Custom eBay BSA | Me & My Bike

By Norm Dewitt, Photography by Mahony, Tracy Emde

Name: Don Emde
Age: 56
Home: Aliso Viejo, CA
Occupation: Publisher, Don Emde Publications

In 1970, Don Emde began his relationship with BSA, racing one of the British firm's A65 twin-cylinder 650s in amateur dirt-track racing. Don's father was 1948 Daytona 200 winner Floyd Emde (making the pair the only father/son winners of that prestigious event), who had a BSA dealership in San Diego. Like most of the top flat-track machines of the time, there was little left of the standard BSA once the pair had finished preparing it. The bike had a Trackmaster frame, custom Mikuni carbs and manifolds, a red/white Spitfire tank, alloy wheels, Ceriani forks and some unique handmade features that would later be a factor in authenticating it.

"One day a few months ago, my sister called and said a friend had called to tell her that my old bike was for sale on eBay," Emde recalled. "I thought, 'Yeah, right,' but when I checked...sure enough, there it was! What was so cool about it was that it was so close to the same as the last time I'd raced it in 1971. It was at least 95 percent untouched. When I went home from work that night, I was showing it to my wife and saying, 'Look here, there are the footpegs that my dad made like this, and the battery box that my dad put like that...' In those days there wasn't anybody you could get the racing-type clutch covers from, to narrow the engine down so it wouldn't drag on the ground. My dad made the clutch cover out of an aluminum frying pan that my mom had-everything was handmade. When my wife saw all that, she said for me to go ahead and go for it.

"Reading the description, I realized I had talked to the seller back around 1990. My dad had sold the bike to a guy who was a BSA dealer in Portland, Oregon, who then had sold it to him. He had done a very thorough job researching the history of the bike, including that Joe Kopp had ridden it early in his career before they got him a more modern bike."

Within days of the purchase, Emde brought the bike to the annual Trailblazers banquet and is now searching up the small bits and decals to get the bike back to 100 percent original condition. As he says, "It's a thrill to have it back in the family."

By Norm Dewitt
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