Bayle racing the US Nationals in 1989 – discreetly bringing his own bike!
Jean-Michel Bayle has told the amazing story of how he, as the new 250 world champ in 1989, had to bring his own 500cc Honda machine to the races across America from the West to East coast at the end of the US 500 National series with help from Roger DeCoster (and Mitch Payton) but it was a discreet operation behind enemy lines, with the US Honda mechanics not willing to help the Frenchman bring his bike to the races!
Bayle: “I’m going back in the past for writing my book so I’ll share it with you. When in 1989 you are 250 cc World Champion for Honda HRC.That you want to go for the last 4 AMA Motocross Championship races 500cc Pick up a motorcycle from a Honda dealership in California because American Honda doesn’t have one for you. Bring the engine to Pro Circuit. Test the engine and your showa factory suspension that you recovered from your 250 training in Manosque. That you’re in California and the last four races are on the East Coast either 5000 miles away. That no mechanic at American Honda wants to bring my bike to the East Coast. That it’s Tuesday and the bike is in your garage.
“Roger D has found a solution.But you have to be very discreet because whoever picks up my bike is a competition guy. He can pick up the motorcycle at my house in Redondo Beach but he has to drop it off as soon as they arrive on the east side at a hotel because no one should know that he carried my bike. That you can fly with your mechanic, rent a car, go to a hotel and take a room on the ground floor with easy access in the parking lot.
“Waiting 23 hours at night for your motorcycle delivery with the competition truck parked discreetly right next to it. And as Roger says once there we’ll always find a mechanic from a Honda 125 rider who will bring your bike to the race.So when you go to Budds Creek with this motorcycle and you win the last race at Unadilla, you have a certain pride in having managed to face all those dificulties that will forge my mental for the upcoming tests..”
Absolutely unbelievable isn’t it? You couldn’t imagine Tim Gajser having to to that today! What a rider and what a determined mindset to achieve his goals despite the opposition on and off the track.