Since there are so many great stories behind the motorcycles at the National Motorcycle Museum, each month your newsletter will feature one person, a racer, inventor, tuner, someone important to our American motorcycling history. Since Jay Springsteen is among the “winningest” riders in Grand National Championship racing history, has his MX250 short track racer on display and will be with us June 8 & 9 during Vintage Rally 2013, Jay is our featured rider for this month.
Voted the greatest dirt track competitor of all time in a 1994 AMA industry poll, easy going Michigan rider Jay Springsteen was blessed with natural ability to ride a motorcycle fast on dirt. The blazingly fast rookie scored back-to-back wins at Louisville, Kentucky and Harrington, Delaware in 1975, winding up third behind Gary Scott and Kenny Roberts in the year end standings. His performance earned him a full-on Harley-Davidson factory ride, teamed up with legendary tuner Bill Werner. Jay won seven Nationals on his way to his first championship, beating Scott and Roberts. Springsteen continued his romp, winning three Grand National Championships in a row. The mounting pressure of the trail led to a mysterious stomach ailment that often left Springsteen doubled up in pain and he began missing some events.
The problem would plague him for years, but he would bounce back, still winning on a regular basis through the mid-1980’s. By 1995 Springsteen had mostly cured his stomach troubles and returned to the GNC victory circle at Pomona, California for his first win in nearly 10 years. Springsteen notched his last victory at the legendary Springfield Mile, an amazing 24 years after his first win at Louisville. He had an extraordinary career, winning 43 events in a record 398 starts. He won his first titles strictly on dirt beating rivals like Roberts and Scott who also rode pavement events. He was the first out of state rider to win the Ascot Half-Mile in Gardena, California and he was the last rider to win the Peoria TT on a twin over the more nimble singles. Springsteen became very proficient on pavement, but the dated XRTT was not much help in GNC battles. He won a Battle of the Twins race in 1983 and was fifth at the 1986 Daytona 200 on a Yamaha. A perpetual fan favorite, Springsteen ran his last GNC events in 2003 but he is still a favorite at any vintage event he turns up at. We invite you to meet and talk with Jay Springsteen at Vintage Rally 2013 and check out his race bike in the new exhibit.