A Life’s Work
It only took 35 years, but in 2007 he finally finished it; Terry Pratt published “Grand Prix Motocross: The 1972 World Championship Season,” a 241-page, two-and-a-half-pound coffee table tome filled with more than 300 gorgeous photographs accompanied by race reports and observations.
In this large format book, Pratt’s attention to detail shines. His viewpoints and curiosities about the sport, the technology and its characters make for an enriching read and a worthwhile history lesson on a remarkable time in racing. In 1972, the technology arms race between the factories shifted gears big time. Roger De Coster successfully defended his first 500cc crown and was on his way to earning the label “The Man”. Joel Robert won his sixth and final 250cc title. And several Americans, including Mark Blackwell, Bryan Kenney and Billy Clements competed in the 500cc class. Kenney, by virtue of a bizarre technicality announced a month after the race, scored the first championship point by an American in World Motocross GP racing. At the final round of the season, Clements became the second American to do it.
For 35 years it stayed in his head and he wanted to–had to–get it out. He gathered his notepads and race reports, his prints and negatives and finished the last leg of a journey he started in March 1972. With help from the “Cycle News” production department, Pratt finalized “Grand Prix Motocross”.
Nobody remembers the number of books published or sold. But Kathleen Conner, who worked in CN’s production department, remembers seeing the first proof of the book. The text came out of the manual typewriter that sat on Pratt’s desk. He printed the photos and cut and pasted them onto 9-in. x 12-in. pieces of paper.
“We had to retype everything and put it together digitally,” Conner said. “That guy was such a character.”
Pratt died in April 2012 and the book he left behind, that he spent over half his life making, was believed to be out of print and unavailable. Copies occasionally popped up on Amazon or eBay for far more than the original $39.95 retail price. In June of 2019, Terry’s unsold stock resurfaced and We Went Fast committed to finishing what Pratt started. Supply is limited and it will never be printed again.
If you want to know more about Terry and the story behind this incredible book, read “The Curious Life of Terry Pratt”