Motocross for Gilera and Maico (1980)

1980. Entrance of foreign brands on spanish market. Spanish runner-up on  125 cc

That was a time of great labor unrest in Spain, and Montesa’s racing department also suffered the effects of a long two-month strike that paralyzed production factory Esplugues. Early in the season is rumored to be Muñoz in a foreign team, but the desire of Montesa is to continue with him as first pilot, and even the sports media ensure that Muñoz signed in January after visiting the Montesa factory. Explain Merlos at number 60 of Moto Verde magazine that Montesa bounce comes from the fact that Muñoz was always demanding improvements to his bike, and the number of riders of Montesa was so great that often Randy’s requests were not met. The decline of the Spanish motorcycle industry forced many pilots to a real pilgrimage from importer to importer.

1980 – Montesa’s workers demonstration in the starting line of the Montesa Trophy Race

For Bultaco things are not going better. Suspended payments in February and although a commission of workers try to refloat the brand, Bultaco closes down in 1983 . Bultaco’s team is already racing history. Toni Elias tries to race for Yamaha but eventually must settle for a Derbi 125 and still doesn’t know what bike is going to race at 250.

In most of Europe the premier motorcycle class is 500 cc, but in Spain the brands have little interest in this category and RFME (Spanish Motorcycle Federation) had not much note these bikes. For the first time creates three drivers titles and divided among the three categories: 125, 250 and 500 cc. Resolutions to allow each pilot to dispute two categories and one of them should necessarily be 250, so this becomes still the «queen» of the Spanish motocross, because there were all «super» pilots were racing. The big question would be if there were enough pilots to fill all starting grids and agreed to establish a minimum premium of departure and increased the awards and for pilots who won both races.

In February, it is official the transfer of Randy by Maico in categories 250 and 500 cc. thanks to brothers Moreno de Carlos. Maico is one of the most competitive bikes of the time, and participate in the championship of Spain with a strictly series competition motorcycle with some improvement. Fernando take part in the first race of the championship in the 250cc VII Motocross villa de Mollet where the circuit is a terrible slippery mud puddle and was falling away from the top in the first set, but got a third in the second. He is very satisfied with his first touchdown, liking the engine, chassis and suspension of 310 mm equipped by the Maico.

1980-Mollet is a slippery mud puddle

Muñoz appears unexpectedly with a Gilera in the V Motocross de Jerez «Trofeo Fundador» 125 cc  race when still he is not binded by any contract with the Italian factory not registers a motorcycle brand in the inscription of the race. Is it incompatible to run 500 cc and 125 championships simultaneously, but the removal of 500 cc race of Salamanca and San Sebastian and the rumors that were going to be more races to follow the same steps motivate Muñoz to inscribe, and other drivers also to 125 cc at the last moment. According to his own declarations to the Motociclismo Magazine (# 650 March) «I wanted to see what happened to each Championship, and at the same time had some problems with my bikes, which until last moment I would know what engine to run. It is for this reason that I signed up for the three categories, obviously intending to give to the Club all kinds of justification for my situation. «Muñoz wins both races with ease, despite brand new motorcycle and Gilera is qualified of «amazing» and the victory of the pilot as «overwheming» by the press.

The second scoring championship of Spain 125cc competition takes place a week later in Ibi (Alicante) and both the first and second set Muñoz is in second position, which maintains the lead in the overall championship and the second 250 cc Motocross is the Esplugues XVI celebrated on March 23th.

Maico unexpectedly breaks a week before his relationship with Muñoz considering that has breaked his contract and the pilot must return their motorcycles and finds a Honda is left in trainings by the pilot Luis Sánchez, resigned to be absent in the career. At the last minute, the night before the race, reached an agreement with the German firm and participates in the race with his Maico, which traveled all night from Madrid to arrive in time to Esplugues, near of Barcelona. Motul also debuts as new sponsor and Pirelli provides a tyre especially designed for sand since Esplugues incorporates a new area in a Belgian style, and according to Fernando, also gives very good results on clay. The track is in perfect condition and is third in the first race and won the second.

On April 6th, the third race of the 125cc championship in Cullera is disputed and is third in the first race and second in the second, which continues in second position in the overall scores.

The GP of Spain in the Vallès circuit again opens the world season of 250 cc and only five Spanish riders get involved. The great favorite among them is Muñoz, in its sole international participation in this season. Randy had managed to finish seventh last year, but Arcarons became the best Spanish test pilot, reaching a eleventh place. Muñoz is classified in nineteenth position.

The third race of the championship of Spain 250cc takes place on April 20th in the circuit of the Rosaca de Tajunya Armuña of Guadalajara and bad luck was on the side of Muñoz, pricking in the first round and unsuccessful in the second , ranking relegated to fifth place. He is fourth in the overall scores.

In the fourth race of the 250cc championship on April 27th  in Burgos also there was no luck Randy, just 7th in the first race and 3rd in the second. Ahead of him are going Elias, Arcarons and Ribo in the overall standings.

On May 11th, the fourth round of the 125cc championship in Manresa is disputed and Muñoz convinces his Gilera being ranked in second place in both races. The disqualification of Toni Elías’ brother, Jordi, racing «home» for alleged irregular behavior takes almost a squarrel battle between the spectators, which told off Elias brothers, and an altercation between Muñoz and mechanic Muñoz Collado, with Jordi Elias and his followers after the maneuver that cost the disqualification. The versions differ according to who explains in El Mundo Deportivo that speaks clearly Jordi took him off the track and therefore saw the black flag, but in any case Randy fell in the first round and lost any winning option. In the second set also reached the second place.

Controversy was also present in the fifth round of the 125cc championship and the mud made almost impracticable the track. Muñoz was the only driver to get no help as he was racing. His team drawn a complaint against Elias, but the race direction decided that under the rules should disqualify all drivers except Muñoz, and so was refused. Again the mud is the element of Randy and scores in second place in the first race, and wins the second set because Elias broke his Derbi engine due to the accumulation of mud.

On June 15th, both Elias and Muñoz took part in the Italian motocross Grand Prix 125cc. The Elias’ Derbi breaks the engine again, while Muñoz finishes 15 in the first set and 32nd in the second.

On June 29th, races the Burgos International Motocross in the circuit San Isidro that does not score for the championship of Spain, but brings together the best riders in the spanish championship. Muñoz scores fourth in the first set and wins the second.

In motocross Figueres which takes place on July 6th, scoring to the 25o cc championship of Spain, Muñoz wins for the first time with the Maico scoring second place in both races and  reaches the third position in the overall classification.

The penultimate race of 250 is held in Vitoria, and Muñoz goes very well in the first set finishing in second position. Also makes another great start in the second set but must stop to place the spark plug cap which has lost its spring twice and eventually leaves the race. Continued third in the overall scores in the Spanish championship.

The GP of Spain World Cup 125 cc Montgai held on August 17th awakened new hopes to Muñoz scoring second in the second race for several laps before leaving as a fifth to slam his Gilera gear box. It is his last great performance in the World. As Pepe Muñoz recalls, Gaston Rahier had the official125 two-cylindrer Gilera not well developed and FIM forbids two-cylinder engines for next year, so Gilera leaves the project. Fernando insists and tests a twin-cylinder in the practise. At the end of the rounds, seeing the timesheets Rahier Munoz demands the return of the bike without appeal.

On September 7th, it is the last race of the championship of Spain 250cc in Colmenar Viejo (Madrid). Scores second in the first set, but must leave the second when the engine breaks down, which proclaims champion Arcarons. Elias is runner-up and Muñoz is third .

On September 9th the «Moto-Ice» season opens at FC Barcelona ice-skating rink to benefit the TT team involved in the ISDE in Bioude (France), as they can not cover the costs of the world championship race. Fernando Muñoz starts the race with other great motocross riders but can’t get any results of interest.

In Castellón, penultimate round of the 125cc season, nothing is yet decided, Elias and Muñoz are disputing the title. To counteract the force of Elias, Gilera lends Muñoz again the water cooled machine that let Rahier win the World Cup. The bike runs perfectly, but a puncture resigns Muñoz in the first set the third place while Elias looses the fuel tank, and in the second set Muñoz flies solo to victory. Muñoz now leads the championship provisionally and title may be decided in the last race.

The final race takes place in Solsona, in the circuit which opens for the occasion and bad luck returns to Muñoz. In the first race Muñoz runs two seconds ahead of Elias and stops for the second round. The Gilera has broken the piston. At two laps to go, Muñoz enters back into the race with a new engine in his motorcycle, but the effort is futile. In the second race Muñoz flies in the rain and wins, but not enough to be crowned champion of Spain.

Life brings him a wonderful gift, his newborn daughter Alicia. Fernando and Pepi have two children.