Irish MXoN stories: Alan Garrett
Back in 1976, Alan Garrett contested the Motocross (Trophee) Des Nations representing team Ireland in the 250cc class. Garrett also got selected in 1977 and 1978 but unfortunately broke his leg before both those event which meant he only got to enjoy racing the event the one occasion.
Garrett ended up having two son’s that were pretty talented as well but like their dad picked up too many injuries. Wayne Garrett did represent Ireland once at the Motocross Des Nations just like his dad.
We caught up with Garrett to discuss the 1976 250cc Motocross Des Nations that was held in Switzerland.
Gatedrop: What year(s) did you represent Ireland at the Motocross Des Nations and at what tracks/countries?
Garrett: I was picked in 1976, 1977 and 1978 but two weeks before 1977 and 1978 I broke my leg while practicing and preparing for the event. In 1976, the event was at Wohlen in Switzerland, I had a good season in 1976 and I was told early in the year I would have a good chance and I was really pleased to get selected.
Gatedrop: What top riders where you up against from other countries to give people an idea of the level – do you remember which nation and individual riders that won?
Garrett: I think back then it was more thought of to get picked than now a days. At the event I raced against riders like Roger Decoster, Harry Everts, fast Russians and American’s. I remember Bob Hannah was sitting beside me and I didn’t even know it was him. Belgium won the event that year as far as I can remember (Belgium won the event with a team of Roger DeCoster, Gaston Rahier, Harry Everts and Jaak Van Velthonen). In the Irish team was Dave Crockard and Robert Wilkinson who was doing GP’s at the time (Sammy Stokes was also in the team).
Gatedrop: What were the tracks like at the MXoN you rode and did you feel you were well enough prepared for them?
Garrett: The track was good, it was a bit like some we raced at home. Preparation wise like Dave Crockard kept saying its amateurs against professionals. I think we were 16th (Ireland actually finished 14th) I was in the late teens early 20 positions. The bit I always remember is that it was a fast track with a few steep hills, one downhill jump had a telegraph pole along it to stop the ground giving way it was straight down and you had to jump to the bottom at half distance, I burnt my rear brake out and only had the front which was a bit scary coming to that big drop.
Gatedrop: When you look at the Motocross Des Nations now, do you still think it’s still as special as it used to be?
Garrett: It’s more professional probably now, but maybe that’s not any better.
Gatedrop: What advice would you give to any young rider who might be lucky enough to get selected for the event for the first time?
Garrett: If you get picked enjoy it, I thought I would get some more chances but broken legs ruined that.
Gatedrop: At a domestic level, what were your biggest achievements and what good memories do you have outside the Motocross Des Nations?
Garrett: 1976 was my best year winning the Henderson cup at a track near Mallusk. I won other races but can’t remember what they were called, also winning the Bertie Mann trophy for the best under 21 that year was nice. At the end of 76 I done a race at Bray Outside in Dublin, it was a long race and you had to stop and refuel. With 6 laps to go a back marker fell off in front of me at a jump and I came off and broke my leg for the first of three times. The last time I broke it the doctor said if I broke it again I might lose it so at 23 I decided to retire.
Interview: Andy McKinstry