1999 Suzuki SV650 | Me & My Bike

NAME: Adam Wentling
AGE: 33
HOME: Jonestown, PA
OCCUPATION: Instructor at Roger Lyle’s Motorcycle Xcitement racing school

“I originally bought this Suzuki SV650 racebike with the intention of parting it out, but when Chuck Banks III at Motorcycle Center of Maryland made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, I decided to rebuild it for myself. I left the shop with a complete racebike and just a $20 tab. Can you beat sponsorship like that?!

“The Al Wilcox tribute paint-job was the finishing touch. Al was a pretty special guy to those of us racing at Summit Point. He dedicated 70 years of his life to motorcycle racing. He raced 19 years himself, with four years on the Harley-Davidson factory team. He once told us he had competed in more than 3000 races, at 360 tracks around the U.S. and Canada. After he quit racing he spent the next 52 years as a race starter, flagging off thousands of races, right up until he passed away in February 2011 at age 92.

“I wanted to do something special to honor Al, and the paint-job seemed like a good tribute. Roger Baum in Hanover, Pennsylvania, did the airbrushing. He donated his labor in exchange for a race licensing school and track day. It shows Al flagging off a race on one side and racing flat-track on the other. We debuted it at the WERA National Endurance series round at Summit Point in June, after the rider’s meeting, and you could tell by the looks on people’s faces that they appreciated our efforts. Then we raced it!

“That was a hell of a day. First practice lap, first turn, my rider lays it over. Rearsets bent, brake lever busted off—but the artwork was okay! Everything got fixed and now no one was afraid to ride it; it was christened! Forty minutes into the endurance race everything’s going good, we’re running second in class, when there’s a big puff of smoke going into Turn 1 and the bike’s on fire! A freeze plug let loose and sprayed oil everywhere. The fire barbequed the stickers on the bellypan, but didn’t even crack the clearcoat on the artwork. Talk about luck!”

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