Raiders Of the Archives: Damon Huffman

Damon Huffman Talks Conventional Forks and 125 National Wins

Damon Huffman needs no introduction; the lanky former World Supercross champion is known the moto world over for his great style and blazing speed. Now retired from professional MX and serving with the Los Angeles Police Department, Huffman doesn’t ride as much as he used to, but he still has fond and vivid memories of his successful career. In this installment of Raiders Of The Archives, Damon talks us through an old photo of him from his 125cc two-stroke days. We’ll let Officer Huff Daddy take it from here:

Here’s the story behind my first 125cc National Motocross win: In 1994, Suzuki came out with these conventional forks for our factory bikes. At Hangtown—where this photo was taken—we basically threw the new forks on during practice day (back then, we had practice on Friday at the nationals). So, we bolted up these conventional forks, which felt a little to me like backwards progress since everything was going to upside-down forks and conventional forks weren’t exactly new technology. The Hangtown track that day was rough, choppy, chattery, and hard-packed. Surprisingly, the conventional forks were unbelievable! With all that small chop just going into corners and down straightaways, the front end soaked it all up. So, we were like, “Let’s run ‘em!”

Damon Huffman always had great style on the bike
Damon Huffman surprised a lot of people with his charge to the front at Hangtown.Photo Courtesy of Dirt Rider Archives

I ended up racing with them on my 125, and I won the overall on Sunday. That was my first 125 National win. I think I passed Steve Lamson early in the second moto; if memory serves, he won the first moto, which makes sense since he was kind of a local boy from that area. In the second moto, I just took off and went around him. I remember in the TV coverage, Mike Gosselaar—who was Lamson’s mechanic at the time at Factory Honda—was interviewed mid-race. He was like, “Yeah, you know, Huffman’s going to get tired here pretty soon, and Steve’s going to pass him.” I didn’t get tired, and Steve never managed to catch me!

The RM125 race bike with its conventional fork.
Huffman leads two red fenders. He and Suzuki had a good day.Photo Courtesy of Dirt Rider Archives

So, that’s the story behind the conventional forks. They were just unreal. I ran them the rest of the outdoor season. I think that Greg Albertyn experimented with the fork for Supercross, and we ended up running them for part of 1995 as well. I’m not sure what happened with the old conventional fork after that, but it sure worked well for me that day at Hangtown!