**Originally printed in our May 2016 Issue of TransWorld Motocross. For more great features monthly, CLICK HERE to subscribe.

Private Stock | A Glimpse Of Chris Carter's Incredible Collection Of Motorcycle Memorabilia

By Michael Antonovich | Photos by Mike Emery

Motorcycles are Chris Carter's life. He's been a part of the sport in one way or another since the mid-1960s, one of the countless kids mesmerized by the action of On Any Sunday and raised an era of accessibility to open land that has long since passed. In the years since Carter first cruised California's Bay Area aboard a secondhand Honda Scrambler, he's recorded a number of incredible accomplishments: expert-level motocross racer on the Inter-Am circuit, ISDT medalist, founder of Motion Pro tools, and acquirer of all things two wheels.

His collection of bikes, parts, decals, oilcans, et cetera isn't limited to just one genre; it's more just a general passion of anything that relates to motorcycling riding or history. You can get sense of Carter's appreciation for every piece of metal or drop of petrol when walking through the mini museum, which is organized just enough to feel intimate and personal and completely free of pride, ego, or hanging price tags. Carter's reasoning for storing so much stuff is simple: "I thought it was cool and wanted to have it. I didn't buy stuff for the value—I wanted it for the memories and to preserve it." Privy after a few hours amongst the machines with Carter, he shared information about select pieces and how they came into his possession.

1960 Matchless: I had a Honda Scrambler, but that's not a real dirt bike. We were off riding someplace, and the original owner of this bike said, "Why don't you try it?" It was a totally different experience getting to ride a purpose-built bike. It was already kind of obsolete with two strokes coming onto the trails with Bultaco and all of that, so I rode it at the tail end of when the bike was in its prime. It was a 1960 model and I rode it in 1966.

The original owner had it for 20 something years and then sold it to the second owner, who may have been with us that day riding. When he decided to get rid of it, I bought it from him and totally restored it.

It didn't look like this when I got it; it was all beat up and dirty. The original owner rode it in the dirt, so he took off the headlight, taillight, and battery and put them in a box. So the guy I got it from had all of the parts, and when we restored it we put it exactly back to how it was when it came out of the crate in 1960. Originally this particular model came as a 350, but the lower-end was the same as the 500cc model, so you could get the 500 top-end and put it on. I still have the 350 top-end for it.

Joel Robert CZ Martini Racing Jersey: 1968 is the first year Roger DeCoster and Joel Robert traveled the United States together. They came to New York, and Edison Dye hooked them up with an old Ford Econoline van. They raced for the CZ factory, and Robert was already a world champion. This was like their vacation—to come and race against the Americans that were just getting started. They worked their way across the country at different races, and in California they had four: One was in Marin County, one was in Sacramento, one was in San Jose near Morgan Hill, and one was in Los Angeles. I happened to go to three of those races, and at each one I bugged Robert about getting his jersey. And each time he told me, "No, I only have two!" The world champion had two jerseys for the whole series of eight or 10 weeks. He probably didn't expect me to show up at the last race in LA, but he gave it to me at that race.

I've had it all of these years. When the Zimmerman family had the Hopetown Reunion a few years ago and Robert was there, I brought the jersey down. He signed the frame for me. He didn't remember giving it to me.

1976 Yamaha IT400: In 1974, I went on my own to a couple of the Six Days qualifiers, and at the time there would be three or four hundred guys in the United States trying to qualify. That fall, Yamaha contacted me and said they wanted to get involved in that market. I didn't know they were going to come out with a bike purpose-built for that kind of off-road riding, but I said sure.

I showed up at the first qualifier, which was at California City. I just showed up and Yamaha had a bike for me to ride. One of the guys who's still at Yamaha, Mark Porter, had just started in their R&D department and was like an apprentice to Bill Stewart. The three of us started going to all of the races. I forget how I did at that race, but it was really well, and they were surprised the bike did as well as it did, too. They said, "We'll let you know, but we think we're going to the next race in Texas." And two weeks before the Texas race, they told me we were going and we all showed up again. In that race I did really well, and from there we went to Oregon. I was the only guy that Yamaha was supporting that year and was spoon-fed. I would show up at every race, and they would work on the bike and ask for my input. We went to Missouri and did the two-day qualifier there. I did the whole series and qualified for the US team in 1975, which was at the Isle of Man.

We had some trouble with the bike at the ISDT. The last day's special test that year was a road race, and they used a portion of the Isle of Man course, a short circuit around the town. This was when electronic ignitions were just getting started. Half of the bikes probably still had points ignitions in them, but Yamaha was using a CDI. When it got hot it wouldn't start, or it wouldn't start when it was cold later on. Well, the ignition was going out in that bike, and I had trouble getting it started. We had to push it to get it started, so I was the last one to get going, but I finished and got a bronze medal. We were the only Japanese bike to finish the Six Days that year. That's my big claim to fame.

I didn't see that bike again—it went from England right back to Japan, and in 1976 they came out with the first IT, which is the bike we developed from.

This is my bike from Austria, and I got a gold medal with it in 1976. Yamaha let me keep the bike. I rode it a little bit afterward, so I can't say it's exactly how it was when I raced it. If I'd thought about it, I would have left all of the seals on it and not have taken it apart, but back then you could only afford one bike at a time.

The last day was a motocross race in the infield of the –sterreichring where they had car races. It was all grass and an awesome motocross track. The thing about those Yamahas was that you could start the bike in gear, and motocross was a dead-engine start. Well, shit, I had the start wired and won the final motocross—the only American that year to win the motocross. I ended 1976 on a great note, because I did well and won a gold medal, being one of the first guys to win one with Yamaha.

Preston Petty No Dive: When bikes started to get long-travel suspension and the geometry changed so much, Preston Petty came up with this. You made a real commitment when putting these on the bike, because it had a bushing and got rid of the brake anchor that went to the fork. It pivoted in two spots, so when you put on the brake, it kept the suspension in the same position. Whatever the neutral position was, that's where the suspension would stay when the brake was on.

I worked for Rocky Cycle before it became Tucker Rocky, and we were the distributor for these. They took off like crazy at first. They sold us a hundred of them and those were gone, so I said we needed to order more and we got five hundred of them. All of a sudden, it stopped. I don't know if Jody at MXA wrote a bad article about it, but it just stopped. They gave me this award and called me "No Dive Carter" because we had about six hundred of these things in a warehouse that didn't sell.

1968 Suzuki RH67: I remember seeing these bikes in 1968 when a local dealer had one, and Brad Lackey's brother raced one for a dealer. Suzuki looked at all of the Huskys, Maicos, CZs, and this is what they came up with for the first attempt at a motocross bike. I saw one at a race and never forgot how it sounded—a lot like the CZ twin port. They had a really unique sound. I kept my eye out for one but didn't know it would be such a collectible, because that's now like the Holy Grail for anyone who collects motocross bikes. Not that they were successful, but it was the first purpose-built Japanese motocross bike. They built about a hundred, and we think about half or less came to the United States.

I found one that a friend of mine had, and he decided to sell it. The problem was that he didn't own the exhaust pipes or shift lever that were on it, so when I bought it, I had to give those parts back to the other guy who owned them. I put the word out that I needed pipes for that bike, and six months or so later, a friend who lived in Santa Cruz was at a vintage motocross race in Carson City standing in the sign-up line and hears another guy telling someone, "I just bought this old Greeves, but some guy tried to graft the Suzuki twin pipe barrels on it." My buddy asked him if he wanted to sell the pipes, and the guy knew who I was, so I got them. How often would that work out? I had to buy the cylinder and a bunch of other things, but I didn't care because I had those pipes.

I stumbled onto another, but 14 years ago we had a party at the office and I needed some room, so I put that one in a locked container, and a month later someone broke into it, grabbed anything that rolled inside and put it in our RV that was parked there, and stole it. Two days later we found the RV stripped in Oakland, two blocks from the police station, but no motorcycles. I had wanted posters and things on the Internet for the Suzuki because it was a complete original and unmolested bike. It'd just been weathered and ridden and came from a dealer in Bend, Oregon. For years guys would tell me stories about how they thought they saw the bike in trucks around LA.

Five years to the day in 2009, it shows up on Craigslist in Oakley, California. It said, "Suzuki dirt bike, great project that needs work. One hundred and fifty dollars." By the next morning I had three phone calls telling me the bike was on the Internet. One of my buddies called the number in the ad and got the guy's address, a teenage kid who said he'd meet him after school. We don't know how he got the bike. The kid's phone went nuts with people calling him. A guy from LA called and told him that he'd give him $2,500 for it, but that he wouldn't be able to get it until Monday afternoon. I had all of my police reports, and the pictures in his ad were almost identical to the ones in my wanted posters, so we call the detective and he put me in contact with the Oakley Police Department. Come to find out, the kid was on probation for auto theft, and his dad was in jail for something, too. I waited for the police to call me back, so I called Rodney Smith, because he lived near there, and told him that I was coming. Two friends were at his house that day and one was a California Highway Patrol officer.

We drove by the house, which was in a white trash neighborhood and rundown, and the garage door was open. Inside I could see the white fender and two exhaust pipes of the bike and a pit bull chained up. One guy parked around the corner from the house and stayed while Rodney and I went to the police department. We waited for a while, and then the detective told us that since the guy was on parole, they wanted to do a sting and trade him something like guns for the bike to get him on something else. They didn't know we had a guy waiting around the corner telling us what's going on.

He called us when the cops showed up and said, "The cops are here with the kid, but so is a guy in a pick-up truck" It's the guy from LA. We got there when they arrested the kid. The guy from LA, who knows me and is a collector, said he didn't know it was my bike. The cops let me take the bike. None of the other bikes ever surfaced.

Roger DeCoster Bell Moto 3 Helmet: A friend of mine is a curator at a car and airplane museum in Paso Robles, California. A friend of his, Eric Vaughn, in Los Angeles got the helmet from a guy who used to work at Bell Helmets. My friend saw it at the shop and thought I would like it. It's from 1980—DeCoster's last year racing professionally.

1976 Puch MC250: Harry Everts won the World Championship on this bike in 1976, and they only built a hundred of them, so for whatever reason, Puch decided not to go any further. It's a weird bike with a rotary valve piston port and magnesium. No one else has ever done that in motocross.

For guys who are collectors, it's one that's on their radar, and there aren't many out there. That bike came out of Maryland and belonged to a guy who got it a long time ago. He passed away, and the word was out there that I wanted one. A guy I know in Alaska was a friend of the people in Maryland, so I got to it before it went on the market with a broker. I knew the value, and the widow agreed with me to sell it.

Trophy: The Bay Cities Motorcycle Club started having this race on New Year's Day. It started in 1937 and ran up to 1968. You would show up sometime in the morning at Golden Gate Park and they'd have a brief rider meeting to tell you where you were going that year. It was totally outlaw in that it was never at an organized track. You just showed up and took off. Whoever got to the spot first was the winner, and they'd have a party afterward. Everyone who won the race has their name stamped on the trophy.

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