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Tom’s desert career paral‑ leled my MX career on time‑ lines. We’d never met but had competed a few times, once at Mammoth MX where I dominat‑ ed the event and once earlier in the mid 70s at the California City Grand Prix where he won. We both read Cycle News. We knew who the other guy was and what they were capable of and I knew we’d be competi‑ tive...if the bike was. Gaston’s Story Immediately after hanging up my mind started thinking of what I’d read of the exploits of my former MX competitor, Gaston Rahier. GR was a multi- time 125 World Champion in the 1970s. He had been a member of the mighty Belgian MX team that dominated many of the Motocross and Trophy Des Nations of the early 1970s. He’d gone on the win the Paris to Da- kar Rally 2 times in convincing fashion, and he’d done it on the BMW. A street bike as far as I was concerned. The P-to-D was the most gruel‑ ing off road race in the world and he won it twice on a street bike. I first met Gaston when he came over for the 125 GP at Mid Ohio in 1975. He was dominating the GPs to that point, the first year of FIM, 125 “World Championship” status. Before that it was the European 125 Championships. Gaston looked on his way to winning the series when he came to the US to face all the hotshot Californians who were dominat‑ ing the 125 Nationals. My first impression? Gaston was really short. My second impression? He was a lot older than all of us and really fast, but he had a weird style. My third im‑ pression? The man could talk… imagine Jimmy Weinert with a Pepe’ le Pew accent. Gaston and I had history. Not a bad one, but certainly intense in many ways. His main competition at this race and the next year in Europe for the 125 World Title would be Marty Smith. Marty was a good friend of mine and was racing the Honda RC125 tuned by my Step Dad, Jon R. Of course during this time period, the only thing I cared about was that Marty beat him. Cost me a win... Gaston cost me a Grand Prix win. In 1977, the week after the USGP was the Canadian GP. Of course all the Euro’s went, some Americans including my‑ self and the Texas boys. The Eastern Bloc riders were there. I tried to talk to them about racing (and the opportunities and virtues of MX capitalism), but their handlers wouldn’t al‑ low it. The first moto, Belgian Ya‑ maha rider Andre Massant was leading, and I had caught him easily. I had a good lead on Gaston in third. Three laps to go and a Canadian rider be‑ ing lapped suddenly decides to move over on this enduro trail wide course at the exact mo‑ ment I’m going by and takes me out. I acknowledged this deed with the one-fingered international sign of peace as I was rolling across the ground. Gaston goes by, I get up and we both run down Mas‑ sant again but the finish order is set. Massant, Rahier and Me. The second moto I holeshot, checked out and beat Massant by 23 seconds. Gaston caught Massant easily but wouldn’t www.dirtillustrated.com