Intro by Scott Wallenberg
I first saw Carl Berggren ride in 1970 at my home track at Elkhorn Wisconsin. Carl was a Husqvarna factory rider who lived in Illinois.He also was the manager of the Torsten Hallman Racing Illinois facility.I called him the "King of Elkhorn" I watched him in awe as he won every local race I had ever seen him enter. I never saw him get beat at Elkhorn until Mark Blackwell did it at the 500cc support race at the Inter-Am. I attended a Motocross school that he and Lars Larsson put on at Elkhorn and I was a regular customer for the Torsten Hallman apparel as I "had" to dress just like the Swedish stars of the day. When I started winning on the local level with Monark, Carl generously offered me sponsorship for Torsten Hallman clothing and continued it through my AMA professional career. Here is a personal view from Carl regarding his relationship with Monark...
I actually rode my first MX race on a Monark in the summer of 1955. As you may remember, I had bikes from Husqvarna of Sweden in Lorain, Ohio for the 2-day Qualifiers as well as 6-days (ISDT) but if I was not asked by Husqvarna to ride in certain events, I was free to ride another brand and this is the reason I was on Monark a few times.
John Olsson from Inter-Trends who was the importer of Monark asked me if I wanted to ride in a 2 or 3-day event to be held in the Berkshires in Massachusetts October of 1972 as a trial run for the upcoming ISDT in the fall of 1973. Monark sent about 4 of their factory riders from Sweden over to get used to the terrain and test the bikes. These riders were all good friends from years back so I thought it would be good for me as well since I was to ride in the following years ISDT for Husqvarna.
I had just returned from a Gold Medal winning ride in the Czech ISDT on a Husqvarna and was eager to tackle the Berkshire Mountains however things didn't end well since I happened to find a big hole in a bog and only the top of the throttle grip was visible above the muddy water.
The 1972 Baja 1000
I had spent a lot of time in Baja when I worked for Husqvarna pre-running with other riders as well as organizing the various pit stops for the Husky Team as acting Team Manager and thereby had quite a good knowledge of the area. This was before there were any asphalt roads down into Baja and very few road signs so it was important to know the area.
John Olsson and Monark wanted to compete in the Mexican 1000 in November of 1972 with three 125cc and one 50cc. The reason for the 50cc was to try to promote Monark as well as their 50cc Schoolboy MX bike which was hugely popular in Sweden. They wanted to send 3 of their best riders over from Sweden and team them up with a few handpicked US riders and I was to ride the 50cc with their very experienced rider Bengt Gustafsson since they reasoned that we had enough smarts to baby this machine enough to bring it to La Paz.
John asked me to come out ahead of time and take the Swedish riders on a complete pre-run of the course so that they would be prepared for the race before the race bikes arrived in California. The 50cc was built up by Bengt at the Monark factory in Varberg using a 125cc ISDT bike as a base and fitting a slightly de-tuned 6-speed 50cc Sachs Road Race engine.
After our pre-run in Baja the race bikes arrived and Bengt and I spent several days trying to jet the engine fat enough to be able to run full throttle at all times. We had several seizures before we arrived at the correct jetting and we were ready for the start. Bengt rode the first half from the start in Mexicali to El Arco where I took over and rode it during the night to the finish in La Paz. It was an eventful ride which would take some time to explain but we brought it home in 6th place in the 125cc class and all involved were pleased!
John later during the winter asked me if I would be willing to ride the Mint 400 in Las Vegas on a specially prepared 125cc during the early part of 1973 which I accepted. I was partnered with Ron Stacey from the San Diego area and we had a decent showing during the Mint and ended up 3rd in the 125cc class.
For the 1973 season I was to ride all the ISDT events for Husqvarna and was not able to accept the offer from John Olsson for those type of events, so he asked me to help him find some riders qualified to ride in those events. I told him that I knew 2 riders in the Chicago area that I considered, not super fast for those type of events but experienced enough to ride steady and finish races so I contacted Stellan Tingstrom and Duane Broten and hooked them up with John. They both ended up riding the entire 1973 season on Monarks.