Moto Memories – Jimmy Mac’s Early Laps

Came across some old photos that make me smile. They will probably make you laugh.

My first “almost” race. The race was cancelled because the promoter couldn’t prove he had insurance. Don’t remember the name of the track. It was in New York and located on some vacant land behind a restaurant and bar. Frans Bammert (the owner of the Foreign Car Clinic in Dobbs Ferry, New York) is changing a fouled spark plug for me. Next to me was my best buddy, the late Roger Strong. My dad shot this photo.
We sat there waiting for practice that was never going to happen. I sat there idling until my plug fouled. Photo by my dad, William McIlvain.
Fishkill was my favorite track. They, The Crotona Motorcycle Club, only hosted one or two events a year here so there was always the biggest crowd of the season. I still remember getting a third-place start in the final and the guy in second gets totally sideways, I t-bone him and half the field piles into me. The race was red flagged but my shock was bent into an L shape from somebody ramming me so I couldn’t restart.
The only thing I remember about Modena Raceway (other than winning my first heat race ever) was the time Jimmy Weinert showed up. He raced the Expert Class (I was still a Novice) and walked away from the fastest guys in District 2. He lapped them! Jammin’ Jimmy and I were the same age. I realized then a career as a professional motocross racer was not in the cards for me. I got to know Jimmy pretty well while I served as Editor of Motocross Journal. Jimmy sang to me once over the phone while strumming his guitar. I’ve led a blessed life.
Got rid of the Maico (I couldn’t start the thing!) and switched to the awesome Suzuki TM400. These were not great motocross bikes, but on the scambles tracks of AMA District 2, they were pretty competitive. This is a jump on the Elmsford Track. A golf course had gone bankrupt, and for some unknown reason, motocross guys were able to take over the place. There would be 100 riders there on a Sunday. My older brother Trace shot the photo.
One of my favorite shots. A friend’s dad was a big-shot professional photographer in New York and on assignment from Cycle Magazine. This was a big deal because all the coverage at that time was of West Coast racers. This shot didn’t make the story. I wish I could remember my buddies’ name (and his dad).
Once I move to California, I got a Husky CR 250. This is at the Sorrento Valley practice track. You’d ride through a drainage pipe (under the I-5 and I-405 exchange) to get to it. I first met Marty Smith here (after he had won his first of many AMA National Championship). He was the coolest dude. He came over and chatted after lapping me over and over again. Like everyone who met Marty, I became a fan and friend. Godspeed my friend. I miss your stories. Bill Smedley shot the photo.
Carlsbad Raceway, California. If I wasn’t going to be fast, at least I tried to look fast. Photo by Bill Smedley.
Another shot from Carlsbad. Torsten Hallman leathers, Full Bore boots, Bell Helmet and Carrera goggles. Photo by Bill Smedley.

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