1970 Yamaha CS3-C | The Bike That Changed My Life

Photography by John Dolman

Rider: John Dolman
Then: High-school junior
Now: Retiree

“I spent the early 1970s thumbing through motorcycle magazines and dreaming of racing neck-and-neck with Ake Johnson or Brad Lackey. I would run my Honda SL70 deep into corners on my old hay-field racetrack with my leg outstretched just like a Pro racer. Man, those were the days!

“As I got older, my thoughts turned to streetbikes. I eventually found an old Yamaha CS3-C basket case and worked on that bike with my heart and soul. In ’78, a gorgeous girl named Sue Henzel asked me to the Junior Prom. I couldn’t pass that up, even if I didn’t have any money. All I had was that Yamaha, and it was 90 percent complete—all it needed was a set of carbs and an exhaust. I’d painted it fire-engine red, with café bars and a fiberglass front fender. It was a 17-year-old’s wet dream—until Sue Henzel entered the picture!

“Long story short, I sold the bike to a local shop to get the money for Prom. Looking back, sometimes I regret letting it go. But if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten to second base—thanks, Sue! As for the bike, the shop finished it and sold it to a kid who promptly totaled it. Sure, it might be nice to have that little café racer now, but who knows if I’d even ride it. I’m having too much fun on my current Kawasaki ZRX1100!”

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