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                                             1980 Suzuki RH250   Kent Howerton

                                       1980 AMA 250 National Champion

   The 1980 RH250 Suzuki was the last of the Japanese works twin shock motocross bikes.  Instead of going down in flames to the new single shock bikes, it went out in a blaze of glory.  This is the bike that Kent Howerton used to win the 1980 AMA 250 National Championship.  It is a full blown works bike.  When you first look at it, you notice how well everything is positioned.  Everything looks like it is where it is supposed to be.  It also looks very simple.  Upon close inspection you will see that there are many trick little innovations and clever ideas that are only found on bike of this pedigree.  This bike is the only works Suzuki that was given to a rider by American Suzuki.  Kent Howerton was the Top Gun in 1980 and demanded this bike as a trophy for his Championship victory.  Against company policy Suzuki complied and gave him the bike.  Kent rewarded them in 1981 with another Championship.  I saw Kent ride this bike at Hangtown and Saddleback that year.  One word to describe his performance in those two races.  Dominant.  Throughout 1980, it was not uncommon for Kent to win by a minute or more.  The bike was prepped after its last race and is in the original condition today.

Kent Howerton's comments: We didn't get this bike until right before Hangtown, and we didn't have much time to set it up.  During the first couple of races, I had trouble with the front forks.  They were too harsh and this gave me trouble in the corners.  To compensate for this I used the low end torque cylinders and pipes.  This helped until we got the front end working good and then I switched to the mid-top end set up.  The rear end was real good especially with the Ohlins shocks.  The bike had a real good geometry to it.  It was well balanced and the handling was excellent.  Mid way through the season, I already had the Championship about won, and we were at The Mount Morris National.  We had just taken delivery of the new prototype Full Floater earlier in the week.  While riding in practice on the twin shock bike, there was a section that jarred my back every time I went through it.  I was in a lot of pain from a back injury, so I took out the new bike, and going through the same section, there was no back no pain.  The bike absorbed the bumps much better.  I really wanted to race the new bike but Suzuki was against it because it was untested.  The bike was so much better that I told them I wouldn't race unless I could ride the new bike.  They agreed.  I won that race and finished out the season with the Full Floater.

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