lot of credit, because his move was the first step in KTM’s
current line of 250SXF, 350SXF and 450SXF four-strokes.
Rod gave me the budget to build three one-off four-strokes
for Lance Smail to race in the 1997 Supercross series.
AT THE TIME, NO ONE THOUGHT THAT A
FOUR-STROKE COULD COMPETE AGAINST A
TWO-STROKE. WHAT WAS ROD’S GOAL? Rod was
realistic. He said that he would be happy if we made the
night program and raced in the heats and semis. But, as
the season progressed, Lance got close to qualifying at
the first three rounds, so we switched our target to
making the main event. We wanted to be the first
four-stroke to ever race an AMA Supercross final.
WHAT WAS THAT 1997 SEASON LIKE FOR YOU
AND LANCE? It was amazing! I would be standing
in the mechanics’ area and hear the crowd go crazy. I
thought that someone had crashed, but they were cheering for the booming sound of Lance’s four-stroke. Every
time he did the triple, they went into a frenzy. Lance and
I were stunned by the reception. In fact, at the Los Angles
Coliseum, the crowd cheered so long and loud for Lance
after his heat race that he stopped in the tunnel and
waved to the crowd while they cheered for him for three
minutes. For a two-man team, it was the best feeling.
WAS IT BETTER THAN MAKING THE DAYTONA
MAIN EVENT? We had missed making the main by
a couple spots in Los Angeles. At the Houston Supercoss,
it was the same thing. Then, in Seattle, Lance was in the
qualifying position all the way until the last lap when Phil
Lawrence passed him to knock Lance out of the main.
Daytona gave the big four-stroke room to roam, and Lance
got seventh in his heat race and then came back to finish
third in his semi. We had achieved what Rod Bush asked
us to do. We felt vindicated.
By using parts borrowed from a KTM
250SX two-stroke, Moen was able to
shave 14 pounds off Lance Smail’s
bike in just the fenders, subframe,
radiator shrouds and airbox—which
Tom discovered they didn’t need in
Tom Moen threw the stock 40mm round-slide
Dellorto carb away in favor of a 1-pound-
lighter, 38mm Dellorto, flat-slide carb.