A classic turn for Matt Dank
MATT Dank is a young man riding an old motorbike to a new wave of success on the Australian Classic motocross scene.
Dank, 19, from Bogangar, recently rode his 1974 125cc Honda Elsinor to victory in the Pre-1975 Solo 125cc class to claim the Australian title at Connondale on the Sunshine Coast.
Having started out on motorbikes at the age of five, Dank started riding competitively with the now-defunct Murwillumbah Motorcycle Club when he was seven.
“It was great to have the club there and be able to compete. Now it's a lot harder to find places to ride,” Dank said.
“Normally I compete in the modern motocross, but my father and uncle had old bikes around and I found them to be a lot of fun to ride.
“At Connondale I competed in three classes - the Pre-1975 Solo, which I won, the Evolution Solo 250cc, in which I rode a 1980 250cc Yamaha and came second, and then I rode the old Honda in the 1975 Solo 125cc up to 49-years-old and finished third.”
Dank said the Classic series followed the same format as the modern motocross, with three races in each meet, but the bikes had to follow the same mechanical specs as they did when they were built.
“You can do some minor things and run different fuel, but essentially they have to have the same suspension, brakes and engine,” Dank said.
“The biggest challenge these days is trying to find these old bikes, because the Classic races are proving so popular.
“Once there used to be these old bikes lying around everywhere, but trying to find one now is getting harder.”
Dank said competing on the old bikes was a lot of fun, with people caring more for the bikes than the results.
“It's a lot more laid back and everyone is willing to help you if you get stuck for a part,” Dank said.
“I think it's because competitors are there to share a love of the old bikes and enjoy themselves out on the track.”
Dank will contest the Queensland Classic series at Nudgee on Sunday.