MX Bob Bike History - Member 8
1981 Yamaha YZ125
1981
A Section 8 Sure Sounds Great

I bought this bike brand new from an amateur hot shoe from western Wisconsin. I will only refer to him as Jeff J. That may or may not be his real name, but in all likelihood, it is. This bike had the radiator behind the front number plate, the headlight look. For a 125, this bike was pretty reliable and very fast for its time.

After a year on an open bike, the 125 seemed like too much gear changing to me. The light weight was nice, but not as big of a deal back then. Some of the tracks in 1981 were getting more supercross obstacles, but most of the tracks were pretty wide open with few, if any, gap jumps or artificial whoops on them. The extra power of the 250 and open bikes was often more of advantage than the lighter weight of a 125, as evidenced by the fastest lap times usually being in the 250A class.

I got the bike back to Virginia in early January. There was this little sand track just barely past the North Carolina border. We would ride there when our other main practice track, Golden Eagles, was too muddy. I think it was mid-January when I went there with the plan to ride Saturday, have a brown bag dinner, sleep in my van, ride some more Sunday, and then go back to the ship. As it turned out, everyone that I would normally go riding with all begged off because of the cold (it was almost 50 that day, the big babies) so I was riding alone.

That night, it got a little colder than what I was expecting, into the 30s. I had slept in my van when it was in the 30s a few times before. As long as you were in the sleeping bag with the extra blanket, you were fine. It was the sleeping bag to getting dressed transition that was pretty harsh.

Some people who lived near the track (I don't think they were the owners of it) came out and asked me how I was doing and about the bike. They were a couple, maybe in their 50s or 60s. They didn't have a problem with the noise of the bike or me riding on the land, they were just wondering who this guy was riding out in the middle of the winter. Eventually, I came to realize that the couple must have thought I was slightly off in some way because I was out riding a dirt bike, by myself and "in the cold". When I told them that I was going to sleep in my van, that's when they had to move in for the intervention. They insisted that I sleep in their house.

She made a big farm-style dinner, I got to watch TV in their living room, and then I slept in a comfortable bed in one of their spare bedrooms. They had never met me before in their life, but they treated me like a family member. They had adult children who had moved out recently, so I think they may have just appreciated the company, even if he was some insane Yankee who was going to sleep outside in the dead of winter. That's one of the things that I liked about living in that area. Southern Hospitality is a real thing. I'm not sure if I was a novelty or if people down there were always that friendly to strangers.

Later in the winter, I rode the bike a lot at a local track on naval airbase land in Virginia Beach run by the Golden Eagles Motorcycle Club. (Editor's note - There is and has been several motorcycle clubs named Golden Eagles, but this is the only one that was in that area at that time). They would have outlaw races. I think they just had the standard four classes, and about 40-60 riders total. It would get really dusty at the races sometimes, like the times where nature hadn't watered the track before the race. I got a few trophies there. The experts would be way in front of me and the novices way behind me, so I usually was riding by myself, and after the first lap or so, out of the dust.

I raced just a few times in the 125 Intermediate class at the district level and didn't trophy. I was kind of mid pack. I really wanted to go back to a bigger bike. Shortly after the district season started, I made "the trade".

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Naval Air Force Base, Virginia Beach, VA   1981  Photo by Art Law
This was during a race. The picture is not faded at the bottom. That's how dusty it was closer to the ground.

Revised April 2017