We're counting down the days to the start of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross opener at Hangtown on May 20, with a look back at some of the most memorable motos in AMA Motocross history. This summer, you can watch all 24 motos on all of your devices on NBC Sports Gold. Today, we're looking back at Colorado 1982.
Nothing brings the drama like a heart-breaking championship finale, which is why the 1982 250 National final-round showdown at Castle Rock, Colorado, holds a special place in motocross lore. Team Honda’s Donnie Hansen was looking to back up his AMA Supercross Championship with the motocross crown, but young Yamaha riders Ricky Johnson and Broc Glover were right there with him, and RJ appeared to have the title on lock. Although he was riding a modified production Yamaha against Hansen’s works Honda, Johnson, a second-year pro, was establishing himself as a force. He held the points lead heading into the race and needed to just cruise through the day to lock in the crown.
But Johnson was never one to cruise. Instead, he went after Hansen and tried to win the first moto. On the rough, dry, dusty track, Johnson ended up blowing up his front wheel and DNFing the moto. It was a heartbreaking lesson for the then 17-year-old Johnson.
Meanwhile, Glover and Hansen went at it for the moto win, and Hansen just edged him out, which was enough to put him into the points lead. In moto two, Glover came back to win, giving him a 2-1 for the overall. Johnson did all he could to pressure Hansen into a mistake and get those points back, but, Hansen, a vet of the Motocross des Nations, didn’t crack. He won the title with 300 points to Johnson’s 297 and Glover’s 294—one of the closest finishes ever.
Had Glover beaten Hansen in the first moto, it would have cost Hansen three points, which could have shifted the title back to his teammate Johnson.
“I was really quick at (the final round) Castle Rock that day and I remember that in the first moto, really late, I made a pass on Hansen and I was leading,” said Glover to our Steve Matthes a few years ago. “I went through a rut and as I was accelerating out, the rut grabbed the shifter and popped it into neutral. By the time I got my foot back down there and shifted my bike, Hansen got back by me.”
Glover continues, “He won the moto by mere feet and cost me the win. The next moto I ended up winning and won the overall with a 2-1. The whole thing was with that pass in the first moto, Donnie got three points and I obviously lost the three points. If you look at the standings, if I had won the moto that would have given all three of us a tie with 297 points. I wouldn’t have won it because I didn’t have the most moto wins, but it still would have been great. It was one of those could-have, would-have things. I think if I hadn’t hit neutral, Ricky would have won the title.”
Hansen won the title, Glover won the race, and Johnson learned a lesson that would pay off later—to the tune of seven AMA National titles, including the 1984 250 National Championship on his Yamaha.
It’s often said you first have to lose one before you can learn how to win. After his stinging Colorado defeat, Rick Johnson certainly learned how to win some titles.
CDR Tech Track - 250MX
CDR Tech Track - Castle Rock, CO
|1||Broc Glover||El Cajon, CA||Yamaha|
|2||Donnie Hansen||Simi Valley, CA||Honda|
|3||Kenny Keylon||Brooksville, FL||Honda|
|4||Warren Reid||Westminster, CA||Suzuki|
|5||David Bailey||Sugar Tree, VA||Honda|
|6||Scott Burnworth||Jamul, CA||Yamaha|
|7||Billy Liles||Fairburn, GA||Kawasaki|
|8||Steve Martin||Saint Petersburg, FL||Honda|
|9||Rick Johnson||El Cajon, CA||Yamaha|
|10||Clint Hardick||Spring Valley, CA||Suzuki|