|The 1982 Houston MXTT–The Rider Files|
|Written by Larry Lawrence|
ld timers who’ve been around the AMA Grand National Championship for decades still talk about it. That night in the Houston Astrodome in 1982 when motocross racer Steve Wise entered the Houston TT National and rocked the house.
Wise was a leading Honda factory motocross and Supercross rider of the late 1970s, but the friendly Texan might have gone down in history as a memorable, but injury-prone motocross and Supercross racer had it not been for ABC’s Wide World of Sports Superbikers. The Superbikers was a nationally televised forerunner of modern day Supermoto racing. Wise exploded onto TV sets across the country in a big way, winning the 1980 and 1981 Superbikers against some of the most talented fields of riders ever assembled. He instantly became one of the best-known motorcycle racers in America.
So impressive was Wise on the pavement in the Superbikers that Honda asked him if he’d like to try roadracing. And, guess what? He excelled at that, as well. So it was only natural that someone at Honda thought why not go for the trifecta and enter Wise in the Houston TT, the opening weekend of the 1982 AMA Winston Pro Series. Wise said, “Why not?” Honda mounted some 19-inch wheels and dirt-track tires and slapped the regional number 8N on Wise’s Honda CR480R two-stroke motocross bike. Off to the Astrodome they went.
It was miserably cold in Houston on that early February night and the plan almost fell apart before it even started, Wise remembers. “I was sick as a dog and almost didn’t even show up to the Astrodome. I only got one lap of practice I was so sick. I qualified 34th and I think they only took 40 riders.”