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                                                  T                                                                                                                                                                    Terry Good and Don Jones November 6, 2007

  Don Jones tribute page click              On the line              

The motorcycle world suffered a huge loss this Month with the passing of Don Jones. Most remember Don as the father of former National Motocross Champion Gary Jones from the early seventies and one of the key people in developing the YZ.  A former flat track champion himself, Don was one of the early pioneers of American motocross, who's influence played a major role in shaping the sport. He and his son Gary won the AMA 250 National Championship in 1971 and 1972 on Yamaha's, 1973 on a Honda and 1974 on a Can-am. Gary's older brother DeWayne, was also on these championship teams. Later, Don designed and built his own motorcycle the Ammex that was manufactured in Mexico. The name Don Jones was synonymous with motocross in the early to mid seventies. He was always pushing the envelope with new innovations, resulting in very light and very fast motocross bikes. He was the first motocross team manager, the first to have a team with all matching gear and bikes on the 1972 factory Yamaha team with Gary and DeWayne Jones, Marty Tripes and Jimmy Weinert. Don was also the first to experiment with exhaust power-valves back in 1966! He invented the first practice starting gate (see in the photo vault) and was responsible in part for the "Thermal-Flow" shocks, plus much more. His wife Melinda actually designed the famous red, white and blue "Team Honda" jerseys in the early seventies. Melinda actually sewed Gary and DeWayne's jerseys by hand. The Jones' were a true motocross family.

I had the great privilege to have had a close relationship with Don over the last fifteen or so years and he was a hero of mine twenty years before that. Some of my most recent memories of Don are the many hours he and I spent on the phone, with me listening to stories he would tell that would have any comedy club up for grabs with laughter. Nobody could tell a story like Don Jones. I remember one time I called him on a Saturday afternoon and when he answered the phone he said "Terry, it's so hot here right now, there's a coyote chasing a jackrabbit and they're both walking."  There could and should be a book written about this man. It was also Don that inspired me to start this collection (refer to my bio) and he recently contributed many ideas for the museum that will be built.

More important than all of his achievements with motorcycles, Don Jones was a great human being. He had a beautiful wife and together they raised four kids, DeWayne, Gary, Melinda and Lois. Don was a stubborn man and set in his ways but he had a heart of gold. Some years ago Don and his family were in Mexico in a very poor neighborhood and there was a guy selling ice-cream from a push cart. Don bought all the ice-cream in the cart and passed it out to all the under privileged kids that were there. As fierce a competitor as Don was at the races, there was a compassionate side of Don that few got to see and not once did he complain during his recent illness. We truly lost one of the great ones and I for one, will surely miss him.

Terry Good    July 28, 2008