As I wait expectantly for the delivery of my (1976) Honda CR 250M I took a quick look into the "way back" machine to revisit my youth. Attached are several pictures from my entry in an early 1970's Elsinore Grand Prix. On this occasion I rode my Suzuki Twin Pipe. I am the handsome devil in the exact center of the picture...blue work shirt...very cool at the time.
One of the striking things about dirt bike racing in the 1970's was the incredible number of manufacturers. Races today draw no more than four manufacturers.
Before the race...actually the day before...you were required to park your bike overnight...something like a Six Day Trial event. I think it was a ploy to get more people to spend the night and hopefully drop some money in the local restaurants and motels. My recollection is that this did not happen. In those days the racers were much more likely to camp out in some illegal area and drink themselves to sleep. This is probably not what the organizers had in mind.
The pits...If you needed to visit the pits during the race...this is what you saw. Utterly disorganized and vaguely dangerous. It was a 100 mile race. Ten laps of ten miles each around a course which encompassed both the city of Lake Elsinore and the surrounding countryside. Dirt bikes of that era had smallish tanks so virtually everyone had to come in. In my case I had no clear idea how long my gas supply would last. The fuel tank was stylishly small (and beautiful..) on the RH. I ran out of gas in the middle of the third lap. I asked one of the spectators to "loan" me some pre-mix. The guys were happy to do so. I made it back to the pits and refueled. By the way my refueling "rig" consisted of multiple one gallon wine bottles filled with premix. I was lucky to survive the 1970's.
The Finish line...again yours truly on the Twin Pipe Suzuki. This is a nice shot of the locals...consisting primarily of friends and family. This shot does should not remind anyone of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This was a very different kind of crowd, although it must be said that they were in period costumes.
Yes...you actually did race right through the town...on motocross bikes...with knobbies...with expansion chambers (sans mufflers..). It was just a little surreal. I discovered that the curbs were not a hazard at all. On knobbies you ended up doing a fair bit of sliding on the asphalt. The plan, at least for me, was to start a little slide near the middle of the street and use the curb as a berm. It was more than a little above my skill level, but it was a race...so why not!
Fashionable hair...a little bit dismayed by the attention of the photographer (first and now ex-wife)...clearly a "Before" picture.
Just as clearly this would be an "After" picture. I do not look quite so sparky...do I? I was happy to call it a day and try to decide if I wanted to do this again. As it turns out, I did it once more.
Once more into the breach...As it turns out, I could not stay away. This was the next year riding a Kawasaki Sidewinder. Slower than the Twin Pipe...just as loud...and the suspension was utterly unforgiving. This was the last year of the original Elsinore Grand Prix. It was revived in the late 90's and I did that event once on an older single pipe TM250. The atmosphere was different. Lots of very expensive Japanese Motocross bikes emerging from large well equipped vans...etc.., etc..., etc...You know the scene. I am pretty sure that it is now gone forever.