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Link: Celebrating 40 years of the AMA Motocross Championship

Submitted by on June 2, 2011

To celebrate the 40th season of the AMA Motocross Championship, RacerXonline.com has produced a fabulous summary of every season since the birth of the tour in 1972.

For motocross fans it is much needed account of the history of the worlds most prestigious MX championship.

Here are my top five highlights:

1. The inaugural season in 1972, where after domination by the visiting European riders in the Trans-AMA events,  “the AMA felt domestic riders deserved their own series—to that point, no American had won so much as a single Trans-AMA race! So the idea was put into place to start a standalone AMA Motocross Championship, but because they did not want to compete with the sanctioned Trans-AMA Series for 500cc, they rolled that class’ points into the Trans-AMA tour later that fall for a grand total.”. The result was that Brad Lackey took victory in the 500cc class on a CZ , whilst Gary Jones won the 250cc on a yellow and black Yamaha. Click here to read about the 1972 season.

2. The emergence of “America’s first genuine celebrity motocross racer”, Marty Smith in 1975. The teenaged Honda 125cc pilot, was blessed with surfer boy looks and dominated on his way to the the Championship. Click here to read about the 1975 season

3. Yamaha’s clean sweep of every class in 1978. Their success was celebrated by “the striking advertisement which featured 500cc National Champ Rick Burgett and 125cc National Champ Broc Glover flanking Bob Hannah—who not only won the 1978 AMA Supercross title but the 250cc AMA Motocross title as well—all dirty, sitting atop their then-yellow YZs, all wearing their #1 plates.” Click here to read about the 1978 season.

4. 1983 was a huge year. Bob Hannah left Yamaha for Honda, whilst young stars David Bailey and Johnny O’Mara won the 250cc and 125cc crowns respectively on the red machines. It was also the debut season for a 16 year old kid called Ron Lechien, who would polarise MX fans for years to come. Click here to read about the 1983 season.

5. Kawasaki’s Jeff Ward makes history in 1989 by adding the 500cc crown to his 125cc, 250cc and a 250cc Supercros Championships, making him the only rider with that record. Honda superstar Rick Johnson who had by this stage racked up seven titles (including Supercross) suffered a badly broken wrist, when another rider landed on him. This injury would end his reign at the top of US MX. The next shock was delivered in the form of super smooth Frenchman Jean-Michel Bayle, who won the opening 2500cc round to end the American riders domination of the series through the 1980s.  Click here to read about the 1989 season

Read about every season of the AMA Motocross Championship over at RacerXonline.com here

Images: RacerXonline.com

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