Paul Hunt - an American MX rider from the 60's & 70's who was happy to eek out a living in England & Europe. He also visited New Zealand twice to compete in the "Gold Leaf" International MX Series, fronted by Tim Gibbes from 1964-1970.
Paul now lives in Northern California & his hobby is restoring rare off road motorcycles.
Paul Hunt USA, about 1966
Born in July of 1937, Paul Hunt was one of the great pioneers of American motocross, racing in Europe and Down Under in the late 1950's and early 1960's before most Americans had even heard of motocross or ISDT and before there was a Cycle News to publicize his exploits. An early ISDT rider, Paul competed first in 1964 (East Germany) and in the 1970 event held in Spain and immortalized in "On Any Sunday." His desert racing experience in his home country is the stuff of motorcycle folklore. Paul's career spanned three decades, when he finally withdrew from active competition in the 1970's.
Paul Hunt riding in the "Six Days" one of the first Americans to do so, but preceded by Bud Ekins a few years earlier.
From 1962-1965, after a two year stint in the Army, Paul was a self-employed racer touring the International Motocross circuit throughout Europe and England. Competing against the best Europe had to offer, Paul's best finish was a third place in Cingloi, Italy. Meets in England and Ireland often saw him place first. When not racing Paul held a job as shop foreman for Commerford's Ltd., a motorcycle dealer. In addition to this conventional job, Paul also had other less conventional ways of bringing money in order to further his endeavors to continue racing around the continent.
Paul and other racing friends would buy as many Levis jeans and Beatles and Rolling Stones albums as they could lay their hands on in England, and then sell them for a very nice profit in East Germany where such things were extremely rare.
Paul and the handful of Australians, New Zealanders, English and Americans from the "free" world traveled together in parts of the world that many didn't see due to the fact that many of these countries were under Communist rule. Anyone under the age of 50 is unlikely to remember those dark days, when the "Iron Curtain" of these countries kept outsiders out, and the citizenry inside the borders. At one East German hotel, Paul climbed out the of their second-floor hotel room window, shimmied out on the flag pole and stole the East German flag to keep as a souvenir. Luckily, Paul smuggled the flag across the border without it being discovered.
Paul Hunt rides "down under" in New Zealand - on the "underside" of the world!!
From 1965-1966 Paul was invited to tour New Zealand and Australia for the Rothman's International Goldleaf Motocross Series, in which he placed third overall both years. He also participated in the New Zealand International Motocross Series from 1964-1970, touring 3 months at a time under less than ideal conditions. However, with is friendly attitude Paul was very popular there, and he made the most of his experience. During these years he also worked with the Rickman brothers in the development of the first 500cc Triumph Metisse, racing the prototype in events throughout Europe and England.
In 1963 Paul entered his first ISDT, but was sidelined due to an injury. The following year he entered in the ISDT held in East Germany. He hit a rock which shot him out 10 feet into the forest, and had somehow hit his leg in the process, but continued on. At the end of the day he found a boot full of blood when he removed it, and realized he had run his footpeg through his leg, just missing the shin bone. He was patched him up at the field hospital well enough for Paul to go on tot he next meet. He had to go on; he had no money and the only way to get back to England was to win enough money at the next meet. After cutting off his boot so it would not rub on the staples, Paul didn't finish very well, but got enough money to get home.
Perhaps one of his biggest accomplishments Stateside took place at the 1966 Hopetown event (then called Corriganville), which was the first International Motocross held in the U.S. Paul finished second only to Torsten Hallman.
All uphill rise to fame - Paul was 2nd at the International Hopetown MX to then World 250cc MX CHampions Torsten Hallman from Sweden.
As the era neared the 1970's Paul stayed stateside and competed in such legendary events as the Greenhorn and Jack Pine Enduros, the Mexican 1000, Corriganville, Catalina and Baja. For two consecutive years he won every award in the Greenhorn 500 mile enduro, and in 1968 he and Max Switzer got 3rd Mexican 100. Paul also held #1 Trail Bike in District 35 for two years running. Having joined the Scramblers MC during high school and later Dirt Diggers South, Paul stayed active in the Southern California racing scene. In the late 1960's he helped organize and was the first president of C.M.C. (California Motorsport Club).
Through it all Paul built a reputation as an accomplished mechanic. Preston Petty describes him as "an excellent motorcycle craftsman", and Paul proved himself in this arena while working on various bikes over decades which saw vast changes in motorcycle technology. He performed his magic on BSA Goldstars, James'es, Harley Davidsons, DKW's and Puchs working in the capacity of Sales/Service Manager and Research and Development Manager and Vice President for such establishments as Hercules Distributing, Preston Petty Products and finally Bombardier LTD as the Competition Manager.
Paul Hunt racing in New Zealand International MX on his Triumph Metisse'
Many significant pioneers in our off-road history have insightful and inspiring stories to tell, most of which seem to be from a different world quite simply because they were. For various reasons the majority of these history-builders never made the headlines and have become obscure footnotes to our motorcycling past.
Paul Hunt is one such man, and the Legends Group is gratified to have the opportunity to honor his part in seeing us to where we are today in this sport.
For more stories about Paul Hunt along with many of his friends, go to this website below >>