My first “real” motorcycle was a Yamaha 80, I got from a girlfriend – her Dad backed over it with his wagon.
My Dad and I straightened the frame, hand cut then “bobbed” the rear fender, took the emblems off, painted it orange and went racing.
I will never forget that Tuesday night — a school night. We went to Trojan Speedway in South Gate CA, a sticky little clay oval next to the LA river, behind the rock quarry, east of downtown LA.
My Dad stopped at Kmart to get a helmet. For $14.95. I remember thinking, “is that all my head’s worth?” Dad checked the specs and said “It’s Snell approved.” It was a cool looking orange metal flake Grant helmet.
Off to the races! “I got so excited I let the clutch out early and jumped the start.”
That race was an eye opener — the other bikes were fast and highly modified so we bought Floyd Clymer’s book “How To Tune A Two Stroke Engine.” I learned early on to research what others have done, it’s your quickest way to the top.
We first went to work on the engine, a rotary valve design which was easy to hop up, new valve, over-bored 7 port barrel, single-ring cut-skirt piston, machined radial head and total loss ignition system. Finished it off with a tuned exhaust custom fabricated and artfully oxy acetylene welded by Dick Haycock. A beautifully rolled and formed expansion chamber complete with a 7” X 1/2” stinger tip – that thing screamed!