Name: Bobby Sirkegian
Home: Apple Valley, CA
Occupation: Trade School Instructor
"Hard to believe that this motorcycle has been part of my life for 53 years now. It's a factory-built BSA Gold Star racebike-a 500cc Single first provided to Albert Gunter for the 1957 running of the Daytona 200 beach race. 'Slidin' Al' gunned the bike to a fine second-place finish behind winner Joe Leonard, Harley-Davidson's defending national champion.
"I got the bike for the '58 season, my first as an AMA Amateur riding the national circuit. My father, Robert Sirkegian Sr.-once the biggest Triumph dealer west of the Mississippi-had switched camps and taken over the Los Angeles BSA franchise. In negotiating with Hap Alzina, BSA's bigwig West Coast distributor, dad arranged to buy Gunter's Gold Star. It would be used for roadraces, TTs and, of course, Daytona. I had two other Goldies, rigid-frame models, for use on the miles and half-miles, especially the weekly bouts at nearby Ascot Park.
"Per AMA rules the bikes had to be close to stock, but there was room for 'interpretation.' The Daytona Gold Star's gas tank had the same basic silhouette as the stocker but the sides were just a little pregnant, bowed out to allow 5 1/2 gallons capacity-just enough for 100 miles so that the 200-miler could be completed on one gas stop. We also fitted heavy-duty Girling shocks intended for sidecar duty to firm up the rear suspension.
"Motor work was pretty limited. It already had most of the good stuff from the factory: Lucas racing magneto, close-ratio RRT2 gearbox and a 1 1/2-inch Amal GP carb breathing through a special airbox that kept the Florida sand at bay. We installed American-made S&W springs to combat valve float above 7000 rpm.
"I'd never roadraced before, but by the time the combined Amateur/Expert event at Riverside Raceway came around, I was comfortable on the BSA and ran a strong second, beaten only by Leonard. I was ready for Daytona '58 and ran a drama-free race to finish fourth in the 100-mile Amateur final. By season's end, I was the AMA's seventh-ranked Amateur rider.
"In '59, I shelved the Beezer for Daytona and rode a factory-prepped Harley-Davidson KR750 to a fifth-place finish in the 200. For the year I ended up sixth overall in points-not bad for an Expert rookie. In '60 I was back on the Gold Star at Daytona, but botched pit signals forced two refueling stops and I came home 17th, first BSA behind a slew of Harleys.
"That would be my last Daytona on the bike. My father's untimely death meant I took over day-to-day operations at the family BSA dealership. Racing full-time for me was over. But I kept the BSA all these years and in '07 decided it was time to bring the old bike back to its former glory. Three years later, the Daytona BSA is complete, ready for its next competition. In January, it will go on the block at the big Bonhams auction in Las Vegas (www.bonhams.com). Will I miss the bike that's meant so much to me? Sure, but I'm not getting any younger, and it's time to move the BSA on to a collector or museum where it can be displayed and appreciated. Besides, I've still got the Gold Star miler and the Ascot special that need restoring..."