Saturday, September 24, 2016

High in the Himalayas

I looked out the window of my small twin prop airliner and saw tree tops only 15 minutes into a 1 ½ hour flight. Not good, I figure this is it; we are going down. I snug my seat belt and prepare for impact. I was not surprised that this plane may not get me out of India. The week spent in India had made me very immune to near death activity. The plane found landing strip at the last second and made its unscheduled landing due to a malfunction in the landing gear. I was sent back into the single terminal airport and amongst mass confusion and lack of communication I deciphered that the flight was cancelled and if I wanted to get to Delhi to make my connecting flight on back to the clean drinking water world ,I looked to be shit out of luck. No worries, I thought: What will be will be. So despite no clear communication I boarded a taxi cab for a five hour trip to another airport and made the flight with but a few seconds to spare. No worries eh? This was an adventure trip to India and riding old Royal Enfields through the Himalayas was only part of the adventure. In addition to the motorcycle fun there were the taxi rides which are beyond description but I will try; Have you ever played one of those auto road race video games? Near misses, constant overtaking, Techno beat music, and the most beautiful exposed unforgiving back drop. Speed junky fun that kept me chuckling the whole 10 hour drive into the mountains on my arrival day. The Royal Enfield has not changed hardly at all since the 1940’s. It is a tough, heavy little beast that just takes what ever is thrown at it. It putts right along and with a few motorcycle racing nutters at the controls the riding was a lot like racing your buddies at the little kiddy go cart track. You get the sensation of speed with out actually moving much faster than trotting yak. The bike’s street tires had about as much tread as a monk’s head and minimal ground clearance so navigating the rocky, muddy, dusty and always deadly roads was plenty exciting. Any faster bike would not provide enough opportunity to gawk at the totally indescribable jaw dropping scenery that was constantly abound. I also must admit that I skidded my front tire to a panic-halt mere inches away form the cliff edge that seems to always accompany one side of the narrow road. The big trucks and busses are on top of the food chain so it is the responsibility of the motorcycle to make way when meeting or passing on the narrow one lane, rock sliding, life taking, built in the 1950s with a D-8 Cat trail/path/road. The locals live what I see as a contrasting life of chaos and danger yet they always seem at peace and even in a traffic jam a smile is always near. Truly smiles for miles. I really enjoyed learning the limits of my utilitarian bike and the mountain vistas but perhaps the best part was for me, of course, the cold beer. Big bottles chilled in mountain streams at the most beautiful camps I could ever imagine. Our team of local cooks and mechanics followed us along in vans and even went ahead some days to set up our tents for us. They would get live chickens in town on the way to camp and dinner was as fresh as could be. They cooked amazing meals every night and morning and I happily put on some pounds in one week stuffing my face with what ever was put in front of it. I ate everything and anything, only finally succumbing to a case of the Delhi belly on the flight home after eating civilized airport food. There were a few speed nuts in our group and for once I was glad to not be the designated circus monkey breaking steering yokes and ripping off brake pedals. I only lost my muffler but so did at least half of the bikes. The bikes were designated tour group bikes so like a village bicycle, an easy life they had not. They had some miles or kilometers, I should say racked up on the clock and not one had any major mechanical issue. The mechanics were constantly reattaching mufflers though and servicing air filters. The method for air filter service was super neato: Remove filter and place it over the exhaust tail pipe, rev the shit out of the engine and reinstall filter. It worked like a charm and gave my bike another 25% horsepower which at 145000 feet was probably at least 2 or 3 horse! It really is futile to describe such a place or try and capture the depth and beauty of the Himalayan valleys. You just have to see it for your self. So if you get the chance, buy the fucking ticket and make it happen. I sure am glad I did. I mean shit, I had a giant monkey jump out of a tree right in front of me and show me it’s big red ball bag ass!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lands End Hill Climb

The day after getting home from Sturgis I loaded up good old Pikes Peak winner, Pink to Purple orphan Annie the Honda 450 of superb special speed. The Colorado Hill Climb Association started to allow motorcycles to compete 3 years ago. This was my first Lands End. It wont be my last. It has been said that before it was cut in half it was a better hill climb than Pikes Peak. Since its remaining 6 mile course is all dirt I would say it is most rad. Lord Mick won it last year and kept me very honest this year. He only finished a few seconds behind me and I set a new motorcycle recored 20 seconds faster than Mick's record the year prior. I had so much fun. It sure is great to be able to go as fast as possible on a closed public road. So much fun. So much fun. Thanks for the pictures Wallace.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I went to Sturgis and all I got was this hat

So after the race in Stockton I loaded up and hit the road a few hours before midnight. I used close pins to hold my eyes open and drove across nebraska as a meteor shower rained down and the late night talk show on the AM radio spurted out ranting garbage. I have never been to Sturgis. It was a total curcuis. More than i ever imagined. I felt like a refugee in a soup line when I tried to get some gas at the station across from the Buffalo Chip. I was excited to ride the track since I had yet to ride a flattrack bike around a right hand corner. In the first lap of my first practice my master link broke. I could not help but think what would have happened had that broke the night before in Stockton. I scrounged a new chain off of fellow FTW racer Jordan Baber. On the first lap of the 2 and last practice the brand new chain lost it's brand new master link. WTF?! I was dripping in sweat and sleep deprived so maybe I did not get the clip on good. And then the rain fell. And fell. I went out in my heat with safety wire for a master link clip and won. I was racing with a take no prisoner viking style. And I won the main in similar style. It was cool to be there with the like of Jake Zemke, a Bostrom, and Cary Hart. The track was right below the huge stage with jumbotron TV and super loud announcers. I hung out and watched The Reverend Horton Heat and had as much sturgis fun as I could before getting some much needed sleep. Because after all I needed to get home, get my 450 loaded up and head out went to the Lands End hill climb. A race that was considered back in the 1940's to be better than Pikes Peak...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Kansas I-70 flattrack series 2016

That time of year again. Pack up the van with canned food, whiskey, and bug spray, and go flattrack racing like it was done in the 70's. After waking up at home more than still a bit to the wind I finally ended up in Colby Kansas just as the heat races were running. I was more than happy to just drink beer and spectate but friends and sponsors had me in my leathers in no time. Despite hoping for some practice in a heat race or even a sighting lap I ended up just sitting around in my leathers for hours until finally I rolled onto the track for the Vintage pro twins class. My only practice would be rolling the first half of the start straight. I got the jump off the line and just as I was worried about how fast I should be taking turn one Davey Durell flew past me and showed me how it was done. Nothing left to do but hold on. Who the hell needs practice anyway. I ended up 3rd and that was my best finish of I-70 series this year. Stockton was super fun but I forgot my sprockets and failed miserably with gearing the first night. I only raced the one vintage pro twins class as I had a lot of racing to do in the upcoming days. On the 2nd night of Stockton I won my heat and was looking good in the main until somebody came under me into turn 3 and sent me all the way to the top of the banking and then some. I cam very close to deciding to lay it down at 75mph but I kept it out of the weeds and crossed the finish line 4th. Stockton has the best flattrack racing I have known. It is also the best place to hang out with friends. Really good friends.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

RSD X Indian Motorcycles Super Hooligan at Lost Highway

Last week I hopped on an airplane to LAX with my leathers and helmet to ride the #47 Indian for Roland Sands again. I rented a minivan (it was actually pretty cool but mini vans are still really not cool!). I hit up In 'N Out for a burger, Family dollar for a blanket and after making it to the track I slept in the back with a fast food bag for a pillow. I awoke with the sun to an empty music arena. I walked the track and noted how slick and off camber it was and then did reverse donuts in the mini van. As people started to show up the temperature rose up into the hundreds. I knew the hill side grass track was going to give the Hooligan nutters some hell. The first practice session was like watching an Arnold Schwartzenager scene involving a rocket launcher. One suicide machine dude had crushed his helmet. He said if he could find another lid he thought he was good to race still. No. I rode smooth but knew I would have to push to qualify for the main as only 1st place transfered to the main. In my heat I had a shit start and worked my way into 1st and then lost the front coming in. I used every bit of muscle I had to lift the giant scout back up and kept going. It paid as another crashed out and I ended up 3rd. giving me a a transfer to the B main where 1st place would make the main. I won it but i was pushing so hard across the finish line that I wiped out. The big girl had my hot shoe pinned under neath of her. It was like being sat upon by a huge fat chick inside a sauna. I got out from under her and heaved her back up. I franticly re attached my hot shoe and with sweat dumping out my face I lined up for the main. I wiped out once more causing a first corner red flag restart. I was totally exhausted. I mad it to the last corner of the last lap and right before the finish line I just had to butt surf the grass once more. I think I ended up 5th and I will tell you cold beer never tasted so good. What a great crowd of racers Roland draws. The track was surprisingly great for racing and taught a lot of respect for soft rider inputs. As the darkness came and temps dropped below 100 I hoofed it up the hill to a secret weird balcony like spot and watched good ol Mike Ness and the rest of Social Distortion kick out some good old stuff from the early days. Living the good life. Until a security guard awoke me at 4:30 from my sweaty slumber. "Can't sleep here hon, venue is closed." Well back to the airport and on with the real world.

Turning and burning grass

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Meanwhile back on earth

There is a park at the end of my street. This summer it has been full of people. I ride by them everyday on my way home, pedaling my old Raleigh with Baja in tow in the kiddy trailer. It is great to see so many people out and about in the park enjoying these warm summer days. I love sitting in the grass and watching the world go by. Or finding silly shapes and figures in the clouds. But I notice none of these park dwellers are looking up. Or around. They all are looking down. Every single one of them is hunched over and eyes are locked onto their little shiny black rectangle. It looks like something out of a fucking horror movie. Fuck Pokemon!!! Go do something rad!!!!! This is life and as far as we know it only happens once.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tarmac takes tenacious traction
blind bending arcing apexes
ferocious financial feeding
It is the flat-out speeding I am needing

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pikes Peak 2016; Wrenching not racing

So there I was, sitting in the exact same spot that I had last seen Hot Carl alive one year prior. Instead of strapping on my helmet and gloves this year, I was checking tire pressure and taking the tire warmers off of a Ducati Multistrada that I had spent the last six weeks prepping for Paul Baleta with the Speed Therapy blog. As I watched him take off on the same upper practice section that last year had ended Carl's life. I could not help but feel some cold rocks in my gut. A few minutes after he left my sight the red flag came out. I kept my cool but on the inside I was burning metal on metal. Oscar, our Pirelli guy finally walked away from the marshal and then straight to me. His face was as sharp and cold as angle iron. "It's Baleta" he said, "He has gone off".  I kept composure but on the inside my pistons were siezing and I could feel a big end rod bearing start to knock. All the possible bolts I could have left loose danced in my brain. I waited more. Watching all the other mechanics watch me. Watching Jim, the director who scolded me for even showing up as crew after my banishment. I could feel eyes from all directions on me as I waited. And then there appeared my rider on the back of a sweep riders bike, safe and sound.   Racing is not for the faint of heart. Outcome: No crash: Good. Snapped crankshaft: Bad. We sourced a replacement engine. Imperial was on the ball about getting it done and making magic happen. In the mean time we dusted off my ol 450 2012 winning record setter junk yard beauty and gave paul his first experience on a supermoto for the Ws practice day. He was setting times faster than all but two of the other supermotos. The new engine back in the Big Red Duck ran good for Paul on his second day practicing the upper section. It was Thursday. And again it was very hard to not dwell on what gone down last year on Thursday practice near the summit. With out loss it is hard to appreciate gain. The smile on Paul's face, the new and welcome camaraderie, and the whole experience of racing on Pikes Peak kept me positive and some how an understanding of why I value my lifestyle more than any other I could imagine. Friday's qualifying/ bottom section of practice went well. It was a bit frustrating to see the lack of runs the riders were allowed but again, just seeing how much fun Paul, as a rookie was having more than made up for any bitter feelings I had towards the race and put things into perspective. Paul raced to a respectable 11:21 earning himself 4th in the Heavy Weight class. As soon as I watched his transponder cross the finish line I jumped on my borrowed street bike and booked it off the mountain. I really don't know if I will ever be back. If only I could find another patch of race track that pulls on my throttle cable so and affords my wallet... I reckon the future is what we make it to be. Thanks Paul, It was a huge honor to put together and prep your bike and a lot of fun being on the race week crew!!

Monday, June 13, 2016


Happiness is new knobbies
Fresh socks
My favorite pasta
A unsuspecting band that rocks
Traveling the land in a van
Making a stand caus you can
My dogs kisses
Welding metal that hisses
Cold beer soft hugs
Staying out of jail and off the hard drugs
Holeshots skid marks high fives
Just simply being alive.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It is what you make it

Life is and will only ever be just what we make it out to be. Nobody or no thing can change our perception of any bit of it except our selfs. No matter what shit gets shoveled in our face, no matter what hand we get dealt; It becomes what we make of it. That said, from I, a privileged farm raised white boy with a life I wouldn't trade for another. Yeah, I still have the use of my legs, I have a some what functioning brain, and I can go to the bathroom with out any assistance. I have an assortment of motorcycles to ride and I work for no one but my self. I have a best friend that is a joy to be around and I married her. Life is pretty fucking peachy at the moment. Yes, I am lucky. But it is not luck that has got me where I am . I do not believe in fate or a destiny created by any other than myself. I was given opportunity that some do not get but what I have and where I am is a direct result of choices I have made. I am perhaps ego driven but I do not think of myself as an ego maniac or narcissistic or full of myself. I may think and ponder my inner workings more than most but I am a mechanic. I fix what is broke. I build race bikes that can win. I take what is not working so well and make it work to it's potential. I believe that as a person I must take control of handle bars and pilot this craft or body through this life. If I want to be a good person than I surround myself with only good people. If I want to be smarter than I do not hang out with mindless blobs. If I wish to ride faster than I ride with fast fuckers. When I need inspiration I am thankful to have friends that provide. It is not easy. Far fucking from it, but it is a conscious decision. A way of life devoted to quality. A motto to peg the fun meter... every single fucking day. Peace.

Monday, May 9, 2016

PIKE'S PEAK race - Team RONIN 2015 Travis Newbold

Some entertainment after the race footage so grab some popcorn. Bosozoku style. pause at 35:16 and you can see the deer I dodge at 100+mph. What a good time I had last year!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Thanks Mom.

 When I was a boy my mom thought I needed some tools. Maybe it was because the dirt bike that she had bought me for $400 from a newspaper classifieds add was only serviced once a year. It was serviced by a shop called Z’s Motorsports and only brought to them in a horse trailer with my other dilapidated old motorcycles that neighbors had donated to me, the hopeless motorcycle want-a-be. I never did get any of those bikes to even so much as burp a flame induced spark and neither did Z’s. They were old junk but, the Prized $400 CR80 would run after they did their carb clean or top end replacement. For, I had yet to learn of such things as cleaning and oiling an air filter. I just rode when I could. Sometimes I could not get it started. Sometimes, many times, It ran out of gas and I would push it home though farm fields. There it would sit until the next time gas, oil, and the stars aligned for me to try again. Once I rode until it would not go. The sprocket teeth were all worn smooth.  Every time the shop fixed my bike they must have thought what a complete oblivious spoiled kid I was. But nobody had taught me how to maintain something other than airing up my bmx tires. My mom would pay the repair bill and I rode until the air filter would again suck dirt and seize the engine. Maybe it was after one of these repair bills that Mom thought I needed some tools. Since we were in town, we could have gone to the department store or the farm supply store for some nice complete tool set with sharp screw drivers and metric wrenches to fit my Honda. But no, we went to a store that was a place that interested me: The pawn shop. I remember all the pneumatic ½” impact guns, the cross bows, and Nintendo games. We decided on a near complete set of ½” sockets; 3/8” all the way to 1 ¼”. A breaker bar, extension, and even a universal swivel. Why my mom thought I needed this I had no idea. But I liked the hard metal case and the idea of something I was to be responsible for. I didn’t know what to use these sockets for on my CR80 but I somehow did learn the  process of keeping a clean and oiled air filter. I can remember using the ½” ratchet to hammer my jet needle straight after fucking it all up trying to cram it into the carburetor. That socket set was the beginning of a life long quest for tools. I now have more tools for working on motorbikes than I would trade for a complete furnished casa in Bali with gold capped banisters. Somehow, from that insignificant little case my mom bought me, I have evolved a life long craft of riding, wrenching, and loving the bikes I craft with my wrenches. Thank you Mom. I am forever grateful for your patience, your foresight,  and, your unconditional love and understanding.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Life goes fast… Have a blast

Days pass so fast
   Youth and talent never last
Just a kid bombing hills
   Eventually growing gills
His mongoose evolves
   Mechanical speed equations he solves
Becoming internal combustion led sled
   Orbiting into cosmic death bed

A rainbow oil drip
   The puddle reflection eclipse

Gone tomorrow, yet here today

I race my ghost
   To roost the most
I want to play
   Every god damned day
For berms that bounce
   And tyres that grip
A crank shaved ten ounce
   A clutch disc transferring perfect slip

I offer up this toast
   To make the most
Live large and never lift
   Winning is hard, but live the gift.