Photos & Musings: Motocross des Nations

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Arriving at Gaildorf

This is what we saw when we arrived at Gaildorf for the 1985 Motocross des Nations. A very cool track and equally cool event.

Sadly GB's 250 guy Kurt Nicoll suffered a broken leg in practice. David Thorpe and myself therefore had to race as a two-man team. With a winning performace from David, and a 6th in the 125 class from me, Team GB ended up in 5th place overall.

Tech control at GPs was often inside some sort of shed. It usually comprised a quick check of the bike followed by weighing, to make sure the bike was over the minimum weight limit, and then noise testing.

Both the weighing and noise testing seemed horribly inconsistent. One week your bike could weigh 10 kilos more than it had apparently done the week before! Also, the noise testers would sometimes carry out the tests in front of an echoey building, or with other bikes running in the background. Bikes that passed comfortably one week would struggle the next. After testing the silencers were then marked with paint and the factory teams often had several silencers tested and marked.

Many riders simply put a temporary obstruction in the pipe to guarantee a smooth passage through sound control. A handlebar rubber mounting cone worked just fine, allegedly.

At the British GP, the scrutineers seemed to all be AMCA volunteers, and so revelled in squeezing the front brake, shaking the wheels and running their fingers round the spokes of the £50,000 works bikes, just in case the factory mechanics hadn’t put the bike together right…

The view from the Gaildorf pits Enlarge image

Technical control at Gaildorf Enlarge image