An Old Rookie’s Guide to Vintage Racing
We’ve all seen the vintage bikes and well restored they always seem to be. Those that frequent this web site may even remember the short article I wrote last year with the pictures of all the beautiful old iron. I had mentioned to Mitch Winder, who heads up the regional organization that brings a Vintage MX race to Minnesota, that I’d really like to try racing in the event, possibly reviving the “Old guy tries something new to him” series, or at least getting a perspective from both sides of the fence. That request turned out to not be no problem at all, as he had two sweet ones to choose from, ready and waiting for me. Unfortunately, that event was washed out, so I never got to ride or see any of the bikes in action.

Despite the bad luck last year, Midway Recreation Park owners, Jack and Cindy Stamschor, gave it another shot. This year, rain was not a problem, so I thought I’d try to ride again. Technically, I’m not really trying something new since I rode what would now be Vintage back when they were new, but that was a long time ago and made this sentence become real awkward. Mitch had suggested I ask Leroy Weaver, who came up from Davenport, Iowa, if he had a bike I could use. With his granddaughter, Crystal, and dog, Tigger, as his support crew, Leroy was competing on a super-clean Maico AW. Not knowing me from Adam and without a second thought, he agreed to let me ride the other bike that he brought.

That spirit of camaraderie and trust was something that was really noticeable at this type of race, things like checking on people that went down, offering replacement parts to competitors, or letting a complete stranger ride your bike. Not that you don’t still see that at modern races, it just seemed a bit more unconditional here.

With eager anticipation, I went to find out what my steed-of-the day would be. I was kind of hoping for something short-travel and unusual, but not so unusual that control locations would be switched around (in retrospect, quite picky for someone just being given something to use). I got my wish in the form of a 1975 Puch 125. Yes, Puch, the other Austrian dirt bike company.

I had never actually seem a Puch in action back in its day. I mostly remember a sea of silver CR125s. My main memory of Puch was some one-off 250, made for Harry Everts (Stephan’s dad for those under 30), that was very light, very fast, and not even remotely similar to what they sold. The bike I was riding was categorized as a Dinosaur (Editor – I could make the obvious comparison to the rider, but that’s too easy of a target.)

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