But in 1969, Heikki won his first major Grand Prix victory, in the presence of a large home-crowd. And from that moment on there was no stopping him. Victories in Switzerland and Austria followed and all the while he, at that time, was still an independent rider, with as only help the promise that he could buy the parts at a reduced cost.
To our question if Heikki Mikkola has ever ridden a road-race, he replies: 'Not one single metre, although a few times and with fairly good success, I have taken part in the Päjänne Rally'. (The Päjänne rally is, just as the Swedish Novemberkassan, one of the hardest races which are ridden outside the official European motocross and road-racing circuits. The race owes its name to the Finnish lake, around which the circuit has been routed. Lorry mechanic Heikki Mikkola’s dream, which he’d had since 1964, came true in 1970.
The following years the pattern of 1970 kept on repeating. Already at the end of January 1971, he got ready to hit the road (and to Heikki ‘hitting the road’ doesn’t just mean loading the bikes, but also wife Kaija and later on daughter Hanna, who was born in 1971). He began, very early in the season, with a race in Belgium, which is the leading country of the motocross enthusiasts and where he is the most popular foreigner with truly, thousands of supporters. He is aware, more than most other foreign riders, of the peculiarities of the Belgian and Dutch circuits. In 1971, he again came fourth at the world championships, after victories in the Netherlands and Finland.
In 1973, he came third after a fierce struggle with the Maico veteran Adolf Weil. Winning the American summer series that same year was a great consolation since he hadn’t