Thursday, July 03, 2008

One of the greatest photos of all time...

OK, so maybe I'm a bit over-stated.

This is the great motocross photo of all time, and I took it.

Hey, I'm biased...but within my entire career as a photojournalist, this photo probably told the biggest story. In this case, a picture was worth 1000 words.

Johnny O'Mara, a relatively unknown (at that time) racer from California, came east to race in the 1980 Mid-Ohio 125cc United States Grand Prix.

At this point in history, the European riders were still tops in competition, and the Americans had their hands full keeping up. The best 125cc riders in the world converged on the Mid-Ohio race course.

And then it rained...and rained...and rained.

Everyone on earth knew that west coast fast boys could only ride hard-packed, dry race tracks. No chance any of them could make time in the muck, right? And, on top of that, who was this O'Mara kid? And he's riding a what? A Mugen? Never heard of that, nothing much to see here folks...

That seemed to be the opinion of the day, but when the gate dropped, a start was born. "Johnny O'" - as he would become known to legions of fans - dropped the hammer on his highly-modified Honda and pulled away to the overall win.

As Johnny pulled off the track following the final moto, I captured this image. Tired, worn to the bone, the young kid from California had beaten the best in the world, and he raised an American flag in tribute.

It was stories like these that made motocross a great sport in America.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:06 PM

    Great photo Dr Mueller! Please post more classic American MX photos.