GLORY DAYS: Paul Friedrich-The World Champion we never saw
From the gray matter of Mike Webb and Carl Ribaudo
Back in the sixties the cold war separated the East and the West. The iron curtain impact reached all the way down to the GP motocross tracks of Europe. Because of this divide we rarely saw Eastern Bloc riders as most never raced in the United States until years later. One of those Eastern Bloc riders we never saw was a three time world champion from East Germany Paul Friedrich, the unknown champion. From his East German homeland Friedrich rode a factory CZ to three consecutive 500 World Championships (1966, 1967 and 1968). It was Friedrich who won the first two stroke championship. One could only imagine this champion on the starting line at Unadilla or Carlsbad. But because of global politics it wasn’t to be. While America fell in love with his contemporary the West German Adolf Weil, in this country never heard of Paul because of the Iron Curtain and never really knew or were able to appreciate his incredible career. Not only was he a great motocross world champion, Friedrich was a member of the silver medal winning East German six days team. He’s the champion we never saw.
Best In The Desert announced today it is adding four new classes to its motorcycle division for 2020. The big news starts with the addition of the “Adventure” class for adventure motorcycles featuring two cylinders. They also added the Ironman Pro Class due to many requests from racers. A Women’s class is being added, and they are changing our 300cc class to 399cc for Pro, Amateur, and Sportsman classes. Last but not least Best In The Desert will offer a special Family class for those wishing to compete as part of a family unit. These new classes represent Best In The Desert’s continued efforts to respond to the evolving motorcycle market, manufacturer’s development efforts, and the changing face of motorcycling.
Dirt Bike July, 198. Fran Kuhn shot our 125’s gathered in front of an F-14. Of note there are two Webb’s in this pic, Wolf on the 3-wheeler and Mike behind the RM125.
Dick Burleson also won an amazing eight consecutive gold medals in the International Six Days Trials (now called the International Six Days Enduro). In 1994, 13 years after retiring, DB rode in the ISDT held near Tulsa, Oklahoma. At 46, Burleson earned a silver medal in the event and became the only American to ride in both American ISDTs.
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WOLF: BACK IN THE DAY
While not a very flattering shot, this is my first time racing at Mammoth, in 1976. My Maico 400, fit with a 250 3-row clutch, shocks moved up and equipped with Poppy Aluminum bodied Koni’s was a whole lot better than the arm pumped slug at the wheel!