Marty Tripes was a leading AMA motocross and Supercross rider in the 1970s and early 1980s. He will always be remembered for winning the Superbowl of Motocross at the Los Angeles Coliseum in July 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.
Here are a dozen things you may not know about Tripes.
- Tripes was perhaps the biggest rider to win AMA motocross and Supercross races. He was 6-foot-1 and weighed more than 200 pounds during his prime racing years.
- As a kid, Tripes was legendary at school for launching himself on his bicycle and clearing 32 steps of the school’s front entrance.
- He began riding motorcycles when his dad borrowed a 90cc Honda step-through for a family camping trip.
- At the age of 12, he entered his first motocross race, but quickly pulled off the track because he was scared.
- In 1971, the 14-year-old Tripes used a fake ID to enter his first pro motocross race. He finished fourth and was the top American rider.
- When the AMA learned Tripes used a fake ID to race, it banned him from AMA competition until he turned 16.
- Shortly after his 16th birthday, Tripes dominated the inaugural Superbowl of Motocross in the Los Angeles Coliseum. He was the youngest rider to win an AMA national in his rookie season.
- Tripes rode for Honda, Husqvarna, Can-Am, Bultaco, Yamaha and even Harley-Davidson.
- He signed with Harley-Davidson in 1977 for its motocross effort, which lasted just that one season.
- When not racing, Tripes enjoyed hunting, boating, camping and the unusual hobby of coyote calling.
- In 1978, riding for Honda, he took the win in the first-ever World Championship 250cc Motocross round held in America. Many consider Tripes’ victory at the 250cc USGP at Unadilla, in New Berlin, N.Y., as the biggest win of his career.
- Tripes’ final full pro season was 1980. After retiring from racing, he became a pioneer in safety gear design in the paintball industry. He also ran a successful gourmet mushroom business.