1968 Yamaha DT-1 | The Bike That Changed My Life

RIDER: Gary Jones
THEN: Future three-time AMA motocross champion
NOW: AMA Hall of Fame member and R&D engineer for Hinson clutches

The Yamaha DT-1 was the first two-stroke that was actually made to be a dirtbike. Single-cylinder, lightweight, long-travel forks, better shocks-that kind of stuff. I'd been riding BSAs and Triumphs for my dad's shop, but they were heavy. This thing here had a lot of power and was really lightweight, so we decided we'd start racing them.

"When we-my father Don, my brother DeWayne and I-got done working on it, we'd changed everything from A to Z: the fork, the shocks, the wheels, the tires, we'd lowered the frame, we made all kinds of different stuff. So we called it the 'A2Z.' We gave it to Yamaha and they looked at it and we never saw it again. When it came back from Yamaha at the prototype stage, they called it a 'YZ.' It had the same titanium frame that we had, the same kickstarter, clutch lever, all this titanium stuff, magnesium hubs and cases and sidecovers-everything we'd made the year before. But it wasn't our parts; they copied them and refined them maybe even better than ours.

"I raced for Yamaha for a few years and won the very first AMA motocross championship in 1972, so that was definitely the bike that changed my life."

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