BLAST FROM THE PAST: AKE JONSSON

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Ake had the Yamaha factory up in arms when he bolted up an old pair of Factory Maico forks onto his Works Yamaha. Yamaha hit the ’73 season with their new Monoshock design, but Maico still had a grasp on the handling wars with their leading axle fork and moved up rear shocks that gave them longer travel.

Åke Jonsson was one of the top riders in the Motocross World Championships during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jonsson was in the hunt three times to win the World Championship title- 1968, 1970 and maybe his best chance was in 1971. He rode for the Husqvarna factory but he was the third man behind World Champions Bengt Aberg and Torsten Hallman, though he finished in third place in the 1968 500cc World Championship. The next year he switched to Maico, taking third place in the 1970 500cc World Championship and then winning the Inter-AM series in America.
1971 was Ake’s best racing year. He held a tiny lead over Roger DeCoster going into the last GP of the year. DeCoster passed him when his spark plug came out of the head and ended up winning the World Championship.

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Ake and his Maico won nine times during the ’72 Trans-AMA series. He dominated the series and then switched to Yamaha the next year.

 

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While the 1972 GP season was hot and cold,( injured mid-season) Ake ran out of gas at the Luxembourg GP after winning the first moto. The Maico was the best handling bike on the circuit and had a strong, yet super tractable powerband.

1972 wasn’t a great year until the USA’s Trans AMA Motocross series where Ake dominated winning 9 races in a row at one point. Yamaha hired Ake for the 1973 season and his mount was the new single shock  “monoshock” machine. Ake had issues dealing with the fork, especially coming off of a Maico, which had the best front suspension in motocross. Ake fit a Maico front end onto his Yamaha much to the chagrin of his bosses, but felt that he was at too much of deficit with the stock fork. Ake never could overcome injuries and the handling quirks of the Yamaha. He retired at the end of the 1976 season.

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Ake’s run at Yamaha lasted three years and he struggled for most of it. Injuries and coming to grips with the machine hurt his results.

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