||PENTON 125cc MOTOCROSS (1973)
There are very few truly American motocross bikes. In fact the closest Yankee pride ever came was the Rokon 340 Cobra campaigned by Rokon Don Kudalski although it used an Austrian engine. The near misses include Gary Jones Mexican-made Ammex, Harley Davidsons Italian-built MX250, Frank Coopers Mexican-manufactured Cooper Enduro, John Taylors Spanish built Yankee Z, and John Pentons Austrian-built Penton 100cc Berkshire, 125cc Six-Day, 125cc Mud-Lark, 175cc JackPiner and 250cc Hare Scrambler.
After returning from World War II, John Penton started competing in off-road events on a Harley Davidson. He soon realized that a special motorcycle was needed to compete in torturous events like the Jack Pine Enduro. His early endeavors would make him one of the greatest innovators in American motorcycle history.
After winning the Jack Pine in 1967, John Penton became the Eastern U.S. distributor for the Swedish brand - Husqvarna. Soon after, Penton visited the KTM factory and proposed that the Austrians build an off-road bike of his design. Amazingly, KTM agreed and the first ten 100cc Pentons were delivered in March of 1968. There was an immediate demand for the $700 Penton and in the first year 400 Pentons were sold.
Famous Penton riders included Dane Leimbach, Jack and Tom Penton, Bill Uhl, and Carl Crank. The first 125cc Motocross National, held at Arroyo Cycle Park in 1973 (now Glen Helen), was won by Penton rider Ray Lopez.
From its humble start, Penton became a powerhouse, selling more than 25,000 motorcycles in American.