Artur Kowitz, Daytona Beach, USA
I was an Ossa dealer from 1971-1975 in Gainesville, FL. While standing
in tech inspection line for amateur roadracers at the March, Daytona races,
I overheard 2 fellows behind me in line speaking of a stash of orphan ossa
Wildfires/& parts in Pennsylvania.
I spoke up and got what it took to follow up on this rumor. The previous
US importer had sold out to John Taylor (the new importer, Yankee Motors)
and still had 6 bikes and a few new dealer parts kits leftover. I bought
the entire lot sight unseen for $500, and drove to PA to pick up my prize.
6- 175 cc Wildfires (all new, but in various states of completion ,
and enough parts to keep them running for a while. My pals and I split
up the fleet ,terrorized the city streets and local racetracks for a few
My first roadrace was on one of the Wildfires at Palm Beach Intl Raceway(now
Moroso Park) which I won. This love affair was frustrating as we knew new
250cc Wildfires existed, but not for US import.
As an Ossa dealer, I was aware at the time, the 250cc Pioneer was very
popular, but not available in Spain. I took the initiative to call the
Ossa dealer in Barcelona, and arrange simulataneous orders for 6 Wildfires
for him, and 6 Pioneers for me. He agreed to go to the shipping dept in
Spain and switched paperwork so that we each received the others order.
It worked!! In a few weeks I received 6- 1971 250cc Wildfires with red/silver
fiberglass tanks, 4 sp trans and the worlds worst street bike elec system.
Again, my buddies and I shared the bikes, starting a whole new chapter
of fun. The first ever motorcycle roadrace at Road Atlanta was the 1973
AMA Yamaha Paper Cup. It was promoted with much fanfare.
I entered one of the new 4sp bikes in the 250 procduction class. This
class was made up of a zillion Yamaha twins, few Suz twins, coupla Duc
250s, Bultaco Metrallas and me. To the utter shock of all, I won this event
going away. This prompted Yankee Motors, the importer, to run a large ad
in Cycle News celebrating the underdog singles victory over the dominate
Yams of the day.
It seems so long ago, but to good of a true old story not to share......
Arthur Kowitz, Daytona Beach, USA