Kings Of Speed – Ascot Raceway 1957 To 1990 Runs Through October 13th – UPDATED

California State University Northridge Art Galleries is presenting an exhibition titled Kings of Speed: Ascot Raceway 1957 – 1990. The exhibit title says all you need to know. If you don’t “get it” you are either too young or were never into the most dramatic racing that California ever produced. I attended the opening reception and can show you just a little of what is in store for you if you can make it to the exhibit before it closes on October 13, 2018. The photo above is of the…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – An 18-Episode Motocross Series

Harry Klemm was standing at ground zero when the Southern California motocross bomb exploded in the 70’s. In addition to being a highly-respected mechanic, engineer and tuner, Harry is a consummate story teller. Reading his manuscript, The DG Years, 1975-1976, is like looking into a unearthed time capsule for those of us who had the pleasure of living through those times. And there is plenty here for new generations of racers, mechanics and dreamers to learn from. I asked Harry if I could turn the manuscript into a serial format…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 1: Understanding The 70s SoCal Motocross Atmosphere

It is said by many long-time motocross enthusiasts that the 1970s were the golden era of USA motocross…in particular the Southern California scene. I’m not wise enough to say whether or not it was a golden era, but I can say that the 1970s Southern California motocross scene was an erupting volcano of increasing participation unlike anything that the sport had ever seen before, and unlike anything it will ever see again. At the risk of over-simplifying it, the 1970s was an era of countless racing participants at every skill…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 2: My Road into Motocross

In the early ‘70s, I often raced in SoCal amateur road racing. At that time, local road racing was a sport that moved at exactly the same relentless pace as the amateur motocross world. The bike preparation and traveling in 1970s amateur road racing took long hours, little sleep and offered even less pay. My thin wallet and a few broken bones helped convince me that it was much safer to be a road race mechanic and tuner, rather than being a rider. Along with that, being a tuner was…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 3: Getting a Foot in the Door

My Riverside California 125-pro buddy Rick Stout and I took the 40-mile drive to the DG headquarters to meet with Gary. After the initial introduction, Gary was not too impressed with me. Then my friend Rick went into his “used car salesman” mode telling Gary how I was the tuner responsible for the Rex Staten USGP CZ400 (at the time, it was still big news in the motocross world), and Rick followed up with how fast I had made his YZ125 race bike. Yamaha Motor Corp. had provided a large…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 5: Building a Race Team

As mentioned earlier, 1970s motorcycle racing was a world without cell phones, laptops or even EZ-Ups. None of them had been invented yet. The SoCal motocross world was every bit as unevolved. In 1975, privateer motocross race teams didn’t exist in the way they do today. Even the factory-sponsored team riders had just one mechanic and one box van dedicated to each factory race bike. At big races those factory mechanics tried to park their box vans near each other, but it often didn’t work out that way. Since most…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 6: Building the Team Bikes

While our pits looked more and more professional as time went on, that professional look meant nothing if the team bikes weren’t fast. At the time (1975-‘76), Yamaha was strongly supporting DG with bikes and parts (mostly 125s), but there was no denying that the Honda CR125 was still the “pay dirt” bike for most aftermarket manufacturers like DG. With that, I set about building prototype test parts at a breakneck pace for both the 1975 Yamaha and Honda 125s. DG had a huge batch of spare parts for both…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 7: Understanding The Goals of a Racing Business

During my years at DG, I never lost sight of the reality that DG was a business that sold racing products rather than a shop that raced for glory. My first few weeks at DG were all about organizing the race team. But after that task was handled, the creation of product and servicing of customers was job one. Like everything else at DG, I was doing jobs and creating protocols that never existed before. There had never been any such thing as a product development department. However, I was…

Motorcycho Spotlights Jimmy Mac

There is no motorcycle website/blog cooler than Motorcycho. I’ve been a devoted fan of their site and zine for years (and I still miss the radio show). So I take it as a great honor to be featured in their “Wheelie Wednesday” feature. The shot is from Modena Raceway in New York. If you look close, you’ll notice that I custom painted my helmet (a big red stripe down the middle) and this is before Troy Lee was born. I was ahead of the times for sure. A big thanks…

Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction Reveals Volatility And Opportunities

Mecum holds two motorcycle auctions in Las Vegas every year. The January auction (read about it here) is the big daddy and the June auction, while smaller than January, still packs in a lot of amazing bikes and, some would say, much better values for buyers. While I didn’t make the fear and loathing road trip for the June auction, watching the action on the live stream provided by Mecum and browsing the results gives a pretty good idea of what went down before the gavel hit the wood.