Photos & Musings: Motocross des Nations

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Help from my Dad

MX des Nations, Gaildorf, 1985, and my Dad Ron helps me tie my Camel bib before the first race.

This particular photo was sent to me by Jack Burnicle when my Dad suffered a heart attack in the early nineties. He was in a bad way and we thought that some photos of the good old days may help him back to good health.

Jack was kind enough to scribble on a caption for us, and Ron recovered well.

My Dad enjoyed the motocross era in his life. He never raced himself, and in fact wasn't a motorcyclist of any kind. He caught the racing bug through me and followed me round the world watching the GPs, and offering shrewd advice when it was needed.

I remember in '85, when I first started in 500GPs, I had driven all the way to Austria and hadn't qualified. Broke, I reasoned with him that there wasn't a lot of point in going all that way if I was not going to qualify. He said to me "One thing's for certain. You'll never qualify if you don't go". You can't really argue with that statement.

He fired up my enthusiasm and sent me back out to the French GP, where I made it into the race, and subsequently ended up qualifying for all the remaining GPs that year.

Twelve months later, at the Austrian GP, where I had failed the year before, I drove away from the track lying in second place in the world championship.

He became good friends with many of the folk at the races, and Keith Thorpe used to look forward to going out with Ron for dinner every Saturday evening.

Ron is now in his eighties, but in fine fettle and just as sharp as ever.

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