Marty Tripes was a leading AMA motocross and Supercross rider of the 1970s and early 1980s. He will always be remembered for winning the Superbowl of Motocross at the Los Angeles Coliseum in July of 1972, just a few weeks after turning 16. That race was a seminal event in American motocross history and was considered the first true stadium Supercross race.
In all, Tripes won 11 AMA nationals during a career that spanned just over a decade. He also won the first United States 250cc Motocross Grand Prix at Unadilla in 1978 against Europe’s best. His riding was described by motocross buffs as one of the most fluid and stylish in the history of the sport. Tripes made racing a motocross bike look effortless with his stand-up riding technique and he’s often been described a one the sport’s true natural riders. It’s also notable that Tripes was perhaps the biggest rider to win AMA motocross and Supercross races, at 6’-1” tall and weighing over 200 pounds in his racing prime.
Tripes was born in San Diego on June 29, 1956. He grew up riding bicycles in what he described as the era that gave birth to BMX. As a kid, Tripes became a schoolyard legend for once launching himself and his bicycle and clearing 32 steps of the school’s front entrance.
He first began riding motorcycles when his dad borrowed a 90cc Honda step-through for a family camping trip.
"It took a year for our neighbor to get his motorcycle back," Tripes joked.
He was about 9 when he attended one of Edison Dye’s first motocross races in America in the San Diego area, featuring many of the best European motocross racers. That race made an indelible impression on Tripes.
"I thought those riders were Superman," Tripes remembers. Motocross World Champion Joel Robert was Tripes’ childhood idol. He tried to emulate Robert’s style on his mini-bike. Tripes’ younger brother, Mike, also took up the sport and later became a leading motocross rider in California... Read more