the KTM 250 was a good bike & all, but it was gettin'
a little dated. So, like most of us, the thought of
shopping for a new, or at least newer, dirt bike sent
those chills of excitement up & down the throttle
hand. What would it be? Another KTM? Maybe an Asian bike,
a Susie or A Kawie...hmmm.
as is often the case, the reality of the prices of new
bikes sent an anti shudder right through my wallet, &
it was decided that the search, though still on, would be
limited to the used bike section of the market. Now as you
all know, the first ads to be eliminated from the search
werethe ones claiming " never been raced" ..
Which is to say, "never been maintained", and
the ones that say "brand new" may not have
always been preserved as new, but the asking price usually
is! No, what I needed was somethin' cheap but
potent...after all,... Sam Baker was lookin' kinda fast in
those days and,...well anyway, cheap & potent was the
only way to go.
a week or two, I came across an interesting ad in the
local paper "Late model CR500, Racer, great shape,
fast (they all say that) 1500.00" Boom !! I'm
in! I mean, sure I'd never ridden a single cylinder,
500cc, two stroke, water cooled, motocrosser, before, but
how much different could it really be from a KTM
250...right? Right. $1400 later, & I was
the proud owner of the (unbeknownst to me) awesome CR500.
With the Pro Circuit pipe, ignition mods, what ta hell was
that thing.. Roost Boost? Hmmm? raised compression (don't
do this one) porting, works this, HRC that...da, da,
da...you know, all the stuff that a 125 needs to be
competitive...(did I mention that this was a 500?) Well
never having had a 500 before, I found that there was
another surprise in store ... have you tried to start one
of those things? When I bought it, the owner started
it for me so he
could "warm it up"... I didn’t notice any
DAY ONE Saturday 8:47AM
hardly slept the night before, due to the fact that there
was a new scooter in the garage, I blinked & squinted
hard as the sun flooded under the garage door as I
introduced my new X-C bike to the mornin'..There it sat,
the bike that would take me to the top of the over thirty
amateur class...but not today. No, not today. I
proudly rolled my red beauty out into the driveway in
anticipation of a quick jaunt up & down the
alley...gas on, kick start lever out...and...Ka-chunk. OK,
OK choke on,...Ka-chunk...check for neutral again, Ka-chunka...hmmm...OK
Ka-chunk. It only took a few moments to realize that
indeed this was no 250. The sole of my Nikes just had a
flat. The bottom of my right foot was so bowed up, I
could’ve stepped on a beer can & not smashed it.
I see ya got a new scooter" It was Racin'
Jason, my next door neighbor, & another o-30 guy.
"Can't get it started?" (he rides a
125) "welllll, nowww, you know, new bike, & all,
got ta get it's pattern down, thats all."
Ka- chunka, Ka-chunka. "Maybe you should
kick it a little faster" (Jason weighs a
hundred & forty two pounds) as the drop of sweat
dropped off my nose & onto the gas tank, I smiled
& said, "Saayy buddy, why don’t you come &
give it a stab”? Standing with the full weight of his
skinny-assed body on the kickstart lever, it remained
motionless, as if welded to the frame, then
KA.............chu.....nka. with a little hissing sound,
as if it were saying. ”Pa-pleeese“.
DAY TWO Sunday 7:12 AM
& my other (non-ridin') neighbor, Gale, are in their
respective driveways watchin'...Ka-chunk, Ka-chunk, Ka-chunka...."Hey
Pat, What happened to that white motorcycle?"
Gales' words stung almost as much as the arch of my
foot...Ka-chunk...more sweat, some bad words
now..."It always seemed to start OK didn't it?"
"mornin' Gale." I tried to reply as
pleasant as possible of course. I slumped down onto
the seat & hung my head over the bars, as to
distribute the sweat more evenly over the bike.
to the garage.
neighbors start gathering at about 7:30 or so, to come out
& watch me try to start my new scooter, it's
interesting enough, and a relatively quiet pastime for a
spring morning. There's Bob & his wife, in the
lawn chairs. Gale is, as usual, waterin' his lawn. I can
see the Browns lookin' out the patio door, & of course
skinny-assed Jason leanin' against the Suzuki, with his
skinny-assed Suzuki hat blockin' the early mornin' sun.
"Hey Pat, wanna cold beer before you start...or
Paul's gotta fife hunert, & he uses a stand to stand
on while he kicks it"
the dizziness was about to overcome me, I could hear Jason
say, "Cold beer?"
exhausted the straight kick, the left footed kick, the on
the stand kick, the left footed on the stand kick, the
rabbit kick, & the push start (that was a joke) I
figured it was time to swallow my pride, & call the
prior owner & get instructions, or at least claim that
he'd sold me a lame scooter.
was, of course, very surprised that it didn't "start
on the first kick". But after explaining to me that
there was, in fact, a special startin' technique...which
he explained in detail, ( I wrote it all down ) I strode
confidently out to meet the crowd of fans awaiting the
show in the back yard.
an Olympic athlete, or maybe the president pushing through
the crowd on his way to a podium, I made my way out into
the sunlight. With my instructions in hand, I pushed
the mighty CR500 out to The Launch Area...I say launch
area, 'cause that's what happens to you when the CR500
pops one time & your leg are locked. Oh yes, a
note here: wear sturdy boots during start procedures on
so I, following the instructions, now taped to the tank,
lined everything up just so, took a deep breath, (so did
everyone around me) and gave it my best Bruce Lee kick,
and, pop it did. Like A Gunshot! AH-HAAA! It Made a
Browns opened the patio door. Gale looked up, &
released the trigger on his super-hydro-electric-lawn
waterin' pistol, & skinny-assed Jason peered around
the edge of the garage door, with a cold one in hand,
pushed back his skinny assed Suzuki hat & said,
"Is today the day?"
I got up and checked the blood flow from my right elbow, I
declared, defiantly, that "it most certainly
again on the scooter, one leg on the stand, the other on
the start lever, I glanced over at Jason, & gave him
the 'double eyebrow raise'...but he didn't return my gaze.
Instead, he was looking hard at something aft of the bike,
he started towards it, slightly hunched over, (though not
tipping his beer) staring hard again as if it were going
to bite him.
“What're you lookin' at?"
"Somethin' flew outa yer pipe, I think", he
I spun around, almost losing my balance. And yes, there it
was on the driveway, about twenty feet back, mostly
covered with black exhaust soot, but with just a trace of
blue. Jason poked at the alien looking slug with a
stick. There was a slight trace of smoke coming from the
black part... as I looked closer, I recognized the shape
as something I has seen in the shops before...
an ACERBIS exhaust plug !!!