Yoshimura and Honda in the 1972 Trans am
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.
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
1st moto 16th
2nd moto DNF (gearbox)
3rd moto 18th
Saddleback Park December 3,
1st moto 15th
2nd moto 21st
3rd moto 17th
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?
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
Bruce Baron at Saddleback
Jim Wilson's RC250M at Saddleback awaiting
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.