Scott Heidbrink – Contributor from USA
Reflecting back, you know why I love VMX Magazine? I love the fact that it features all of the bikes I lusted after when I was a kid… here are a few of my favourites from this year:
Issue 76: The one bike I always wanted but never owned – a Bultaco Alpina. To me, that was the ultimate because it was a darn good trail bike that could double as a trials bike – and, it was street legal. Plus, this 350 had power (side note, I always lusted after Bultacos, but the closest I got to owning one was when I bought a 1967 Montesa LaCrosse. It was my first 250, but the combo of a 19-in. front wheel and right-hand shifter threw me off my game, so it didn’t last long in my garage).
This issue also featured an all-time favourite of mine – the BSA Victor Rickman. Again, a Rickman was always on my wish list, whether it was a Hodaka-powered model, a Montesa, Zundapp or a Triumph. But a big bore/staggered-cylinder fin BSA single in a Rickman frame – that is just sublime.
Also, in that issue, the bike I have a love/hate relationship with was the cover bike – the Suzuki TR500 Long Tracker. That’s one I can admire and I love those expansion chambers… but I cannot imagine how it would feel “coming on the pipe” coming out of a corner. I’ve never ridden a speedway bike, and I can guarantee I’d never swing a leg over that one – it scares me (just kidding… a little).
Issue 77: There were some “interesting” bikes in that one, like the 1975 Yamaha MX400 Mono. I, too, tested that bike back in the day… and I sided with the Pop Cycling guys – it was an “okay” trail bike, but it was scary on a MX track (and considering that in 1975, I was only racing MX and not doing much trail riding, this bike gathered dust in my garage).
What I did love in this issue was the Kramer-Maico mono – wow! Never saw one of those back in the day. That is one bike I would have loved to have taken to the track!
Third favourite bike in that issue – the Greeves Anglian trailer. I always tried to be a trials rider but didn’t have the patience to perfect that skill. This old Greeves reminds me of being twelve years old walking into Nick Nicholson Motors in Burbank, California, seeing all the variations of Greeves for the first time – Anglians, Griffons, Challengers – this brand captured my heart, but never got into my wallet.
Issue 78: This one is easy – Terry Good’s 1972 Honda RX125M. Why? Because I have seen and touched that bike with my own two hands… and yes, it is the holy grail – that bike started a revolution! If you haven’t read this story – buy this issue and read Terry’s words – he nails the history of that bike!
Second place, the Wassel Sachs. Why? ‘Cause I raced a Sachs and anything with a Sachs motor is a winner in my book (yes, I am demented).
My third favourite story features another old friend – Dave Boydstun and his CZ Twin-Pipe. I’ve known Dave since the ’70s when he used to race a Boyd & Stelling’s framed Suzuki (I may be wrong on the powerplant). He had tons of natural talent, and a non-racing accident shortened his racing career.
Issue 79: Favourite story – the CZ World Championships. That is one race I have always wanted to go to (especially since I live in So Cal and that race is in Nor Cal), but I have never been able to make it happen… so, I live vicariously through the VMX story.
Favourite bike: Ossa Plonker. See Bultaco Alpina for the reason why. Seriously, I loved trail/trials bikes because they made perfect machines for photographers, so I could cover more ground while covering races. Too bad the AMA didn’t agree, so I could never use a trail bike to cover a National MX race.
I also loved the AJS 500 because I used to own an AJS 250 Stormer, and my best friend in college raced an AJS 370. They were as quirky and stubborn as they come, but when an AJS was working perfectly, it handled like nothing else – light, quick and precise. The only problem, you could have perfection in moto one and disaster in moto two. (FYI: I traded my AJS straight up for a Honda XR75 pit bike).
So, that wraps up my take on a year of VMX Magazine and I cannot wait to see what’s in the pages of the 2020 issues!