For a few years, Team JAP have been making a bit of a name for themselves in classic motocross. We chat to team manager Cecil Pearson.
Words and photographs: Tim Britton
The classic motocross scene is an interesting one and it encompasses an almost bewildering range of classes to hopefully ensure all sorts of bikes manage some track time.
There are, of course, those racers and teams which seem to transcend the classes, teams such as Cecil Pearson’s ‘Team JAP.’
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With 1930s engines in more modern frames, Cecil’s bikes cover a range of classes but always seem to be at the front.
Talking to Cecil at the recent Drumlanrig Scottish Grand National, he told us the reason for the attraction to JAP engines was because when he raced in the 1960s, on the grass and scrambles tracks in Northern Ireland, it was JAP power he used. “I had a Rickman-style frame then and used a 350 and 500cc JAPs in it.”
Quietly spoken Cecil raced up to the late 1960s when business interests took over and it wasn’t until around 2012 that he was attracted back to the sport and he built a bike based around what he raced back in the day.
“I was invited along to do a demo at a modern event,” he says, “…and we took a few bikes along. I knew one of the riders and offered him the JAP to ride.
There wasn’t enough for a classic race so we went out with the modern stuff.
It opened a few eyes when James Thompson led for a lap and finished fifth.”
Cecil says the team idea grew from there and now Team JAP is a regular fixture at classic scrambles.
Read more in the September 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!Enjoy more The Classic MotorCycle reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.