Short Interview with Jon Ekerold
von Ben Looijen

1. What are you doing at this moment? (work and living)
I am semi retired, but I run a small MX team mainly for my 3 youngest sons. We compete in the German international MX Masters series in the Junior and Youngster cups, as well as the German Championships.
2. How did you start motorsport, what was your inspiration?
I became interested in racing through my uncle who raced cars. He wanted me to race 4 wheels but I was more interested in 2. I started racing when I was 21 years old. Quite a late start by todays standards.
3. What was your first GP and which year was that?
My first GP was the 1975 Austrian 350 GP. I finished 2nd behind the Japanese Yamaha works rider, Hidio Kanaya. I was entered on my private TZ machine so it was quite a good result I think.
4. I remember the early eighties, you where battling with Toni Mang in many races
Can you tell us more about this?
Yes, Toni was my main rival at this time. He was riding the works Kawasaki tandem twins, which were far superiour to anything I had available to me at the time. Luckily, I received a lot of help from some very good tuners, mainly Helmut Fath and Harald Bartol, so we were able to get our TZ pretty competitive.
5. On which Dutch international race do you have the best memory?
My first interenational win was in the 250 event in Hengelo, so I suppose that one stands out in my memory. It was also the reason I got my first sponsorship deal from the Dutch firm,  Opstalan, in Oisterwijk. Without their support I doubt whether I would have ever won a world title.
6. Which current rider at your time did you most respect?
All the top riders I suppose. I canīt really single one out.
7. What was the most nasty experience in your career?
Any time I lost a friend in the sport, like Tom Herron and Oliver Chevalier. It was a very dangerous at the time and a lot of very nice people lost their lives.
8.  How many persons existed your team in that time and who where they?
For the first 3 years in Europe I was alone. I prepared and raced my machines myself. I then employed a mechanic, and the year I won the title in 1980 I had 2 mechanics. It was a great luxury.
9. You may post 3 photo's in this interview, which are they and why?
I donīt have any photoīs of myself. I havenīt kept anything from that time as I am not a very sentimental person.
10. What did you do after finishing your GP Career?
I started a Yamaha motorcycle dealership in South Africa, which I then sold to my brother as I soon found I wasnīt cut out to sit in an office all day. .I then bought a farm where I bred race horses. In 1994, when the new government took over in South Africa, I decided to move back to Europe. I have lived in Germany since then.
11. Do you still have contact with other GP riders at your time?
12. Do you watch the GP's at this moment?
No, I simply donīt have the time. Most weekends we are at a MX meeting, so I never get to see any GP racing.
13. In Holland we have a racefan, his nickname is "roadracing Toni" he is collecting parts from old national and international
riders like helmets, boots, gloves, pistons, cranks, wheels etera. Do you have a (little) present for him?
Unfortunately, as I have already explained, I didnīt keep any stuff from my racing years. I am sorry I canīt be more helpful.
14. Is it possible that we see you back in classicraces which are very popular at this moment?
No. I havenīt riden a motorcycle on the road since my retirement in 1983 so I would probably fall off on the first corner (LOL)
15.  At least, what would you say to your old racefans
Thanks for the memories. Without the fans there wouldnīt have been any racing. Those were great times.

Jon Ekerold
The Privateer