Jawa typ 558 (1961 350 Moto-cross)


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Pre 1955 Jawa moto-cross motorcycles

Although Jawa did not produce moto-cross motorcycles before 1954, many people were modifying the standard Jawa roadster for moto-cross. Apparently the Jawa model 11 made a pretty good motocrosser for it's time. In fact Gaston Sauteur rode his Jawa Springer to the 1954 Swiss moto-cross championship.

1955 Jawa 250 Works Moto-cross

Shown at left is the 1955 works Jawa 250 Moto-cross. This bike was prepared for Jaromir Cizek who by 1955 had already won two Czech moto-cross championships. There was no production Jawa moto-cross motorcycle at this time, and these bikes were based on the company's ISDT models.

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1955 Jawa 350 OHC Works Moto-cross

New for 55 was this works 350cc OHC motocrosser. The twin cylinder engine was similar to the production Jawa 500 OHC twin used in the Model 15.

1956 Jawa 500 OHC Works Moto-cross

Raced in 1956 by Jaromir Cizek to the Czechoslovak championship. The machine appears to use the 500 OHC twin from the Jawa model 15 roadster. This machine saw international competition in 1956 as Cizek used it to dominated a big international moto-cross meeting in Austria.

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Jawa typ 557

Jawa typ 557 (1957 250cc Moto-cross)

Jawa's first production moto-cross bike. The typ 557 & 558 (350cc) were based on the ISDT machines. They featured increased power and lighter weight over the ISDT models (250cc = 276 LB, 350cc=298 LB), and had close ratio transmissions. These Jawa’s were also raced very successfully in the late 50’s & early 60’s by American racers Walt Axthelm, Joe Bolger, Bill Messer, Kenny Clark, and Bill Chabot. Jawa’s won the 250 class at the Tacate Grand Prix 1959 through 1961, and first lightweight in the 1960 Big Bear Run.

Jaromir Cizek & Jawa, 1958 Coup d' Europe champion

In 1958 Jaromir Cizek hit the road and totally dominated the European 250cc moto-cross championship (Coup d' Europe). Cizek won 9 Grand Prix in his way to the title. His Jawa, while appearing just like the production typ 557 250cc motocrosser, was in fact very special. It featured a short stroke engine (70mm bore x 64.5mm stroke) which was top secret at the time. Compared to the long stroke production engine this engine produced  more power and was quicker revving. Strangely Jawa never incorporated the short stroke design into their production moto-cross 250, but this bore and stroke configuration did resurface in the 250 banana frame ISDT bike of 1964.

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1958 Jawa 250  OHC prototype

Jawa developed this 4-stroke motocrosser in 1958. It was raced in the Polish GP by Jaromir Cizek (after he had already clinched the title). Cizek only managed a 5th place on the 4-stroke. The engine utilized a 4-stroke top end mated to the standard 2-stroke bottom end. The bike proved to be too heavy and under powered and the development was halted.

Jawa typ 579/01 (1963 250cc Moto-cross)

The Jawa 579/01 was the next development of the production moto-crosser. It was also Jawa’s last production moto-cross bike. It was produced in small numbers from 1963 to 1965 along with the 350cc version (typ 575/01). These bikes featured a totally new frame design unlike the Jawa road or ISDT bikes of the past. This model was lighter than the typ 557 it replaced at 254 LB.

Jawa typ 579/01

1964 Jawa Factory Moto-cross

1964 250cc Works Jawa Moto-cross

The radical Jawa banana frame was designed and developed by chief Jawa engineer Jan Krivka in mid 1963. The photo at left shows the 1964 version which was raced by Vlastimil Valek and Peter Dobry in the 250cc GP’s that year. This bike featured a cassette gearbox which could be slid out the right side with the engine still in the frame. Likewise the crank shaft could be slid out the left side. The engine had a single exhaust port which emptied into two expansion chambers? Valek finished 7th in the final GP standings for 1964, down from 2nd the year before, it was definitely a development year for the banana frame. Image courtesy of "Offroad Review". Learn more about the 1964 works Jawa, click here.

1965 250cc Works Jawa Moto-cross

Raced only by Valek in 1965 the above bike was improved over the 64 version. Valek finished 6th in the world and won his home GP on this bike while still developing the machine. It was the British press that gave the bike the name banana, referring to it as the "flying banana" when it first appeared.

1965 Jawa Factory Moto-cross

1966 Jawa Factory Moto-cross

1966 402cc Works Jawa Moto-cross

In 1966 Valek moved to the 500 GP’s with this 402cc version of the banana frame. He finished 4th in the final standings. 1966 was the last year for the banana frame, Jawa switched to a dual down tube design in 67. Learn more about the 1966 works Jawa, click here.

1967 402cc Works Jawa Moto-cross

The dual down tube bike of 1967. Valek is shown racing the bike at the British GP at Farleigh Castle. The bike was still 402cc. This picture courtesy of "Offroad Review".

1967 Jawa Factory Moto-cross

1968 Jawa Factory Moto-cross

1968 420cc Works Jawa Moto-cross

A 420cc version is shown, Jawa also experimented with a 486cc version which proved too powerful. There was also a 507cc version which was raced in the short lived FIM cup series for 750cc class moto-crossers.

1969 420cc Works Jawa Moto-cross

Jaroslav Homola finished 10th in the 500cc world standings on this 420cc Jawa in 1969. Learn more about the 69 420 works Jawa, click here.

1969 Jawa Factory Moto-cross

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1970 420cc Works Jawa Moto-cross

For 1970 a high mounted expansion chamber was added to the 420cc Moto-cross. The 420 had little success in 1970, as no Jawa rider places in the top ten of the world 500cc standings.

1971 420cc Works Jawa Moto-cross

At right Jiri Stodulka leading Adolf Wiel at the 1971 Luxembourg GP. The 420 works Jawa featured a radial fin head and the low pipe had returned. Stodulka had no great results on the works Jawa in 71, he had more success when he switched to CZ a year later.

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Stodulka's 71 works bike at the 1999 Classic Moto-cross des Nations, picture courtesy Andrew Johnstone.

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Picture courtesy Mario Milano

A special thanks to Jan Liljedahl for the picture of Peter Dobry used in this section.
Also thank you to
Jim Van Sluys for the picture of the 1958 Jawa 250 OHC prototype.