I went to a funeral today to pay my respect to the father of my friend, European Press Agency photographer Paul Buck. Paul and I have known each other since junior high school and back before either of us had a drivers license his dad Jim used to take us to the local motocross races. There’s a great story about someone (I don’t know who) forgetting to secure my bike to the trailer one race and it cartwheeling down the interstate behind us. But I digress… Continue reading
Got a great email from motocross historian, CZ aficionado, and all-round good guy Reese Dengler. Reese attended the very first AMA MX National at Washougal, WA in 1980. In honor of the 2010 National he dug through his personal archives and pulled out some great photos. Here’s what Reese had to say:
On the occasion of the 2010 Washougal national I’ve dug thru my old slides and posted a few of my shots, (34), from the first Washougal national in 1980. You can see the shots on this web page,
Some of these shots have never been seen before except by me and a few of my old moto-cross buddies.
There’s some great pics here. There aren’t any captions but if you use Microsoft Internet Explorer to view the thumbnail page you’ll see a title/description pop-up (this doesn’t work in Firefox.) Click the link above or click the photo to visit Reese’s photo page.
In warfare there is a term – collateral damage – that is used to describe damage to people and property which is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. It is important we understand that, unlike land closures and noise ordinances, the latest threat to our vintage dirt bike hobby, the Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2010, is not targeted toward vintage dirt bikes, or motorcycles, or even off-road vehicles in general.
It is targeted at the thousands of foreign manufacturers who ship electronics, toys, clothing, and consumer goods into the US. It is intended to make those companies subject to, and easily accessible by, the US tort system. It also includes any suppliers to those companies – such as companies that make boxes, pallets, packaging materials, straps, plastics, etc.
We, the vintage dirt bikers, are just a little invisible community that will be squashed if this bill passes. Continue reading
A couple of years ago the motorcycle industry was caught by surprise when Congress enacted, and then deployed, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) — almost immediately wiping out a $1 billion youth motorcycle and atv industry. Over the ensuing two years the CPSIA proved to be a massive screw job for all sorts of small businesses.
On Wednesday, June 30, 2010 the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed (by voice vote) another piece of legislation that could be equally devastating to the vintage dirt bike scene — the Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2010, H.R. 4678. The bill now moves to the larger Ways and Means Committee or perhaps to the floor for a vote.
This act is aimed at forcing foreign manufacturers into the US tort system for liability law suits. Like most laws, that sounds great in a sound byte on the news – force all those big Chinese and Taiwanese companies to be accessible to our thousands of personal injury lawyers.
The truth is that if you’re a vintage dirt bike fan and you buy or use any part that’s made in the UK, China, Taiwan, Australia, or Europe by a small manufacturer you may well find that part is no longer available to you. Those cool CZ parts Bertus brings in from Czechoslovakia? Not gonna happen if this bill passes. Nifty trials parts for your Ty250 or TL125 from Great Britain? Kiss them goodbye. Replica frames from GMC in Australia? Adios, amigo.
To get a little more insight into this bill I called Paul Vitrano, General Counsel for the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), to discuss it. Continue reading
This video was put together by some AZ vintage riders — Bill Ramsey of The Motorcycle Accessory Shop made the video, based on a technique he learned from Mark Smith. I struggle to start my old big-bore CZs, and have repeatedly ripped the buckles off my cool vintage Hi-Point MX boots. Not cool. Maybe this little trick will save my boots, until I crash and have to start it the old-fashioned way. Of course, this only works with bikes that have carburetors.
Disclaimer: I only attended on Saturday. Anything here about events on Friday or Sunday was collected from various sources – from other attendees who posted on the Cousin Weedy Yahoo! group or people I spoke to at the event. Please post corrections and additions in the comments. Thanks – twf :end:
Weather: The weather was excellent on Friday and most of Saturday. It was partly cloudy and breezy – got hot for about an hour on Friday, and about an hour Saturday morning, but otherwise it was great. Saturday afternoon the rain began to come in. Slight drizzle started about 3:30 or so Sat. The drizzle didn’t go well with the black-clay track surface and made for some slick racing for the last two motos of the day.
Attendance: I don’t have official attendance stats, but the camping areas were pretty full — as full as I’ve seen them in the 4 times I’ve been there. It was good to see so many folks camping and having a good time. The infield and entry-road camping was completely packed. There were still some open areas way in the back, across the train track, but it was really full. Continue reading
This 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.
The 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.
Check 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.
Someone posted this classic 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.
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. Continue reading