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  • Atc 4 Me. Mike Coe talks about riding for Team Honda.

    Editor's note: This was originally a part of this thread on the 3WW Forum. Its been re-posted here for convenience.

    Hey every one! I'll try to shed SOME of the crap that happened in 1985 and answer some other questions. I warn that this may get long.........


    Harry Klemm worked with me individually(in secret) and we tested some very good stuff. At the time Honda had sent over a number of specially designed WORKS HIPO cylinders that would bolt on and were ALMOST indistinguishable from the stockers. While Harry's stuff was excellent, using everything of his on top of one of the WORKS cylinders made even better power. Bill's helped me big time with the 3 wheelers and then more when I was running some one-off quads for Yamaha.

    The late Mickey Thompson was quite a salesman! He talked Yamaha into sponsoring into his Off-Road Gran Prix, and then came back and said,"Oh by the way, displacement limits for the quad racers is 250cc!! Yamaha was anticipating being able to race Banshees! No luck. Instead, My brother modified the Banshee frames to accept YZ250 engines. He built 2 for myself and another for Don Turk who raced with some success for a few years.

    Nobody in their right mind wanted to spend any time working on something that they couldn't turn around and market for sale. Bill's still came to my rescue and made some Excellent hand built pipes for my YZ powered Banshees and for the one off Blaster I raced at a few races too. Unfortunately The Yamaha's were never as competitive as I would have liked because they were so different and every thing was unique to them.

    For the last National of the year at San Jose in 1985, Chuck gathered together all of the parts for us to test and come up with a combo that we liked best. The testing session was held at Corona Raceway and was just incredible. While typical testing sessions were sometimes like splitting hairs to tell a difference, this day everything we tried kept making the trike faster and faster and faster.

    When we left the raceway, I was ecstatic at how the trike was running. I KNEW I would be at the front at San Jose NO question. I had just come off of back to back victories at the last two Nationals and was in top form as well.

    The cylinder that we chose for this race was a VERY custom reworked cylinder. The transfer ports were all epoxied up and re-contoured and were VISIBLY modified. There was a boat load of work done to this cylinder. Chuck Miller my mechanic (and now current Honda Race Team Manager!) was convinced that the trike was clearly the best we had (using Turner components) for the season. The stopwatch doesn't lie. Somehow Steve Carter(Marty's mechanic) and Paul Turner felt that this cylinder was no good as it had clearly been run by them prior to making into our "pile" of leftovers for us to test.

    Well, San Jose comes and we go out and set fast time in practice and Marty is struggling. I had absolutely no issue's other than some slight jetting changes that just made my trike even faster. We were looking forward to wining three in a row!

    Chuck and I went to Sizzler that evening for dinner. After wards we went back to our hotel and were ready to call it a day. We were in my rental car when we came back to the Hotel and when we got there our Honda Box Van was GONE!!

    We both went into a slight panic and Chuck started making frantic calls before calling the Police and reporting it stolen. Just about this time, Wes McCoy, the team manager got a hold of Chuck and informed him that the van wasn't stolen.
    We both felt a huge relief, but then we asked, "Were is our van then?"

    We were informed that Marty was unhappy with how his trike was running, and that his mechanic just wanted to "measure out" my top-end to possibly make a duplicate for Marty to try early the next day. I didn't like the sound of how things were going..... Not the night before the last National of the year!! Wes said "Don't worry, everything will be fine" "Just go and get a good night rest". I did not like it.

    Chuck and I drove over to where Paul Turner had a friend with a shop there in San Jose. Nobody expected us to show up there. We parked about a block away and walked up to the open doors of this shop. Here's Wes, Steve, and Paul Turner all thrashing about and there's MY 3 WHEELER all torn apart!! I was LIVID! I started yelling at them asking WTF were they doing!! They just kept saying that they wanted to "copy" it so that Marty might be more competitive. Then Steve gets in my face saying I should be more of a team player and other crap like that. I had been getting royally screwed over for the entire year from Paul Turner so I had clearly had enough of his and Steve Carter's BS. I let it fly.

    Well, I drive to the race track the following morning and Chuck can't even look me in the eye and looks as if he is really disgusted. I get my riding gear on and when I look my trike over it's got a completely different top end on it!! I couldn't F**** believe it!! Chuck assembled my trike with a brand new top end, with no time on it. It promptly stuck in the first practice session. MY heat race just happened to be the first one of the morning. Chuck thrashed like a madman to put on another top end. In his rush, he assembled the engine with another cylinder that had been bored first over, and without realizing it, he put it together with a standard size piston. When I kicked it over it did start, but you can imagine what it sounded like. They promptly called my race to the start and I think I finished near last. Its amazing the thing ran at all!! By now I'm on fire!

    In between races I worked my way over to Marty's area. (we were supposed to be a team, but Steve and Marty always parked away form the rest of us) Anyway, they see me coming and Wes and Steve rush over to keep me away. Nothing could, and I got close enough to see it. There it was in all its Glory!! Marty's trike had MY TOP END AND PIPE mounted. I was stunned to say the least!

    I was so frustrated with all the turn of events I just couldn't help it and I lost it. I was between tears and yelling for what seemed like minutes. The wind had completely left my sails that's for sure. All I could think of was how political this season had become, and how it wasn't any fun anymore, and how much of a TEAM it wasn't.

    I can't remember my finish at that race (anybody know?) By the main Chuck had a decent combo bolted up, but I had like the last pick of the back row to start in the main

    I still would have been the points champion anyway, but Honda changed the points AGAIN to somehow allow Marty to collect a bogus championship. Even the Kawasaki guys knew it was all rigged!! I did come away with the big pay check for the season, some consolation, but still know I was the 1985 250 class champion!!

    It still gripes me to this day. Can you tell ?

    Another story?? This is where it really got going and cooking!! OK

    At the Loretta Lynn's National earlier that year(85) It was a two race deal. The first day was the motocross race which I won. The next day was the woods race. I don't know how many of you out there ever ran one of the early woods races, but let me tell you, the start is KEY. After you enter the woods it is single file, no exceptions. There are a few places to pass if you can, but not many.

    Donny Luce gets the hole shot and is riding very well. I think I'm in 4th or 5th and making good time. It is a long race. 3 hours or something. Guess what?? These races are dead engine start. When the flag drops, you have to kick over your machine and go! Unknown to me at the start, Marty's trike fouls the plug and does NOT START!! By the time his mechanic figures out he has a fouled plug its 5+ minutes later!!

    Well, they get this BIG Idea thinking NO one will know. They throw Marty's trike in his box van and take it down the road some miles to where the course comes out near the road. They unload, throw in a new plug, and they wait until they can hear racers approaching. Then Marty takes off..... IN THE LEAD!! Since it is such a long race you have to pit for fuel and goggles and stuff. Donny held the lead .from the start, and I was being filled in during the pit stops. It was clear that some serious stuff was going to hit the fan.

    Marty stayed in front and Donny was credited for second place and I was third I think at the finish. Kawasaki had watched the stuff with Marty unfold and they protested.

    The Promoter(Dave Coombs) was a very honorable guy, but Honda had such an influence on these promoters that he said he couldn't act appropriately. He said that Marty SHOULD be DQ'd, and that Donny should be the victor, and me second.

    After hours of behind the scene gesturing, they finally came out with the results. Donny first, MARTY SECOND, and me third. Still totally bogus!!! I actually pulled in to the Kawasaki pits after the race because I was so mad at what was happening!

    Chuck informed me that if Marty didn't get at least 2nd place, he would have no shot at the points title. (too bad) This still kills me too, 20 years later!!

    I still went out and won the Baja 1000 as my final race effort for Honda in November.
    My fourth BAJA 1000 victory in as many years. As a consolation, The Honda "A" team (Marty, Wax, Curtis Sparks) for the 1000 had what was supposed to be the fastest off road 250R of all time. Turner and Carter spent untold amount of time and effort building this missile that was going to spank everything. My team, consisting of Myself, Tracy Dickson, and Steve Wright, (B Team) had a few Turner components and we went out testing. We quickly learned that our stock pre-runners were faster than our Turner "prepped" race trike! We started swapping on stock OEM parts onto the race trike until it was faster than out worn out pre-runners. That is what we entered and used to win the Baja 1000 that year. What happened to the "A" team??
    Seems as though they broke down early in the race. Anyway, it was a sweet victory and my last ride for Team Honda ATC.

    After reading some of these posts, it seems as though I may be bitter. I am not. Not one tiny bit. The good times clearly outnumbered the bad, but there were some agonizing events towards the end of my racing career at Honda, along with some troubling personal issues with the ATC Team management, mainly with Bruce Ogilvie.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Atc 4 Me started by CoeShow View original post
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. mymint87's Avatar
      mymint87 -
      What the heck?...I remember this posted a while back, but now you published it?....why?...Does Mike know you did this?

      I mean, yeah, Let mike have his say, But putting it out there again and again looks like your just trying to shake the trees at Mike's expense..

      Whats your intent dude, possibly get some other big names in the sport to come to your site and respond?...thats just what we need....I guess you follow the thought that there's no such thing as bad publicity
    1. hang&rattle's Avatar
      hang&rattle -
      That's a great article. I remember the 80's motocross in MT, but only seen a sea of Honda CR's. Montana to small for the threewheelers. I can now speculate on the motocross racing industry (2, 3, or 4), on how unsupportive they are to the promotion of there own products and loyal buyers. Car companies spend billions on NASCAR. Rodeo you are on you're own, you have no sponcers, but those who do have now lucrative contracts & thousands (in a non-profit organization) make a living, seems cycle racing has no more support now than it did in the 80's. If only a couple of hundred guys world wide are making a living racing, in a multi-million dollar industry, then alot more folk should be making a living in the promotion of cycles and there counterparts. Well, now it can be seen, the true colors of Honda after decades of screwing consumers, racers and the general public. What goes around, comes around, and now Honda has a nearly a disposed company with inferior product.....I researched old races and wondered why the Tecates were dominating, but not seen in the standings (I am impartial to brand and own any). I even talked to a few old racers, one I bought my Tecate from in California, and John said he always competed against other Tecates (as a privateer) Honda's were more rare on the tracks, I'd like to learn more, but I guess word-to-mouth is all the facts we'll get these days, but cool article, go get em' mike.
    1. ride-red's Avatar
      ride-red -
      i think that marty shouldd have been forced to quit with the he done
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