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Snortin’ Norton – coolest bike award

April 19th, 2010 · Vintage

Snortin-Norton-1This Cheney-framed 750 Norton twin received the Coolest Bike award at the 2010 Diamond Don’s Riverport National. The bike was hand-crafted by Bob McNamara of Dallas over 2 1/2 years. Everything on the bike that could be machined, was. Every bolt had a dished head for weight savings. That huge primary cover? It was machined from a solid block of aluminum and weighs only 2.2 lbs! That cover, by the way, hides a belt-driven primary setup to replace the original chain.

The wheels are vintage CZ hubs (magnesium) laced to shouldered Akront rims with custom-machined spacers and axles to get the alignment right.  The rear backing plate and chain guide are also custom-fab units. The in-line axle forks are off a ’70s-era Can-Am. Everything about this bike is as sano as I have ever seen.

Snortin-Norton-2The exhaust was custom-built by D & D Performance Exhaust of Fort Worth, TX. Like everything else on the bike, it’s a work of art. I believe this was Bob’s first race on the bike. He had a minor teething problem with the ignition after the first moto, but his crew worked on the bike in the pits and got him going for Moto 2, where he took 1st in class.

The bike looked like it was a blast to ride, and seemed to handle the rough Gran Prix-style course with ease. These big, booming 4-strokes from the ’60s just sound different than today’s 450F bikes — different and better. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s my memories of watching John Banks man-handle a big, booming CCM BSA around the Lake Whitney national track in the mid-’70s.

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An all-original vintage Honda SL70

April 19th, 2010 · Vintage

All-original '72 Honda SL 70Check out this excellent ’72 Honda SL 70 my friend Ronnie Welch picked up at the 2010 Diamond Don’s Riverport National. This bike looks totally original — fenders, speedo, pegs, everything. Only one slight dent in the right side of the tank. Even the seat is in excellent condition! It’s amazing. And it runs. The best part? He paid a whopping $350 for the whole thing. I’ve seen seat pans alone go for nearly that much on ePay.

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Ryan Villopoto to be guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain

April 9th, 2010 · Events, Profiles in Riding, Racing

Ryan Villopoto sent out a tweet earlier today saying he will be on Sunday’s (11APR2010) Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain for a live interview. I’m a big fan of Despain. Even though Wind Tunnel is 80% NASCAR, Despain does his best to get the moto guys on the show. As Dave said a couple of years ago… “Of course there’s too ?*^!$^% much NASCAR on the network. There’s too $!?*#&% many NASCAR fans. And whose fault is that? It sure as hell isn’t mine.”

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Torsten Hallman and Joel Robert

April 8th, 2010 · Profiles in Riding, Racing, Vintage

Someone posted this Joel Robert and Torsten Hallman around 1966 or soclassic picture on FaceBook — Joel Robert and Torsten Hallman duking it out in the mid-’60s. I looked all over for it but can’t find the thread to save my life. My friend Rick from SoCal sent me the photo.

I’m pretty sure it was either Vintage Factory or Classix50MX, both of whom have killer vintage MX photo collections, that posted it. But since I can’t find the thread I don’t know the date or location.

If you know when and where this photo was taken post it in the comments. Thanks.

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Honda SL 70 – a story

April 8th, 2010 · Vintage

My brother David in 1974 jumping the SL 70 off a bank on an unnamed junior high school campus

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the facts. Check the comments for details. :end:

A while back Mitch Boehm of Moto Retro contacted me about some old SL 70 stories. I don’t know if he used any of them or not as I haven’t gotten around to subscribing yet. But here’s one I didn’t send him.

After I “outgrew” my SL 70 I sold it to my younger brother. The top photo on the left is my brother jumping the SL 70 off a hill on some unnamed junior high campus. We were such scofflaws.

Anyway, back in the early ’70s there was a big vacant lot, probably a couple of acres, right off of 5th street and Palmer, just behind the Tyler Junior College campus.  TJC has a big football practice field there now, but back in the day it was just a wooded lot with a creek running through the back. [Read more →]

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Rekluse Motor Sports, Inc. founder Al Youngwerth on PitPass Radio

April 6th, 2010 · Events, Industry, Technology

Tonight, 06 APR 2010, Pit Pass Radio will have an interview with Al Youngwerth, the founder of Rekluse Motor Sports Inc. If you’ve watched any of the recent Supercross races and wondered how some of the riders manage to keep the engine running when they fall off the bike, it’s because they’re using a Rekluse centrifugal clutch.

I’ve never had the chance to ride with one of these things, and they’re only available for modern bikes, but I’m told they are the shizznit — the cat’s pajamas, the real deal, the best thing since sliced bread, etc. One of my buddies — Bill Ramsey of Motorcycle Accessory Shop in Mesa, AZ (2319 West Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85201-6839 (480) 835-6228) — says he tried to talk Al into giving him some parts to use to get one working on a vintage bike, but didn’t have any luck.

That’s too bad, because the new Core EXP clutch kit is, relatively, affordable at $800 — at least compared to the $2,000 these things cost originally. Now I know all you vintage guys are out there going, “What!? 800-freakin’ dollars!? I’ve bought entire bikes for less than that!” But from what I’ve been told these things are worth at least two CDI ignition upgrades and, if you’re on an old points-based ignition system that’s $450 per.

I admit, there’s probably only a tiny, tiny fraction of VMX riders who would shell out for something like this, but it would be nice to have the opportunity. I’m told if you ever ride with one you’ll never go back.

So tune in and see what Al has to say.

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Offer: Bike transport from San Diego to Diamond Don’s 2010

April 6th, 2010 · Events, Racing, Vintage

This from Gary DeForest via the Cousin Weedy Yahoo group

Bike Transport.

headin to Diamond Don’s National in Texas.
San Diego to Diamond Dons and back.

I leave San Diego, La Mesa, April 13th at 2pm and get to Diamond Don’s, Jefferson Texas by Thursday the 15th and set up camp at DD’s.  I stay till Sunday night the 18th and I’m back in San Diego by Tuesday nite the 20th of April. I have room for 2 maybe 3 more bikes at this time.

$250 for bike round trip, $175 one way.
Bike and rider round trip $500.

31 foot class C motorhome, V-10, queen bed and side bunks, DVD, VCR. 25 to 30 hour drive straight thru rotating veteran drivers, stops for gas, fast food only for the most part with bikes on trailer. You can rent a teepee or pitch a tent at DD’s.  We camp with Marty Tripes.

contact gary at or call Gary at   619 300 7717.

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Danny Macaskill: Incredible bicycle trials video

October 24th, 2009 · Profiles in Riding

Update 06APR2010: The original location for this video faded into the ether somewhere down the line, so I found it posted somewhere else. I am still blown away every time I see this. The very best FMX riders have nothing on this guy.

I can’t believe I didn’t post this when I first saw it a couple of months ago.  It’s the most amazing free ride bicycle video I have ever seen, and I don’t mean it’s the wildest, hariest, craziest. I mean Danny MacAskill’s is un-freakin-believable as a trials rider on a bike. Just amazing.

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FIM Speedway Grand Prix on HD Theater

October 20th, 2009 · Events, Racing, Reviews

Speedway actionLast night I had the chance to watch the Swedish FIM Speedway Grand Prix on HD Theatre. It was my first time to see a complete speedway event.

What a cool race — the speed, color, action. A very action-packed format with lots of four-man, four-lap heat races, everybody full-on sideways, diving in and out. Excellent racing.

I’ve been aware of speedway since I was a kid, and I remember Bruce Penhall’s World Championship runs in the early ’80s. Later Penhall partnered with the caricaturish Eric Estrada in the ’80s TV series CHiPs, when he replaced Larry Wilcox during the 1982 season.

That was kind of a big thing, having a motorcycle racer on a popular TV show. Sorta like when little Ricky Nelson grew up on Ozzy and Harriet and went on to become a popular singer. C’mon, you all remember “Garden Party“, right? Well, maybe not…

Back to the subject — Speedway. Never saw a full race, just pictures in magazines and the occasional video clip. But watching the whole event in HD on a big screen TV was quite the show. I have to say it’s a pretty ballsy thing. Some young Russian kid won the main event after the only American competitor fell out of the semi-finals with a flat rear tire (there were some big ruts in the surface of the temporary track.)

I’d love to see a big-time speedway race in person. I googled speedway racing and found that it’s popular mostly in the northeast and, of course, California. But there’s a little track not far from my old home in Atlanta — Rutledge Speedway in Rutledge, GA — that has a short track and TT races and is supposed to hold some speedway now and again. Wow, for 15 years I lived less than 50 miles from that track and never knew it existed.

If you’re lucky enough to get HD Theater via cable or satellite (I don’t) be sure to check the guide for upcoming FIM Speedway Grand Prix races. It’s a blast BTW, American Greg Hancock finished 4th overall in the 2009 Championships.

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Big Air: a historic photo

August 8th, 2009 · Vintage

There was no such thing as a “whip” back in the day, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any cool big air photos. Here’s a very cool CZ shot from sometime in the early ’70s. Photo found at CZ Motokros.


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