In the early 1980s, exotic, one-off factory bikes ruled the motocross world. And few of them were more successful than Jeff Ward’s 1985 KX250 machines.
In fact, in one frenzied eight-day period, Jeff Ward rode his works KX250 to clinch not one, but two national championships. And to do that, he had to beat some of the best in the business.
Here are some fun facts about Ward and his KX250s.
1. On a Saturday in August 1985 Ward rode his KX250 to victory in the final round of the AMA Supercross Championship in Pasadena, Calif., to take the national title over five-time Motocross Champ and future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Broc Glover by 2 points.
2. The following Sunday, Ward rode his KX250 in the Washougal, Wash., round of the AMA 250 Motocross Championship, where he took second-place to clinch the national title over two-time MX and SX Champ Johnny O’Mara, another future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer.
3. Less than a month later, Ward took the KX250 to the world stage, joining Ron Lechien and future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer David Bailey on the U.S. Motocross des Nations team. Ward was the anchor of the group, sweeping both races in the 250 class and helping the Americans win the prestigious international competition.
4. The era of works motocross bikes was coming to a close by the end of the 1985 season. Production-based machines were the way of the future and by 1986 allowable modifications were strictly controlled, making this bike a real rarity since it’s one of the last works factory machines.
5. Ward rode four Kawasaki KX250s in 1985.
6. The KX had a hand-made frame, works suspension, magnesium hubs, aluminum gas tank, a rear disc brake and a special sand-cast cylinder head.
7. Some of the works innovations did trickle down to production machines. You didn’t get ultra-light magnesium hubs on a showroom-fresh 1985 KX250, for example, but you did get the Kawasaki Integrated Power-Valve System, the Fresh Air Intake System and a four-way adjustable shock.