RIDER: Joe Prouse NOW: Senior Engineering Specialist, Airbus North America THEN: R
"I didn't become interested in motorcycles until 1962, when I was in the army. My first bike was an Ariel Square Four that I sold to buy a Honda CB92 Benly Super Sport 125. I rode that until I discovered the CB77 Super Hawk 305. I traded for a used one that I rode until my enlistment was up, and then traded for a new one that I still own today.
"I built a really ugly tank and fairing, bought a seat and put on the race-kit clip-ons, megaphones and steering damper. I added alloy rims and brake scoops and ventilation holes and went racing. I ran it on the track until '68, when I bought a Yamaha TD1C. The Honda then served as my streetbike until '72, when I turned it back into a racer.
"The AMA had changed the rules to allow 350cc four-strokes in the 250cc class, and by then the bike had a big-bore kit, Harmon Collins roller cam, close-ratio five-speed gearbox and CB450 carburetors. The only parts I bought were the CB750 master cylinder, Ceriani fork and Betor shocks; I fabricated the front disc brakes, fairing, tank and seat myself. I welded in some frame bracing, cantilevered the shocks and did the paint work, too. I had always admired the Honda factory racebikes of the '60s.
"I raced the Super Hawk until '83. Over the next 15 years, I changed jobs and moved several times, and the bike sat outside on a trailer until a friend urged me to restore it. The engine, fork, brakes and wheels were all rebuilt, and the bodywork was repainted. I added a Dyna S electronic ignition and coils, an oil cooler, and fabricated a replica CR77 exhaust and seat.
"When I got the bike back together nine years later in 2005, the engine started on just the third kick! I've since done a few track days per year with it. Riding this bike is just as much fun as I remembered. My 305 is not only the bike that changed my life, it changes it every time I ride it."