Vital MX Insider: Thor's 40th Anniversary Celebration

Back in 1966, four-time World Champion Torsten Hallman was among a group of European riders who came to the U.S. to race and help Edison Dye promote the sport of motocross, and Husqvarna motorcycles. During that trip he swept 17 out of 17 races, and helped plant the seeds of the sport here in the U.S.

Back then, good riding gear was nearly impossible to find here, and Torsten suddenly discovered that he had an additional way to supplement his income; by importing the gear to the U.S. “I had some nice Swedish-made clothing like gloves and goatskin leather pants, and boots. At that time, Swedish riders were dominating, so they had several companies making accessories. So when I came over here I had all these nice things, with protection on my hands and on my feet and knees, and I was completely overwhelmed with questions, “How can we get these things?  So this is how it started.” As the demand grew, Torsten was bringing in larger and larger quantities of gear, and Torsten Hallman Racing, Inc., was set up in San Diego, midway through 1968. To hear Torsten describe it, at that time nearly every rider on the line would be wearing Hallman gear.

Torsten Hallman and Thor's Bob Maynard
Torsten Hallman (left) and Thor's Bob Maynard.

Over the years, they dealt with increased competition, and a transition from leather racing gear to the nylon more commonly used these days. Bob Maynard also joined the company, buying out some of Torsten’s original partners. They also changed the name of the company from the original Hallman name to Thor. Bob Maynard explained, ““We were trying to find a shortening for Hallman to get a catchier name like our competitors JT, Fox, DG, FMF,” Maynard said.  The word Torsten actually means ‘the son of Thor’ (Thor being the Viking God of Thunder).  When the new name was originally presented, the wording “Torsten Hallman Original Racewear” was put under the THOR logo, before being completely deleted.

In the early 90s, the company needed more product, and more capitol to work with, so they began searching for an investor. That deal concluded in 1993, when they were sold to Parts Unlimited.

Over the years they’ve continued to be one of the major apparel brands, have experienced excellent growth, and over the years they’ve been the gear of choice for many champions…all of which brings us up to the present.

Thor recently held a 40th anniversary celebration, and the location chosen for the event, the Primm MX Collection (, was perfect. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, picture a warehouse filled to capacity with showroom-quality examples of nearly every bike made between the early 70s and today. There are also vintage race bikes (including some works machines), gear, posters, helmets, and more.

The Primm MX Collection
The Primm MX Collection is a fascinating place.

For riders who’ve been around a while, there’s plenty of, “I rode one of those,” or, “I wore that gear.” But if you’re lucky enough to walk around a bit of it with someone like Ricky Johnson (as we did), and listen to him bench race about some of the bike (Johnny O’s 125 GP-winning Mugen is RJ’s favorite), it becomes even more fascinating. RJ also pointed out a row of bikes ridden by Jeff Ward throughout his career, starting with a very trick XR75 Honda, saying, “I raced against that…and that…and that…” He continued on, until he worked his way through nearly all of Jeff’s full-sized race machines.

We spent a couple hours there, but could have spent much more time wandering the aisles. There’s that much to see. While your significant other might not be as impressed as you would be, all we can say is, if you have a chance to go there, do it. Be sure to check out the photo gallery (the link is above), and videos to get a feel for what the Primm MX Collection and Thor’s 40th Anniversary were all about.

If you want to talk about anything you've read, seen or watched in here, you can do it in the Vital MX Forums.


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