There was a time there in the mid-nineties that Northern California’s Steve Lamson was probably the second fastest motocross racer in the world. Or at the very least he was in the conversation when people were standing around bench racing about who was the best. Lamson was the epitome of a 125cc specialist and he won two consecutive 125 outdoor titles on the factory Honda in 1995 and then in '96. And although it doesn’t count for the purpose of this countdown we, also tip our cap to Lamson who beat every single other rider in a moto on the 125 at the Motocross des Nations in 1996 Jerez, Spain—the first rider to ever pull off that feat and the only to do it on a 125cc motorcycle.
With 21 AMA Motocross wins, all in the 125cc class—four were at Hangtown, his local national, including the first and last wins of his career—and the most 125 National podiums of anyone (47 total, seven more than anyone else), he is in the conversation with James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael and Mark Barnett was the fastest tiddler rider ever.
Don't believe in Lamson's speed? He is the first rider to ever win a moto overall at the MXdN riding a 125cc motorcycle.
Racer X Archives
But his only real success came in the small-bike class. Lamson's attempts on the bigger bike showed he was no slouch, but he somehow never managed to win a race on a 250, a fate shared by such 125cc specialists as Micky Dymond, George Holland, Guy Cooper and Erik Kehoe.
Lamson’s greatest outdoor season was probably 1995 when he was Doug Henry's heir-apparent at Honda, but then missed races at the start of the nationals with a knee injury. At one point mid-season he was 60-some points down and all was lost. But thanks to some incredible riding, Lamson came all the way back and clinched the title in the last moto of the season at Steel City when he beat his fierce rival Ryan Hughes. It was a true comeback for the ages. The next year, he dominated the class throughout the year.
Like Chad Reed some 12 years later, Lamson authored himself a nice comeback as a full-on privateer with some backdoor help from Honda in 2000. Wearing his customary #6, Lamson would win his hometown Hangtown National for the last time and hold the points lead for almost half of the series. It was a nice comeback for Lammy after a disastrous turn on a Chaparral Yamaha YZ250 in ’99.
He earned himself a factory Husqvarna ride after that and another try at the 250 class, but injuries and an ineffective bike took him out of running on the white bike. Although, like always, he collected plenty of fans along the way by being one of the friendliest guys around and talking to anyone and everyone.
Lamson grabs the holeshot at RedBud in 1995.
Racer X Archives
Lamson qualified for his last national in 2007, twenty years after his first pro race in 1988. That's quite a run for a very fast man.
Two-time 125cc AMA National Championships Steve Lamson comes in at #22 on the Racer X Top 30 All-Time Motocrosser countdown.
Here's all of Steve Lamson's race results, in both motocross and supercross, safely kept in the Racer X Vault: http://vault.racerxonline.com/rider/steve-lamson/races
(Racer X Contributors to this list: Davey Coombs, Jason Weigandt, Eric Johnson, Steve Matthes, Jason Thomas, Andrew Fredrickson, Chase Stallo and David Pingree)