Early American Motocross Racing

John Jacobson Collection

Another image from the John “JJ” Jacobson Collection. This one is from what may be an early American motocross race. The slides were labeled 1965-66, so this was the period when European style motocross was first being introduced to America by Husqvarna importer Edison Dye. Since JJ was from the Boston area this image very well could be from the seminal motocross race in Pepperell, Massachusetts, located less than an hour northwest of Boston. During the fall of 1966, Dye brought over Swedish professional motocross racer Torsten Hallman and invited all area scrambles riders to come and test their skills against one of Europe’s best. It reportedly was not pretty for the American scrambles racers. Most were lapped by Hallman during each of the three 45-minute motos. But that first exhibition really got American motorcycle racers excited about motocross racing and within five or six years the sport was sweeping the nation.

(UPDATE: Several fans of the era pointed out that this is in fact a track in Middleborough, Mass., about 40 miles south of Boston. Someone also mentioned that Motorcycle Hall of Famers Joe Bolger (No. 54) and Dick Bettencourt (No. 17) are both in this photo!)

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