NEVER SAY DIE…
Old School racing makes a comeback…
By Dennis “Ketchup” Cox
Old School motocross lives and breathes with a cadre of hard-core racers who will never abandon their original “Kings” of motocross bikes. So much so, that several organizations have started up races that cater to several of the original marques that stood out in those early moto-daze.
The Dave Matthews CZ World Championships comes to mind. Everybody having a great time racing CZ’s with fellow enthusiasts. ‘Old school’ Vintage MX race tracks are unique, with lots of flat turns, easy slopes, and are not simply a series of whoops and jumps throw together.
The tracks, and the layouts cater to old school racing tactics, where grizzled racers battled it out to see who has the best lines, coolest bikes and who the fastest racers are that day. Now, thanks to the effort of journalist/racer Brian Catterson, they now have a series for Husqvarna fans and racers to congregate.
The track itself was at the Cahuilla MX Park, near the city of Anza, CA in a series of canyons near the town. The layout embraces two separate tracks, the front circuit is a steep, jump filled obstacle course that is challenging and fun. While the second or more sedate ‘Vet’ MX track, is located on the backside of the hilly terrain.
Cahuilla was a picture perfect track and the site of this years Husky Championships. A quick word on why they are not calling this event, the “Husky World Championships”. The promoter, Brian Catterson, managed to get the AMA to sanction his race but he was told he could not call them a “World Championship” unless he agreed to pay a fee to the F.I.M. Simple choice. No fee, no calling them a “World Championship”.
Once it came to dropping the starting gate all the B.S. stops. There were a wide variety of classes for all racers at the Husky Championships this year. A cornucopia of classes for anyone to content and race against fellow die-hard Husqvarna riders.
There were classes for Junior and Senior skill levels. Classes for pre-72 Huskies, all the way up to include the newest models. There were classes for Two and Four lovers, as well as an assortment of mini bike races.
One rider that was unstoppable at this race was Murrieta, California’s Nick Lapaglia. He literally was unstoppable, and his total domination was unchallenged. This fresh faced 24 year old racer, won a record 8 out of 12 motos for the day! Amazing talent.
A SWEDE’s SWEDE…
When most people are relaxing in the twilight of their lives, Lars Larsson, at the ripe age of 78, is out on a MX track ripping roosts, doing jumps and still having the time of his life. He was at the race aboard a MXA project machine that they had him out testing.
It was a slickly set up 2019 Husky 300, that was the epitome of trickness. Lars is still out there tearing it up on a mx track and racing, telling jokes, and stories abut the good old days, which he has lived and experienced for over 60 years now! Not many folks realize that Lars traveled the early Trans and Inter Am series with promoter Edison Dye, and helped set up Husky dealerships all across the country, while earning a living racing at the same time.
In addition to Lars Larsson, fellow Swede Gunnar Lindstrom was on hand at this event. Gunnar was there to sign autographs, chat about the good old days, and marvel at the wide array of machinery on hand. If you don’t recall your early Swedish history, Gunnar was responsible for the original ‘Gunnar Gasser’ twist throttle, which fellow Husky racer Steve Garragelos had brought out for him to sign. Smart move Steve.
Many people also don’t know that besides racing for Factory Husqvarna, Gunnar at one time went to work at Dirt Bike magazine. This was way back in 1975, when Gunnar was hired on as technical editor. He later went on to become the chief editor in 1976, and eventually went to work for American Honda in the motocross racing department. Also, he was inducted into the AMA’s Hall of Fame in 2000. A fabled career and moto expertise Swede.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP…
What set these Husky Championships apart from traditional motocross races is the sheer fun the participants had in doing it all day. They were able to race, bench race, talk about, and spin tales of derring-do from days long gone. This was establishing an old, yet familiar motocross tradition. Passing down tall tales, misdeeds, and days of glory to a new generation of mxers.
All the riders could take great pride in telling Husky tales to their fellow riders and racers. Back then, racing a Husqvarna was a way to stand apart from the crowd. While that may still be true today, those original Husqvarna’s made everyone from Steve McQueen, to Johnny Boondocks, feel like they were a stud. And you know it, they were. Just saying…Ketch
2019 3RD ANNUAL HUSQVARNA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Held at Cahuilla MX Park, Anza, CA
Pre-1972 Open Senior…Ed Sims
1975-1984 Open Seniors/ Juniors/125 Juniors…Nathan Wagner/ David Carranza/ Mitchell Mesecher
1988-2013 Two-Stroke Open Senior…Lars Larsson
Pre 1972 60+ Seniors/ 1972-1974 Senior/…Ed Sims/ Chip Howell
1975-1984 2-stroke 60+ Senior…Steve Ellis