Champion Yamaha RT250

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Today most folks buy a factory dirt bike from the local motorcycle shop, and add a variety of aftermarket parts to make it there own. But back in my dirt track racing days, if you wanted a competitive advantage, you needed to build a bike for dirt track racing.  I mean why just run what everyone else was running? After racing my first motorcycle, my Dad and I decided it would be fun to build something special.

This is my Champion Yamaha RT250, the first bike I built from the ground up. We ordered a Champion racing frame that was built to my specifications, custom built and expertly TIG welded by Doug Schwerma, the founder of Champion Racing Frames.

Jim Watson’s #16x AMA District 37 Champion Framed Yamaha DT250/RT360

My Champion Yamaha was set up for TT, Flat Track and Rough Scrambles dirt track racing.  TT is the English term for “Tourist Trophy” a dirt track with right and left-hand turns and jumps.  “Rough Scrambles” was the early term in the U.S. for Motocross, they were more groomed compared the rugged terrain of today’s SuperCross and outdoor Motocross tracks.


I finished building the bike in my apartment in Glendale CA!

We bought two engines from Yamaha of Montclair a 250cc and 360cc and modified them for speed and reliability.  We had custom tuned exhaust pipes fabricated by Dick Haycock from Chino CA.  Dick made every pipe by hand from rolled sheet metal and Oxy-Fuel welded them together. 

It was a cool set up – with two engines, I would raced the bike in the district 37 250/360 lightweight expert classes, the same day!  That was so much fun, but man was I tired after 6 motos of racing in one day!

Thanks to my Mom, Dad and sisters for all their support, good food and for driving me to dirt tracks all over southern and central California! 

After my family moved closer to my Dad’s new job in downtown LA, I sold all my motorcycle racing gear, and got into Sprint Car racing!

This was the picture of the bike for sale in Cycle News

If you want to experience what it was like back-in-the-day–- check out the movie On Any Sunday by Bruce Brown – it’s epic!


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