THE WEEKLY FEED: Team Suzuki and the 1996/97 RM250

A HISTORY LESSON: Steve Hatch and Rodney Smith-Team Suzuki OR 1996

In 1996/97 big things were happening with Suzuki, both in moto and off-road. The RM 250 received a huge re-make with an all-new machine that featured a 49mm Showa Conventional fork. The redesigned engine targeted low to mid-range hit that mated to a linear top-end pull. The RM ran very much like a ’96 CR250 with slightly less meat in the middle. For Mike LaRocco the bike was slow, the suspension not right for SX. Suzuki hired Jeremy McGrath in 1997 and he too struggled with the machine, both in the suspension and the power. But for the off-roader, the machine was magic. For the GNCC series, which Suzuki Off-road was shifting their main effort to the GNCC series (this is in spite of Randy Hawkins winning the National Enduro title in 1996). Here a motocross based machine was needed to handle the speeds and tenacious terrain that shadowed an outdoor motocross, rather than a tight cobby enduro. Steve Hatch and Rodney Smith were strong in GNCC, where Steve won two events in ’96 and Rodney won the final. Suzuki let Randy Hawkins go in 1997, and hired European star Paul Edmondson and the trio won five GNCC’s in 1997.
Jeremy McGrath never really came to grips with the ’97 RM250.



This helmet cam video that Rob Mitchell sent us from Steward Baylor at the opening round of the GNCC series is flat sick! It truly shows the speeds these guys move through the woods, their ability to pick lines and makes passes that seem quite impossible. Steward danced with Thad Duvall and Honda’s Trevor Bollinger and their ballet at serious speeds while brushing trees that if clipped has the potential for some serious carnage. All in all- Stunning. Loved it.


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This is a family affair based in the bowels of the Mojave desert. It’s a great watch!






Five riders with different cornering technique. Here’s our take. Thanks TFant for the shots.

Eli Tomac has dead-on form. The machine, his body and importantly his head are all in line. His commitment to the turn is 100% and his head is pointed up and looking at the exit point.


Weston Peick is a bit further into the turn, his body has a slight vertical tilt, but his torso is well forward, with his head slightly off of the steering head line. This is a line adjustment position.


Cooper Webb has a bit of vertical body tilt and he’s using his inside leg to weight the maneuver and force traction to the tires.



Broc Tickle looks out of sorts, unrelaxed and head looking right over the front fender.


Malcolm Stewart is fully engaged and has perfect form. All points are in line, his leg well forward and all points focus on maintaining the line and force the tires to bite.




Dirt Bike back in the day. Jimmy Holley jumping an overweight and under powered Suzuki DR over Steve Schmitz at indian Dunes. Fran “The Leaper” Kuhn captured the image.




In 1983 I was heavily into the enduro scene and the Honda CR480 made a superb desert enduro racer. I raced it pretty much stock, fit a Suzuki PE odometer, my Countdown Rollchart/clock and a Preston Petty headlight. Motor and suspension were stone showroom.



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