Just got the March 2022 issue and enjoyed reading the “Hidden Gems” feature about the history of Team Honda bikes over the decades. We corresponded a few months back when you ran the “Blue Plate Special” and we talked about the missing years of Honda bikes. I know I am beating a dead horse, but I am always puzzled why the Honda years of 1987 through 1994 are never brought up. They are just kind of glossed over with maybe an honorable mention. Johnson, Bayle, and Stanton have a combined 15 championship bikes in the 250cc and/or Open class. As for the 125 class from 1987 to ’95, Dymond, Holland, Kiedrowski, Henry, and Lamson have championships with the red bikes.
For the diehard Honda fan, it’s obvious there is a Honda gap when you go from Bailey straight to McGrath’s bikes. I have seen similar stories on this Team Honda collection and it’s always the same gap. I loved watching the recent videos Dave Arnold did with Steve Matthes. Dave has a lot of interesting stories of each of the featured bikes, but I had hoped he would address these missing years. But again, there was very little mention of the bikes or riders.
It would be interesting to find out if these bikes were destroyed, parted out, or collecting dust in a warehouse. Where are these championship bikes? Were they truly all destroyed? And if so, who made that decision and where are the bodies buried. The truth is out there!
Mike Kolar // East Lansing, MI
Thanks for the note, Mike! If I had to take a guess, I would say that the gap after 1985 is because that was the last year of works bikes, so all the guys you mentioned from ’86 on were racing modified production bikes—not really rare birds at all. But I hate to guess, so I called Jeff Stanton, who won six titles between 1989 and ’92 for Team Honda. By that point they had clamped down on anything going home with a rider or a mechanic, preferring to literally destroy the bikes rather than letting them go. They finally changed their minds and started saving things again after Jeremy came along! DC
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