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CHRONICLE OF THE GOOD RASCALS - The unusual adventures of José Pereira in motocross

José Pereira flying!


José Fonseca Pereira (24.05.1961), known in motorcycle racing as José Pereira, became famous in the 80s and 90s as a road racer, however his racing career had its roots in motocross in 1974! Until 1977, he regularly participated in events of this modality in the 50cc class, it is important to say that in an embryonic phase in our country, the events in question ("pirates" or non-championship) were normally disputed in 3 50cc sub-classes: 3, 4 and 5 speeds! So, in 1974, José Pereira and his father, the iconic Mr. Veríssimo Pereira, they went to Lourosa to watch a race, the father drove his own moped, while he was transported in an EFS (4 speeds) that a customer, from the workshop of Mr. Verissimo, lent him. During practice, Mr. Veríssimo was surprised when he was called to his attention by the fact that Zé was on the track mounted on the vehicle in which he was transported from home (completely on the road, tires included). Regardless of the love that father and son had for the modality (although until that day Zé had never taken a leap...) and that there were friends watching who understood that he should run, the 50$00 registration fee was an extra obstacle to which the humble family resources could not cope! The race delegate, the late Nani, realizing the difficulty, gave a free entry fee and, thus, allowed Zé to participate. There is no memory or record of the classification of this race, relevant is the fact that it marked the beginning of a very successful sporting career! His second participation was in a race in Valongo, where he won 3rd position riding a CASAL 50cc 5-speed. Initially I competed with road bikes that basically had a cross handlebar as preparation! Later, he was integrated into the team that was owned by Serafim Neves, in that formation he had a teammate, Bernardino Silva, and the bikes used, PUCH, were more in line with the practice of the modality. Thus, during this period, he achieved some important results, essentially in competitions held in greater Porto, mostly non-championships or “pirates”, despite having an FPM license since 1974. Zé's career in motocross lasted until 1977, when he started racing at road racing supported by Damião Torres.

More action with José Pereira, on the right in the left photo and on the left in the right photo


"The unusual happened at Estádio do Mar, Bernardino Silva, in the hospital, finishes in 4th place!"

The title above was published in a periodical (I think in AUTOMUNDO magazine). In that report, the journalist narrated the unusual episode that happened during a motocross race, organized by Silva Pinto, held at Estádio do Mar (Leixões). During the race, Bernardino Silva, Zé's teammate, suffered a fall and was transported to the hospital, mysteriously, according to the manual turn-by-turn (still far from the precision that transponders provide today), he ended up in 4th position. !!!... In fact, what happened:

  • at the beginning of the race, José Pereira had a contact with Abílio Fernando, which resulted, for Zé, in the withdrawal because the bike was in poor condition, the rider, despite having hit a tree and, according to him, having seen stars ( like in cartoons!), mingled with the audience to watch the competition;

  • in one of the following laps, Bernardino Silva suffered a fall, in the same place, having suffered injuries that took him to the hospital. His motorcycle, however, was in working order;

  • when Bernardino fell, Zé naturally rushed to his rescue and, once he went to the hospital, he couldn't resist the impulse of a young teenager full of courage and took his teammate's bike and ended the race , in the fourth position!!! Those responsible for the turn-by-turn identified the bike's number (Zé meanwhile threw away the dorsal that had his number) and the result was: unusual!

Interestingly, Zé would once again star in a very similar episode, but of which there is no journalistic record, in a race that took place in Pasteleira (Porto), where he watched as a spectator, having finished the race of another rider injured/hospitalized with the refinement of the do it equipped with the clothes that were on the body and with the helmet of the injured person!!! There is no memory of the final classification, it is only known that at the end of the race Zé disappeared!!! These episodes demonstrate the determination and will that the, at the time, young teenager José Pereira had, but also the amateurism, at that time, reigning that allowed these epic-hilarious stories to happen.

Another starting grid of a race and, on the right, Joaquim Lourenço Ferreira (the "Lourenço") well-known figure and father of José Ferreira who would later become prominent in the national road race scene

As there are no detailed photos of the PUCH that José Pereira used, I publish this one of a PUCH Cobra 75cc Motocross that would be identical, the main difference being the displacement.

Photos kindly provided by José Pereira


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