When my friend Harry read my first attempt at a column last month he sent me a frantic email. "Dont admit that you only have one vintage bike! Never, ever, say you have only one basket case!" I have embarrassed myself in Harrys eyes. The true sickness of vintage racing has not hit me yet, but Harry has been run over by it. Behind his home sits a 20 trailer full of complete bikes, spare motors, frames, wheels, forks, gas tanks, etc. Harry shows up at the races with at least four bikes and spare parts. This way he knows that he is going to be able to ride all day, even if three of the bikes die. I want to be like Harry, and my wife is afraid. She can see the sickness consuming me daily, to the point of me starting construction of my own shed for my collection. If you knew me you would know that manual labor is not something I will willingly do, which is the real reason I was able to graduate from college fear of having to work for a living.
I have been trying to buy more bikes. There is a guy in Marin County who has three open class Maicos for sale. I want to buy all three! I figure if I get all three, at least one of them will be race ready. For two successive weekends Ive been trying to get up there, but no luck. First it was work, then last week I was on my way. Twelve miles from home my right rear tire blows out, taking out my muffler, the wheel well, and much of the rear quarter panel. The guy thinks Im a flake and will probably never sell me one of them. Now I need a new truck!
The AHRMA National Motocross is coming to Hollister Hills on October 18th. I was getting ready to ride this great event for the first time, but I ended up destroying my wrist at a club race. Actually my injury came in working on the track, not in getting beat by my so-called friends. This is my first wrist injury; maybe it's just middle age catching up to me, but it still hurts. I used it as an excuse in being late with this column. The AHRMA Nationals are really fun; you see some great bikes and great riders. Guys like Dick Mann, Jeff Smith, Doug Grant, Buck Murphy, John DeSoto, Brad Lackey, etc. Dick Mann and Jeff Smith are incredible riders. Dick is a former AMA Grand National champion featured in the classic movie "On Any Sunday", Jeff became a two-time world motocross champion when BSA was a powerhouse. These two are well into there 60s and still faster than most of us were in our 20s. The types of bikes that you see are amazing, AJS, BSA, Bultaco, Can-Am, CZ, Cheney, DKW, Greeves, Harley, Husky, Hodaka, Honda, JAWA, Kawasaki, KTM, Monarch, Montesa, Ossa, Penton, Rickman, Sachs, Suzuki, Triumph, Yamaha, Zundap and many others. What do you see at a modern race? The big four and maybe a KTM or two.
If you can make it to a vintage national, you should; its a great time for everyone. Check out the schedule at AHRMAs web site, http://www.ahrma.org. Vintage Iron, one of the leading vintage bike suppliers, is hosting the Vintage Iron World Championships at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, CA on October 31. This looks to be an incredible race, check it out at - http://www.vintageiron.com/wc-press-release.htm.
Finally I owe an apology to Reese Dengler (http://home1.gte.net/jawaman/)and Mike Rydman (http://www.motocross.com/vintage/vmv/vmv.htm). I "borrowed" a couple of photographs from their web sites without asking. Sorry guys, we will be more careful next time. I actually never thought Jay would publish last months column (Hey, I contacted Mike for permission and I was going to check with Reese but, like most things, hadn't gotten to it yet... Anyway, thanks guys! - JE). Check out their web sites -- they are great sites. Thanks to all of you who sent me feedback about my column; your comments are appreciated.