This Week in Yamaha History: Lechien in '83Thursday, February 9, 2012 | 4:55 PM
It’s round six of the seventeen race Monster Energy AMA Supercross series this weekend in San Diego. For This Week in Yamaha SX History, we’re going to hop into the time machine and go back to 1983 and in the very same stadium we’re visiting this weekend. Yamaha’s Ron Lechien was coming off of one of the hottest amateur careers ever and quickly proved he was ready to battle the best as a pro, winning the 250 supercross race at Orlando as well as some 125 nationals at just 16 years old. Lechien was already a star, and for the 1984 series, he signed with Honda to ride factory bikes, something that Yamaha had already announced they would not have for the ’84 year (Yamaha was going to race production-based equipment in an era that still allowed full-works bikes).
A young Ron Lechien.
The last race of that 1983 season was held in San Diego, but it was not an official AMA Supercross. It was sanctioned by the CMC but nevertheless, all the heavy hitters were there. Broc Glover, David Bailey, Jeff Ward, Mark Barnett and many others all lined up on the starting line hoping to end their year with a win.
And Yamaha, upset that Lechien had already signed with Honda, did not allow Lechien his factory race machine for this race. It wasn’t an AMA race so they were not contractually obliged to Ronnie. With his new contract at Honda not officially started yet, Lechien, from nearby El Cajon, wasn’t going to just sit on the sidelines at his hometown supercross—he was determined to race.
And with that Lechien picked up a stock Yamaha YZ250 from a dealership, got Pro Circuit to do some motor work and went to San Diego to try his best against the best riders in the world on full works bikes.
And it was no contest! Lechien grabbed the holeshot in the main event and checked out. Ward chased after Lechien until his chain broke and that left Lechien’s ex-teammate Rick Johnson to try and reel Ron in, but it was fruitless.
The number 18 Yamaha was on another level on this night and in front of his family and friends, Lechien went unchallenged to win a race that might not have counted in the official AMA record books, but counted more than anyone could realize to the kid. On a bike that anyone could buy, Ronnie won the 1983 San Diego Supercross and then on that following Monday, went back to high school to resume classes.
What a night for Lechien and even though there was no help from the factory guys, it was quite a night for Yamaha as well as their production machine proved more than capable of winning at the highest level.
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