"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at
May 2012 - Issue #27
IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE:
QUAIL SHOW A BLAST! - What a show!!
HANFORD, HERE I COME - 44th Annual Show in my home town
T-MOBILE DISSES TRIUMPH - Have you seen the new commercial?
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE UPDATE - Puttering along...
WEIRD STUFF - Say what?
THE QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING
This '61 Gold Star was the highest-awarded Brit bike, taking the "European to 1978" class at the Quail.
A HIGH-END MOTORCYCLE SHOW
The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, now in its 4th year, has quickly become one of, if not the most prestigious Classic Motorcycle Show on the West Coast. More or less replacing the star-crossed “Legend of the Motorcycle” classic motorcycle show that ran just 3 years at the Ritz Carlton Hotel & Country Club right on the Coast in Pacifica CA. The Quail takes place every May at the awesome Quail Lodge Golf & Country Club in Carmel Valley CA. This year is was on Saturday, May 5. May can be the perfect time of year, because everything is still green, but the weather can turn on you. It didn’t this time, however, it was absolutely perfect. And what a show! Admission includes a gourmet lunch, a live band, a live auction, interviews with special guests, and much more. Oh, and don’t forget the motorcycles!! 100+ gorgeous bikes were judged in a variety of classes.
PICTURES, PICTURES & MORE PICTURES...VIDEO TOO
My lovely wife Pam also doubles as my videographer/photographer at these events. It’s the only way I can get into a few of the pictures myself. We took lots of cool video, which I plan to edit into a nice YouTube video. And we got tons of eye-popping photos of every Brit bike there, along with some others that were just too good to pass up. Get the whole story & eyeball all the photos on my page on the 2012 Quail Motorcycle Gathering. And catch the story on Examiner.com.
HANFORD, HERE I COME!!
MY HOME TOWN AWAITS!
The 44th Annual Hanford Vintage Motorcycle Rally (basically a classic motorcycle show & swap meet) takes place this Saturday, May 19 at the Kings County Fairgrounds in Hanford CA. It’s presented by Classic Cycle Events, the same folks who put on the El Camino Classic Motorcycle & Swap Meet in Torrance CA every September. Hanford also happens to be my hometown and I’m looking forward to going back. I haven’t been back in years, since my parents passed away. But, I’ve made contact with some old friends. One of them, another Andy from Hanford, has invited me to an impromptu party at the shop of a local (and legendary) Brit bike restorer on Friday night. Then Saturday is the show. And once again, my wife Pam will be doing some of the camera work.
OLD FRIENDS & OLD TIMES
Our plans include arriving in nearby Tulare on Friday afternoon, and going to visit a very old friend, and a major player in my personal Brit bike history. I worked for Ron Clawson from 1970 to 1973 when he owned a Triumph/BSA/Norton dealership (+ BMW, Moto Guzzi, Bridgestone, Carabella & Hodaka, and I’m probably forgetting something) as “the kid”. Every shop had a “kid” back in those days. Today, you’d probably call him a “gopher”. But I got to work on bikes, and do tons of other cool stuff that most guys my age only dreamed of. And I learned a lot. Well, Ron, now 71, owns the Kawasaki/Suzuki franchise in Tulare & I’m going to his shop to meet up with him for the first time in 40 years. Wow, I can hardly believe I just said that! He’s as excited as I am about it. Should be a good time. Look for a page about it on my site.
T-MOBILE DISSES TRIUMPH IN NEW COMMERCIAL
Have you seen the new T-Mobile commercial? I starts out with this guy riding down a desert highway on a ’73 Triumph TR7 Tiger. It looks pretty good too, all blue & white & looking fairly original. I’m just starting to enjoy it when the announcer says something like, “This is your old phone service...” The Triumph continues to plod along. “...And this is T-Mobile...” and a modern sport bike blows by it so fast you can barely see it. So, they slow it down & show you that it was actually a girl riding it, who takes her time to raise her visor & wave at the hapless Triumph rider before she lowers the visor again & lays on the gas. All a CG animation, of course. But the message was clear. They used the Triumph to demonstrate how slow & antiquated your phone service is & a Japanese superbike to show how fast theirs is. Ouch!! If I ever considered T-Mobile, I won’t ever again. So there!
PROJECT ROYAL CLONE
This ultra-rare (just over 200 built) UK-spec 1981 Triumph T140LE Bonneville Royal Wedding served as the inspiration for this project. I'm turning my '79 T140D into a lookalike of this bike.
SOMETIMES, NO PROGRESS IS...WELL, NO PROGRESS
I’ve been so busy with motorcycle shows, rides, real estate business and my family that I haven’t touched my ’79 T140D-to T140LE Project Bike in a while. I got all my engine parts painted black & returned to Rabers, who had a few more things to do with it all before final assembly. Now, they’re ready to go, but I’m not. I want to be able to photograph & videotape the process for the benefit of my site & all its viewers, but I’ve been to busy to get out there & do it. So, week after next, we’re set to put it together up to the head. I’ll install the rocker boxes once the engine is back in the frame. I’ll be keeping you informed as we go.
MOTOMORPHIC - ONE WEIRD BIKE...
This crazy machine is called a MotoMorphic. I took this photo at the Quail Show. The chassis is made of 4”, 5” & 6” diameter TIG-welded T6 aluminum with Ohlins forks, Brembo brakes & 18-inch wheels that are 8.5” wide up front & 10.5” wide in back. Crazy!! The engine is a 998cc fuel injected Rotax V-twin with 6 speed that makes 110hp at the rear wheel. Each is supposed to be unique. All are awesome & pretty damn fast! I rode with one in last year’s Quail Ride. But, my favorite part of this bike is where it’s made. In the good old US of A, baby!!! But, its even better than that. It’s built in San Rafael, about 50 miles from my house. I’m going to have to pay these guys a visit.
PLEASE READ MY COLUMN ON EXAMINER.COM
As you may know, I'm now a Motorcycle Correspondent for the Bay Area for Examiner.com. I've written several articles on bikes so far. I get rated by the number of people who read my articles and give back good feedback. Please, if you get the chance, please visit my page on Examiner.com, and tell your friends about it. Here's the link:
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Hope you enjoyed this issue of "BRIT IRON" as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please tell your friends about it, and my website, Classic-British-Motorcycles.com. And please urge them to subscribe to this e-zine. It is my hope that the right people will discover this website & tell the right people, who will then pass it along to more of the right people, and...well, you get the idea.
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And above all, enjoy the ride...