Czechoslovakia’s National Arms Factory diversified into motorcycle manufacture in 1929 when company founder Frantisek Janacek obtained the rights to a design from the German Wanderer factory, combining the first two letters of each of the names to create the ‘Jawa’ marque. Jawa’s operations were combined with those of erstwhile rivals CZ in 1949, and throughout the succeeding two decades the marque’s main claim to fame was an outstanding run of success in the ISDT and in international moto-cross. The Sixties would be the marque’s glory days in the latter, commencing with Vlastimil Valek’s runner up spot in the 250cc World Championship for CZ in 1963. Joel Robert became the Czech manufacturer’s first World Champion the following year and Victor Arbekov its second in 1965, while Paul Friedrichs took the World 500cc honours in 1965, ’66 and ’67 riding the 360cc CZ.
In 1968 Jawa offered a works 420cc motocross bike which was raced with notable success at events across Europe. In 1969 they also produced a handful of larger 486cc engined versions based on the 420 model, however the increase in capacity and power proved too much for many riders who found the smaller engined machine more tractable and easier to control, as such the 500cc bike was discontinued.
It is unknown how many of the larger bikes were made, or how many have survived, this example has the engine number P500-95 suggesting that there were at least 95 examples.
We are unsure of when this extremely rare motocross Jawa was purchased for the collection and from where, probably from Eastern Europe on one of Don Hitchcock’s numerous competition adventures, it is however one of the more unusual bikes in the collection and is most worthy restoration project. Having been laid up for many years the bike remains in barn find condition but is appears to be complete.