Words and photos by Ross Campbell
I couldn’t have timed it better. When racing as a young lad (too many years ago to remember really) my first real racer was a 1978 Honda CR 250R. This was followed by a 1980 model which was then Mugen kitted and finished with a 1982 RM 250Z. One of the best times ever for excitement in the world of Motocross. Skip quite a few years into the future and after having worked many places in the world I was planning on settling down here in Perth WA. I stumbled across my brothers copy of VMX Magazine—issue 23 I think—with Big Bad Brad and that awesome Suzuki RM 500 on the front and this started the “addiction”.
First off I sold my 04 Honda XR 650 and bought the worlds greatest Honda CR 250M (still race this one in VMX here in WA). Of course addictions don’t let you off that lightly and sights were set on helping to get the EVO scene underway here — but what was I going to ride? Would you believe that an Australian, working in South America advertised on an American website he had some bikes for sale and lo and behold they were in Perth. My wife might not agree but somebody upstairs was looking after me. Anyway after checking them out and coming to an agreement on price I took home a trailer load of what was basically one and a half to two Honda CR 250Rs — one complete but nowhere near running.
Having never tried anything like this I started asking many questions. Bruce “Magoo” McFarland was a big help and of course was never backwards in coming forwards with ideas!! The machine was stripped right back and started from there. The entire frame and swingarm has been powdercoated, wheel bearings, swingarm and all motor bearings replaced. New liner, piston and rings in the motor — all from Ray Easson Motorcycle engineering (Ray races the local VMX scene — the advantage of that is when you take anything in for repair he doesn’t give you that strange “what on earth are you doing” look.) I spent many an hour searching Ebay in the States for a set of Fox Shox and lucked into buying an absolutely immaculate set already overhauled by Thor Lawson—at 0500 one Saturday morning mind you!! Les and Vintage Plastics helped out with front and rear guards — I found a set of excellent side panels to match. Rod Gilchrist is a local racer over here who also is famous for some of his airbrushing work — he painted my motor and tank for me and colour matched to suit. I laced the hubs with H/D stainless spokes and matched up to black SM Pro rims. I was told I had no imagination at all and should of gone for something day glo but I like black so that was it. Russel Speak at Dyno time helped with the front and rear shock setup and then Magoo helped with some odds and sods such as rollers and bearing kits from his Red Devil racing shop. The exhaust pipe was a little past the point of no return and being able to get a DG pipe from US for less than half price in Oz was a bonus — Dirt Overstock. I was able to match that up with a DG silencer as my standard one was in excellent condition but a friend over East wanted his more original than me so we organised a swap? The hardest parts in the world to find were a sprocket cover — eventually found one aftermarket from Red Rocket in the Netherlands (thank God for the internet) and the rear brake arm torque dust caps — what an absolute nightmare they were. Overall the support and buying of parts has been nothing but excellent with the majority of the people in the VMX world genuine and reasonably fair with prices. Unfortunately I did get ripped off by a well known “fella” in Melbourne who still has my money and relisted my parts and sold them — I let eveybody I can know about him!!!
The bike actually turned out much better than I anticipated. I also spent too much money doing it (which cant be mentioned in case the wife sees this) but everything I learnt I took into my just finished project — a 1982 RM 250 Z which cost me about 40% as much as the CR to restore. Most of my left over parts have gone out to good homes in the hope of helping somebody else get another one of these out and racing again as I think I will keep mine as a garage queen now I have the RM to get dirty!!! I tell myself there wont be another resto but then every time I see a 1984 Honda CR 500 advertised…