Words: Travis Newbold
Photos: Jon Wallace/Brapp Snapps
From superbikes to minibikes, ice racing to observed trials, tarmac to desert; I have tried my best to race it all with two wheels. Last weekend I got to add another notch with my first vintage motocross.
Back to my roots I suppose as I first caught the motorcycle racing bug when I was ten years old and my mom let me ditch school to watch the vintage motorcycle races held once a year within the city limits of my hometown, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They had motocross and even a proper road circuit where I remember seeing a man in a black leather suit crash, go head first through some haybales, sliding to a halt near my feet. He got up and smiled at me. I reckon I knew at that moment that I wanted to race motorcycles some day.
Anyhow, back to the dirt, I was so smitten by the thunder-emitting dirt bikes and how their knobby tyres flung chunks of roost I collected a chunk of the roost and put it in my pocket to take home and worship, or something. I don’t know. I do know I took something home that day.
25 years later I found a crusty orange Yamaha TT500 sitting next to a dumpster. I brought it to my sanctuary of a shop and rebuilt the top end. My machinist buddy Phil Ranum helped me fit a complete ignition system from a 2007 KX450F. We were fitting it together near midnight on Saturday. To our delight it started up and ran pretty good. So we got a few hours of sleep, got up early, and went racing. And I now feel pretty darn complete.