is still a
mystery to me LOL. It was fun to talk to Don about early
development of the YZ's and how he modified Gary's 74
Honda Elsinore 250 with a special reed valve. What a
trick bike that was for its time. He was a smart, witty,
and funny man and I'm so glad I got to meet him. I'm
sure he's telling God how to make his dirt bike go
faster right now.
I remember Don Jones way before I started to work at the
Honda MX race shop in 74
At that time Motocross racing in So Cal was mainly a
local scene and the national circuit was just being
organized within the AMA
Don was the first real race team manager / coordinator
of his 2 sons Gary & DeWayne who were the first real
Motocross stars within the US that I knew of
I had heard that Don had his wife sew up team uniforms
when Gary and DeWayne started to ride for Yamaha
International (the first real MX race team coordinated
There were a couple magazine articles that came out
featuring Don giving advise and "hot tips" on how to set
up early Yamaha MX's for racing which were relatively
popular as Motocross was such a new sport in the states
and Don having kids that were both factory stars of that
period made him an automatic authority
Don and sons later raced for Honda on the first 250
works Elsinore's / I will always remember that first LA
SX where the Jones Bros and Tripe's went head to head
against the 2 Eastern Block CZ riders / the real cold
war and everlasting memory
Don will always have a special spot in the halls of
American Motocross History for his unparalleled
influence on the sport during that period
God Bless Don and his remaining family
Dave Arnold / Honda Research N America
was racing my first national and riding for the
factory Honda MX team. It was Rio Bravo, Texas.
Hot and dusty. I over heard Don Jones tell Gary
that if he got the hole shot he should drag his
feet on the long silty back straight to ''dust''
everybody out behind him. Well you guessed it, I
won the start and when I got to that long dry
silty section my feet were' a draggin and
everybody behind me was hatin' life!! Thanks to
a great man.
I never really
knew Don personally; other than to say
hi but I do remember him well because he
left a positive impression on me from
when I got to know of him my first year
on the National Circuit back in 1972.
Donís presence was huge, he had the
motocross thing dialed in and they were
winning races. Don is a true icon of
Gary Semics / Gary Semics MX School Inc.
Steve Wise forwarded me the
notice of the passing of Don
Jones. He was a great man
blessed with two great riders
and will be remembered forever
as one of the original
participants in the beginning of
MotoCross in the USA. I was
fortunate to know Don as I was
the AMA National MotoCross
Referee from the beginning
(during the time Gary and
DeWayne rode) up until Evelís
Snake River MotoCross. To say
that Don was a colorful
character is a gross
understatement. I could go on
and on with Don Jones stories
and his buddy, Costigen
(spelling may be off) and
numerous other incidents. As I
remember he had family down the
road in Hico Texas.
I recall at one of the National
or TransAM raced we (Weinert &
others) presented Don a book
entitled ďEverything I know
About MotoCrossĒ by Don Jones.
It was a beautifully bound,
thick book of several hundred
pages that was completely
blank. We all, including Don,
got a great laugh of it.
Saddened to hear
about Don Jones. As
I wrote in that
Husky story on
we were involved
with the Jones in
the short lived
company Pacer who
made all kinds of
stuff for the
the fiberglass seat
tank combos as seen
in the photos you
put on your site of
Gary on the AT1, and
also Don and Gary at
Osteens on the old 4
strokes. As a
kid/squid, we rode
with them a couple
of times, watching
really, at Osteen's
and also when lots
of guys used to
practice right off
the 405 and the
Harbor Fwy/110. That
was at the same time
as the "practice
gate" photo you have
up. I think my
brother has some
photos of our Pacer
AT1 I can send if
We also built a
beautiful Cheney DT1
that we have photos
of. God I wish we'd
kept that one! When
Michael got on that
he went from a mid
He soon blew out his
knees though, and
later became a Husky
mechanic for Semics
and Hartwig, but
only for about a
Anyway, I remember
Don just as you
describe him, and we
can all celebrate a
life well lived.
DJ, You know
what I mean,
We have lost
To say that
was large is
I was Tripes
in name, but
was in fact
all over the
have had the
time that I
had in his
Gary as we
was all ears
to what I
as a young
out to be
one of the
as could be.
one and that
was it. I
and tell you
there is not
to get on
the Bull by
and taking a
wild ride in
a blender or
so I came
while I was
the bike, I
bike of his
than a CZ
125. I saw
open up wide
and knew that
I was in
off the bike
fast as I
out of the
he did say
bike was a
I did get to
sleep in the
As hard as
Don was on
the boys and
me, he also
had a very
to be with,
I spent a
lot of time
he left us,
I will favor
Don I will
all and I
will see you
at your ride
in the high
and to Terry
for all the
trip was to Ohio
Trans Am at
track. As I
woke up and
the coach, I
dad for the
Old man Weinert and
It was not a
hands or for
second on I
knew that it
was going to
be a long
I wish I
could do it
I have been friends with Don since the Fifties when I raced and he raced flat track and road race. Then in the 60's, Don started making products such as rim straightening tools, belt driven magnetos for Triumphs. Also, liquid for sealing fork seals from leaking. I was in the parts distributing business and sold some of Don's products at the time. He will be deeply missed.
Jerry Bases (Formerly Jerry Bases Distributing)
I am writing to share a couple of memories about Don Jones, who was my uncle. My dad is one of the Jones twins of Big Lake, Texas and being far away from Don in distance never meant being far away in our hearts. My family has some great home movies of the races that Don use to participate in (I believe in the 50's). They were in the California sand where the sounds were loud and the dust was flying. Don's siblings (especially the boys - of whom there were four) have a love of motorcycles that came from my grandpa, James Druid Jones (deceased) of Hico, Texas. I believe that Don also got his great innovative and ingenious mind from grandpa, as did my dad and his twin brother.
To tell you about my grandpa; he was considered a fairly wealthy man and during the depression raised 10 kids well, with the help of my grandmother. It was pure "smarts", honesty and hard work that did it. Grandpa retired at or around age 40 and never worked a day again. He had managed to save enough money to do so and he refused to take any Social Security income since he considered that a hand-out. He taught his kids to be honest, to work hard, to fear God and to enjoy life. I can still remember grandpa riding a motorcycle to "the end of the dirt road" at the farm so he could check the mail. He was 80-something. He had a helmet that sort of sat "on top" of his head since it was slightly too small ~ and at that time he couldn't see worth a darn. But... he'd say "if he couldn't see a car coming, he could still hear it". I believe nothing would stop him from riding a motorcycle, since even my grandma couldn't ever manage to do that. Gary designed and built a practice track in the field at the family farm (in the 70's) and we'd all take our dirt bikes and ride that track like we were "one of the big guys". (I'm a girl, but I can't help it... I loved bikes too.) Gary was the only one who could actually get away with riding that track "on Sundays". My grandfather adored him.
I remember in about '75 (after Gary had broken his leg) an occasion when I was spending some days with my Aunt Leona (Don's sister in Hico). Gary, Don and maybe a couple of other guys (like Marty Tripes who was also always around) had flown into Dallas. My aunt and I (she drove) took the Can-Am truck/van from Hico to Dallas to pick up the guys at the airport. We spent the night in Dallas and it was the first "all day and evening" event that I spent in Don's presence, since I was old enough to remember, and we were not at the tracks.
In the evening, we went to a Mexican Food restaurant in Dallas to have dinner (I can't remember the name of it) but what I do remember is Don ~ and how he really impressed me. He was so kind and so much fun. Until then, I had only been around him when he was with the Jones Boys (my dad, other brothers and his dad) and they always talked bikes and work and guy stuff so we girls didn't hang around them much.
But that weekend in Dallas was different. Two of his sisters (or three) were there, a couple of my cousins including Gary, and then me. We had such a great time eating, drinking, dancing a little and laughing a whole lot. Gary (in his leg-cast) even danced a time or two. But as the evening went on, I remember that Don kept paying the little Mariachi Band to play the same song over and over and over again: "El Paso City" by Marty Robbins. They'd play while Don sang along and then he'd give them another twenty and yell "play that again". Of course they did. I always wondered what the other patrons thought of that, but no one complained. We all had a blast and the next day it was "back to business". Back to the motorcycle life that brought them from California that week.
That one weekend marked one of the best memories of my life growing up. I had never seen that side of Don, maybe because my dad and uncles weren't there to distract him away and my parents weren't there to "contain me". I was 15 years old and highly impressionable but Don never treated me like a kid. I felt like I was as grown up as they were (or maybe they were as young as I was) and it was a total blast. To this day, every time I hear "El Paso City" I smile and think of Don. He even gave me my first taste of a margarita that night and when I said "don't tell dad" he said "I won't tell yours if you won't tell mine!" It was all in fun and I was with adults who made me feel like one of them...
...Don was full of stories and I never again saw my aunts have so much fun. In the end, I took a great new-found fondness (for all of them) away from that weekend. It was a great time; growing up in the Jones family and sharing some of that good clean fun through the motorcycle riding and going to races. Whitney was the best!
The twins (my dad and uncle) still ride long and short-distance rides every chance they get and they will be 77 in September. They went to visit Don, (though not on their bikes) while he was ill and 5 days after their return, he passed away.
Don was the first of ten Jones kids to go... we all miss him, and will keep his California family in our prayers. Thank you so much for the tribute and the web-page with photos. It means a great deal to all of his family.
Deona (Jones) Thompson
My dad Lee Young and Don were born the same year and left this earth the same day. Though they looked nothing a like they were cut from the same mold. Both great great men hard headed but still had a heart of gold filled with good will for anyone who had the guts to stand up and try. They loved the underdog, the little guy. They were both David's, no they didn't kill Goliath, but they sure gave him a shiner to remember them by. My thoughts and prayers goes out to all the Jones family. This is for Gary and DeWayne to tell about our dads, you'll get a real kick out of it. ask them about the EMERGENCY DOOR! on Lee Young's bus. GOD BLESS