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Enduro during the 70's

Beautiful restored Simson GS75 from 1972 Enduro comes from the latin word endure which means withstand or persist. This form of competition is somewhat related to army motorcycling ordonnances that had to travel in hard terrain between troups to deliver orders and messages. The key ingredients is to be able to work on your bike to keep it rolling and to fast and safe travel on and off-road. There are some odd engine size classes and also different classes for two and four strokes. The reason for this is that most contries in southern europe around the meditteranian sea use small bikes, vespas, scooters and mopeds as common means of transportation too. Famous events are except the championships, International Six Days Enduro (ISDE/ISDT), The swedish Novemberkasan and the finnish Pajjane around (Around a lake). These events are prone to wear out both bikes and riders. For example Novemberkasan normally have around 300 participants and some years only 10 - 15 riders make it all the way.

Europe enduro championship 1970 - 1979
SWM 50cc from 1972 1970 the 50cc class champion was won by Heinz Brinkmann, Germany. The 75cc class was won by Andreas Brandl, Germany. Even the 100cc, 125cc and 175cc class champion was Germans. 125cc champ was Lorenz Specht. 125cc class title went to Rolf Witthöft and the 175cc title was taken in possesion by Erwin Schmeider. The Czech rider Frantizek Mrázek (Jawa) claimed the 250cc title. Kvetoslav Masita (Jawa), another Czechkoslovakian rider won the 350cc title. Finally the DDR (East German) rider Fred Willamowski took the +350cc title.

1971 champions where as follows: Andreas Brandl, Germany 50cc. Josef Wolfgruber, Germany 75cc. The DDR rider Dieter Salevsky won the 100cc class. The title defender Rolf Witthöft (Germany) once again claimed the 125cc title. So did his 175cc collegue Erwin Schmeider. Actually all remaining classes with 250cc, 350cc and +350cc winners where identical to the previous season. Frantizek Mrázek, Czech (Jawa) 250cc, Kvetoslav Masita, Czech (Jawa) 350cc and Fred Willamowski DDR +350cc.

The Czech Zdenek Cespiva Riding Jawa 500cc 1971 1972 Followed the pattern with most of the title defenders succesfully reclaimed their titles. Germany still dominated the smaller displacement classes while the Czeckoslovakians had upper hand on the bigger bikes. Now the champs where: Peter Neumann, Germany 50cc. Andreas Brandl, Germany 75cc. Josef Wolfgruber, Germany 100cc. Rolf Witthöft, Germany 125cc. Erwin Schmeider, Germany 175cc. Frantizek Mrázek, Czech (Jawa) 250cc. Kvetoslav Masita, Czech (Jawa) 350cc. Finally Zdenek Cespiva (Jawa), Czech who where a member of the very succesful Czech ISDT team, winning that title in both 1970 and 1971, won the +350cc class.

The 1973 final standing where exactly as in 1972.

In 1974 a few things worth noticing happened. The Germans still dominated the smaller classes and the only change in the final result was that Reinhard Christel, Germany won the 125cc class. Among the Czechs a new winner was to be found in Jirí Stodulka in the 250cc class. He was also a member of the winning Czech ISDT team that year. However the biggest Rolf Witthöft, Zündapp GS125cc in 1974 event was that the Italians that had been a half step behind for a few years started to make an impact in the title record list and there was much more to come from them throught the rest of the 70's. The +350cc Italian winner was Imerio Testori (KTM). Unfortunately he tragically died in a training accident the following year. All remaining classes had the same champs as the two previous years.

In 1975 there was another Italian that picked up a title. The Italian riders started their success here in the middle of the 70' and actually somewhat dominated the late 70's. Peter Neumann (Zündapp), Germany 50cc continued his winning streak taking his fourth consecutive title. Ewald Scnheidewind, DDR won the 75cc title. Josef Wolfgruber, Germany the 100cc title again and the 125cc title was won by the German Rolf Witthöft again after losing it the previous year. Erwin Schmeider, Germany collected titles as he has been doing ever since 1968. This year just like 1970 to 1974 in the 175cc class. The 250cc title was won by the Italian Allesandro Gritti. The 350cc title went also to a well known Czech, Kvetoslav Masita (Jawa). Finally the +350cc class title went to another Czech rider, Zdenek Cespiva. Allesandro Gritti riding KTM 125cc in 1976

The 1976 season had the following champions: 50cc class winner was Erwin Schmeider, Germany that had left the 175cc class in favor of racing 50cc instead. The 75cc class was won by Hannes Mauersberger, DDR. Josef Wolfgruber, Germany continued winning the 100cc class. Allesandro Gritti (KTM), Italy moved down to the 125cc class and won the title. Elia Andrioletti (KTM), Italy won the 175cc class. Jirí Stodulka, Czechkoslovakia won the 250cc title. Kvetoslav Masita, Czech (Jawa) won the 350cc title just as he been doing for the last nine seasons. The +350cc class was won by Stanislav Zloch, Czeckoslovakia.

The 1977 season final results was that Erwin Schmeider, Germany won the 50cc class for the second year in a row. 75cc champion became Osvaldo Scaburri, Italy. 100cc winner was Jürgen Grisse, Germany. 125cc champ was Harald Strößenreuther, Germany. 175cc winner was Elia Andrioletti, Italy once again. Allesandro Gritti, Italy was back on his 250cc and yet again managed to take the title. Kvetoslav Masita, Czech (Jawa) that likely is the most succesful enduro rider ever took his 10'th 350cc title in a row, truly an unbelievable effort. The +350cc title was won by Otokar Toman, Czechkoslovakia.

Elia Andrioletti, Italy riding his KTM 350cc in 1978 In 1978 there where more Italian riders ready to take over and sadly the Czeckoslovakian riders didn't manage to win a title again for another eight years (1986). 50cc class winner was Gino Perego (DKW), Italy. 75cc winner was Osvaldo Scaburri, Italy. Erwin Schmeider, Germany won his 11'th title in a row. This time in the 100cc class. That makes him even more succesful than Kvetoslav Masita from Czeckoslovakia. What can one say !. Eberhard Weber, Germany won the 125cc title. Franco Gualdi (DKW), Italy won the 175cc class. One of the great Italian riders, Gualtiero Brissoni started winning titles by taking the 250cc class in 1978. Elia Andrioletti (KTM), Italy moved up to the 350cc class and won again. Another Italian named Giangelo Croci won the new class 500cc and the also new +500cc class was won by Manfred Jäger, DDR.

1979 50cc champion was Pietro Gagni, Italy. Otherwise the last season of the decade was mostly an Italian - German affair except for a Polish rider named Stanislav Olszewski that won the 75cc class. Eddy Hau (Hercules), Germany won the 100cc class. Gualtiero Brissoni, Italy the 125cc. Andrea Marinoni, Italy won the 175cc class. Franco Gualdi, Italy won the 250cc class. Augusto Taiocchi (KTM), Italy won the 350cc class. The 500cc class was won by Guglielmo Andreini, Italy. There where also two bigger classes in 1979. The 750cc class was won by Heino Büse (Hercules), Germany and finally the +750cc class was won by another German named Egbert Haas. 1971 Penton 125cc, used by the US riders during the 70's

United States FMF National Enduro Series 1970 - 1979
1970 Jack McClain won this title aboard a Honda. Ron Bohn took the tile in 1971 aboard his Husqvarna. Bill Kain took the title both 1972 and 1973 also riding Husqvarna. Finally Dick Burleson, one of the greatest enduro riders in US history took all remaining titles from 1974 and to 1979. He actually continued his winning streak until 1981. One interesting note about him is that he managed a 4'th place in the Trans-AMA MX serie in 1970.

ISDT during the 70's
International Six Days Trial in the beginning of the 70's was very much a Czechoslovakian affair. The Czechs rode their Jawas fast and efficient and claimed no less than 14 Trophy and Vase titles. DDR that dominated most of the 60's never managed to regain any title in the 70's.
1970 in Spain (El Escorial), Czechoslovakia won both the Trophy (Senior) and the Vase (Junior) title. The 1970 czech riders where: Jaroslav Bríza, Zdenek Cespiva, Josef Fojtík, Josef Císar, Kvetoslav Masita and Frantizek Mrázek.

1971 the competition was held in Great Britain (Isle of Man). The czech riders: Jaroslav Bríza, Zdenek Cespiva, Josef Fojtík, Josef Císar, Kvetoslav Masita and Frantizek Mrázek. Took both the Trophy and the Vase title.

The 1972 Czechoslovakian (Spindleruv Mlyn) ISDT was a repetition exept that Kvetoslav Masita didn't participate.

1973 Penton 125cc, Dough Wilford's ISDT bike In 1973 United states was determined to give the czech's a fight on home soil and had a bit of success in that effort. The competition was held at Dalton Massachusetts and the US team took the Vase (Junior) trophy. The 1973 Vase riders where Dick Burleson, Malcolm Smith, Ed Schmidt and Ron Bohn. Czechoslovakia won the Trophy as usual despite the seemingly strong US team with names like Tom Penton, Jack Penton, Jeff Penton, Carl Cranke, Dane Leimbach and Bill Uhl that only managed 5'th place overall.

1974's edition of ISDT was held in Italy (Camerino). The Czechs once again won both the Trophy and the Vase. The riders where: Jaroslav Bríza, Zdenek Cespiva, Josef Fojtík, Josef Císar, Jirí Stodulka, Stanislav Zloch, Jirí Posík and Kvetoslav Masita.

The 1975 British (Isle of Man) ISDT was a break in the Czech dominance. Germany won the Trophy with their Zündapp team (Eddy Hau, Josef Wolfgruber, Eberhard Weber, Peter Neumann, Jürgen Grisse and captain Rolf Witthöft). Italy won the Vase. The italian team members: Pierluigi Rottigni, Pietro Gagni,Gualtiero Brissoni and A Petrogalli all except Pietro Gagni (silver) won gold in their respective classes. The czech had a altogether new team with Pavel Novácek, Jirí Churavý, Zdenek Velký, Antonín Baborovský. Some old team members was however soon to be back with more titles.

1977 Aprilia 125 GS, Another beautiful Italian bike 1976 in Austria (Zeltweg). Germany won the trophy with the same Zündapp team riders as 1975: Eddy Hau, Josef Wolfgruber, Eberhard Weber, Peter Neumann, Jürgen Grisse and Rolf Witthöft. The Czech team won the Vase. The Czech riders where Zdenek Havlík, Josef Stefl, Otakar Toman and Petr Havelka.

1977 in Czechoslovakia (Povazska Bystrica) the Czech won both the Trophy and the Vase. The riders where: Otakar Toman, Josef Císar, Jirí Stodulka, Stanislav Zloch, Jirí Posík, Kvetoslav Masita and Frantisek Mrázek.

1978 in Sweden (High Chaparral) the Czechs won yet another Trophy. The Czechoslovakian riders in 1978 where Jozef Chovancík, Jirí Stodulka, Stanislav Zloch, Jirí Posík, Kvetoslav Masita and Frantisek Mrázek. Italy won the vase once again. Riders where: Gualtiero Brissoni, Guglielmo Andreini, Elia Andrioletti, G Tomasi, Osvaldo Scaburri, Franco Gualdi and Giangelo Croci. Up to this point the teams had mostly been riding the same brands. Czech rode Jawa, Germans rode Zündapp, DDR riders (East Germany) rode MZ, Italians rode SWM and so on. But the Italian riders during 1978 rode 5 different brands. KTM, SWM, Puch, Fantic ans Sachs. 1979 SWM 250GS, Franco Gualdi rode one of these then

The 1979 event took place in Germany (Lager Stegskopf). Italy once again had a very strong team that managed to take the Trophy. Gualtiero Brissoni (SWM 350cc), Guglielmo Andreini (SWM 500cc), Pietro Gagni (Fantic 50cc), Giuseppe Signorelli (Fantic 75cc), Franco Gualdi (SWM 250) and Giangelo Croci (KTM 500cc). Czechoslovakia took the Vase that year again but their international success was about to diminish since the Jawa machinery couldn't keep up with other brands any more.

Enduro bikes in the 70's
The enduro bikes in the 70's where normally not really converted motocross bikes but mere street legal off-road bikes. Many of the brands had success since entire countries often settled for one brand. Among the bikes we found names like Jawa, A Czechoslovakian bike that almost without exceptions was used by the very succesful Czechs. The bikes where reliable, reasonable fast and for the most part competitive. The Italians used SWM and KTM. Some smaller displacement bikes could be Fantic. Swedes rode Husqvarna. Germans rode Zündapp and East German (DDR) riders rode MZ. The United States riders often rode Penton, Ossa or Husqvarna. There where other popular and good bikes as well like Maico GS, Puch and Ossa that had very fine bikes at this time. Technical specification can be found under the bikes links throughout the 70's and one can easily see the suspension, weight and engine data during this era there.

Bikes, pics, books and riders from the 70´s
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2002 © All right reserved. All information is to the best of my knowledge, there are certanly important events, bikes and riders that I'm not aware of, please contribute to this historical document if you have essential information that shouldn't be forgotten. www.mxbikes.com, B Hahn