Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen: “Af­ter the open­ing two rounds ev­ery­thing had started well for me, and I was in the lead of the cham­pi­onship as we went to Bel­gium for round three. Un­for­tu­nately, one of the air shocks started to leak quite a long way from the start area. No one had con­sid­ered what would hap­pen if the shock let its pres­sure out! You can ride a ma­chine with a da­m­aged tra­di­tional shock but not with the air shocks, as the back end would col­lapse. I had to rush back to the fin­ish, rac­ing on the back streets, and quickly re­place the leak­ing shock. Af­ter that I was al­ready run­ning very late, and then came an­other set­back as I had a rear wheel punc­ture!

Af­ter some in­evitable rush­ing that fol­lowed I fin­ished third, ten points be­hind the win­ner. Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances that would not have been too bad, but the win­ner was Martin Lamp­kin, who also made it three in a row for Bul­taco and the air shocks.

Next it was off to France where it was dry, grippy and sunny in the south. Bernie Schreiber was in su­per form and had a com­fort­able vic­tory, the first of many that were to fol­low over the years. Martin fin­ished sec­ond and I came third. Martin was clos­ing the gap on me again as Bul­taco took its fourth vic­tory in a row. In­ter­est­ingly Bernie was us­ing the stan­dard Be­tor rear shocks. He claimed that the air shocks didn’t suit his rid­ing style and stopped him do­ing his now fa­mous ‘bunny hops’ over ob­sta­cles. I was also be­gin­ning to feel that the air shocks were per­haps best suited to muddy and slip­pery rid­ing con­di­tions.

Spain was next, and again Bernie was in su­per form and took his sec­ond vic­tory in a row. Martin came sec­ond again, and I fin­ished a dis­ap­point­ing sixth. In the­ory I should have fin­ished a lit­tle higher, in third place, but a rear wheel punc­ture on a rel­a­tively easy sec­tion near the end caused an un­nec­es­sary five, plus some time penal­ties fol­lowed as a result. Bul­taco scored its fifth vic­tory in a row with Ger­many next. No ex­cuses here at all, just a bad day, and it re­sulted in a vic­tory for Martin and Bul­taco.

The trip to the States was next in the sched­ule, and the trial in Penn­syl­va­nia was re­ally nice and ‘tra­di­tional’ as Bernie won again, his third of the sea­son. I was sec­ond and Martin fin­ished fourth, which helped me a lit­tle bit in the Cham­pi­onship.

Italy which fol­lowed was an­other low point for me. I was grow­ing more and more frus­trated with the air shocks on dry and grippy go­ing. Bernie won again, and Martin was sec­ond.

The fol­low­ing week was Aus­tria where I knew the venue and I had won there be­fore, which helped me men­tally. It was clear to me that if I was to stop Martin from tak­ing the cham­pi­onship I had to win; no ex­cuses only vic­tory would do! The week was hell as the pres­sure that I had put my­self un­der was im­mense. I did win in the end, but it was not an easy vic­tory. Bernie came sec­ond and luck­ily for me Martin had had a bad day, com­ing home sixth. My cham­pi­onship cam­paign was alive again and Bul­taco had scored their ninth vic­tory in a row, win­ning ev­ery event so far.”

Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen (325 Bul­taco-FIN).

Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen (325 Bul­taco-FIN).

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