Moto Media

Finnish Legend – Heikki Mikkola

When it comes to the World of Motocross there is one man who stands head and shoulders above all men in Finland and that man was Heikki Mikkola.

Mikkola had raced against the best of his era and came away with four World Motocross Championships, even taming the great Roger De Coster in the 500cc Championship in 1974, 1977 and 1978. He also had a 250cc Championship in 1976 and picked up 34 Grand Prix victories. Mikkola was known for his toughness and consistency.

"Racing Motocross was a pleasure for me,” Mikkola said once. "The chance to race against guys like De Coster, and so many great riders. I know I was lucky to enjoy what I did, but I also know it took a lot of hard work and dedication. Motocross is not an easy sport, although for me it was often enjoyable and that was important. The people I met in this sport I will never forget, it was my pleasure to race against these guys.”

After a season-long battle with Roger De Coster, Mikkola won the World Grand Prix 500cc Championship in 1974, it would be the start of a love affair with the FIM World Motocross Championships that only ended at the end of 1979. At 34 years of age time had caught up with the legendary Fin. Despite an offer from Honda to race in the United States in 1975, Mikkola re-signed with Husqvarna. De Coster took the Grand Prix Championship with 12 wins that year, and Mikkola finished second with five wins.

In 1976, the Husqvarna factory asked Mikkola to return to the 250cc class to promote and increase public demand for the motorcycle. Mikkola agreed and won the 1976 World Grand Prix 250cc Championship and became the first rider to win both the 250cc and 500cc titles for the brand.

A year later, Mikkola signed with Yamaha and was immediately impressed by the attention given to his input and in the development of his race bike. He won the 1977 500cc World Grand Prix title and returned to defend his championship the following year. Mikkola won the 1978 U.S. Grand Prix in front of millions of Americans watching on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and went on to win the 1978 500cc World Grand Prix Championship title.

Mikkola having toughed it out with multiple injuries during the 1979 World Grand Prix Championship season and ranked fifth in the World Championship, Mikkola decided to retire from active racing. He took over the roll as Yamaha’s team manager for American Danny LaPorte and British rider Neil Hudson for one season (both would claim World Motocross Championships). After his racing career, he purchased a vegetable farm in the south of Finland. He and his family operated the farm and a market outside of Helsinki.

Heikki Mikkola can be considered the most successful Finnish Motocross racer of all time. During his 10-year career he won numerous Finnish national championships, a massive 32 Grand Prix’s and his four World titles. A legacy in the sport and one of the true legends of Motocross.

Heikki Mikkola career results;
  • 1969 250 cc Motocross World Championship – 14th (Husqvarna)
  • 1970 250 cc Motocross World Championship - 4th (Husqvarna)
  • 1971 250 cc Motocross World Championship - 4th (Husqvarna)
  • 1972 500 cc Motocross World Championship - 3rd (Husqvarna)
  • 1973 250 cc Motocross World Championship - 3rd (Husqvarna)
  • 1974 500 cc Motocross World Championship - 1st ([Husqvarna)
  • 1975 500 cc Motocross World Championship - 2nd (Husqvarna)
  • 1976 250 cc Motocross World Championship - 1st (Husqvarna)
  • 1977 500 cc Motocross World Championship - 1st (Yamaha)
  • 1978 500 cc Motocross World Championship - 1st (Yamaha)
  • 1979 500 cc Motocross World Championship - 5th (Yamaha)