Bike of the Month - May 2004
1974 CR250M Elsinore
Mike Yates
Marysville, WA



Back in the seventies while attending high school I raced a 1974 CR250M Elsinore at a track in Washington State called Straddle line. I had been riding off road since I was about 11. I had a great time racing for two years and even managed to bring home a third place trophy once in the 250 "B" class. Of course by the end of the '75 season my '74 CR was outdated as the long travel suspension wars had begun. Not being able to purchase a new machine every year I reluctantly gave up competing in motocross and began riding local Trials events. It was fun but I soon tired of going slow and sold my bikes and began to take on the responsibilities of a new wife and family.

After 27 years of no racing and 25 years without a motorcycle I found a picture of an old friends restored Husky on the internet. I emailed him to see if it was indeed the same guy I used to work with at Paulson's Suzuki and go riding with 25 years earlier. Sure enough! Dorian told me about the vintage motocross movement and talked me into going to the 2002 Chehalis AHRMA national. I thought it would be a good way to kill an afternoon and see an old friend. I was in no way prepared for what I experienced at the farm that day. When the first wave of CZ's, Maico's, Huskies, Bultaco's, Penton's, Yamaha's, Suzuki's, Honda's, Kawasaki's, BSA's, Rickman's, etc. came of the line I actually had tears in my eyes. My friend asked me why I had teared up and I couldn't find an answer. Maybe it was the bean oil in the air. Or maybe it was the realization of just how bad I had I missed real motocross racing. Not this circus that the kids ride in today. I had thought that I would never see the likes of this type of event again. But here it was! And did it sound and smell great! And to make the day even better I got to see Dick Mann race a restored BSA. I was hooked right then and there.

Needless to say my wife was not too impressed with my decision to start racing motocross again. After all the last time Peggy saw me ride I was 25 years younger and had not yet had four knee surgeries. And of course there was my physical condition, or should I say lack there of.

I was lucky as there was actually a fine specimen of a my old bike at the National that day for sale. It took some time and effort but I was able to purchase this bike. Thanks Dan. And restore it in time for the 2003 season. My first event was the 18th Annual Steve McQueen Memorial at Eugene Oregon. I was not quite sure how I would do on the track. At the riders meeting I was soaking it all up and taking lots of pictures. In fact I was taking so many pictures that I had not put my riding gear back on after practice. I had used the first practice session and could only handle one round. Then at the end of the riders meeting the PA announces that my class is up in five minutes. Oh no! It takes me more time than that to put on my boots! I run to my trailer and tell Peggy that I don't think I can make my first race. She starts putting my gear on me as I pull on my pants and boots. It was a comical sight. Me jumping around in my underwear and falling down as Peggy tries to dress me. Thanks Peggy! At this point I can hear the bikes on the line. I some how manage to get most of my gear on, jump on my trusty Elsinore and it fires up on the first kick. I start off and realize I don't know were the starting line is! It was not used during practice and I had never been to this track before. So I pull my full face Hemet down and start yelling at people in the pits. It must have been a sight. Half dressed and yelling at anyone who would listen. People start pointing down a road so off I go. I wasn't sure if I had missed my moto. I looked over the line and saw a few other Elsinore's so I pull up to the far side of the line trying to stay away from the fast guys. The guy on the end is also on a Elsinore. He does a double take at me trying to put my gear on at the line and holds up his arm. What a guy. He has no idea who this squid is and is helping me out. Thanks Loren!


It takes 30 seconds to pull my self together. I nod at Loren He drops his arm and the gate goes down in a flash. What a rush! I could could taste the adrenalin on the side of my tongue. My class was run with the experts. After about three laps I am spent. Something goes by me about four feet in the air. What the heck was that! It was a CZ and it was really moving. I had forgot about the face full of dirt when you are behind someone. My finish was poor but I had the best time I could remember in years. Peggy must realize how much this means to me because she goes to the races with me now and it is great to have her support when I am so tired I can't stand up. I have met some great people and watched some very competitive racing.


The bike was torn down and I found that the same things that had worn out on my original '74 needed attention on my new one. Most of the parts are original. The frame was powder coated. The pipe is a vintage DG unit. Red racer number plates, AMS CR replica bars, Vintage Iron filter and GP seat. Some parts like cables, fasteners, springs, gaskets etc. I was able to purchase from Honda. The rest I obtained from ebay and other vintage suppliers. I fabricated the chain guide and the chain slider. The slider has replaceable teflon pads. Not a museum quality restoration but a good racing restoration. The picture of me on the bike was taken at the AHRMA National in Chehalis Washington 2003.


Mike Yates