before we get rolling...one of the things that I pondered whilst driving to work today about this topic, was the role the dealer (or lack of) played, meaning, not everybody had access to all 4 major japanese brands "back in the day" (some place still don't even now) on top of the very random chance close proximity of a european brand dealer.
We cut our teeth at a Kawasaki/Bultaco dealer, and also Yamaha, although we did also have a Suzuki dealer in town who was selling Penton and Husqvarna.
I could be wrong but I heard Moroneys was the 1st Suzuki dealer in the US?
We never had a Maico or a CZ dealer locally, so seeing lots of CZ's and Maicos at the races was really captivating given the aura of unobtanium about them.
couple with that, the Honda factor.
even though we didn't have a Honda dealer close by it wouldn't have mattered, as Honda (from my perspective of 1970/71/72) was not considered a "real dirt bike" until the 1973 Elsinore came out and changed everything overnight.
they really were considered a...soft,.... not serious,....geek bike?
But I know that Honda's weren't totally out of it pre 1973 as Rod Peck has posted some SWEET pics of him on his 350 circa early 70's. But I think that was more out west as modifying a 350 for dirt use would have been much more practical than in the east given the terrain.
which brings up another point about California and the role it played in the course of...Dirt Bike History 101.
Has anyone seen Gary Chaplin? Bruce MacDougal?
We've got a lot of material to cover.