For this edition of Classic Steel, I thought we would change it up a bit and take a look at some of the awesome pieces of Moto memorabilia that were in Greg Primm’s personal collection. For this installment, I am going to highlight some of Greg’s sweet classic jersey collection.
|This HiPoint gear was worn my Team Yamaha’s Jeff Stanton in 1988. Jeff was always a serious, no-frills kind of a rider, and his gear seemed to reflect that throughout his career. Never one for zebra stripes and polka dots, Jeff seemed to prefer more plain, basic looks in his gear. It was not until his switch to AXO that Six-Time started to add a little flavor to his game.|
|When Stanton did this ad for HiPoint, he was a little know big-bore specialist from Michigan. Never flashy, he made a name for himself chasing after Rick Johnson and Jeff Ward on antiquated, air-cooled YZ490’s in the 500 Nationals. In 1988, no one could have imagined he would go onto become a 6-time Motocross and Supercross National Champion.|
|While not as stylish as rival Damon Bradshaw’s AXO gear, Stanton’s ’92 AXO HRC signature stuff was a quantum leap better than the bland TX-10 fair Jeff had worn in ’89-‘91. While I still preferred the bright neon orange Bradshaw sported, Stanton’s gear seemed better suited to his more subdued personality.|
|Stanton had a hell of a year wearing this AXO gear in ’92. He snatched away the Supercross title at the final round from rival Damon Bradshaw (who had won nine races to Stanton’s three) and added a 250 Outdoor Title to go with it. Only the 500 National title (won by Mike Kiedrowski) eluded him in ’92. It is one of motocross’ great ironies that with his reputation as a big-bore specialist, Stanton was never able to capture the 500 National crown|
|This jersey was worn by motocross legend Donny Schmit during the 1987 125 Motocross Nationals. Donny rode for Team Suzuki in ’87 and ’88, but was let go after a contract dispute at the end of the ’88 season. Donny reportedly requested a raise to match teammate Erik Kehoe’s $100K salary for ’89. This was twice what Donny was getting paid, and when Suzuki refused, Schmit was left scrambling for a ride. With budget cuts hitting most of the major teams in 1989, Donny was left without an employer and spent the season on a privateer Honda. After finishing the ‘89 season in a remarkable 4th place, the Minnesota native moved to Europe to ride for the powerful Factory Suzuki Bieffe team in 1990.|
Donny would have a successful stay in Europe, claiming both the 1990 125 and 1992 250 World Motocross titles. After five seasons overseas, Schmit would return to the US and retire from full time racing in 1995. Unfortunately, only a short time after his retirement, he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and passed away on January 19th, 1996.
|The fact that Donny (#9) was let go by Factory Suzuki after finishing 2nd in the 1988 standings was quite a shock at the time. Donny was on a mission in ’89. He wanted to prove his former employers wrong and it showed in his riding. Campaigning a Pro-Circuit tuned Honda, Donny took home a moto win and smoked the highest placing Suzuki rider (ironically Erik Kehoe, the rider who Donny wanted his salary matched to) by 5 positions and 150 points in the final series standings. Schmit’s final redemption would come the following year, when he would beat out Belgian “wunderkind” Stefan Everts for the 1990 125 World motocross Title.|
|OK, this one in particular is tough for me. I loved Rick Johnson as a kid and thought he was the coolest dude on the face of the earth in the 80’s. He was the absolute king-of-style in the later part of the decade and wore some of the sickest Fox Racing gear ever in this era. Then 1989 happened.|
First RJ switched from my beloved Fox to long time rival JT (Blasphemy!!!) after a contract dispute between Johnson, Hondaline and Fox racing. Seeing RJ in JT just did not seem right, but early on it looked like a great move for both, as Johnson reeled off five straight SX wins to start the season. Then Danny Storbeck snapped Rick’s wrist at Gainesville and it was all down hill from there. JT’s new RJ signature line for ’89 was actually not too bad. It played off his “Bad Boy Club” Life’s-a-Beach clothing, and it was at least decent looking (silly perhaps, but not really ugly). It was not until the next year that things really got weird.
In 1990, things went from bad to worse for Johnson, as he decided to go ahead and run the bad luck #13 he was assigned by the AMA (I’m not superstitious but why tempt the Moto Gods?). From the start it was obvious this was not the same old Johnson. He looked stiff on the bike and struggled badly on the track. Certainly not helping RJ was his awful 1990 signature gear. The new “Cyborg” line was just terrible, featuring riveted sheet metal as a design motif. After years of being the most stylish dude on the track, RJ seemed to have lost his mojo in 1990. Sadly, this drab, dismal looking stuff seemed the perfect match to the nosedive his career was taking. The year of 1990 was painful to watch if you were and RJ fan, in every possible way.
|Resistance if futile… How do you go from wearing the iconic Fox gear of the late eighties to this dull mess? It was like trading in your red Porsche 911 on a gray Ford Country Squire wagon. Oh RJ, what happened?|
The year of 1990 really was a turning point for JT, after years at the forefront, their designs were starting to fall behind gear from Fox and upstart AXO. All good things must come to an end, and JT’s reign as a motocross trend setter was coming to a close.
This is just scratching the surface of Greg’s awesome collection and if everyone likes this little walk down memory lane, I will do some more like this in the future. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.