I grew up in the North West of WA in the 60s and 70s so riding dirt bikes was pretty normal with lots of space to tear around. My first bike around 1974 was a clapped out Bultaco 125 that we rode into the ground as we didn’t have a clue how to maintain it. The Bullie was followed by a much more reliable Yamaha DT250 that I rode in the bush with my mates. Then in 76 Suzuki released the new RM range and I bought my first new bike, a RM250A and what a revelation it was, fast light and probably too big for me. I started racing as a 16 year old against the men and got a lot of 4ths and 5ths.
Over the next few years I raced a succession of 125, 250 and 400 Suzuki’s apart from a short period on a Maico that I bought off a mate. In 77 I finished just out of the placings in the 125 class in a North West Championship but won the Pilbara 125 title that was a 1 day event on my home track. The coastal guys who easily beat us on their sand tracks weren’t so intimidating on slippery hard pack.
I loved the camaraderie and just plain loved being on my bike, whether it was bush bashing or racing. We got to travel around the North West and would occasionally make it down to Perth to race and managed to get in a few rides at Wanneroo and Bunbury. We would also try to make it to the King of the Cross and whenever there was a Supercross event on.
Eventually I moved to the city for a while before working in Telfer then heading overseas and was wrapped to watch a GP at Hawkstone Park in the UK. I eventually decided I should be gainfully employed again as I was running short on beer money and got a job, I was almost respectable again. I flirted with parachuting and scuba diving before choosing scuba as there were a lot more girls, but I would always keep track of the MX results and what was the latest and greatest, I always said I would get back into it. I just didn’t realize it would take 25 years.
Getting married, raising a family and buying a house took precedent for many years, but MX was never far from my mind. About 10 years ago I noticed there was a pretty active VMX club in WA but as they were strictly Pre 74 I didn’t get involved as I wanted to ride the bikes I rode in the late 70s and early 80s. Then I heard about Classic MXWA although it was called pre 85 MXWA at the time, I started following them on Facebook and knew it was time to get a bike again.
I found an 81 Suzuki RM 250 that had been rebuilt but was a bit rough cosmetically so I snapped it up and so started my introduction to VMX. In 2015 I loaded up the trailer and headed down to Darkan for my first ride on a dirt bike in 25 years. Was I nervous…? Absolutely, but I needn’t have been. Pulling into the pits I spotted a bloke around my age [Turns out he is younger he’s just had a hard life] unloading an immaculate 250 Husky, so I parked next to him and introduced myself. I discovered his name was Shane Munyard and he assured me didn’t ride too fast so we hit up a friendship straight away, before long Troy Haldin [He’s quick] and Simon McGlasson strolled over and welcomed me. Simon rides a CR500 so don’t get behind him, but really it wasn’t much different to how I remembered Motocross, just group of great blokes out having a good time.
That night at the sausage sizzle I discovered we may all be a bit heavier and greyer but the good things never change. The Suzuki riders are still articulate, intelligent and sophisticated, the Honda riders think the red will make their bikes faster and the Yamaha and Kawasaki riders never really admit to it. The Maico and Husky riders gather in the corner and somehow acquirer a Nordic accent while hoping Japan will just go away. Some say, that when their home alone late at night, they get around in Viking Helmets.
That night in my tent I mentally prepared myself to ride around a motocross track again, I should warn you here that Darkan is bloody cold at night so bring a good sleeping bag.
Was I slow….. Excruciating slow actually, but nobody cared and they still don’t. I have got more confident and probably could go a bit faster now that I’ve had a bit more practice but it is no longer important to me, or to most of the blokes who come down. We all have be at work on Monday morning and just want to enjoy the weekend. Mind you there are a few riders who get around quickly if that’s what you want.
I should add here that most of our events at Classic MXWA are run on a Non-Competitive permit. We don’t even record who finished where. There are no trophies, but there are some good tussles between mates. Most of the time we do 3 laps, but if the riders want more, we can do that as well. Sometimes Richo just loses count so 3 becomes 4.
One exception is the 4 hour pony express we run up at Toodyay, where each bike can have up to 3 riders, and there’s a nice little presentation at the end of the day. Last year I did it solo on my 85 DR250 but the year before I coaxed my riding buddy of 40 years [Kanaka] to team up with me. Needless to say he is now hooked and has bought a bike.
Besides the riding I have now restored a couple of bikes and have 2 more waiting for the day when I get a bigger shed. I have found the restoration process to be incredibly rewarding and it keeps me off the streets and away from the TV at night. Keep an eye on Gumtree, they do come up but you have to be quick.
if you’re thinking you want to get back on a dirt bike get in touch, I live in the northern suburbs come around for a look and a beer.
This year the Club has introduced the 20 year rule so you won’t have to find bikes that are pushing 40 like I choose to. This will make finding something easier, it may even be already sitting in your shed waiting for a new lease of life.
Don’t be put off thinking it a highly competitive thing with riders tearing around like Roger Decoster or Bob Hannah because nothing could be further from the truth. What you will find is a relaxing group of family orientated people who all share a passion to keep the Golden era of motocross alive. My wife often joins me down at Darkan and always remarks what a great group of people turn up. [Even the Honda riders]
At Darkan we have a big shed that always has a fire raging, a small kitchen and toilets, but you do need to bring your own water. In the last few years we have added water tanks [plus we have a dam] a water truck and a bobcat. Track curator Paul Baily and Troy Haldin always have the track prepared perfectly, club President Richard Hall is normally the Steward [That’s Big Boss Man in Charge] and runs a relaxed weekend. Last year several of us did our Clark of the Course training to give him a break and get that HL500 out for a run. [Year I know but he just likes 4 strokes]
So what are you waiting for?
Over 40 and over weight, I was 55 and overweight.
Just want to ride and not race seriously? We don’t but you can if you want.
Ladies. We would love to run a ladies class.
If you’re still not sure, get in touch on Facebook and one of us will get back to you.
But be warned VMX and ClassicMX can be addictive.
If you'd like to swing your leg over a bike again or want to see all the action for yourself there's an event this weekend-for more details click HERE
ClassicMXWA Facebook HERE
VMX Club of WA Facebook HERE