'Reincarnated' race bike wins again

YELLOW BEAST: Veteran motocross rider David Footner displays his trophies and his Yamaha race bike which he bought and sold ... and bought again. He raced against time to prepare for national championships.

YELLOW BEAST: Veteran motocross rider David Footner displays his trophies and his Yamaha race bike which he bought and sold ... and bought again. He raced against time to prepare for national championships.

After coming back from the dead, David Footner’s 1973 Yamaha MX360 motorcycle had the “last laugh”.

Once again, the yellow beast helped him to an Australian Classic Motocross Championship title.

The story began in 1999 when Footner bought the motorcycle in a private sale for $1000.

He said the price was “outrageously” low and the wealthy owner had done him a favour.

The machine had been restored and was in virtually original condition.

At the then age of 36 years, Footner raced the motorcycle and won titles in his age group and open classes at the Australian classic championships in Port Pirie in 1999.

But the love affair with the motorcycle was not everlasting – Footner sold it in 2001 to buy mini-bikes for his children.

The bike changed hands several times and ended up in Western Australia.

It was spotted by Footner’s friend and racetrack rival Brian Watson, of Perth, who told him it was for sale again.

“All the ducks lined up and it was meant to come home,“ he said.

“It was about a week before the classic championships in Port Pirie and I asked Brian to look at it. I bought it for $2800.

“Brian’s team was coming from WA for the titles and had a spare spot in their trailer and brought it over.

“I realised it was nowhere in the condition that I had sold it … it was a lot worse.

“They arrived on the Thursday night and three of us worked on it until 3am. We put the bike in for scrutineering for the classic on Friday and I raced it on Saturday.

“I won my age group for 50-59 years and was fourth in the open class. 

“I had wanted to race it in the classic. All of a sudden it’s bang, sold, and I just bought it.

“It was not really race-able when I got it. We put on new tyres and welded a hole in the exhaust.

“These older bikes don’t have much suspension. It was a culture shock.

“I had a practice run on the day of the race and we changed the jetting in practice.

“Bikes have come a long, long way in 40 years, but it is all about the nostalgia.

“They are a lot of fun to ride, but when you are racing, you need to keep in the back of your mind that they don’t handle like the new bikes … people end up crashing and you don’t want to crash.”

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