Larson Family Racing & Their Hodaka
From 1972 to Present
Rich Larson and his
sons Mike, Terry and Larry started racing Hodaka's over 42 years ago.
Today Terry and Mike continue the Hodaka racing tradition with a team of riders
under the banner Two Brothers Racing. This is the first of a two part
interview with Terry and their story about racing Hodaka's in 2014
Two Brothers Racing
Larson was one of the Hodaka dealers in the Midwest and he ran his shop out of Arnold
Missouri from 1972 - 1985. Rich used
competition as a marketing tool and he sponsored Hodaka riders through his
shop. Luckily for him he had three
volunteers in his son’s Terry, Mike and Larry. All raced Hodaka’s during that period and the
boys sold a lot of bikes for Rich during that period.
Rich is retired and enjoying life even more as his son’s continue to race
Hodaka’s. Terry and Mike have a team of
8 riders that are competing in Vintage AHRMA and AMA motocross and cross
country events. Here is an overview of
their story and what motivates them to ride Hodaka’s and promote vintage
a little chat Terry and I had a while back.
Bill: Terry, I’d like to hear a little bit
about your background, where you came from, and talk some about your family’s
history with Hodaka’s.
Terry: Bill, we started back in 1971 out of a shop
in South County, right in the suburbs in St. Louis, Missouri called South
County Hodaka. I was running a DKW out
of there and a bunch of the other guys I rode with were running Hodaka’s, so
that got me interested in Hodaka’s. My
dad had talked to the owner of South County Hodaka and heard that Hodaka was
looking for other dealers. He checked with Hodaka and then became a dealer for
the Hodaka Pabatco brand. The name of
our shop was Arnold Cycles in Arnold Missouri.
He was Hodaka dealer number 350.
Bill: This was in 1972?
Terry: Yes, Dad opened the shop sometime during the
spring of 1972.
Bill: 1972 puts it right before the 125
Hodaka’s and right at the peak of the 93 Super Rat doesn’t it.
Terry: Correct and that’s right we really got interested
in Hodaka’s because of the Super Rat.
That’s when they were starting to show up at the local tracks and it
just seemed to be a good market. Dad
wanted to get into it and we got the dealership.
opened up the shop, like I said it was called Arnold Cycles, because we carried
more than Hodaka. We had Carabela, Cooper,
Indian’s, Tri-Sports, Can Am’s and others.
Bill: Gee, Can Am, Cooper, Hodaka…. what a
Bill: All dirt?
Terry: It was all dirt because at that time, all
the big guys were all taken up. There were no dealerships available for Yamaha
and stuff like that and we weren’t really interested in street. We were a dirt
oriented family. In fact, my very first
bike was a 1968 Penton 125, 68 Six Day Trials bike. It was Dave Mungenast’s
Penton and boy, I wish I had that bike back because it was Dave’s bike from
when he ran in the ISDT. I’d love to
have that bike.
Bill: What a nice bike to have had huh?
Terry: Yeah it was.
It had the green tank with the white inserts. It was just neat. The only
problem was it had neutral between every gear.
Terry: I learned how to ride real well with that Penton
and we lived in South County actually in a little town called Oakville. We had all these woods behind our house and
it was nothing at all to go back in these woods and go riding. There were plenty
of trails and we had what you may call a big dip back there, which was like a
hill that you had to climb out of.
you would go back there on any given weekend there would be 100 to 200 bikes riding
in the woods. It was a blast and that’s how we really learn how to ride bikes.
My brothers had QA 50’s and I had the Penton and then from there, I went to the
DKW and then once Dad opened up the shop we all started riding Hodaka’s.
Bill: How many brothers do you have?
Terry: I have two brothers. Mike is the middle
brother. Larry is my youngest brother. They both ran AMA mini-cycle
championships. They ran all over the country on the mini cycles and then when
Mike got old enough and he started riding the big bikes in District 18.
Bill: You started racing on the chrome tank
93 Super Rat?
Terry: Right, that was the first bike I raced. The
19 inch front wheel, 18 inch rear wheel, chrome tank Super Rats. We ran those
all over the mid-west and did very, very well with them.
sold a lot of them for the shop. One of our gigs was that we would take a bike
to the track in our van. I had a new
Dodge van and when we got to the track we slid a crated Super Rat out of the
back. We’d put it together right in the
pits, race it that day, and then somebody could buy it at the races or put a
deposit on it and come down to the shop and pick it up the next day. They were buying a race proven bike. Or if they wanted, they could come down and
buy a brand new bike off the showroom floor but we sold a heck of a lot of race
bikes that way.
Bill: You probably got paid pretty good by
the shop owner then didn’t you?
Terry: Not really. It was more like a few dollars a
week and all the parts I could use on my bikes. And I guarantee you my bikes were always the
best looking bikes on the track.
Bill: Yep, and you had a full time mechanic and
doing the wrenching?
Terry: Yes, we had quite a few really good
mechanics at the shop and I learned a lot from them. We had guys that were
innovators on things. We had mono shock Hodaka’s, we had a mono shock Steen, we
even had an automatic Steen’s that was a Chrysler motor. Chrysler had given us
two motors to test and one was an automatic Steen. We did air cooled, some water
cooled and stuff like that. You name it. We changed a lot of things around.
1973 AMA didn’t have any rules as far as frames. They just had motor sizes for your
classes. So when Hodaka came out with a
125 Wombat that gave us other options.
We stripped off all the lights and everything off the Wombat and that
way, we had a longer frame, 21 inch front wheel. We took everything off my race bike and put
it on a Wombat frame and that bike was a jet.
We won lots of races and a couple of championships that year.
Bill: It must have been a lot of fun huh?
Terry: Oh it was a lot of fun. We were always going
from one race to another. Like I said,
we lived here in the Midwest; District 18 was our main district, District 17
which was Northern Illinois. We even raced Tuesday nights over at Belleville,
Illinois inside a barn.
Bill: Wow, I remember the barn races in
Belleville. That was the short track.
Terry: Yeah, we used to do that. We did that on our Hodaka’s and we were kicking
some butt over there with Randy Sheckel and the Kohot boys. We were going over
there and just beating up on the short track bikes. Every week, we’d go back
they’d make a new rule. First we had to take off our front brake off, next we
had put rubber foot pegs on, then we had to take our fenders off.
or fortunately for us, every time we won Cycle News would say that the MX
motocross guys were beating the short track guys in the barn and they didn’t
Bill: Yeah, I remember those times. That was
Terry: Finally they outlawed our motocross bikes, so
we quit going over there. But I’d be
racing on Tuesday night at the barn, Friday night at Shurfoot Speedway in
Imperial, Missouri. Saturday and Sunday we could always find a place to
race. We had anywhere from three to five races a
week that we could race back then.
Bill: The Midwest scrambles were more of a
short TT race without the junk right?
That was very common back then.
Bill: Well groomed tracks.
Bill: Lights, you ran Friday night lights?
Terry: Shurfoot was a motocross track that had
lights. We raced motocross there.
Bill: BET had a beautiful track and lights
Terry: We’d be racing at BET and that would be on
Saturdays. We’d run over to BET and yes,
it was more like a scrambles. Hand on the helmet, rubber band tight start.
sweeping curves with just a little bit of I guess you could call it a jump that
you go over. It was just more of a flat little mound that you would go over
just to break it up but yes, BET on Saturday nights was a good place to be.
Bill: Coming around at the finish, it had
that long sweeping left hander.
Bill: Coming around that you could really
crank it up.
Terry: Yes, you could and a lot of guys lost it in
there because they were just … over powering it and yeah, it was fun. Like I
said, back then we had a great time.
’74, Hodaka came out with just a full blown race bike in the Super Combat. And it was the Hodaka’s going after the
Elsinore’s and the Yamaha’s. I was fortunate
enough to have the first Super Combat that came into the Midwest from our distributor
Bill’s Hodaka up in Mexico, Missouri. We
had the first bike and everybody got sick when they first saw it. It had an orange tank, blue frame. Since we were used to the chrome tanks we
couldn’t believe how ugly the orange tank and blue frame bike was. A lot of us put the plastic tanks on our
bikes and stuff like that.
it was different looking but boy it was so fast right out the box. We just kicked butt with it. We won a couple
of races right here in St. Louis and then I went out to Colorado and I won out
there and everybody is like “Holy cow, these bikes are for real.” I ended up
racing really good that year. I did very well on it. I can’t remember exactly
what position I finished up in overall District 18. I think it was 3rd or 4th.
I finished 1st in the 125 class.
I was approached at the end of the ’74 season by some of the guys down at Widman
Harley Davidson. They we’re Bultaco
dealers and Bultaco was looking for some team riders to test their 125
sportsman bikes. They came to me with the Bultaco offer and I was fortunate
enough to get on a 125 Bultaco Pursang for 1975. It was a factory bike, they
only made 100 of them. It was a left handed shift, 28 horsepower with titanium
and magnesium parts on it. The thing was just a jet but it had a lot of
transmission problems because they were switching over from right side to left
side shift and there were some issues with that but I ran the Bultaco all over.
I ran in a couple of 125 Trans Am qualifiers for AMA and I did well.
I ran down in Arkansas to where I was able to get enough points where I could
run in the St. Louis race up at Cycle World. I ran up there in the 125 support
class. I had a blast on the 125 Bultaco. I still had my Hodaka’s; I still
played with them on the side because with dad having the shop, I didn’t want to
leave him. At the end of the season, I turned the Bultaco back in. There again
too, that’s a bike I wish I had but it was owned by Bultaco so I couldn’t keep
it. They got it back and then I continued to ride in the Super Combats.
Unfortunately, I had a really bad crash on my Super Combat at a local track at
spent quite a few days in the hospital and it made me think a little bit. At
that time, I was thinking about getting married and so after I’ve been in the
hospital for a while, getting back on the track I didn’t feel really right
anymore and about mid-season of 1976, I walked in the shop and quit and said
I’m not going to race no more and everybody thought I was joking but I didn’t
get back on the bike. I kept my bike in the garage. I got married in ’76 to the
love of my life who I met at the race track and we had a child together who
raced also. Bikes just weren’t
appealing to me no more. We got into racing funny cars and dragsters. We did
some off road four wheel racing and then I gave up racing completely.
Bill: Okay, so how did you get from there to
here? I mean most of us including me and a lot of other people, all of a sudden
you turn whatever 25 or so and then it’s all career and family. Then you look up and see that 40 years have
passed. You’re starting to look at your
bike that you probably still have in your garage or in your shop and you go
“Hey, you know what? I had a lot of fun with that” and you start digging it
out. So how did you get back to it
Terry: The fall of 2011 or I just say late summer
of 2011 my brother calls me up. Mike,
who had continued to race hair scrambles and a little motocross says “Hey,
they’re having a vintage motocross event at Bourbon, Missouri. I only 20 miles from there. I’m like “A
vintage motocross.” I said I never knew they were doing any of this. “Oh yeah,”
he said again. “Back to the old bikes” and he’s saying that we had to go out
there and just hang out and see what’s going on.
went out there, his wife and my wife and we pulled up and it was just like “Oh
my gosh”. All the Husqvarna’s, all the old Suzuki’s, Yamahas, and then I saw a
couple of Hodaka’s. We started walking
around and all of a sudden these people are all coming up and going “Hey, it’s
the Larson boys” and da-da-da and they started talking to us about racing and
all of that kind of stuff. Fifteen
minutes later me and Mike looked at each other and said “We’ve got to get back
into doing this”. Then our wives said “Oh my gosh”. We looked like two kids that got left in the
candy store overnight.
stayed at the races until they kicked us out of there. We went back home and
started talking about it. We needed to start racing and wanted to run Hodakas
because that’s what we grew up on. I still had my old bike but it was kind of
in bad shape from sitting around for all those years. We ended up looking
around and I found two race ready bikes in Tampa, Florida; a 1974 Super Rat and
1974 125 super combat. We drove down and bought those and brought those back to
did a little modifying on the swing arm and got them race ready in the spring
of 2012, we started racing the MOVX series which is the Missouri Off Road
Series that’s run by Curtis Harper here in Missouri. Right out of the bat, we
had a blast. Lots of people had come by
and taking pictures of the Hodaka’s because they looked bone stock. They just
looked really great but they only had a few modifications. Lots of people came over and they were
reliving their childhood saying “Oh, I had a Hodaka when I was a kid” and lots
of pictures were taken.
continued to ride the MOVMX series and fortunately, we both won our classes the
first year out. I won the 125 class and
Mike won the 100 class. We got a chance to run an AHRMA event that year to. Again, it was at Bourbon so we went out and
ran the AHRMA event and that was really cool to go out and run against guys
from all over the country, all different types of bike, all different types of
skill levels and that.
Bourbon Mike ended up winning his class on his Super Rat and I ended up taking
second place on my Super Combat behind a guy that rode the MOVMX series on a
Suzuki. It was pretty neat. Both of us
ride the MOVMX series which is a great series for anybody who wants to come
out. People need to check it out if they’re thinking about vintage racing. It’s really vintage friendly and a lot of
Harper is the promoter and he wants to make sure the tracks are vintage
friendly and that we have a great time.
It’s just a great group of people. We’ve met many old friends and we’ve
made a lot of new friends. As that went
along we started talking to some people we knew about their getting interested
in racing vintage motocross and I guess that’s kind of how we got set up here
with our team.
Bill: So the team thing took you one step
further. You didn’t leave the MOVMX but that spurred you on the other things
and all of a sudden, you’ve got a flock of people that are riding Hodaka’s that
you’re shepherding around.
Terry: Correct. Yes, we had a couple of fellow
riders that kind of hung out with us at the track and actually one of my
brother’s friends, Greg Pacini raced hair scrambles with Mike. Mike would just
tell him how much fun we’re having racing in vintage motocross and so he wanted
to get into. He bought a ’74 Yamaha MX360 and he came out riding with this. We
had a couple other fellow competitors in the MOVMX that we hung out with at the
races. Tim Borgfield and Todd Rapp out of Jackson, Missouri and their two sons
that race also. We started hanging
together at the races and talking and everything.
next thing you know, we started talking about “You know we’ve got to form a
team.” It was me and my brother Mike we had formed 2 Brothers Racing. We’d go to the races together and then Greg
started to come along with us with his Yamaha. The next thing we’ve started
talking about was forming a full team that we could get better exposure for not
only the team but for the Hodaka brand, our sponsors and just the vintage
racing in general.
Bill: How many riders do you have total on
the team right now?
Terry: Right now, we have six adults and two
youths. Out of the six adults, we have five that are running Hodaka’s. Plus
they’re also running some post vintage other bikes, like the Yamaha and the
Suzuki. In the six adults we have novice,
intermediate and expert class riders.
Then we have the two youths. One is riding a ’65 CC Suzuki and the other
boy is running a four stroke Honda.
Bill: That’s a great family thing to do isn’t
Terry: Yes, it’s great. We’d bring these boys out
because they’re our future generation of racing and you’ve got to keep things
going with them and both the youths are just so excited about being on a team.
That’s all they talk about. Tim’s son, Reed Borgfield, he raced both in the Peewee
class on the KTM50 and then he also raced the Suzuki ’65 this last year. He had
to retire that KTM50 because he was too old. That was his last year racing the
KTM but in the three years that he raced, he had never lost a race and he had
only been beaten to the first turn one time and by the second turn, he was in
finished up undefeated for three years on the KTM50 and he was running against
six, seven, eight, sometimes 10 of the kids out there and he’s just a fast
little rider and he’s going to be the future for our sport. I’d like to get him
on a Hodaka 80 or maybe a Steen with an 80 engine or something like that. One
that he can ride in the AMA Vintage, they have to be at least 12 years old to
Bill: We’re going to have to talk about
sponsorship on this.
Terry: He just turned 11 so he’s got another year
or two. Todd’s son, Jordan same way, he won Missouri state championship on the
youth for this year. He’s an upcoming rider. That’s all he talks about.
have team shirts that we wear at our awards ceremonies and he’s wore it so much
to school that he’s about wore it out. These guys are the future of our team.
We’re having a great time having all these different riders out there and
having a team that we can promote not only Hodaka but the sport as much as
possible. It means a lot to teach the
young guys about ethics and being part of a team.
Bill: The way that you have it with your dad,
once owning the shop, yourself, your brother, and the kid’s racing shows you
what a terrific family sport it is, doesn’t it?
Terry: It is.
It was a family sport back in the 70’s when we started racing and it’s
the same now as much as ever. It’s great
to get everybody involved. My dad’s 79
years old and he’s gone to every one of our MOVMX races. Unfortunately he hasn’t traveled with us to
some of the ARMA events because it’s too far out and we stay a lot of times at
the track and he doesn’t want to camp out. He’s been our support with us for
this whole time.
Bill: Yeah that’s great. Now the cost of this
isn’t small is it? Anybody that races
understands out of pocket cost for going to an event. But now you’re carrying
around a whole group and you’ve got a trailer. How much does something like
this cost to put on for a year. How big
is your trailer? How many bikes can you
Terry: What we had been using ... our small trailer
is ... will hold seven bikes and we’re in the process of changing. I just bought a new 30 foot trailer that
we’re converting over to this. It’ll kind of handle somewhere between 10 and 15
bikes plus all our gear and some sleeping accommodations and so forth. It’s
kind of more expensive from back when we ran in the 70’s. Back then the entrance fee was a couple of
bucks. You signed up for $5 or $10 and the gas to get you there was a dollar a
gallon. It was a lot cheaper. Nowadays just to go to a local race, a Missouri
race, it’s three to $700 excluding how far it, what your accommodations are and
if you’re sharing a ride with someone. We’ve sat down and kind of figured out
just as a budget for the year.
lot of times the kids won’t go because unfortunately they can’t run the AHRMA races
because they don’t have youth classes.
But we sat down just penciled it in and it’s upwards of 30 to $40,000
for our team to race this year.
Bill: Yeah, that’s quite an undertaking isn’t
Terry: Yes we figured each one us spent $4,000 to
$5,000 last year racing and this year we’re going to be hitting more events. The cost is helped by sharing the travel and
things with a friend or by setting up a team.
Bill: Terry, if you do have a few people
helping, I think it’s a good time to maybe mention some of your sponsors. You need to have good support because it helps
when you’re going through tires and bars every weekend and all the other little
incidentals that come up.
of pocket gas money is one thing but when you get to the bike and you start
repairing some of the damages, it can be pretty expensive so if you want to
just give a tip of the hat to the people that are doing you a little bit of
good, now would be a good time to do that.
Terry: Yes, we get great support from people that
are helping us with product and so forth.
Last year we had Amsoil who provide us oil and Cycle Gear, Custom Shirt
Graphics who did all of our t-shirts and our racing shirts. Last year our team had two national titles
and we had nine Missouri state championship titles. We had a great year, we put
a lot of effort into it and we represented our sponsors very well and we want
to thank them for all of their help.
year we had a few more sponsors that came on board. We have Fastenal, UFO Vintage for fenders, Clarke
Racing for tanks, and LS2 America who provided us helmets. We also had JT Racing out of California
helping us with our uniforms, Rip It energy drinks and again our other three
sponsors that are back on board with us Amsoil, Custom Shirt Graphics and Cycle
Gear. We also picked up a new sponsor
that is going to help out quite a bit.
Full Throttle Racing Promos is a major NASCAR and NHRA sponsor who make
all of the hero handouts, flags and decals.
They want to get into the
motorcycle part of the business and they’re sponsoring us on all of our
Bill: That’s good, that does help doesn’t it?
Terry: Yes it does.
What is the first race your team
will be riding in this year?
Our first race will be at Grand Cane in
LA. AHRMA has a cross country on
Saturday, Vintage MX on Saturday and a Post Vintage on Sunday.
we wish you all the luck. Stay healthy
and take care of you and your crew.
Hopefully we’ll be able to catch up with you after the race and get a
recap of how things went in Louisiana.
Terry: Thanks Bill.
Two Brothers Racing / Team Members:
Larson: Age 59 • Retired
1974 Hodaka 125cc Super Combat
125 Sportsman Intermediate Class State Champion
125 Sportsman Intermediate Class State Champion
125 Sportsman Class National Champion
Miller: Age 52 • Ford Engineer at Kansas City Ford Truck Assembly Plant
1974 Hodaka 100ce Super Rat & 1974 Hodaka 125cc Super Combat
100 Novice Sportsman Class State Champion
125 Novice Sportsman Class State Champion
100 Sportsman Class National Champion
Borgfield: Age 52 • Sales & Beverage Route Manager @ KohHeld Distributing,
1982 Yamaha 100ce & 1980 Suzulcl125
GP125 Expert Class Champion
GP125 Expert Class Champion
GP125 Expert Class Champion
PV100 Expert Class Champion
Todd Rapp: Age
45 • Business Owner at Scoots & Skates
1974 Yamaha MX100 & SSR140TX
100 Novice Class State Champion
100 Novice Post Vintage Class State Champion
Pit Bike Class State Champion
Age 54 • Service Tech at Ecolabs
1974 Hodaka 100cc Super Rat
100 Advanced Class State Champion
+50 Class State Champion
100 Advanced Class State Champion
Age 59 • President at Pacini Counselor, LLC
1983 Yamaha rz490
Ultima 500 Novice Class State Champion
Borgfield : Age 10 • Student
2012 KTM 50 & 2005 Suzuki 65
7-10 Pee Wee Class Champion
7-10 Pee Wee Class Champion
7-10 Pee Wee Class Champion
65CC Class Champion
Age 10 • Student
SSR125A 1 & 2009 Yamaha rzss