I think the Victor was a '69, though it might have been a '70. Or maybe it was a left-over '69, and my brother bought it in '70. In any case, he bought it brand-new, and it was the race bike which replaced the Hornet. I think Jeff Smith's continued success on a Victor made him feel vindicated in his disdain of 2-strokes. He raced the bike 'til '72 or '73, but never really had any success with it though, like the Hornet, he copped a few First 4-Stroke honors. It was his swan song in racing and, considering his love of 4-strokes, it's hard to imagine a better mount for him.
The above pic is the only photo I've got of an actual bike of my brother's, and that's him riding it. The occasion was an local amateur ice race years after he had given up racing on a regular basis. My best guess is that it was taken somewhere between '75 and '78.
I never did ride the 441 all that much, mainly because I could never master the starting drill, so I couldn't sneak rides when he wasn't at home. };-) However, it was a sweet bike to ride, and relatively competitive against the 2-strokes in scrambles and enduro. Or more so than was the Hornet, in any case.
Favorite memory; watching a semi-pro racer who was a friend of my brother's ride the bike at our house one day. This guy was really good, and could ride a wheelie like nobody's business.. he did some blocks long monos! And we had a nice little jump out back, right beside an apple tree that was perhaps 15 feet tall at that time. The dude took the jump dozens of times that day, feeling it out and getting progressively more crazy. I'll never forget the sound when he landed.. "Ker-WHUMP!" ..the shocks completely bottomed. His philosophy was "Once they're bottomed, they don't get no more bottomed" and, in the end, we could see the top of the tree under the Victor's wheels! Granted we were standing at the bottom of the jump, while the tree was up on top, so this was an optical illusion due to the angle from whitch we were watching. But this guy was getting some serious air, nevertheless. Especially considering the Victor's primitive suspension!
<next series of bikes>
<return to bike index>