Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 10: Painting the SoCal Racer’s Atmosphere

The term “sponsorship” meant something very different in the 1970’s than it does today. There were many levels of “sponsorship,” and there were never any contracts. Everything was done on a handshake, and the future support that most riders got was a function of their race results over the last 2 or 3 weeks. If a pro racer had several winning weekends in a row, he could ask for almost anything (parts, repair labor and entry fees). Conversely, if you had several bad weekends in a row, a racer’s capitol…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 11: From Mechanic to I.T. Before There Was I.T.

The skills that got me the job at DG were those that made a good motocross-racing mechanic. And truth be known, being a good race mechanic was all I ever wanted to do. However, after about a year on the job I realized that my job was no longer that of a race mechanic. My job was to develop the products, parts and modifications that race bikes were made of. All of these parts and modifications had very detailed and precise specifications. I had to become expert at developing, documenting,…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 12: A Few Words About Engine “Formulas”

During the 70’s, there was a growing abundance of “so called” engine formulas that were claimed to let you easily calculate the ideal port timings, compression ratios, expansion chamber dimensions and carburetion. Even before my days at DG I had made countless attempts to use these formulas while building the many different road-racing platforms I was working with. Despite the lack of positive results from the formulas, I still held hope for them. The 1976 125 DG team bikes were the result of countless hours of “cut and try” testing.…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 13: Mechanic Buddies

Once the bulk of the product development work of any one bike was done, I immediately handed off all maintenance and mechanical duties to our sponsored rider’s “mechanic-buddy.” By the time a local pro-racer had gotten to the level where DG would sponsor them, virtually every rider already had a mechanic-buddy (or Dad) that handled all the basic mechanical bike maintenance at the races and on the road. No privateer pro-racer had money to pay a mechanic, so the only time the mechanic buddy got paid was if the rider…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 14: 1976 Turning Points at DG

By far the biggest turning point during my time at DG was the hiring of (then) telephone salesman Kenny Boyko. Ken had extensive experience in the corporate world, as well as a long history in Southern California motocross. Ken and I clicked immediately, because we each realized that the other was a master in the field of our greatest weakness. Ken was not only a great salesperson and motocross enthusiast; he was also a marketing genius that was unequalled in the motocross world of the day. When Ken came on…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 15: Facing the “Race-Gas” Era

In the late 1960’s, there were numerous franchise gas stations that sold high-octane pump gas that was being demanded by the Detroit “muscle car” owners of the era. Chevron stations in California carried 101-octane “White Pump” premium pump gas, and other franchises had their own versions. However, in the early 1970’s, the EPA was quickly phasing out leaded fuels of all kinds, and the oil companies were struggling to prop up the octane ratings of low-lead gasoline. By the middle ‘70s, most premium fuels were between 95 to 98 octane…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 16: The Retail Chamber Birthplace

When I arrived at DG in 1975, the majority of the DG expansion chambers where built by a large nearby fab shop called J&R Manufacturing. J&R was a big shop that specialized in metal fabrication. They made their own line of chambers for various bikes, and spec built mass-produced pipes for shops like DG and others. J&R was not particularly important in the Southern California motorcycle racing scene, but the teenaged kids that got their first motorcycle industry job there were very important. If you were in Orange County and…

Harry Klemm’s “The DG Years, 1975-1976” – Episode 17: The Mammoth Motocross Classic

After the DG team successes of early 1976, the team was a motocross racing machine looking for the biggest of challenges, and we were about to meet the biggest of all. Since the late 1960’s, a small group of motocross enthusiasts have put on the most epic “stand-alone” motocross event in the entire USA. The venue is at Mammoth Lakes, California, at 8000+ feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Central California. It is simply known as “Mammoth.” Mammoth offers no points toward any championship series, nor any gigantic prize money. However, among…

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…