Courtesy of Youthstream Media
Swedish legend Thorsten Hallman is the first rider to capture the hearts of the motocross world with multiple world championships to his name. Winning the 37 Grand Prix’s in his career, and four world 250cc championships in 1962, 63, 66 and 67 Hallman was known as simply Mr. Motocross.
Hallman was also known for his great battles with another legend in Joel Robert. The two swapped championships throughout the early 1960’s until the early 1970’s, Hallman with his four and Robert winning six.
Hallman was born in 1939 in Uppsala, Sweden, a scenic university town about 50 miles north of Stockholm. Hallman’s father and older brother were both motorcycle racers.
The Hallman family built a small practice track on the farm where they lived. They often hosted many of the top Swedish racers, who would come to the farm when they were in the area to train on the practice track.
From a young age, Hallman would sneak his older brother’s bike out for a ride. Hallman’s first bike was a 100cc DKW, which he quickly wore out from riding so much. His father then moved young Hallman up to a Royal Enfield 125.
By the time Hallman entered his first competitive race, he was already a skilled rider. He won that first race and knew that he wanted to pursue a racing career.
“The results really lit a fire for motorcycle racing, and it became the one thing on earth to live for,” Hallman said in his book, Mr. Moto-cross, written in 1970.
Hallman’s big break came in 1957 when he won a major junior team race riding a Husqvarna. It was then that Bror Jauren, manager of Husqvarna’s racing team, gave Hallman the chance to become a factory-supported rider.
By the 1960s, Hallman was competing in the world championships. He would go on to win the 250cc motocross world title four times. As mentioned his battles with Belgium’s Joel Robert were considered some of the best in the history of the championships. Hallman might have won even more titles, but he was carrying more than a full plate. During the early-1960s, Hallman was a full-time university student and a full-time racer. In 1965, his senior year in college, the workload became heavy and Hallman had to back off on his racing and training schedule, yet he still managed to finish fourth in the world championships that year.
Hallman was also the original owner of THOR Racing products, after selling the company he continues to follow the THOR riders. Now retired in his homeland in Sweden Hallman visited the Grand Prix races on the odd occasion, and will never forget the sport that gave him so much pleasure.