1963 - 1978, Moto-cross career of Gerrit Does. And then came BMX.
How it all started.
Sometime September of 1962, my uncle Wiebe van de Kuinder, who owned a motorcylce shop in the city of Hilversum here in Holland, asked me to come to a moto-cross trainng session of his son, my nephew, Nico van de Kuinder. Uncle Wiebe, my Dad, Nico and myself, we all went down to a track in Den Dolder, next to the militairy airbase in Soesterberg. We took a 250cc Matchless 4 stroke scrambler to this location and Nico started his training session.
After a while, my uncle asked me: "do you want to ride this machine a couple of rounds?" Ofcourse I wanted to ride a real motorcycle and speciale this scrambler. I was used riding a moped from 16 years on, but at 17 which age I had at the time, I never had ridden a real motorcycle. They explained me how the machine worked, how to shift gears etc. I started slowly, just to get used to this machine. But lap by lap I got used to the gears and handling a little bit better and better. At a certain point I thought, what Nico can do, I can do. Well, that was a wrong asumtion.
Going too fast being unexperienced, in a 90 degrees turn, I ran into the steep wall of the turn that was about 60 till 70 inches high. I was launched into the air and landed head down. I was so lucky not to break my neck, but hardly could move from my head from left to right. Oeps ..... and now we had to go home and what would my mother say !!! I acted if nothing had happened, but since that day up till this day, I have had problems with my neck. Anyway, that was my first experience in moto-cross.
1963, my first official racing season with the NMB (Dutch National Motorsport Union).
At the time in Holland there were 2 organizations running moto-cross, the KNMV and the NMB. The KNMV was FIM affiliated and the NMB was IMBA affiliated. the FIM is a world governing body, among others for moto-cross and the IMBA is a European orientated governingbody for moto-cross. The KNMV was active thoughout Holland and the NMB was very much orientated on the South of Holland and later on became more nationaly oriented. Many top riders and champions through the yearsracing at KNMV events, came from the NMB.
Anyway, my first scramble or moto-cross event took place in Sweijkhuizen in the far South of our country. My 250cc Junior racenumber was 35 (on a green numberplate). A very nice and hilly track. My uncle Wiebe van de Kuinder prepaired a 250 cc Maico for me, which machine I rode that race. There were 2 quaiifiers, each holding about 35 till 40 riders. I finished in my qualifier 16th, meaning I did not qualify for the final. However, I got another change, but again I did no qualify (finished 12, should have been at least 10th place). So, first race NO final for me. In my first year I competed in 21 moto-cross events and only finished once in the top three and only 6 times in the top 10 in 250cc Junior class. Still had to learn a lot and gain experience in the new sport. Also the well prepaired "standard" 250 cc Maico broke down several times the past half year. My Dad knew by then I wanted to go on riding moto-cross seriously and decided to buy me a new official moto-cross machine, a 250 cc GREEVES 24 MDS, the machine ridden by European Champion and the hero of both Nico and myself, DAVE BICKERS from England. From then on it all moved forward much faster. Both my nephew and I were riding 24 MDS Greeves' at the time.
1964, my second moto-cross season with the NMB.
This was an exiting year since a rider called Pierre Karsmakers also entered the 250 cc Junior class. He has been riding 50 cc mopeds for about 2 years and changed to the 250 class. After 14 races into this season, winning 3 events and finsihing another 5 events within the top 3, the BoD - NMB, decided to promote me as well as Pierre, who had done very well too, to the 250 cc Senior class, early July 1964. My new racenummer became number 15 (on a yellow numberplate).
In this 250cc Senior class I competed in 11 races that year, so all together in 1964 I competed in 25 events. Getting adjusted to the riding style in the 250 Senior class and the more fierce competition was difficult in the beginning, but slowly I stated to feel at ease. Results weren't that good yet, only 5 times I finished within the top 10 (1 x8th and 4 x 5th.). Pierre Karsmakers however did very well, he even finished 2nd in the Dutch National 250cc Senior Championships, right behind famous Dutch rider Jo Lammers, who became National Champion that year. I finisned in 12th position in the 1964 Championship (out of around 30 + riders). Both Jo Lammers and Pierre Karsmakers made the switch to the KNMV in 1965.
1965, my racing improved and I was winning events now in the 250cc Senior / International class.
Because of my results in 1964, I was promoted to International 250cc Senior class rider, now running the so-called N-number. N stand for Netherlands. I was now able and allowed to race abroad.
to be continued ....