After ringing out my first motorcycle, a Yamaha 80, my Dad bought me a 125CC Bultaco Sherpa from Donnie at Big-O-Tires on Holt Blvd in Pomona CA. Donnie (last name anyone?) was motorcycle racing enthusiast, and a member of our racing club the Lightweights MC of Alta Loma CA. The bike was traded in by fellow racer and club member Roy Addington of Upland CA, when he upgraded to a Butaco 250 Pursang. I loved that bike right from the start. It had classic lines with bright red paint and polished aluminum wheels and fenders. (the image above is a restored 1969 model #63 modified for TT and Flat track racing, very similar to the one I had).
I began to set it up for TT scrambles racing, first, we bought some new Dunlop K70 tires and took it to the track just to see if I’d like it… I loved it. I ran the 125 novice class at Adelanto Raceway a big smooth and fast TT track in the desert north east of Los Angeles.
The first day at the track I lead all three moto’s before finishing second to the local track hero. My Dad was stoked, we started talking about how we could get more power out of it, and that’s were the fun really began!
Here’s some photos of the bike:
I was thirteen when this picture was taken in my Parents back yard in Claremont CA, a few days after we picked up the new bike, and prepared it for my first race at Huntington Beach Speedway. My AMA novice number was 338. This was no trail bike, it lived for RPM’s so it put a damper on local trail riding with my junior high school friends — they were riding Hodaka’s, Maico’s and Penton’s.
With this bike, you could throw the throttle away and ride it with the kill switch– full-on or full-off, that’s all it knew.
Here I am (#19) at Perris Speedway’s TT track in the 125cc Expert class (now know as the lites division) battling Jim Connolly (#20) the multi-time AMA District 37 champion. We ran each other hard, he was “older” (in his late twenties) than me and I will never forget lining up next to him, thinking I’m going to blow him away, never knowing until years later that he was the editor of Dirt Bike magazine and a legend in the sport.
This picture was taken at Adelanto Speedway on the Scrambles track. I had a different set up on the bike for this series, a lot of gear and a knobby rear tire to try to hook-up to the sandy track conditions.