It was the year 1964, the place was The Hague, Netherlands and the location was the workshop of Van Anrooy at the Loosduinsekade. Two young man were developing a monoposto HvB race car. Han van der Blij was the designer/builder and Bertus De Jong was the mechanic, who took care of the engine. It was a success story from day one.
But Bertus was also an enthusiastic racer of ISDT (International Six Days Trial) and other off-road bikes, like the Side-back three-wheel motorcycle racing, popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. A Czech Motokov bike racing Team saw the successful racer and soon he was invited to join the team, racing Jawas and CZs. Bertus was also a very talented mechanic and made name for himself on both counts.
In the mid 60’s the Czech company Motokov wanted to expand their business reputation with Jawa and CZ bikes.
Bertus was also well versed in the English language and was sent to the United States to teach American mechanics. He kept on giving classes to American mechanics out west who were working on the Jawas and CZs for Motokov and later to American Jawa. But Bertus soon started also his own business, Bertus Jawa/CZ, doing race preparation work, selling machines, various enterprises, etc. He opened his store at 701 Glendora Ave, La Puente, CA 91744, outside of Los Angeles, and nearly all race enthusiasts know where to find him.
In the beginning years he also treated fans to an exhibition of European side-back, three wheel motorcycle racing. Bertus de Jong and England’s Trevor Harisson put one time a demonstration during a race intermission.
AS the years passed his businesses expand and he raced less and less. He devoted more and more time to fabricating scarce parts, redesign and rebuild poorly made ones and doing engine works. Gradually Bertus built up an inventory of spare parts, like air boxes, clutch tools, brake levers, seat foams, and covers, and dozens of small unique bits that have endeared him to off-road racers.
In the mid 70’s Jawa pulled out of the American market and the same did CZ in the early 90’s. Bertus decided to buy out dealer stocks. Over the years about 350 dealers in the west of the United States.
All these stocks have been transferred to the shelves in his workshop in City of Industry. All these parts are joining the gradually growing lists of specially made and manufactured items. Also crates that followed him home from European trips of European manufacturers now fill his shop and spill out into two semi-trailers, a variety of crates and boxes and a “bone-yard” full with old Jawa’s and CZ’s, to die for.
Bertus does not work on computers, but any racer can reach him by phone. He has not a walk-in shop, but call him and he opens up his workplace. He is there by himself and often working in the machine shop. And if you walk in you find yourself surrounded by parts, whole bikes, half-finished bikes, pictures, memorabilia and much more parts. Bertus can talk for hours about what he loves, the Jawa’s and the CZ’s. Each piece and every bit, every bike or part has its own story. Hours passed by and you learn more and more about the history and these typical racing machines. Wonderful stories from a self-assured Dutchman. There are stories everywhere mixed with customer’s projects and orders moving along toward completion. Bertus consider his job a hobby and he keep working into late at night. Each year he rebuilds many engines, sends thousands of dollars’ worth of parts around the world, especially to Australia, and visits Europe several times.
If you need help with your Jawa or CZ, Bertus can help you. Just let him do the work and do not tell him what to do. And if you likes Jawa or CZ and you are in the LA area and likes to visit his motorcycle shop, you better call him. He refuse to work with computers. His number is known by many bike racers but here is the number: 626-330-2326.