One Decade: From Triple Digit Privateer Racer to World Champion
Forgive the grimy fingernails. It's project bike season.

In 1974, Eddie Lawson raced the AFM series in California on bikes supplied by his dad and ex-racer grandfather. Two years before the USA bicentennial, Lawson was just another triple digit rider in a long list of triple digit racers racing the AFM championship. Lawson raced a Kawasaki Green Streak in dirt track and a Ital-Jet 50 in the AFM roadraces. He was the youngest rider to race the Elsinore Grand Prix, at 12.

thanks, 4-Time Eddie
Lucky in life and lucky in love. Eddie Lawson's wife, Julie, sought out and found Eddie's Ital-Jet 50 and presented it to him as a surprise birthday present.

Lawson traveled to the races with his father and grandfather in an old Ford Ranchero, riding three abreast to the races, with bikes and gear in the back. They nurtured him as a rider and a racer. As anyone who has gone racing with a young person, (or travel hockey or AAU basketball) knows, it's exhausting. Plus this was the 1970s, back when pregnant women simultaneously smoked and took diet pills so as to not gain a bunch of weight while their body was making a new human.

Back then Lawson's dad and grandpa were pretty wiped out by Sunday afternoon and it was not uncommon for 12 year old Eddie to drive home.

As we grow older, a decade can feel as short as two weeks did during our teenage years. Back then, ten years in the future meant flying cars and hopefully dating girls who didn't have acne on their breasts.

Ten years after this program was published, Eddie Lawson was the world champion.

There are a great many seriously fast riders on these columns. To get him up to speed Lawson's grandfather and father put him up against the best.
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