When legendary Vincent tuner “Big Sid” Biberman invited me to Bonneville to ride a Comet single and Rapide twin during the 2011 BUB Speed Trials, I didn’t hesitate, being Motorcyclist’s resident land speed record-holder and all. Once there, I snuck a ride on Kurt Carlson’s stunning, methanol-fueled 1948 Black Lightning. Of course, I couldn’t resist stripping down to skivvies and a swim cap to impersonate Rollie Free, recreating the 1948 Life Magazine portrait that’s regarded as the most famous motorcycle photo ever taken. Look forward to the full story—including what happened to Free’s ride, which recently sold for $1.4-million!—in our April issue.—
The “world championship” racing at the 2011 Vintage Festival at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, attracted an international crowd, with racers coming from as far away as New Zealand. Road Test Editor Ari Henning competed in several classes including Premier 500, which saw him gridded next to 1984 Isle of Man TT winner Dave Roper and directly behind 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz. Old age and treachery still have it: Schwantz dominated and Roper placed well, while a distinctly un-enthusiastic Ari suffered mechanical troubles.
“What, no world championship?!” Ari left the AHRMA vintage races with a couple of first-place trophies in the Formula 250 class, but he knew that wasn’t enough to satisfy the boss. So before returning home, he embarked on a content-gathering mission, collecting stories for future Me & My Bike and The Bike That Changed My Life columns. His search led him to interesting and eclectic places, from the gleaming Barber Motorsports Park paddock to this ramshackle backyard workshop in suburban Atlanta, from which race-winning BMWs have emerged.
Venice Vintage Rally
One of SoCal’s most happening vintage motorcycle parties is held right in Motorcyclist’s backyard. This year’s Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club rally saw lots of old American iron and foreign alloys, plus four rocking bands, Hawaiian Primo beer on tap, a BBQ with tasty pulled-pork sandwiches and a dozen or so vendors. The VVMC defines vintage as Pre-’78, but thankfully they bent the rules for the pinup pageant.
The Griswalds have got nothing on Cat! To celebrate his, ahem, 50th birthday this past September, our Editor-in-Formaggio packed his gearbag and headed to Europe to take part in Edelweiss BikeTravel’s “Best of Italy” tour. A week’s worth of flogging a Ducati Multistrada 1200S around the Appennine Mountains served as a suitable warm-up for the Streetfighter 848 intro at the brand-spankin’-new Autodromo di Modena. Add in tours of both the Ducati and Ferrari museums, plus a visit to the World Superbike finale at Imola, and Cat was damn near fluent in Italian upon his return. Stay tuned for a future feature story, and address any jealous comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ciao, grazie!
It’s a rite of passage for Southern California owners of Italian motorcycles, and the 2011 iteration welcomed American and Japanese bikes as well. This past October, Pro Italia Motors held its 17th annual Café Desmo bike show, and some 1500 enthusiasts showed up to meander along four closed-off blocks adjacent to the Glendale shop. Motorcyclist Editor-in-Chief Brian Catterson served as one of the judges, joining such luminaries as motorcycle designers Erik Buell and Miguel Galluzzi, Yoshi Kosaka of The Garage Company, famed collector Guy Webster, moto-journalists Nick Ienatasch and Steve Natt, and comedian Alonzo Bodden. The Best of Show trophy was presented to John Pera of Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage, who restored his buddy Dan Barnes’s 1955 MotoRumi Junior 125cc two-stroke in his own garage. You should hear that thing run!
Turns out it really is a dog’s life! Born July 7, 2011 in Santa Barbara, California, Angus McGruff Carrithers recently joined Tim and Caroline Carrithers at their high-desert digs. The indomitable Pembroke Welsh Corgi pup tells us his hobbies include eating, sniffing things, sleeping, napping, dozing, relaxing, chewing things—6-inch Bully Sticks and iPhone cords are particular favorites—strafing older step-brother Cadbury at high rates of speed and retrieving long-lost socks under the bed. Usually followed by a nice, long nap.
First Look: The All-New Burke!
Rolling off the Hoag Hospital assembly line in Newport Beach, California, on October 19th at 8:04 a.m., Beckham Henry Jyotin Burke weighed-in at 7 lbs., 12 oz. (wet) with an overall length of 19.75 inches. Beckham’s parents, Motorcyclist Test Consultant Barry and his wife Trisha, are over the moon about this latest addition to the lineup despite periodic leaks and a surprisingly loud exhaust note. Barry says plans are in place to have Beckham ready to ride in our upcoming “Class of 2025” shootout, so expect to see more of the entry-level Burke at the racetrack in coming months.