ability to see lines as the track
changed. I moved around and tried
to keep my speed up. I can’t spell or
read very well, but I can read terrain
well! It just came naturally to me.
DID YOU HAVE ANY GLARING
WEAKNESSES? I was easily
distracted away from the track. There
were the girls, but I also enjoyed
surfing and having fun. My strength
was my attention-deficit disorder, but
it was also my greatest weakness.
WAS THERE ANY RIDER YOU
DISLIKED? There’s a difference
between anger and motivation. Jeff
Ward and David Bailey motivated
me the most. Ron Lechien and Bob
Hannah made me very angry. Hannah
was so arrogant, and Lechien was
dirty. If Ron could break your leg,
then he would try. That didn’t bother
him. I had to learn to never give
Ronnie that opportunity, because he
would take advantage of it.
WHAT WAS THE BEST BIKE
YOU EVER RODE? The bike that
I liked the best was the one that I
never got to race. Honda let me test
Ron Lechien’s 1985 works CR250,
and I told them that day I would sign
with them. Then, in the blink of an
eye, it was all gone. The AMA passed
the production rule shortly thereafter.
There couldn’t be works bikes in 1986.
It was such a letdown, because that
works Honda was magical. The power
was unbelievable and smooth, the
Ricky was always impressive, especially at Saddleback Park in Southern California.
RJ was on four winning Motocross des
hard, but he was so naturally gifted.
The Europeans were also trying new
things to be the best. The 1980s were
a time when a strong and aggressive
rider could make it in the sport.
Now, I only see a couple of guys that
hammer down if they get passed on
the track. I will say that the level of
riders and mechanics is way better
these days. The technology is so
advanced. Take a look at the tires and
suspension. In the old days, I would
come into a corner and the wheel
would flex. That doesn’t happen
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST
STRENGTH AS A RACER? I was
very skilled at braking. I could come
into corners faster than anybody.
I had good technique and also the
chassis was balanced, the suspension
was so supple, and the light weight
of the bike was ridiculous. All I had
to do was adjust sag and I went
four seconds a lap faster than on my
DID YOU HAVE A LEAST
FAVORITE BIKE? I was never
comfortable on the 1983 Yamaha
works bike. It was very difficult to
ride. That was the year I broke my
collarbone and also dislocated my hip.
The bike didn’t corner well. Sure, the
bike was really light and looked cool.
It had magnesium and aluminum, but
it wasn’t rider-friendly.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE
PART ABOUT BEING A RACER?
The racing. I hated the moment
before every race, because my nerves
would go haywire. It always felt
like I had to throw up. I was afraid
of failure, and I hated that feeling.
I didn’t want to let down my team,
family, friends or sponsors. Then,
as soon as the gate dropped, I felt
amazing. The nerves went away, and
I loved every minute of it.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST
MEMORABLE DAY AS A PRO?
The one race that felt amazing was
at Carlsbad in 1981. I won the last
moto of the year, and I was a 125
privateer. It was my hometown track,
so everyone was cheering for me.
Crossing the finish line after winning
my first professional moto was
incredible. It made me realize that
I deserved to be racing against the
best. Even though I didn’t win the
overall, I still won the moto. I caught
and passed Johnny O’Mara, who won
the first moto. No one can ever take
that day away from me.
WHAT RACES DO YOU WISH
THAT YOU COULD CHANGE THE
OUTCOME OF? I was winning at
Saddleback one year and I thought
I saw the checkered flag, so I pulled
off the track after I crossed the finish
line. Everyone started yelling at me
to get back on the track. It was the
white flag! The other time I was
racing with Jeff Ward on 80s. I had
built up a lead, so I relaxed a bit, only
Jeff caught and passed me in the last
turn of the last lap. My father was
crazy mad after that one!
WHAT ABOUT THE 1982 250
FINALE? Yeah, that race hurt. I had