Sir Jack Burnicle takes us back to the summer of 1976, when he was introduced to a pair of polar opposites: the mystique of Eastern Bloc motorcycle maker CZ and the West Coast charisma of teenaged Marty Smith
WORDS: JACK BURNICLE
PHOTOS: JACK BURNICLE, DICK MILLER ARCHIVES, STEVE FRENCH & TERRY PRATT
Nineteen seventy-six was one of the hottest European summers on record. It was also the year my Continental motocross adventures began. One year earlier, the FIM had launched a 125cc World Championship. It was dominated by diminutive Suzuki factory star Gaston Rahier ahead of the CZ duo Gilbert de Roover and Antonin Barborovsky. The following season, America’s teenaged champ Marty Smith and his Honda joined the party, racing on both the 125 Grand Prix and AMA 125 National circuit that summer. In Europe he would be taking on Rahier and a CZ squad comprising Czechoslovakians Jiri Churavy and Zdenek Velky, as well as the Russian pairing Yuri Khudiakov and Pavel Rulev. They would also encounter my English pal Roger Harvey, riding his maiden 125 Grand Prix season on a private Husqvarna.
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4 time Motocross & Supercross Champion