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The seventies ruled the earth (at least the dirt)
500 GP in the 70's
Bengt Aberg, Sweden continued to win the 1970 500 GP title on his Husky. Arne Kring, Sweden (Husqvarna) came second and yet another Swede Åke Johnsson (Maico) was third.
One of the greatest names in the sport, Roger De Coster won the 1971 title riding a Suzuki. Åke Johnsson, Sweden (Maico) moved up one notch to second and Adolf Weil, Germany also riding a Maico came third. The drama however was much bigger than it appears in the final standings. Actually only mechanical failure on his Maico costed Ake Johnsson the title on favor to the smart riding Belgian.
Roger De Coster (Suzuki) won again in 1972 with Paul Friedrichs, DDR (CZ) in second. Hekki Mikkola, Finland (Husqvarna) was third.
In 1973, Roger De Coster (Suzuki) took his third consecutive title. Second was Willy Bauer, Germany riding Maico. In third spot we had Jaak van Velthoven, Belgium (Yamaha).
Hekki Mikkola, Finland (Husqvarna) won the 1974 GP title. Roger De Coster (Suzuki) had to settle for second temporarily. Adolf Weil, Germany (Maico) was back in top three claiming third spot.
1975 was revenge time for the elegant riding Roger De Coster who took his Suzuki back to first place. Hekki Mikkola, Finland (Husqvarna) was second and Gerrit Wolsink, Holland (Suzuki) third.
Roger De Coster (Suzuki) won again in 1976. Gerrit Wolsink, Holland (Suzuki) was secont that year and Adolf Weil, Germany (Maico) third.
In 1977 Hekki Mikkola, Finland has switched to Yamaha and won back the title. Roger De Coster (Suzuki) had to settle for second. An era had ended since he never won back the title again. Gerrit Wolsink, Holland (Suzuki) took third.
Hekki Mikkola, Finland (Yamaha) had in 1978 found new inspiration in the Monoshock equipped Yamaha. Many people claim that the Yamaha superiority at the time was just as much the reason for Hekkis success as he himselfe. This is nonsense of course. One shouldn't forget that Honda and Maico in particular had more than a competitive bike in 1977. Hekki was a hard working rider that almost qualify under our Iron Man award. The American Brad Lackey (Honda) took somewhat surprisingly the second spot. Roger De Coster (Suzuki) was down to third.
The last season of the 70´s, 1979 had a new victor on a new bike. Graham Noyce, Great Britain (Honda) showed a glimse of what we could expect into the 80's. Gerrit Wolsink, Holland (Suzuki) was second and in third place, a new star from Belgium, André Malherbe, Belgium (Honda).
250 GP in the 70's
Joel Robert from Belgium continued the 250cc world GP titles winning streak in 1970 riding his Suzuki. His countryman Sylvain Geboers (Suzuki) was second and Roger De Coster (CZ) third. All three podium places where claimed by Belgians.
In 1971 Joel Robert won again. This year another Swede, Håkan Andersson (Husqvarna) made a move towards the top by finishing second. Sylvain Geboers, Belgium (Suzuki), the oldest brother of one of the most succesful riders ever, eric "the kid" Geboers , came third.
Joel Robert (Suzuki) wasn't about to let anybody in just yet. He took another title in 1972. Håkan Andersson, Sweden now riding a Yamaha took second again. Everything was just like the prevous year with Sylvain Geboers, Belgium (Suzuki) third.
In 1973 The Swede Håkan Andersson finally managed to win the title, still riding a Yamaha. Adolf Weil, Germany (Maico) was second and The Finnish fierce force Hekki Mikkola was third aboard a Husqvarna.
1974 was a sad year for sportsmanship, The Czech Jaroslav Falta won the championship but was outright robbed on the title. The official (very incorrect) standings however had Guennnady Moisseev, Sovjet (KTM) as first and Jaroslav riding CZ as second. Harry Everts, Belgium (Puch) was third though.
In 1975 Harry Everts, the father of Stefan Everts took his Puch to win the championship. Håkan Andersson, Sweden (Yamaha) was second and Willy Bauer, Germany (Suzuki) third.
Hekki Mikkola took the 1976 title. Guennnady Moisseev, Sovjet (KTM) was second and another Russian Vladimir Kavinov (KTM) third.
Guennnady Moisseev, Sovjet (KTM) came back in 1977 and won the title without the embarassing help from the communist party putting pressure on the FIM representatives as in 1974. The Russian riders where really good at this time, Vladimir Kavinov (KTM) took second. In third, a brand new Belgian that was to become a great rider André Malherbe (KTM).
The 1978 season had yet another win for Guennnady Moisseev, Sovjet (KTM). Torleif Hansen, Sweden (Kawasaki) was second. In third was the brother of the owner to the Maico factory, Hans Maisch. He rode the GP circuit and developed the Maicos at the same time. Talented rider actually.
In 1979, the last season of the decade another Swede, the supertough Hakan "Carla" Carlqvist won the championship riding a Husqvarna. He is likely the biggest Swedish hero and iron man. Although he holds both a 250 and a 500 title he was always haunted by outrigth bad luck. Besides injuries, machine failures and riding not competitive bikes throughout most of his carreer one could almost never during nearly 10 years see anybody passing him cleanly on the track. Neil Hudson, Great Britain (Maico) was second and Vladimir Kavinov, Russia (KTM) was third.
125 GP in the 70's
The 125cc GP circuit started in 1975. The first ever champion was Gaston Rahier, Belgium (Suzuki). His fellow countryman Gilbert de Roover (Zündapp) was second and Antoin Baborawsky, Czechoslovakia (CZ) took third.
In 1976 Gaston Rahier, (Suzuki) won again. That year another Czech claimed second, Jiri Churavy (CZ). The American Marty Smith, USA (Honda) took third.
Gaston Rahier (Suzuki) won the title again in 1977. Gerard Rond, Holland (Yamaha) was second and André Massant, Belgium (Yamaha) third.
In 1978 The tables turned somewhat. Thge Japanese rider Akira Watanabe (Suzuki) won the championship. Gaston Rahier, (Suzuki) had to settle for second. Gerard Rond, Holland (Yamaha) was degraded to third.
The great Harry Everts, Belgium (Suzuki) won the GP title back in 1979. The defending champion, Akira Watanabe, Japan (Suzuki) was second. Gaston Rahier, Belgium had switched to Yamaha and made third in the last season of the decade.
AMA USA Nationals MX in the 70's
In 1972 The AMA Nationals started and Brad Lackey (Kawasaki), Gary Jones (Yamaha) and Wyman Priddy (CZ) claimed the three first places in the 500 Open Class. The podium places in the 250cc championship went to Gary Jones (Yamaha), Jim Weinert (Yamaha) and Gunnar Lindstrom (Husqvarna).
1973 Pierre Karsmakers riding for Yamaha took the 500cc title followed by Mike Runyard (CZ/Suzuki) and Peter Lamppu on a Kawasaki. In the 250cc class Gary Jones repeated his victory from the preceeding year, only this time he switched to a Honda, Rick Thorwaldson (Suzuki) and Bob Grossi (Husqvarna/Honda) took second and third spot.
In 1974 there where three classes with the new 125cc class. Jim Weinert on a Kawasaki became the 500cc champion with Tony DiStefano (CZ) and Steve Stackable (Maico) following in second and third. In the 250cc class Gary Jones once again won, this time aboard a Can-Am. Marty Tripes (Husqvarna/Can-Am) took second and Jim Ellis (Can-Am) was third. Truly somewhat a dominace of the american bike Can-Am. Can-Am's are rare vintage bikes these days. 125cc title went to Marty Smith, Bruce McDougal and Chuck Bower claimed second and third. All three 125 pilots rode Honda.
The 1975 season gave us new champs: Jim Weinert (Yamaha), Steve Stackable (Maico) and Pierre Karsmakers (Honda) took top three in the 500cc class. The top three in 250cc class where Tony DiStefano (Suzuki), Kent Howerton (Husky) and Bill Grossi (Suzuki). Kent Howerton is forever connected to the Husqvarna "glory days" of the seventies in USA. The 125cc class champ title went to Marty Smith (Honda). Tim Hart (Yamaha) took second and Dan Turner riding a Bultaco took the third position.
The 1976 final standings in the 500cc class was: Kent Howerton (Husqvarna), Gary Semics (Kawasaki) and Steve Stackable that swiched from Maico to Suzuki to the -76 season. Tony DiStefano (Suzuki) took the 250cc title in front of Jim Weinert (Kawasaki) and Steve Stackable (Suzuki) who took third spot in both the 500 and the 250 class that year. The 125cc class was very interesting this year. Bob "Hurricane" Hannah riding a Yamaha , known as one of the true legends in the sport won the title in a big way but his closest competitors came to be well known names in the following years. They where Marty Smith riding a Honda and Danny LaPorte, contracted by Suzuki.
Marty Smith (Honda) won the 1977 500cc class just in front of Bob Hannah (Yamaha), Steve Stackable was back on a Maico and kept his tradition by claiming third place. Around these years the focus was moving towards the 250 class. The top three riders where Tony DiStefano (Suzuki), Marty Smith and Jim Pomeroy, both riding Honda. The 125cc class was exiting enough with Broc Glover and Danny LaPorte finishing on exactly the same points (240). Broc took the title with Danny in second. Brian Myerscough took third for Yamaha.
The 1978 season felt like the best riders was to be found in the 250cc and 125cc class. 500cc top three went to Rick Burgett (Yamaha), Rex Staten (Yamaha) and former champ Marty Smith on a Honda. Bob Hannah won the 250cc title, Jim Ellis (Honda) second and Chuck Sun riding a Husqvarna took third. Broc Glover won the 125cc title followed by Gaylon Mosier (Yamaha) and Brian Myerscough (Suzuki).
The 1979 500cc top three was Danny LaPorte (Suzuki), Mike Bell (Yamaha) and Gary Semics. Gary Semics rode a Honda this year and took back his third spot that he temporarly lost in -78. Bob Hannah took his Yamaha to yet another 250cc title. Kent Howerton (Suzuki) and Marty Tripes (Honda) went for second and third. Broc Glover repeated his title in the 125cc class. Mark Barnett (Suzuki) claimed second and Brian Myerscough (Suzuki) repeated his third spot.
USA Supercross in the 70's
During the 1971, 1972 and 1973 seasons there was an unofficial 500cc class won by: Gunnar Lindstrom, Blackwell and Pierre Karsmakers. There was only a 500cc supercross championship for the 1974 and the 1975 seasons. The top three in 1974 was Gary Semics (Husqvarna), Tony Hart (Yamaha) and Tony DiStefano riding a CZ. The 1975 season winner was Steve Stackable riding Maico, Tony DiStefano (Suzuki) managed second and Jim Weinert (Yamaha) took third.
The 250 supercross champs during the 70´s started off in 1971 when Gary Jones (Yamaha), Jim Weinert (Yamaha) and Wicks (Maico) was the top trio.
In 1972 we saw the same riders in the two first spots but Gunnar Lindstrom took third spot for Husqvarna.
In 1973 Pierre Karsmakers (Yamaha) won. Mike Runyard (Suzuki) second and Peter Lamppu (Kawasaki) third.
Just like in the motocross series 1974 was a great year for Can-Am motorcycles with Gary Jones first and Jim Ellis third. Marty Tripes (Husqvarna) took second but was very close to win the series only 24 points behind Jones.
In 1975 Tony DiStefano (Suzuki) edged out Kent Howerton (Husky) by only 30 points. Bill Grossi was way back in points but took third spot on his Suzuki.
The 1976 season was very interesting since the starting field looked stronger than ever. How about these top six riders ?. 1: Tony DiStefano (Suzuki), 2: Jim Weinert (Kawasaki), 3: Steve Stackable (Suzuki), 4: Kent Howerton (Husqvarna), 5: Gary Semics (Kawasaki) and in 6'th Bob "Hurricane" Hannah riding Yamaha. Huuuh !!.
In 1977 Tony DiStefano (Suzuki) repeated his title win. Marty Smith (Honda) in second place and Jim Pomeroy (Honda) in third.
Bob Hannah (Yamaha) won the 1978 title. Jim Ellis (Honda) in second and Chuck Sun (Husqvarna) third.
The last championship in the 70's saw Bob Hannah (Yamaha), Kent Howerton (Suzuki) and Marty Tripes (Honda) in top three.
Motocross Des Nations 500cc in the 70's
During the 70's the international Motocross Des Nations was a 500cc affair only. Sweden won in 1970(Italy), riders: Christer Hammargren (Husqvarna), Janne Johansson (Husqvarna), Arne Kring (Husqvarna), Bengt Aberg (Husqvarna). Belgium managed second place and the Czeckoslovian team third.
In 1971(France) Sweden won again with: Åke Jonsson (Maico), Bengt Aberg (Husqvarna), Olle Petersson (Suzuki), Christer Hammargren (Husqvarna). Belgium and Czeckoslovakia was once again second and third.
Belgium won in 1972(Holland) with their strong team: Roger DeCoster (Suzuki), Jaak van Velthoven (Yamaha), René van der Vorst (Husqvarna). Sweden took second and Holland claimed third.
In 1973(Switzerland) Belgium reapeated their win with Roger DeCoster (Suzuki), Raymond Heeren (Maico), Sylvain Geboers (Suzuki), Jaak van Velthoven (Yamaha). Sweden was second once again and the Russian team managed third. All Russian riders rode CZ.
1974(Sweden) Sweden won on their home soil once again, riders: Bengt Aberg (Bultaco), Arne Kring (Husqvarna), Hakan Andersson (Yamaha), Ake Jonsson (Yamaha). This was also the first year that United States had a team on the podium. Jim Pomeroy (Bultaco), Brad Lackey (Husqvarna), Marty Tripes (Husqvarna) and Jim Weinert (Kawasaki) took the second place. The Russian who mostly rode KTM now settled for third.
Czechoslovakia won in 1975(Czechoslovakia) Antonin Baborovski (CZ), Miroslav Novacek (CZ), Jiri Churavy (CZ), Zdenek Velky (CZ). The surprisingly strong Belgian team Belgium : Roger DeCoster (Suzuki), Jaak van Velthoven (Yamaha), Harry Everts (Puch), Gaston Rahier (Suzuki), had to give away first and accept second spot. Great Britain managed to take third.
In 1976(Holland) the Belgians Roger DeCoster (Suzuki), Jaak van Velthoven (Yamaha), Harry Everts (Puch), Gaston Rahier (Suzuki) got their revenge with a gold. Holland got second place and a very interesting German team: Adolf Weil (Maico), Schmitz (Puch), Rolf Dieffenbach (Maico) And Willy Bauer (KTM) took third.
1977(France) was another win for the Belgian team: André Malherbe (KTM), Jaak van Velthoven (KTM), Roger De Coster (Suzuki) and Jean-Paul Mingels (Montesa). USA took second place with a team of real legends. How about Tony DiStefano (Suzuki), Steve "short stack" Stackable (Maico), Gary Semics (Kawasaki) and Kent Howerton (Husqvarna). Great Britain was third just like two years earlier.
In 1978(Germany) looked interesting and it became a battle between KTM(Russia) and Maico(Germany). Russia with Guennnady Moisseev (KTM), Anatoli Kavinov (KTM), Valerij Korneev (KTM) and Juri Khudiakov (KTM) managed to beat Germany on their land and passed them the second place. The always so strong Belgian team took another podium spot as they made third.
In 1979(Finland) was the next title off to Belgium, Roger De Coster (Suzuki), Harry Everts (Suzuki), André Malherbe (Honda) and Ivan Van Den Broeck (Maico) was the winning team. Great Britain was second and Germany third.
Trophée Des Nations 250cc in the 70's
Belgium dominated the decade completely with a win each year except in 1979 when USSR managed to break the dominance. The Belgian winners between 1970-78 where Rogert De Coster (1970-79), Sylvain Geboers (1970-73), Joel Robert (1970), Jaak van Velthoven (1971-78), Gaston Rahier (1974-75), Harry Everts (1976-78) and André Malherbe (1977). The Russians won the trophee in 1979, their riders where Vladimir Kavinov, Valeriy Khudiakov, Valeriy Korneyev and Guennnady Moisseev. All russians rode KTM.
Bike development in the 70's
Thanks to more powerful engines, rougher tracks and American supercross the bikes developed rapidly during the 70's and mostly the later half. Rear wheel travel was around 4" (100mm) while the forks had around 7" (180mm), fork tubes had a diameter of 32-35mm up until 1974. 1975-1979 the wheel travel increased every year and ended up around 270-310mm (11") at the end of the decade. Ohlins dual Piggyback and FOX air-shocks where the hot stuff during the late 70's. Maico broke into every mans home with their air assisted bulky forks. Husqvarna was still a major factor but Maico seemed to have more than a competitive bike around 1977-1979. In 125-250cc classes the Japanese bikes where competitive enough but the open class bikes where often european brands except in the end of the decade when Yamaha started the full 500cc trend offering monster power way beyond what the common 360-400cc engines delivered. Bultaco, Ossa, Montesa and Can-Am where the odd bikes then but for the most part just as good as anything else. The fastest 250's chunked out 30-35bhp at the end of the 70's
Links, videos and books from the 70´s.
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