Broc Glover, Jeff Ward, Kent
Howerton, Mike Kiedrowski,
Heikki Mikkola, Mike LaRocco,
David Bailey, Marty Smith and
Jeff Stanton to name a few? My
choices are determined by early
heroes, riders who made a difference in my life and racers I
looked up to.
Let’s switch to bikes.
Name your top 10 motocross
machines. Mine are (let me chew
for a second) the ’ 76 Maico
AW400, ’ 89 KX500, ’ 87 Honda
CR250, ’ 78 Yamaha YZ400, ’ 15
KX450, ’ 98 YZ400, ’ 83 Honda
CR480R, ’08 Honda CRF450R,
’ 11 Honda CRF450 and absolutely the 1974 Yamaha YZ250.
What you won’t see on my list
is any machine that is under
250cc. Why? I started really
riding at 16, and my caboose was full-grown and needed
something with a big piston to haul it around. That means
no 80s, no 125s and just a few special 250s.
Let’s turn the page and do a “people who shaped the
off-road world.” Mine would have to start with Malcolm
Smith, then Dick Burleson, Larry Roeseler, Danny Hamel,
Scott Summers and Dave Coombs (Blackwater and
GNCC creator and off-road savant). I’d have to have Rod
Bush, Randy Hawkins and Rodney Smith on my list too.
That leaves one position, and it goes to Mike Lafferty.
This grouping is eclectic, yet every one of them made, or
makes, a difference in my off-road experience. Again, this
is my list, and it doesn’t mean that Bruce Ogilvie, John and
Jack Penton, Scot Harden, Mike Webb, Bill Gusse, Mark
Johnson, Juha Salminen, Charles Halcomb, Kevin Hines,
Kurt Caselli and JN Roberts wouldn’t be on my inventory
We’re always making lists. Grocery lists, Home Depot lists, pharmacy lists and, here at Dirt Bike, laundry lists of our sport. You know, ranking the people who
changed the sport, the top 10 motocrossers of all time, the
men who made a difference, and the hidden heroes who
helped pave the way to dirt bike heaven.
By Tom Webb
“My choices are determined by
early heroes, riders who made a dif-
ference in my life and racers I looked
“I started really riding at 16, and
my caboose was full-grown and
needed something with a big piston
to haul it around.”
Making lists is brutal. It’s a hateful task, made even
tougher when the subject matter is broad. Try picking your
top 10 songs of all time, not just from a single decade, but
since you clicked on an AM radio (naturally, this is easier
for those born in the ’90s and later).
Let’s see, my list would be: “Day in the Life” (Beatles),
“Panama” (Van Halen), “Sweet Baby James” (James
Taylor), “Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin), “Bleed It
Out” (Linkin Park), “The River” (Good Charlotte), “The
Sharpest Lives” (My Chemical Romance), “Moonshadow”
(Cat Stevens), “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (Green Day),
“Going Home” (Ten Years After).
But, I forgot anything from Billy Joel, Simon and
Garfunkel, Jethro Tull, CSNY, Journey, Jewell, Avenged
Sevenfold, The Killers, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and, yes,
Lady Gaga—all of whom find favor on my iPod.
Choosing your “best of” in the dirt bike category, too, is
a test. Let’s try best motocrossers of all time. My list would
have to include DeCoster, Hannah, Ake Jonsson, Stewart,
Carmichael, McGrath, RJ, Bengt Aberg, Brad Lackey,
and Ryan Dungey. But what about Danny LaPorte, Ryan
Villopoto, Torsten Hallman, Stefan Everts, Joel Robert,
In this issue we’re doing a story on my top 10 off-road
bikes of all time. Incredibly, I thought this story would be a
piece of cake and take mere minutes to pump out. It was
actually quite a struggle, since I realized the total strength
of your relationship with a machine is a much stronger
bond than I anticipated. It seems that since my first swim
into off-road, the machines that made a difference in my
world remain strong in my memory, and, unfortunately, the
supporting class that didn’t make the cut is left in a folder
on my Mac.
Over and out. o