Shootin’ the Breeze
have a friend named Rabbit whom I haven’t seen for a
while, who used to run a publication called the Northeast
Ohio Motorcycle News. This
guy rode his bike more than anyone I’ve known, turning his
speedo over at least twice, and that was over twenty years
ago! He rode an
old Sportster and it wasn’t unusual to find him knockin’
on the door with the bike standing in the driveway sizzelin’
from the snow falling on the hot motor and pipes.
day he asked my then wife and I if we’d represent the
magazine at the New Waterford Dirt Drags and we agreed,
noting that we didn’t have anything else goin’ on that
morning the sun rose hot in a crystal clear blue sky as we
loaded up the bags and set off. Although usually
I’m not an early riser, I’ve always enjoyed riding in a
morning wind. There’s
something about riding thru the country on a beautiful
morning, with the cows mooing and the chickens clucking,
that just makes you wanna smile.
stopping at a roadside diner for bacon and eggs we rolled
into the drags with huge smiles on our faces and ready to
hear those mighty engines scream.
sooner had we set up a table with an umbrella and stacks of
the magazine then folks started stopping by to ask about the
publication and discuss various aspects of motorcycling.
remember back in the thirties there weren’t enough
motorcycles around here to support a magazine like this.”
began one old timer.
you guys affiliated with Easy Rider?” asked a kid with
purple hair. [Yup even twenty years ago!
Back then they were called punks. Today they’re
called, well, punks I guess].
twisted my ankle and was wonderin’ if you could ride my
scoot in the drags.”
Dawg didn’t seem to mind so much that I lost 2 out of 3
heats. His main
interest was finding out if the bike could compete. In fact he was surprised I won the first one and said,
“If a dumbass like you could do it, we must have a helluva
bike!” as he smacked me on the shoulder. Talk about mixed
I returned to our booth my soon to be ex-wfe turned to me
and asked, “How’d it go?”
I started out real good, but the end leaved a lot to be
what you always do.”
my two wives she was the evil one.
after a day which saw Speed Racer Bummer in triumph and
defeat we gathered our stuff and returned home. I never pursued the
idea of racing and thus have managed to avoid bankruptsy. I often wonder how
somone can afford it.
magazine folded. Although
motorcycling has grown immensly over the past twenty years,
serious bikers are few and far between, most prefering to
polish their bikes, buy expensive leathers at their favorite
biker boutique and to profile on warm summer evenings. I don’t want the responsibiliy of telling someone how
to be, but that was a damned fine magazine. Haven’t seen
Rabbit in years but I bet he’s on a long ride right this
soon to be ex graduated to being my ex and I always believed
that if ya can’t say anything good about somebody to keep
yer mouth shut, so......
Waterford Dirt Drags closed down. When they did, some
friends of mine negotiated a price for buying but in the
process discovered the purchase only included a beat up
grader, some old tires, a dilapidated sound tower, a flat
bed trailer and the name.
The property was leased from a farmer who wanted to
drop the lease. Last
I heard it was corn.
hot summer nights when I’m all alone riding out in the
country, ya might see me stop the bike and sit there waiting
for that Christmas tree to drop. Normally I ride like
an old lady, but those nights, those special nights, I’m
Speed Racer Bummer once again.
[TOP OF PAGE]
‘er real good unloading the bike. My partner didn’t
show and we’ve been lookin’ forward to seein’ how this
stroker would do. Ya
let me explain: the
guy doin’ the askin’ was somone I knew forever named
Dawg. He and I
used to race hare scrambles on a couple of Triumph Trophies
back before I got old and fat. I never dragged in
the dirt so I jumped at the chance.
I was paired with a
newer Low Rider. As
we tweaked our throttles and waited for the Christmas tree
to drop the old stroker just roared beneath me and I heard
the velocity stack gasping for air as I goosed her over and
even realizing what I was doin’ I won my heat by at least
three bike lengths. God,
that bike was hot! With
a big smile all over my face I returned to the starting line
thinking, ‘Oh ho! Oh
boy! I’m likin’ this way too much! The last thing I
need is a hobby like this.
Big, big bucks!’
my second heat I went up against another stroker. The dude was wearin’
a tinted full faced helmet, so I couldn’t tell if he saw
me as I turned to him, stuck out my tongue and put my thumbs
to either side of my brain bucket and wiggled my fingers.
the lights dropped we flew down the track neck and neck, but
he inched ahead of me at the last minute. I guess my antics at
the startin’ line just pissed him off!
my third and final heat I was paired up with an old Panhead. ‘This is gonna be
easy.’ I thought as I looked over and seen the old timer I
told ya of before. ‘Piece of cake.’
as the lights dropped the old man looked in horror and
nodded to my front wheel.
Oldest trick in the book! By the time I
realized it, all I saw was a cloud of dust in the distance.