Photos & Musings: Early Days

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My first bike

This is my first motocross bike, a 1974 Suzuki TM125.

I’d first become interested in motorcycles about a year before, aged about 13. With my own money I had bought a very old Suzuki 80K road bike, which I rode around a field close to my house. I had heard of motocross, or schoolboy scrambling, as it was known then, after seeing it featured on Blue Peter. However I had no idea that it happened around my area of the country.

One day I went to a local bike shop, Unibike in Tewkesbury, to see if I could get some sort of a ‘knobbly’ tyre for my field bike. Got talking to the owner, Ivan Goddard, who told me that his son, Patrick, who was at my school, raced schoolboys. There was someone at my school who raced? Wow! I was invited to go with them to watch a race at Bisley, Gloucestershire the next day. Of course, I was smitten but was so convinced that my parents wouldn’t even entertain the idea of me racing I never even suggested the idea to them.

Some weeks later I crashed my field bike for the first time. Just a slip-off really but I did twist the forks. However as a result, my Dad, to my complete surprise, said that if I was going to ride motorcycles I should do it in a proper, safe environment and that meant racing! I couldn’t believe it. My Dad had never been a motorcyclist of any kind and this was so unexpected.

I worked my Saturday job and saved up all my money and bought the TM125 from Fowlers of Bristol. £285 I think it was. The excitement of having a real motocross bike was incredible.

My first race was, coincidentally, also at Bisley, in March, 1977. I didn’t win, and in fact struggled to even get around the track.

1974 Suzuki TM125 - My first bike Enlarge image

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