became the West Coast distributor of Penton Motorcycles.
We opened the doors in August of 1968, and, just like with
Husqvarna, I was back on the road selling Penton motorcycles. My English was a little better now, but the Penton
deal kept the doors open when we first started to import
products. In my mind, I thought, ‘We can’t make a living
selling motocross pants, boots and gloves. Who could do
that?” That was the start of some fantastic years.
IS IT TRUE THAT YOU FORMED THE MEXICAN
ISDT TEAM SO YOU COULD RACE? The reason Team
Mexico came about is that they held some enduros down
there, and I convinced them to form an ISDT team with the
approval of the Mexican federation.
WERE THERE ANY MEXICAN RIDERS ON THE
TEAM? No. The team was Fred Cameron from San
Francisco, Jim Simmonds from Missouri and myself. That
year’s ISDT was in Sweden. They had an opening ceremo-
ny where the teams marched down the main street holding
their national flags just like the Olympics. When our turn
came, we marched in wearing big sombreros, and I could
hear the Swedish kids standing on the curb saying, “They
don’t look any different from us.”
I’m the only rider in the world who has been on three
trophy teams for three different nations—Sweden, America
WHAT MADE HUSQVARNA THE DOMINANT
BIKE IN THE 1960s AND 1970s? Two people—Bror
Jauren and Ruben Helmin. They were very enthusiastic
about racing, and if it hadn’t been for them, I don’t think
Husqvarna would have ever made a dirt bike. They basically built the first Husky motocross bikes without the approval of the big shots. Husqvarna made a little street bike
called the Silverpilen 175, and Bror and Rubin modified
it for racing. They were lucky to get people like Torsten
Lars raced the ISDT for
three different Trophy
States and Mexico. He
was also on the Kawasaki
factory ISDT team.
Hallman to ride it. He beat everybody.
It’s because of those people that Husqvarna decided to
build motocross bikes. They had the vision. There are many
people like that; Henry Ford would be one. He had a passion. It’s that spirit that is the driving force.
WHAT LED TO HUSQVARNA’S DECLINE?
Electrolux. They didn’t have the spirit. They would
rather sell lawnmowers and refrigerators. They bought
Husqvarna and then sold it to the Italians. Husqvarna