By Jeff Buchanan, via : www.ultimatemotorcycling.com
Back in the day - that day being in the late 60s - when European motocross was making its earliest ventures to the U.S. in the form of exhibition races, the big thing stateside as far as off-road was hare scrambles and enduro.
The likes of Husqvarna, Maico, and CZ were still relatively unknown here so most competitors were limited to modifying big displacement street bikes like Triumphs and BSAs to handle the off-road chores.
The thinking was you needed to possess the most power possible in order to pull yourself through the mud and guck, and the big 4-stroke twins seemed to fill the bill.
In 1968, one man, an Ohio native and serious racer, began to think otherwise. He figured if you had a light machine-perhaps trading displacement for weight - it wouldn't sink into the mud as easily. Also, it would be a great deal easier to extricate from the hazards of enduro competitions if you did get stuck.
The man was John Penton. He took his cue off the KTM motorcycles that were doing well in Austria and set out to build a custom, small displacement, light-weight motorcycle for serious competition.
He fabricated the frame and various elements, then found an existing European motor manufacturer, Sachs, to power his new creation. The engine was a 125cc 2-stroke.
Penton went out and proceeded to prove his theory by winning enduro events, weaving his way through dense forests and over mud to the awe of his overweight competitors.
Penton immediately began to build the Penton name, assembling and manufacturing a full line of motorcycles Stateside that became synonymous not only with enduro competition, but excelled in the booming realm of motocross... Read more, all pictures copyright www.theowencollection.com