My name is Nathan Terry and I run a few websites dedicated to vintage dirt bikes, and Honda Elsinore bikes specifically. They are:
Elsinore Swap Meet: http://elsinore-swap-meet.com
Vintage Bike Ads: http://vintagebikeads.com
Vintage Dirt Bike Forums: http://vintagedirtbikeforums.com
Back in 2001 I got back into dirt bikes and wanted to restore an bike I had when I was in 9th grade, a 1973 Honda CR250M Elsinore. Back then I bought the first one my local dealer got when the bike first came out in the Spring of ’73.
It was an awesome machine. For the time it had it all. Fast, and quick. Brutal power that would tear your hands from the bars when you came on the pipe and yet sitting still it would make you fall in love gazing at her sexy lines.
This was the ultimate motocross bike. There had never been another like it before. It changed motocross forever. It was the shot across the bow for all the European bike manufactures. It was probably one of the most, if not the most, significant motocross bikes of all time.
I restored a bike I bought and had shipped from Arizona to Virginia where I lived at the time. During those early days of my restoration I discovered there was an entire nation-wide racing circuit just for these old machines. I went to Budds Creek to see what they were all about, but mainly to see if anyone had parts for my bike.
I didn’t find many parts, but I found a great group of guys who loved these old bikes as much as I did. I decided to get involved and changed direction on my restoration. Instead of going for the showroom look, I went for the racetrack look.
The next race in the schedule was for Camelback raceway in West Virginia. My bike was not ready, not even close. I hurried and ordered new Progressive shocks, seat cover, pipe, etc… The day before I had to leave to go to the race I still hadn’t received the pipe. No pipe, no race. Finally in the late afternoon of the day I had to leave the pipe came. I had eveything packed up and ready to go. The UPS guy left and I followed him out the driveway on my way to the race.
What was I doing? This was the question that was going through my head all the way t the race. I hadn’t even had time to ride this bike around because I didn’t have a pipe until now. On top of that I hadn’t even ridden a motocross bike since 1977, or a road bike since 1982. Now I was going to not only ride a dirt bike, but race it too. I must be insane!
I arrived late at the track. It was dark. I pitched my tent and crawled in and fell asleep. In the morning I got up and got the pipe on the bike with a little tweaking. After that I had to register and get my bike inspected. I’d missed a few things so I had to correct them. All the while the track was open for practice. I had to miss them so I could get the bike so it would pass inspection. It finally did, but now I was going to pull up to the starting gate with absolutely no seat time on a bike in over 23 years.
I pulled up on the line. My heart was racing faster than I probably would. I kept trying to recall all the things I did in my youth at the start of a race. Back in those days we only had rubber band starts, no fancy metal gates like this one. Don’t get too close I reminded myself. The time came for those on the line to fire up their bikes.
I was so nervous. I got a good kick and the bike roared to life. I revved it to get it warmed up. It vibrated like bull in the chute. Then, it died. What! The gas. I’d forgotten to turn on the gas! I flipped the lever and after a number of kicks it started back up. Everyone was waiting for me. What am I doing?! This is crazy!
Goggles down, bike revving high, blip, blip, blip, faster and faster. The 30 second sign goes sideways. This is it! The gate drops and all hell breaks loose. I gas it and start shifting. I didn’t even wheelie off the line and was keeping up pretty good with everyone. Wow, I surprised myself. The first turn was coming up fast and I was fighting to remember how to corner one of these things. Up on the tank, leg extended, ok, here we go…
Coming out of that first turn I was on the outside and doing pretty good. I couldn’t believe it. It was starting to come back to me. It really is like riding a bike!
Needless to say this is where the fairly tale ends and reality sets in. Not being in the best physical shape, it didn’t take long for me to start “feeling it” in a very different way. I did finish the race, sucking wind, pealing my hands off the grips, collapsing with exhaustion, and grinning ear to ear.
So this is how I got back into vintage motocross. During the time it took me to build up contacts and sources for parts for my second ’73 Honda CR250M Elsinore that I planned on restoring to showroom condition, I got frustrated trying to find what I needed. It was this frustration which prompted me to start honda-elsinore.com. I wanted to help others who were going through or would be going through what I was going through.
Over the years the site has grown and I’ve added new features here and there. A swap meet, bike of the month, photo of the month, Specs & ID guide, Publications from old magazines, Forums for asking technical questions and getting answers to them, and Resources of parts suppliers for these old rockets. Now it is the number one site in the world for all things Elsinores. I hope to improve it as time allows and add even more features and helpful entertaining bits and pieces to it. I hope you visit and check it out for yourself and find something you’ve been searching for.