Pomeroy coming to Classic Motorcycles LLC
Pomeroy, the first American to win a motocross grand prix
and Motorcyclist Magazine's 1976 Man of the Year,
will appear at Classic Motorcycles LLC in St. Louis at 6
p.m. on September 29. Classic will feature motocross machines
of the 1970s, and provide free posters for fans seeking
Pomeroy's autograph. For more information call Becky at
Motocross history on the Web
July 4, 1969, Gary Bailey became the first American to beat
the Europeans in international competition. Part Five of
my history of motocross, which tells that story, has just
been posted on the AMA Pro Racing motocross web site. To
read it click here.
Hall of Fame Activities Set
Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum will host its annual signature
weekend on October 8 and 9. Festivities include an “Evening
of Stars and Legends” reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday,
October 8. The event will feature a fashion show tracing
the influence of motorcycle leathers and gear on film and
fashion. While some of the modern styles will be shown by
professional models, several of the 2004 Motorcycle Hall
of Fame inductees will be walking down memory lane by modeling
their original racing togs. Tickets are $50 per person,
with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Museum. Other
weekend activities include a motorcycle Concours d'Elegance
and the 2004 Hall of Fame induction ceremony on October
9. For more information, call (614) 856-2222. To visit the
Museum's web site, click here.
second annual BMW Airhead Invitational will take place at
the Barber Motorsport Park in Birmingham, Alabama October
23 and 24. Bikes must be able to pass AHRMA tech, and riders
must be AMA members, have medical insurance, and show proof
of completing a road racing school, or hold a license from
a road racing organization. To visit AHRMA's web site,
Documentaries now on Tape and DVD
Productions, a motor and action sports video production
company, has released its International Six Days Enduro
documentary shows in both DVD and VHS video tape formats.
These shows follow the U.S. teams and riders during the
ISDE in Czechoslovakia in 2002 and Brazil in 2003. Both
were originally produced for the Outdoor Life Network. Discs
or tape are available for purchase through the producer's
web site. For more information click here.
year's antique motorcycle season came to its symbolic close
with the usual giant meet at Davenport, Iowa. Davenport
is always good for odd and unusual machines, but this year
– more than ever – the offering revealed how the membership,
composition, and interests of the Antique Motorcycle Club
of America continue to change. A wider range of motorcycles
shows up each year, including more off-road motorcycles,
more international brands, and more machines dating into
New Black Hawk
commemorative marque for this year's meet was the exceptionally
rare Black Hawk, manufactured in Rock Island, Illinois in
1912. Though four Black Hawk motorcycle engines are known
to exist, no complete machine has ever been found. However,
a reconstructed Black Hawk, pictured here, owned by AMCA
President Peter Gagan, was on display. Based on photos,
advertisements, and existing Black Hawk
sales brochures, the machine
was barely completed in time for the meet. You could practically
smell its lustrous blue and gray paint job.
Black Hawk was designed George H. Meiser, who had formerly
worked for Excelsior. In profile it looks a bit like an
Excelsior, but there are many technical differences. For
example, it has no top frame tube. Built from 16 gauge steel,
its fuel tank functions as an integral part of the frame.
is doubtful that many Black Hawks were ever built and sold.
The few engines that still exist have no serial numbers,
suggesting that they never made it into assembled motorcycles.
In the course of reconstructing a Black Hawk, Gagan found
evidence that the machine, designed in late 1911 and rushed
to market in 1912, was little more than a prototype. Writing
about the project in the Fall 2004 issue of The Antique
Motorcycle, he states, “In order to remove the carburetor,
you have to drop the engine from the frame, then remove
the magneto, which requires dismantling the timing chest.”
Indeed, this is not a design feature well thought out or
likely to endear the Black Hawk to owners, mechanics, and
a robust engine, strong frame construction, a choice of
chain or belt drive, and priced at $235.00, the Black Hawk
was intended to appeal as a good value, competing against
low-cost brands such as the Flanders or even Indian's belt-drive
single. Company advertising claimed it was two years ahead
of its competitors, and the best buy on the market.
Marvel in the Works
Black Hawk reconstruction was executed by the talented Paul
Brodie, who has undertaken a similar project
for Dick Winger involving reconstruction of a Curtiss Marvel.
Brodie, seen here with Winger, has completed the frame and
tanks for the machine.
Marvel, manufactured in Hammondsport, New York between 1911
and 1913, used a Curtiss engine featuring one of history's
earliest overhead-valve designs.
A single push rod opens both intake
and exhaust valves through a clever rocking arm, as pictured
here. Only one complete and original Curtiss Marvel is known
to exist, and restored or reconstructed versions are very
Brodie will readily take on a reconstruction from American
motorcycling's earliest era, his personal passion is for
post-war Italian motorcycles in general, and Aermacchis
in particular. His stunning Aermacchi Chimera was seen in
the Guggeneheim's The Art of the Motorcycle Exhibition in
Las Vegas. Winger intends to complete his Marvel in time
for the next Guggenheim Art of the Motorcycle Exhibition,
which is scheduled to open in Memphis on April 22, 2005.
You can contact Paul Brodie at email@example.com.
noted previously the growing popularity of bobbers at AMCA
3/9/2004). Some are accurate period restorations, and some
are state-of-the art customs done in the bobber style. Two
noteworthy examples were seen at Davenport. One is sculptor
Jeff Decker's stunning Crocker bobber, pictured below, created
in Spartan period style, except that its fit, finish, and
quality of detail is far beyond anything that might have
been seen in the 1940s.
Another is Jeff and Kristal Sirles impressive Indian retro-bobber,
pictured above, built around an 80 cubic inch 1940 Chief
engine. Sporting huge twin front disc brakes and twin brass
Linkert carburetors, the machine is an inspired blend of
old and new. With a nod to practicality, it features belt
drive and a Harley-Davidson gear box with electric starter.
The Sirles own Iron Horse Livery, specializing in customs
and recreations. Contact them at 719-395-9406.
Penton motorcycle, first manufactured in 1968, has achieved
the 35-year-old threshold necessary to be considered a bonafide
antique by the AMCA. In celebration of that fact, John Penton,
seen here, attended Davenport 2004 with a number of his
fans from the Penton Owners Group, who created a historical
and informational display. Penton is seen here with Al Born's
restored Penton V003, the first Penton motorcycle sold.
Al Buehner, president of the Penton Owners Group, observed
that Davenport's traditional attendees are largely unknowledgeable
about the American off-road motorcycle movement of the 1960s,
but that, over time, efforts by organizations like the POG
will change that.
was a time when you rarely saw other than early
American brands at AMCA meets. But rare and unusual machines
like Luke Griesbach's 1919 GCS, seen here, are turning out
more frequently in recent years. GCS stands for George Cyril
Stillwell of Melbourne, Australia, who built motorcycles
from 1913 through 1926. Early GCS machines used JAP engines,
but the company later switched to Swiss MAG (Motosacoche
Acacias Geneve) engines. The example here features a 750cc
MAG V-twin with a three-speed Sturmey Archer transmission.
The GCS was a luxury machine with lots of nickel plating,
fine finish, and gold striping and lettering.
. . or an RSY?
of the most unusual and talked
about motorcycles at Davenport was Charles Finney's original
and unrestored 1954 RSY, containing a 200cc engine manufactured
by Kawasaki Aircraft before Kawasaki entered the motorcycle
business. The machine, manufactured by Amano Kogyo Ltd.
and acquired by Finney in 2003 from a Philadelphia-based
collector of military memorabilia, is in excellent condition.
Finney observes, “It is out of character with other Japanese
motorcycles of the era. It is of sturdy and expensive construction,
and was probably intended for a police, military, or utility
market.” That Amano Kogyo might have aspired to an
international market with this machine is suggested by a
graphic of the fuel tank that reads in English, "Utility
Motor-Cycle." Also, its logo is a blatant knock-off
of the Mercedes Benz three-pointed star, intended perhaps
as a subliminal reminder of quality.
Kawasaki engine, possibly built in both 200 and 250cc capacities,
was used in several Japanese brands, including the IMC and
the Shokai Rocket. "A Century of Japanese Motorcycles"
by Didier Ganneau and Francois-Marie Dumas (Motor Books
International, undated) indicates that 1954 may have been
the RSY's only model year.
. . or a ZID?
unusual was the 1958 ZID K55, a motorcycle manufactured
in Kovrov, USSR. Noteworthy is the fact that the ZID was
yet another of the many post-war brands –- including Harley-Davidson,
BSA, Yamaha, and others -- that used a frank copy of the
German DKW engine. The ZID was not the only Soviet brand
to use this engine.
. . or an Oldfield?
don't have to be much of a motorcycle historian to quickly
notice that, unlike the GCS, the RSY, or the ZID, the Oldfield
was not a mass produced motorcycle. Rather, it is a one-off
hybrid combining a 1940 Indian Sport Scout chassis with
a Zundapp KS601 engine. Built in 1946 by Andy Oldfield of
Waterloo, New York, the machine is now owned by Lloyd Washburn
of Port Clinton, Ohio. The Indian frame has been modified
to accept the final drive unit for the Zundapp's shaft drive.
So why wasn't it called an Indapp or a Zundian? One,
that would have been silly; and two, if I could build something
as cool as this, I would name it after myself too!
Planned at Tulsa
eighth annual Leroy Winters Memorial ISDT Reunion Ride will
take place at the John Zink ranch near Tulsa, Oklahoma October
22 through 24. The event will be hosted by the Tulsa Trail
riders in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the an
ISDT held on this same property in 1994. The reunion ride
is AMA and AHRMA sanctioned. For entry forms and more information,
call Vern Street at 918-224-7433.
Through Time Reopening in Tallahassee
Designs Through Time motorcycle exhibit, which ran recently
in Albany, New York, will reopen October 22 at the Florida
Museum of Natural History in Tallahassee, and run through
January 2, 2005. Exhibit organizer Dick Daley is currently
looking for suitable vintage and modern motorcycles for
the exhibit. For more information contact Daley at 877-305-6169,
or E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
set for May
Motohistory reported on Thundersprint, a festival in Great
Britain that brings tens of thousands of spectators to watch
races featuring a wide range of historical motorcycles (Motohistory
4/19/2004). Thundersprint will take place again in the town
of Northwich on May 7 and 8, 2005. Promoter Frank Melling
has set a goal of attracting 100,000 to the event this year.
For more information click here.