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Author Topic: Beachcomber's Tales from the day  (Read 55816 times)

Offline Maritime

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #45 on: Nov 24, 2010, 19:24:58 »
Don't look me up.  I'm back home in Riverside, CA nice and warm.   Most of the time I was there my only transport was the Norton.  Not always with the Manx.  It had a 500T Norton, a 650 Triumph, a 350 Norton over the years.  But a lot of the time it was so cold it wasn't serious shrinkage but more like serious retraction.   Sometimes it was so cold my balls would retract to the point I looked like I had three adams apples.   If you do get over there you'll have a great time.

well I'll look you up when I go visit my Sister in Cali.  I know about cold and only a bike for transport. I had to ride to PEI in October for work, had to leave the RAV 4 for my Mother in law to watch my son. So I took the 79 GL and crossed the longest bridge in the world at just above freezing temps.  Whitecaps and wind so strong it lifted the 600 +lb bike and 200+ lb rider in the air at one point  ;D  but pucker moment, I was only going like 40mph. I slowed down a bit till I got back on the solid land.  they have to close the bridge when the wind picks up to bikes and high sided trucks, sometimes to all vehicles. They closed it half way through my run across.

Cheers  and keep up the great stories.
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Offline beachcomber

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #46 on: Nov 25, 2010, 06:11:52 »
Cold ??????????????????? I attended the very first Dragon Rally [ Bryn Bras Castle ] at the foot of Snowdon in February 1962.

It was a last minute thing and we opted for the "accomodation" for ten shillings [ 50p or around 75 cents now ].

We all congregated at the Busy Bee [ I was on a Tribsa ] around 8.am and set off in convoy. Just North of Birmingham we ran into some snow storms and by the time we got to the venue there was around 10" of lying snow.

Now then, brain of Britain here had set off with leather jacket and jeans but with a thick ex. submariners woolley jumper to keep out the cold - nahhhh - didn't work, we were frozen. The ground temperature was -15 degreees. On arrival we found our accomodation - an ex-army tent ! No bedding or anything - just the bare grass. I decided that the BBQ pit looked inviting and when it had died down just to the embers I jumped on top of the grill and slept there. Problem was in the morning [ about 4 am] I got off and much to the amusement of my pals - I had some really nice griddle imprints on the back of my leathers !

The headlight parade around the base of Snowdon was one of those events you just had to be at - a line of headlights as far as the eye could see snaking round the mountain.

Highlight was seeing a couple of guys who turned up on Scott Squirrels [ water cooled ] - both ran their engines up and while one drained the rad to wash and shave [ stripped to the waist ! ] the other used the rad water to brew up a cuppa .

When we eventually got home I was so cold I had to be lifted off the bike.
« Last Edit: Nov 14, 2013, 08:35:09 by beachcomber »
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"

Offline Maritime

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #47 on: Nov 25, 2010, 09:20:00 »
Yes!  That is another great story ;D
My Build: My full figured girl: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=13950.msg135199#msg135199
CX500 Low budget Bobber : http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=43617.0
"Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer" -Henry Lawson
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Hot Rod Troy

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #48 on: Nov 25, 2010, 13:24:01 »
Oh, to have been a young man in the 50's and 60's.  Some of the storys my Dad tells just make me wish I had a DeLorean with a flux capacitor.  Please keep the stories coming.
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Offline beachcomber

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #49 on: Nov 25, 2010, 18:13:38 »
Great story! Sticky this thread, please.

Sorry, don't know how to or what the protocol is ???????

Maritime, if you're around the Midlands [ South of Birmngham ] call in for a beer or 3 - we've always got a spare bed.

yes - the Dragon Rally - there's loads of little instances like that, but not really long enough for a "story". AND - I don't want to overstay my welcome or abuse the forum.

It WAS a genuine pleasure to be a youth in the 50's and 60's - wartime austerity and rationing was about finished. Bikes and fuel were really cheap. With the coming of cheap cars - the Mini, Ford Anglia and so on - the day of the bike for commuting was over - so there were 1000's of unwanted bikes. Employment prospects were excellent for those that wanted to work. Military conscription [ compulsory ] had ended about 12 months before I was due to be called up - so I missed that - yes life was good.
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"

Offline Hoofhearted

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #50 on: Nov 25, 2010, 20:10:41 »
I'm sitting here and the turkey is in the oven with an hour to go.   I've been reading this thread again and I have to agree with BC.  Despite the fact that you can, today, go buy a 175 mph 'Busa the 50s and 60s were more fun.  A lot less restriction.   I was on another forum and there was a thread about racing 50s.  It triggered off a lot of happy memeories of the time I was racing a VanVeen Kriedler.

One of the happier memories of that time was a trip to the Isle of Man.  It was 1980.  I know, not the 50s or 60s.  Time is a trip so don't worry.  Its about 50s so that makes it OK.   A friend in the Island was trying to get 50cc racing going in the Island but the A.R.A. (Andreas Racing Assoc.) didn't want to know about 50s.  He kept at them and eventually they caved in and said they would run an "evaluation" race.  

Bob called me to ask if I would come over and race.  He said the ARA would give us a ten lap race on the Jurby road cours.  The Jurby road course was 4.7 miles.  Instant YES!!!!!!.   He asked me if I could round up whoever I could as the ARA would only run the race if they had a full grid.  I told him to call Don in Northern Ireland and Ron Ponti in London.  In all we scoured up a grid of 26 which was more than enough.  The best part of this was the ARA was paying our expenses to get to the Island!   Too cool!!!  We had become pro racers!!!  A few days later Don rang me to say he had booked a "luxury yacht" to get us to the Island.  When my wife heard that she wanted to come along but I had to tell her it was a guys only trip for a race.  We weren't going to be sightseeing.  She understood but still wasn't happy at being left behind.

The "luxury yacht" was to leave from Portaferry on Strangford lough in Northern Ireland.  Cal Crowe (a.k.a. the wanderer) and I drove up to Portaferry.  We met up with the guys.  I should say here that one of the guys was Robert Dunlop.  He had just started racing and had a VanVeen Kriedler.  This would be his first trip to the Island.  Little did we realise it was the first of many trips that would make him a hero.The sad part about Robert racing 50s was that he was obscenely fast from the start and for most of us our chances of winning went out the window.

We met up in a pub on the docks and waited for the "luxury yacht" to arrive.  After a short wait we heard the chunka, chunka chunka of a boat coming to the dock.  The "luxury yacht" turned out to be a converted trawler.  It was  the same trawler that took Joey and his works Hondas to the Island.  It was also the same trawler that sank in Strangford lough a few years later with two of Joey's works Hondas on board.  The Hondas were retrieved but as far as I know the boat is still on the bottom.

We got to the Island around midnight and thankfully some ARA guys were there to meet us with vans to transport us to the circuit.  They got us to the circuit and dropped us off and disappeared with a cheery "See you in the morning".  They had a tent set up for us with some sleeping bags.  But we were starving.  After they left we promptly raided the food tent.  Its amazing how much damage nine guys can do to a food tent.

On race day were were given letters instead of race numbers.  We were told it was an evaluation race and their insurance said we were to have letters instead of official race numbers.  We couldn't have cared less.  We were in the Island and we were going to race!!  We got a few laps of practice to learn the course.  It was a 4.7 mile road coure and compared to Irish roads it was like a billiard table.  The Irish guys had a big advantage over the English racers as they had no ROAD experience.  All their racing was on short circuits.
  
I thought the practice was timed and our grid positions would be determined from our times.  When we were called out to the grid I did my usual thing and stopped on the back of the grid and waited to be gridded in my qualifying position.  Instead it was a first come first served thing.  I wound up on the back of the grid thoroughly pissed off!  The flag dropped and I made a bullet start.  I passed a bunch on the long run up to the first corner but was still a ways behind.  With no pit signals by the time lap three came around I had no idea where I was lying.  I had picked off a few guys and hadn't been passed by any.

Thee was four English guys that had brought over four brand new VanVeens.  Exquisite little machines.  I spent a good bit of the morning drooling over those bikes.  Around the fourth lap I was approaching a very fast left hander and I saw Don with his bike parked against the hedge.  I lifted my head to see if he was OK.  He gave me the thumbs up and the getchyerhead down signal.  On the next lap there is an uphill double apex left hander that leads onto a long downhill straight.  Perfect for little bikes to fly.  Coming up to this corner I caught up with the four VanVeens.  They were slow as they had no road experience and were a bit intimidated by the hedges and walls.  I figured they would be a lot faster than me and I'd let them "tow" me down the long straight.

Fast they were!  The tach was reading a hair over 17,000.  I'd never seen it that high before.  I had my braking point picked out but the four of them sat up in unison way before I was planning to brake.  I whipped out from the draft and went by on full throttle, sat up, hit the brakes and moved over to take the line.  Out of the left hander I headed to where Don was stopped.  I figured these VanVeens would come flying by at any moment.  I saw Don out on the side of the road doing his best Pete Townsend of the Who windmill with his right arm.  I thought crap! these guys are going to swallow me up.  I kept my head down and went into the corner flat out.  The bike was twitching and I was shittin' myself.  I didn't dare look back.  Up to the hairpin and onto the straight.  They still didn't come by.  For the rest of the laps Don would be waving frantically and I was taking this corner flat out and scaring myself shitless each time.

After taking the checkered flag I stopped to pick up Don on the slowing down lap and give him a lift back to the pits.  When we got to the pits I asked him why he kept waving me on lap after lap?  His reply annoyed me no end.  He said "The first time the VanVeens were on your  tail and  after that I just wanted to see if you would take the corner flat out".  I told him to go get a scoop as he was going to have to clean out my leathers!

Naturally Roert won at anaverage speed of 72.240 mph.  I was shocked to find that I was second at an average speed of 69.99 mph.  Which pissed me off totally.  Why the hell couldn't the timekeepers simply said 70 mph??  Long story.  Sorry.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Robert and Cal as we headed out of Strangford lough.  Don't ask about the hat.  Robert thought he was super cool with that stupid hat.


By weslake at 2008-04-10

The orange Kriedler is mine.  The lime green Kriedler is Robert's and the nifty Minerelli powered moncoque is Don's.


By weslake at 2008-03-03

Don and Robert as they wait to go out for practice.  My Kreidler (M) is peeping between them.


By weslake at 2008-03-03
« Last Edit: Nov 26, 2010, 01:54:43 by Hoofhearted »
El Mirage record 500 APS/PG 129.817
El Mirage record 500 SC/PG   122.240
El Mirage record 500 SC/PF    120.157
Bonneville record 500 SC/PG  119.667
Bonneville record 500 SC/PF   117.186
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBG  111.494
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBF   112. 600
Bonneville record 650 SC/PF   128.703
El Mirage  record  650 SC/PG   130.224

Offline crazypj

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #51 on: Nov 26, 2010, 02:01:41 »
Cold ??????????????????? I attended the very first Dragon Rally at the foot of Snowdon in February [1964?]

Not to hijack thread,
I remember reading about it in 'The Blue One' (Motorcyclist?) or 'The Green One (Motorcycle Mechanic?) I forget which was which (I was only 7 in 64')
Didn't get to The Dragon' until 76
 Most memorable was 79 or 80
 Started at 7:00am in a blizzard and had snow for 160 of the 230 miles (took about 15hrs  :o)
 Haydn Reese (owner of local Honda dealers) and me were only people who turned up
Peter Nichol was about an hour late, he only manage 4 miles to the meeting point, had already dropped his Norton 88 three or four times so went back home
 Just north of Brecon we met a guy from 'west country' on an XL250S (forget where exactly, Exeter maybe?)
 Somewhere up by Blaenau Festiniog the passes were closed (blocked by snowdrifts)
 Only one lane of the main road was open, met a snowplough coming down the mountain as we were going up
I managed to do a 180 turn in about 3ft and got embedded in side of 8ft high cut.
We got back to bottom of hill, guys driving snowplough were convinced we were certifiable but let us follow them back to the top without calling cops  ;D
 Put tent up then raided the all night bar (closed at 2:30am  ;))
 I got pics somewhere
 It's all about getting there  8)
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Offline Rocan

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #52 on: Nov 27, 2010, 23:15:25 »
hoof, you have lived one hell of a life. i hope you know that.

im jealous man.
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Offline Hoofhearted

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #53 on: Nov 28, 2010, 00:20:19 »
Lived????? Rocan,  lived????    I'm still breathing and as long as the good Lord lets me I'll be racing.  I'm working on the sidecar right now.  I had to fire up the compressor and its a bit noisy so I closed the garage door to keep the noise down until it shuts off.   Making a new shifter and brake arm for it.  The originals were done kind of hastily to get it racing.  Now that it works we make the pretty pieces.   I'll tell anyone that will listen that I'm the luckiest bugger on this earth.  Not in money terms but in fun terms I'm a millionaire.  

This is the new shifter.  I'm like a raven.  I like shiny alloy.

By weslake at 2010-11-26

Heres the brake arm.  A ways to go yet.  I also love "speed holes".  : - )


By weslake at 2010-11-27


P.S.  Rocan.  If you don't do it no one will do it for you.  Don't dream.  Get out there and do it.  Remember the old sayng.  You can shit in one hand and wish in the other and see what you get first.
« Last Edit: Nov 28, 2010, 02:48:55 by Hoofhearted »
El Mirage record 500 APS/PG 129.817
El Mirage record 500 SC/PG   122.240
El Mirage record 500 SC/PF    120.157
Bonneville record 500 SC/PG  119.667
Bonneville record 500 SC/PF   117.186
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBG  111.494
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBF   112. 600
Bonneville record 650 SC/PF   128.703
El Mirage  record  650 SC/PG   130.224

Offline beachcomber

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #54 on: Nov 28, 2010, 07:07:21 »
Hoof,

well said - seize the day guys - don't say " Can I , can't I" - just do it anyway and see what the results are.

After 50 odd years of making those kinds of decisions, you will ALL have your own "...............'s Tales from the day".

Like Hoof, I'm still at it, buying toys I can't really afford or getting out there and indulging my whims, but you find a way.

Let me assure you - there's nothing worse than looking at maybe another 15 / 20 years of life and looking back and saying "If only". Don't listen to the "Can't be done" assoles - not, at least until you've tried it for yourself.

There's NO point in regretting past decisions - they're done, just take the results of that decision and run with it.

BTW Hoof - Joey Dunlop - to have been in the presence of Genius .....................................

BTW - first TALE coming up real soon - "Vanishing Motorcyclist - Part One".
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"

Offline Hoofhearted

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #55 on: Nov 28, 2010, 15:41:42 »
When I was a child I had two friends, Tom and Don.   We were inseperable and we were going to be racers!!  We pedaled our bicycles everywhere as fast as we could.  When the kart craze hit we cut lawns did whatever was necessary to raise $35 to buy a kart I saw.  Then we raced!!!!   To make a long story short Don dropped out of high school and joined the navy.  Tom got drafted and went to Viet Nam.  I got drafted but I had had some a form of polio as a child that the army classified as a recurable disease and 4Fed me.  When I was growing up my Dad filled my head with stories of racing on real roads in Ireland.  So I took off to have a look and the rest is in the link posted below.  Some one by the name of "fingy" started a thread on biker.ie, and Irish bike website, about a photo of me and the long suffering Mrs. Hoof.  He was asking if anyone knew anything about the photo.  Its a long thread but might e of interest to someone.

http://www.biker.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=92937

Back to what I was trying to say.  Don got out of the navy and went to work for the VA for 20 years.  Never did get around to going racing.  His parents accumulated a lot of wealth and left it to him.  He's now a multi millionaire with two heart attacks and few memories.  Tom got back from Viet Nam kinda screwed up.  His main goal in life then was to grow pot.  Not a few plants in the back yard but, as in one case, 80 acres in Northern California.  He spent years in and out of jail, on the run, changing his identity.  


Would I trade my memories and friends I've made on the journey for Don's millions?  Not on yer nellie.  John Force summed it up in an interview a couple of years back.  "Its all about friends and memories".  Don't wonder.  Do.  As I've come to realise.  Life is very short.  It may not seem like that when you are 19 but at 65 you realise how short life really is.  Do it!!  Worry about the consequnces later.

P.S.  You don't want to be like the virgin spinster that died wonderin'.
« Last Edit: Nov 28, 2010, 16:51:41 by Hoofhearted »
El Mirage record 500 APS/PG 129.817
El Mirage record 500 SC/PG   122.240
El Mirage record 500 SC/PF    120.157
Bonneville record 500 SC/PG  119.667
Bonneville record 500 SC/PF   117.186
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBG  111.494
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBF   112. 600
Bonneville record 650 SC/PF   128.703
El Mirage  record  650 SC/PG   130.224

Offline beachcomber

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #56 on: Nov 29, 2010, 17:45:51 »
Hey Hoof,

if I get a chance to get back over to the States sometime not too distant, I'd love to meet up with you and shoot the shit over a brew or 10.

Anyway - here's the promised story - I went with #1 in the end, but loads more in the pipeline. Sorry - I don't know how to do a sticky or even if it's permitted, maybe someone who knows the ropes could throw in?

"Crispy Daimler Dart" will be the next one, followed by "Dangerous Roy and the Manx Engine".

Anyway - here it is - hope you enjoy it ...........................................

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ Part one of two ]

OK,
So here’s the second of my tales from the day, as previously  - first hand story, no BS  – I was there.

Couple of preambles – in this story we have Roundabouts [ also - Islands ], Lay-Bye [ truck pull over ], Bye—Pass [ 2 lane each way highway with central barrier ] and Removal Truck [ large slab side alloy bodied truck for moving household furniture / items in one go ]. Oh yes, and the then fashionable flip down pilot style visor.

Setting the scene - 1963, a young Beachcomber has just lifted the title of top bike from Rocket George [ Rocket Gold Star ]  with his ex. Bob MacIntyre Thruxton Constellation. How so? Most nights of the week and especially Friday, bikes would congregate in the two Lay-Bye’s – one on each side of the Bye-Pass after a night out at various Caffs around the region – this would normally be around midnight when normal traffic was at a minimum. At the two ends of this particular stretch of road [ 1 mile ] there were large Roundabouts [  Mobey Dick and Gosney’s ] – approximately 30 yards across. The Lay-Byes were situated about 400 yds from the Mobey Dick roundabout. Most would just hang around and buy a hot dog or two from the Ford Thames food van [ Before Burgers !! ]. Then, a challenge would be issued between a couple of the guys to prove who had the fastest bike. This involved pulling away from the lay-bye they were in, racing to and around both islands and the first back to the lay-bye was the winner.

I had held the title briefly with my roadgoing Manx, until Rocket George came along with his wickedly fast Rocket Gold Star – who then held the no 1 spot for a couple of months. That is, until I got my hands on the ex Bob MacIntyre Thruxton Constellation. This bike was as raced at the Thruxton endurance races and was the fastest thing during the Thruxton races. This night the gauntlet was thrown and after a best of three I lifted the crown – 2 to 1. A crown which I then held for 3 months – until a guy showed up on a Vincent Norton – more of him another time - he was also later  involved with the Crispy Daimler Dart incident!

My pals were elated and in a playful mood, so to celebrate we decided to have a mass burn up – with “3 laps” of the circuit. Among the group were a couple of young lads, just old enough to be riding [ 16 ] and admitted to the group on the basis they were younger brothers of established riders. They had a lot to learn, but being young and brash took risks to impress us older, more experienced riders. One such was the younger brother of Brian Rocket [ Super Rocket ], whose Dad had just forked out for a new Enfield Crusader for the lad.

After 2 laps the bikes were well strung out – with the 2 younger lads bringing up the rear and about to be lapped. Approaching the short Roundabout [ Mobey Dick ] we caught and passed the two lads and just managed to avoid a large removal lorry that came lumbering from the minor road and around the island and off up the dual carriageway. I was in the lead – neck and neck with Bonneville Bob when I had to take avoiding action to miss the truck [ my excuse anyway ] “allowing” Bob to take the win and me to consider changing my pants.

Returning to the Lay Bye we became aware that one of the lads [ Crusader ] had disappeared. We all went back to the Island to look for him – assuming he’d pranged it. There was his mashed Crusader on the side of the road, but after 10 minutes of frantic searching there was no sign of the kid. A drunk [ from said Mobey Dick pub ] staggered over saying he’d seen it all and that matey had hit the truck. We assumed the worst that he was being dragged off up the road under the wheels of the truck. With some degree of foreboding we all set off in pursuit of the truck, which because of it’s size and speed hadn’t got that far.

Several of us raced in front of the truck to make the driver stop and pull over. After rapidly explaining what happened we dived underneath the truck to look for the unfortunate rider – expecting to find bits of body all over the place. It was a pretty dark road with no streetlights, but fortunately the driver had a torch so we looked again – except there was nothing – not even a shred of body or clothing. Oh Fuck what now?

While we were all standing there deciding what to do next, we heard a banging coming from above our heads. As we looked up there was a cartoon style body shaped hole in the thin alloy side panel of the truck and incoherent moaning coming from within – we’d found him! Relief all round, but we still couldn’t see matey -  and we had no idea what injuries he might have. The trucker opened up the back and out staggered the lad who was shouting incoherently. We couldn’t see him plainly and guessed he was just in shock – however, when the torch was shone on his face we could see that the “flip up” visor had in fact flipped down – hit him in the mouth and neatly given him a virtual ear to ear grin. As he tried to talk, his ripped cheeks just flapped around.

Now I don’t know if it was the relief of seeing him able to walk – or whether we were just all sadistic bastards – but the whole crew were rolling around in fits of laughter – much to the amazement of the trucker, who thought he might be in line for a beating by us mob.

Anyway – 50 odd stitches later, matey was home and the Crusader had been whizzed off to one of  the lads’ workshops, where it was beaten into some sort of shape and ready for riding the next night. The other young rider was a guy named Roy – or Dangerous Roy as he was known. If there was going to be an accident – Roy would be involved, he was just one of those accident prone people – and the subject of “Dangerous Roy and the Manx Norton Engine” ……………….later
"if at first you don't succeed, you've already been a failure once"

" we're not going back to the sixties - we never left "

"yep, nostalgia ain't what it used to be"

"I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure"

Offline tWistedWheelz

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Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #57 on: Nov 29, 2010, 18:35:40 »
another great tale from Mr. Beachcomber! I am a fan sir!

Offline Makr

  • Posts: 155
  • I make my own rules
Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #58 on: Nov 29, 2010, 20:02:30 »
Excellent stories!

I think we are stickied now.

Epic thread is epic.

Offline Garage Rat

  • Posts: 2758
Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
« Reply #59 on: Nov 29, 2010, 20:57:16 »
Joker quote "Do you want to know how I got these scars?"
STFU and Ride!

http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=13948.0

Classic and Custom: Repair, Restoration and Fabrication!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/292337884115268/