Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The early years of motocross


Tom White’s love of early motocross bikes has grown over the years, to a passion that consumes much of his semi-retirement time. In 1985, in between the time commitment of White Brothers, Tom – with his young son, Brad in tow, purchased his first vintage MX bike, a 1965 Greeves 250 Challenger.

AJS 250

It took two more Greeves and four more years before the bike was finally restored as a 1967 model, but the finish result is a concours bike that is still one of the favorite bikes in his collection. Soon a 1973 Wheelsmith Maico joined the collection, and then a Rickman 500 Triumph.

BSA 500

Several more bikes joined the collection until a debilitating brain injury to Tom’s son - Brad forced Tom to sell all but the original three motorcycles. On February 23rd, 1997 Brad, an 18 year old senior in high school, while test riding a small mini bike, rode into a chain that had been put up to block a parking lot. The parking lot was near White’s building where his collection of motorcycles was stored.

Bultaco Pursang MK2 1967

Brad’s larynx was crushed by the chain and the lack of oxygen caused his heart to stop before emergency room physicians were able to resuscitate him. Brad’s brain injury was so severe from the lack of oxygen, that in addition to losing the ability to eat, talk, and control his body, he was also blinded. For most people, the will to continue living would be lost. Not the case for Brad! Brad came home 94 days after the injury to a home the White’s had borrowed money from the company to modify for the now handicap son. Three nurses were hired to administer care for Brad 16 hours a day and 7 days a week. For the White family, Tom and Dani, daughter Kristin, and 10 year old Michael, life started again.

Husky 360 cross

In December of 2000, Tom sold the assets of White Brothers to the Motorsport Aftermarket Group. Tom is still involved as a consultant, but he now had time to pursue his passion, the collection of motocross motorcycles and related memorabilia.

The White family purchased a 4-acre parcel in Villa Park and in addition to building a new home, they have built a 5500sq ft. private museum for his collection that now totals over 100 motorcycles and 800 pictures and posters. Brad loves to visit and hang out with dad. Brad is truly the White family’s hero! ... read more

Images are property of The Early Years of Motocross Museum, ®2006


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