Contents feedback:
Design feedback:

The Suzuki Motocross Story

1965—67: "From Humble Beginnings"

The World Motocross Championship season began in England where the big four-strokes were firing their last shots at supremacy against a tide of incoming two-stroke machines; spearheaded by the Czechoslovakian CZ and Swedish Husqvarna motorcycles with their lower weight and increasing reliability.

When the series moved to Scandinavia, Suzuki made their first-ever international appearance at the Hedemora circuit in Sweden, bringing along two machines. Japanese champion Kazuo Kubio as rider along with export manager Mansuri Hishi and Isle of Man TT road-racer Seuchi Suzuki to assist.

 Picture 1

 Picture 2

 Picture 3

The Swedish bike magazines made some very interesting comments at the time: "Suzuki will come back, they have not made a prototype for nothing! Count on the fact that the Japanese will be back with more riders and more bikes! The Japanese will make the competition harder!"

The spectators, who arrived early that day to Hedemora, could follow Mr Kubio driving a converted twin-cylinder Super six road bike, with a six-speed box and 250 cc.

The other bike was a single-cylinder, with looks not so different from their European contemporaries. It had a weight of 95 kg (209 lb) wet and the four-speed gear box operated through a crankshaft-mounted clutch. It also had an open air cleaner with a gauze element.

Mr Kubio's premier lasted only for one lap; after a "ground touch", he broke the gear lever. The single, probably designated the RH65, was pushed back to the pits.

Copying a design is one thing – but to produce a winner means taking that design and making something special out of it.

An eyewitness at this event, Åke Adolfsson, observed that the Japanese team took a lot of photographs and made many notes. They photographed everything: tool boxes, cars, other bikes, team vans, people, in fact everything possibly connected with the sport.
And another strange comment made in the Swedish press way back in 1965: "The Japanese could pay riders fees of up to SKR 60.000 = £ 5000 per rider. With the money they spend on riders they can buy a major part of the sport and force some companies to withdraw from competition."

At this point, all that Suzuki had was two totally uncompetative bikes, but the motocross world was already bracing itself for what was going to come!

After the not-so-glorious start to the season, the team continued on to the Finland round where the weather was very hot. Rider Kubio wearing road-racing leathers almost collapsed inside them, thus learning another lesson in the unfamiliar environment of this type of competition.

On their way back to continental Europe, the team passed back through Sweden, and the ever-helpful Swedes in Motala outfitted the team with a set of Ceriani motocross forks and a set of Akront wheel rims to help them get the bike a little closer to competition specification.

For the next two years, it was observe and learn, and more RH-series prototypes were built, some of which found their way to the USA, where riders like Preston Petty and Don Emde were given mounts to try out.
(Sources: Motorcycle Week ending 16 November 1974, Mc-nytt 1965)