The Lone Wolf
Four times World Champion Motocross
1974, 1977 & 1978 (500cc) and 1976 (250cc)
Jan-Willem van Essen (born 1961) Zeist, the Netherlands
The first time I saw Heikki Mikkola "live" at work was in 1974, during the Grand Prix motocross 500cc in Markelo, the Netherlands. I was at the age of 13 and from that moment on Heikki was my greatest idol. I continued to follow his results accurately and cut out all the reports from the motorbike-magazines. In the course of years I have collected a lot of material, but I thought to be a sin that no one else could enjoy it. For this reason I decided to publish this material as much as possible by means of the Internet to show the real motocross fans across the world what a marvellous rider Heikki Mikkola in his time was (and as for as I'm concerned still is).
My "motocross career":
After I destroyed several mopeds on the motocross-track, like almost all beginning motocross riders, I really started in 1974 riding on a 50cc Gebben-Kreidler. Unfortunately it broke down nine times out of 10, so it was not that big a hit.
12 years old and busy to destroy a
In Garderen (Gld), on a Gebben-Kreidler.
In 1976, I got a second-hand Yamaha YZ125 Monocross from my parents. On this bike I really learned how to ride motocross. A complete good bike hardly went broke down. In 1977, I became member of the KNMV league and started to ride national races, in which I could get a lot of experience.
Yamaha YZ125 Monocross.
In 1978, I bought my first new motocross-bike, a Suzuki RM125B. To be able to ride more races I changed to the GeLimBra league, which is now named The Motor Organisation of the Netherlands (MON).
In 1979, I tested my luck with a Honda 125cc Elsinore. A very good machine, entirely red (also the engine). From that moment on the results improved seriously.
In Maurik 1979, on a Honda CR125cc Elsinore.
In 1980 I promoted to the senior class in the MON. In the same year I switched to a 125cc KTM with which I became fifth in 1981 in the Dutch championship inters/senioren.
On the left the 1980 KTM 125cc and on the right (in Leusden) on the 1981 KTM 125cc.
In 1982, I returned to the KNMV league and I chose for the 250c class, also on a KTM. I started at the juniors class (nationals) in group B. Driving went good, I think the summit was my victory in Heerlen, on a hard circuit with many difference in heights. In 1983, I went up to the seniors, after again a victory in Heerlen.
In Leusden, on the 1982 KTM 250cc.
On the left it's the winning bike from Heerlen 1982. Due a collective fall my team mate Wilfried de Bree pull out a cooling fin.
Victory in Heerlen 1982, on the 1982 KTM 250cc.
The liquid cooled 1983 KTM 250cc.
In Budel 1983.
1983, in Leusden the battle explode in the senior class. Number 4 it is my oldest brother Eric
and number 3 it's my younger brother Alex.
Eric is already gone, Alex and myself (22) are
in front too.
It went quite well during my first race for the Dutch championship 250cc at the inters/senioren. In the first heat I became 20th, but in the second heat I won a 9th place. Later that year I took part in several races in the super class (250cc and 500cc inters/senioren in one group). This is the reason I can say that I stood among the starting grid with Gerrit Wolsink, Gerard Rond and Kees van der Ven.
Unfortunately I could not finish the season 1984 due to the lack of funds and in 1985 I changed to the 500cc nationals.
In 1984 in the KNMV senioren/inters 250/500cc league, still on KTM.
With my brother Eric (former GP-rider, who did finish his career) we won several races and we take part in an international race in Poland. Nevertheless halfway 1986 the budget was really gone and the day after an international race in Hungary I brought back the bike to Gert Brouwer Motors, at Zwartebroek and "hung my helmet in the willows".
I never had any regrets about the abrupt stopping of my career; I have seen it all. And with a lot of pleasure I can look back about.
In 1985 on a liquid cooled KTM 500cc.
In Hungary (Kiskunlachaza) 1986, my last race of all.
Now I amuse myself with my motorbike and love to drive journeys in Germany with as much as possible winding roads. I plan those routes on the computer. Success insured! So far my motocross career in bird's-eye flight.
I conclude this part with to tell you I have been married since 1987 with Jacqueline (birth 1960). We have two children, our son Maikel (birth 1990) and our daughter Bianca (birth 1995). I hope all readers of this website about Heikki Mikkola enjoyed it.
With sport-loving regards,
Jan-Willem van Essen.