Gary Jones on the Ammex at the 1980
Superbowl of Motocross.
TERM PAPER DUE ON
I have to do a term paper for my
International Affairs class on a for-
eign industry. I decided to do motor-
cycle manufacturing. I figured I’d be
writing about Austria, Italy, Sweden
or Germany, but my professor made
us draw countries at random. I
ended up with Mexico. I can’t find
anything about Mexican motocross
bikes. Can you help me?
You didn’t look very hard. At one
time Mexico had two very large
companies that produced motocross
bikes—Moto-Islo and Carabela. Both
reached the zenith of their motocross
production in the mid-’70s, typically
using Sachs or Villa engines and
often built under license. The most
notable Mexican-made motocross
bike was the Ammex (1975–1981).
Frank Cooper was the West Coast
Maico importer and contracted Islo
to build him a 247cc dirt bike called
the Cooper in 1972. It wasn’t a big
success, but in 1975 Gary Jones,
the four-time AMA 250 National
Champion, bought what was left of
Cooper Motorcycles and built his
own brand (originally called Jones-Islo but later changed to Ammex).
It too was built by Islo. Ammex,
although unsuccessful in the long
run, was notable because it was
the only motorcycle company ever
owned by an American motocross
champion (it was also raced in dirt
track by a young Eddie Lawson).
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