Gary Nixon made going fast look easy. Even when wheelying away from Kenny Roberts at Laguna Seca back when angry two-stroke dinosaurs ruled the earth. Fast-forward to 2007 and he’s right in front of me, broadsliding a Kawasaki KLX250S in the middle of the night on a dirt road near Koosharem, Utah, and making it look easier. Gary Nixon was racing motorcycles for a living the year I was born. This was entirely irrelevant at the time. Especially to Gary Nixon.
Nixon was a racer, defining that word as well as anyone before or since. Maybe better. He left us on August 5, after 70 years on this earth. I keep rewinding the last time I saw him, pulling away in a rented Chevy Impala: Foot on the floor. Smile on his face. One hand out the window, waving goodbye. This world feels a little smaller now, and going fast is a little harder. Godspeed, #9. We’ll miss you.—Tim Carrithers
Sturgis, The Hard Way
Gold metal-flake Fulmer helmet with bubble faceshield … baby-blue Aerostich suit with red Spidi knee-sliders … on a Harley-Davidson Wide Glide—what is this, a Fashion Police reject? Sure as hell looks like it, but nooo, that’s our very own Aaron P. Frank betwixt the 2012 Harley-Davidson press intro in Park City, Utah, and the 71st Annual Black Hills Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota—a distance of 880 miles. Aaron maintains that threatening weather dictated the suit while fashion slavery demanded the lid, but the rest of us know this is just his twisted sense of style.
Racing Past 80
Chuck “Feets” Minert is a racing legend, and not just because he won the 1956 Catalina Grand Prix, inspiring BSA to create a commemorative model. The AMA Hall of Famer never stopped racing, and this past July celebrated his 80th birthday at his weekly haunt: the REM Saturday motocross races at Southern California’s Glen Helen Raceway. “I wouldn’t call what I do ‘racing.’ It’s more like riding around, trying not to fall down,” Minert told announcer Tom White (yes, that Tom White). A member of the Motocross Action “Wrecking Crew,” Minert wears the de rigueur orange helmet while racing a modern Yamaha YZ250F, which he says he prefers to his vintage bikes. At the morning riders’ meeting, the REM crew presented Feets with a plaque for First Place in the 80 Expert class, but to his credit he said he couldn’t accept it: “My birthday isn’t until tomorrow, and besides, we haven’t run the races yet.” To which White replied: “Which one of the other 80-year-olds is going to complain?!”
Sturgis, The Easy Way
What the … ? Another card-carrying member of the MC M.C. en route to the Black Hills Motorcycle Rally aboard an American V-twin? Yup, except young master Ari Henning had the good sense to ride a proper bagger—namely the 2012 Victory Cross Country Tourer. Ari also had the good fashion sense not to affix knee-sliders to his jeans—though judging by this photo, he might have needed them!
Publisher Marty Estes has been commuting down SoCal’s Pacific Coast Highway for a few years now, so has gotten to know where the police are shooting radar, etc.—an important consideration when one’s long-term testbike is a Honda VFR1200F. Recently, he noticed the Malibu PD had started parking random squad cars alongside the road to slow drivers down. After a while, he knew that if there was no one in the car, he could just keep on speeding. But this guy tripped him up for a few days: He was parked near Latigo Canyon, where motorists are coming down a hill and naturally going a little fast. But then Marty noticed the car was always parked in the same place. Shouldn’t he be writing tickets, grabbing a donut or something? So he stopped and confirmed his suspicions: Poor guy has no arms!
Pro Racer For A Day
Ari Henning (73) banks an Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R through Turn 4 at Infineon Raceway during a recent AFM club race. Why didn’t he prep his long-term Aprilia RSV4R for the event? “I’m not man enough to race that beast!” Besides, Attack Performance had offered to let him ride AMA racer J.D. Beach’s former Supersport mount. Equipped with a legit racebike and a technician to fettle it, Ari got a feel for what it’s like to be a professional roadracer. Read about his experience and view race footage at www.motorcyclistonline.com.
Umbrella Girl For A Day
“I can cross this off my bucket list,” Annette Carrion wrote on her Facebook page below a photo of herself working as an umbrella girl at the Laguna Seca USGP. Apparently our hard-working (and not entirely unattractive) web producer was spotted by a field recruiter for the Association of Aspiring Brolly Hotties, so spent the remainder of the weekend handing out posters and smiling for photos in front of the Repsol Honda pits. Unfortunately for the boys back at the office, she had to return her uniform after the races, along with her umbrella.