Paul Gardalen, #0
I started riding when I was about 5 years old. I began racing motocross at age 11 and raced my first YSR race in 1987 at the age of 21. My first big bike race was in 1991 at IRP in Indianapolis IN.

I hooked up with a mechanic at the local Kaw/Suz shop who raced big bikes. Rick Bullock somewhat took me under his wing and helped me with the big bike stuff and also helped me get back into the YSR racing in 1989.

I owned a YSR in 1987 and then traded it in on a big bike because nobody was into racing them anymore. Then when Rick and the guys started racing in Marshalltown again, I had to hunt up another YSR.

In the good old days, we raced and rode the YSRs stock except for the race tires and a fork spring kit. A few of us got fancy and bought the Ohlins shocks for the rear, otherwise the bikes were bone stock. I have never had so much fun. We used to run into each other and lean on each other and basically give everyone who raced a hard time both on the track and off.

The YSR racing was a great benefit for me when I started racing the big bikes. I was going to race my GSXR, but once I threw a leg over a TZ250, I was hooked. I bought a 1988 TZ250 and started racing. I had a bit of a rough start until I figured out the proper tire combos, but once I got on to the TZ, I was almost unbeatable in the novice ranks. I have to attribute my quick success to the YSR racing I did. Rick and I continued to race the TZs and the YSRs for several years.

I got a 1992 TZ250 in 1993 and raced a couple more seasons and then parted ways with the big bike racing. Rick did the same and then he also quit racing the YSRs. I continued to race YSRs and have not stopped since I started. I raced my original YSR stock until about 1993 or 1994 when I ran onto a good deal on some hop-up parts. I also hooked up with Tony Tice and bought the YSR From Hell from him in about 1993 or 1994. It had a air cooled 1979 YZ125 motor in it and I raced it occasionally until I sold the stocker to buy a CR500 for some dirt recreation. The YSR From Hell has been transformed into the YSR I currently race with the 1987 YZ250 motor in it.

Thanks to Tony Tice coming back to Iowa in 1999 the interest in YSR racing and the interest in highly modified YSR racing has surged to new heights. I don't want to sound like a blowhard, but I think that in the mid 1990's I was probably one of the fastest YSR racers in the country. Calamari came out once and the Marshalltown locals showed them a thing or three. The rider that Calamari called the finest YSR racer in the country didn't do so well here. I raced my totally stock (except for the suspension and tires) YSR against his Superbike 60cc YSR and he only beat me by about 10 feet. A victory for me as far as I was concerned. I raced the old air cooled YZ125 YSR against his 80cc GP YSR and totally smoked him. I was nearly 1/4 of a lap ahead at the finish.

I have since lost a bit of my edge, but my skills are still quite good and I have a ton of track time on both theYSRs and the big bikes. Sometimes track savvy is better then being a great rider, or a fearless one.

It has been a fun journey with the YSR racing. Having raced for 11 or 12 years, I have seen many come and go, but thankfully Tony keeps coming back. It is fun for us old timers to teach the younger riders what we know and it is a challenge to maintain the edge it takes to stay fast.

updated 11/17/02