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  • 05/20/13--09:00: Bertelli Domenica

  • The relative fragility of the standard coaster brake lends itself perfectly to this assembly by Bertelli of New York. Perfect for morning rambles through the boroughs to the deli on a weekend morning; maybe not so much for hill bombing. This style of riding, however, is what the Italians are more comfortable with and why Francesco Bertelli has cornered a niche in the NY bicycle trade.

    This frame on this Bertelli, called the Domenica, is made by Viking Cycles, a Norwegian workshop who specializes in traditional style lugged steel track frames and ‘classic track aesthetics’, of course. Bertelli places an emphasis on individual builds — compiled with parts from around the world and his trusted suppliers. Combined with his Italian sense of style, each of his bikes come with that pre-loved patina, like a grandfather’s watch or hand-tailored suit from an opportunity shop. So the Gipiemmecrankset, Titan stem, hand crafted wooden handlebars (made by designer Adam Brackney), vintage Brooks B15 and vintage white Michelins, come together with an understated grace and warmth.

    (Via: CycleExif)

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    A host of outstanding British riders began their careers in the 1950s, but of them all, one stood head and shoulders above the pack; Geoffrey Duke; a supreme stylist who gained 3 World titles for Norton and 3 for Gilera. He was born at St. Helens in 1923; as a teenager he became a technician in the postal service, and from there he enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals, attaining the rank of sergeant. During his army tenure Duke was an enthusiastic member of the signal corps motorcycle display team. Following his de-mob in 1947 he purchased a 350cc competition BSA, and on the ‘Beeza’ he began his career as a trials rider.

    New career with Norton

    Duke’s exploits attracted the attention of Irish race star Artie Bell, who was instrumental in finding a position for him with the prestigious Norton firm in Birmingham. At first he had scant success on the 500T trials Norton, which was quite a deal heavier than the BSA; however the prospect of becoming involved in road racing seemed much more appealing. Nortons supported him fully from the outset; to the extent of loaning him a new 350 for the 1948 Manx Grand Prix. which would be his first ever road race. He arrived in the Island a week before official practice began; and using his trials machine, fitted with road tyres he set about learning that most demanding course.

    Manx Grand Prix

    He did not feature on the practice leader board. His practice plan was to conserve his machine on the straights, but concentrate on the quickest possible way through the numerous bends. On race day he faced the starter; quietly confident of a good showing, riding to a pre-determined plan that saw him assume the lead on lap 3. Shortly afterwards he was forced to retire with a split oil tank. It was a great disappointment, and but for his problem he may well have won a Manx Grand Prix at his first attempt.He won the 1949 Senior Clubman’s TT at the Isle of Man in June and was anxious to make a good showing at the 1949 Manx Grand Prix in September, but in July he was involved in a crash at the Skerries 100 in Ireland. He suffered a broken leg and painful lacerations when he was thrown through a thicket hedge, and had barely recovered in time when practice began for the Manx.

    Norton works team

    His main opposition at the Manx came from Ulsterman Cromie McCandless, who like Duke was a most capable racer. Both riders encountered problems during their races, which hampered their prospects of winning. Duke finished a close second to McCandless in the Junior event, but positions were reversed in the Senior Grand Prix; with Duke consolidating his lead ahead of McCandless who lost time on the final lap with fuel problems.

    First Grand Prix SeasonFollowing his Manx success,Duke was an obvious selection for the 1950 works team. His initial outing was in late 1949 at the Montlhery speed bowl near Paris; for the purpose of attacking world endurance records. Artie Bell was Duke’s partner in the solo attempts, which resulted in a bag of 21 records, still using the outmoded “Garden Gate’ model. To be included in the Norton team on equal terms with Bell, Daniell and Lockett was really special, but to start the 1950 season on the new-look ‘Featherbed’ was an opportunity beyond compare. Duke scored emphatic wins in the 500 class of the Senior TT, the Ulster Grand Prix and the final Grand Prix of the season, the Italian.Only for tyre failure in Belgium and Holland he would have surely become 500cc World Champion at his first attempt. There was some consolation for Duke when he scored decisive wins in the 350 and 500 events at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. In the 350 race his team mate Harry Hinton deliberately sacrificed his second place to ensure that Duke was not overtaken by AJS star Les Graham.


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  • 05/21/13--09:00: Renzo Pasolini

  • Pure blood Romagnolo, Renzo Pasolini was born July 18, 1938 in Rimini, his destiny as a motorcyclist was evident from the first moment: his father, Massimo, in fact, was one of the most valued Italian motorcycle pilots around the time of World War II, and in 1956 he had established a kilometre and mile world record in the 75cm3 class, with an Aermacchi. Even though his father was a speed racer, Pasolini in 1958 dedicated his first years to motorcross, but shortly afterwards he moved to asphalt, the specialty that would have given him his biggest rewards in motorcycle riding.
    The first important results are his two victories with the 175 cadets in 1962, but followed the year with lesser important in which he only made second place. 1964 proved to be a come back year, and with a victories in the junior 175, “Paso” earned his senior title. With the official Aermacchi he attacked the the world race and racing in the 250, 350 and 500 he was honoured, arriving fourth in the GP in Holland. Improving his race he came in third in Holland in ’66, and third at the end of the 350 world; but, above all, in the same season he moved to the Benelli, the bike with which he became a legend.

    His debut with the motorcycle from Pesaro, substituting at the Tourist Trophy,brought on the victory in an Italian 500 championship race; during the first race of the previous season in Modena Pasolini beat Agostini. It was then that the rivalry which fired the passionate Italians, and in particular, those from the Adriatic Riviera, theatre of numerous challenges on circuits made of city streets between the two champions.
    Generally, on the streets, it is "Paso" who prevails, while on the circuits the balance leans towards "Ago". The Romagnolo, though, defended himself like lion, with courage and generosity, and in 1968 his is second in the world 350. He stepped back a bit in the following season with an injury and give his place to Carruthers: Returning to his seat he won in Holland, Germany and Czechoslovakia, but alas, falls again in Finland and the 250 title goes to his team mate. Pasolini remained with Benelli another year, but in the end of 1970 he left the company to return to Aermacchi, which now is called Aermacchi-Harley Davidson. The debut came along in the spring of 1971 with a 250 derived from the 125 Golden Wings with enthusiastic first results, enough to inspire the team to develop a motorcycle and build a 350 version. In 1972 the Riminese pilot won three GP and lost the world 250 by only one point, coming in third in the 350. The title is at this point within his reach, the generous “Paso” is waiting for victories more grand than those already won; instead he unfortunately meets his death in a fatal accident in 1973, the day of the debut on the course with the HD 350 who’s end came along with its’ pilot, in the terrible crash of the National GP in Monza in which Jarno Saarinen also lost his life.

    (Roberto Patrignani)

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  • 05/21/13--11:00: 1923 Bugatti Type 32 Tank

  • Ettore Bugatti designed a revolutionary car for the 1923 GP of France at Tours: this incredible car was named Type 32 and nicknamed “Tank” for its particular look. Four examples were made, each with a 2.0 L (1991 cc/121 in³) straight-8 engine based on that in the Type 30. Only two cars have survived to date.

    The Bugatti T 32 tank was the first example in history of aerodynamics applied to the automotive industry: Bugatti observed the section of an airplane wing and had the intuition of designing a car with the same shape to facilitate airflows. A genial intuition anticipating by decades the aerodynamic studies applied to the F1 cars of the Seventies and a pioneer's work that deeply influenced the history of design on the following years.

    The 1923 edition of the Tours GP was waited with excitement by the press and the public: after all it was the GP of the Automobile Club of France, the most watched racing event of that time. The 1923 edition had 17 cars: Bugatti (with 4 cars), Delage (1 car), Sunbeam (3 cars), Rolland Pilain (2 cars), FIAT (3 cars) and Voisin (4 cars). The Bugatti team was composed by:De Vizcaya driving the T32 chassis number 4958: during the race had a bad crash in the first lap at the “La Membrolle” corner and retired. Friederich driving the T32 chassis number 4059 numbered 6 in the race, he was the chief pilot of the Bugatti team and managed to arrive in third place. Prince de Cystria driving the T32 chassis number 4060, during the race he hit a sand bank after being overtaken by Segrave and Divo, regained road but finally retired. Pierre Marco on T32 chassis number 4061 retired after 4 laps. During the race there was battle between the Fiat and Sunbeam for the first place but few laps before the end the FIAT retired and the Sunbeam of Segrave triumphed, after 7 hours of racing. Second arrived the other Sunbeam of Divo. Third the Bugatti 32 of Friederich. The English car magazine “The Autocar”described the 1923 GP of Tours as « the most exciting Grand Prix ever seen ».The Bugatti 32 Tank were undoubtedly fast, one later being timed at 117mph over a kilometer, but their remarkably short wheelbase caused high speed handling difficulties for their drivers, aggravated perhaps by their bodywork generating aerodynamic lift.


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    During World War 2, large bombers and flying fortresses were considered critical for victory by both the Allied and Axis forces. In order to meet the threat of enemy bombers, both the Germans and the Americans were developing new interceptors intended to attack large enemy planes by deliberately colliding with them. Employing a technology which was ultimately abandoned, the solidly-built interceptors were meant to collide with their target at extremely high speeds. If all went according to plan, the bomber would be fatally wounded and the ramming plane and its pilot would survive the impact, ready to move on to the next victim.

    The American plane designed for this role was the Northrop XP-79B. Started as a program to develop a rocket-powered gun-equipped fighter, the XP-79B emerged as a magnesium-reinforced jet designed to ram enemy aircraft. The jet's design was unique, placing the pilot in a prone position to allow him to endure much greater g-forces. The pilot controlled the ailerons with a tiller bar in front of him and rudders mounted at his feet, which is the reverse of normal flight controls. Intakes at the wingtips supplied air for the unusual bellows-boosted ailerons.

    Naturally the plane was nicknamed the "Flying Ram." The plan was simple: fly above enemy aircraft, then enter a high-speed dive and collide with an enemy's wing or vertical stabilizer. The XP-79B was designed to survive because of the heavily reinforced leading edges on the wings.

    The XP-79B had a range of 993 miles, a ceiling of 40,000 feet and a top speed of just under five hundred and fifty miles per hour. A developmental version of the plane, the MX-324, became America’s first rocket-powered aircraft.

    Fortunately for potential pilots, the balance of power in the war turned against the Axis before the plane ever flew. The only XP-79B to take to the air did so after the war's end, and ended tragically. Test pilot Harry Crosby had flown the plane well for several minutes before it entered an uncontrollable spin from 8,000 feet, and Crosby was unable to bail out. The XP-79B project died with him.

    Although Axis pilots-- especially the Japanese-- actually did try to collide with Allied bombers using volunteers using conventional aircraft, they also had efforts to develop ramming planes. The Zeppelin Company in Germany-- named after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin-- was working on such a rocket plane when the war ended. It was called the Zeppelin Rammer.

    The Rammer was proposed in the last six months of the war, but its progress never went beyond the design stage. Unlike the XP-79B, the Rammer was to be towed aloft by another fighter (probably a ME-109 or ME-110) and then released at the desired altitude. After being released it would ignite a solid-fuel rocket and accelerate to six hundred miles per hour. The small plane had fourteen small rockets housed in the nose, which could be fired at an enemy aircraft. The fighter could then take a second pass to ram the target if needed.

    The designers were convinced that the Rammer would be able to slice through a bomber’s tail section with little or no damage due to the heavily reinforced leading edges on the wings. After an attack, the Rammer would glide to the ground its retractable skid.

    The Japanese never got to the stage of designing a plane specifically for ramming. Still, some Allied B-29's were lost in ramming attacks by Japanese pilots using outdated aircraft. The Shinten Seiku-tai(The Heaven Shaking Air Superior Unit) were specially trained sections of fighter units with the mission of air-to-air ramming of Allied bomber aircraft. It was all an act of desperation which had no significant military value aside from downing a few bombers, much like the kamikazes' efforts to damage US carriers.

    The idea of using an aircraft as a manned guided missile has a modern footnote as well. On September 11, 2001, F-16 pilots flying combat air patrol over Washington DC decided that they would ram hijacked airliners if necessary. The pilots had taken off in such a hurry to protect Washington that they left with no air-to-air missiles and the wrong ammunition. Some planes left with non-explosive practice rounds.

    Although the Northrop XP-79B program was cancelled early, its legacy lives on in the 21st century. The Northrop Corporation ultimately used its basic design when building the revolutionary "Flying Wings" of the 1950s. Northrop gained considerable knowledge about wing-only aircraft with planes like the XP-79B, and that expertise eventually lead to the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

    Written by Greg Bjerg.

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    Motorcyclists and competitive sport go hand in hand. From a spectator’s point of view, man and motorcycle against like-for-like competition makes for compelling viewing. Not just on the rigours of a circuit, but anywhere a motorcycle can be ridden. One such arena is the straight and long length of surface dedicated to achieving motorcycle land speed records – a subject that BMW Motorrad knows more about than most.

    The history of outright motorcycle speed records is long and continuous, and has led to men and women becoming famous for their attempts as well as actually setting speed records. One such star that shone brighter than most is legendary German rider, racer, car driver and dedicated champion of motorcycling, Ernst Jakob Henne. Of the many motorcycle race wins and championship titles to his name, his fame reached its greatest height when he captured a staggering 76 land speed records between 1929-1937.

    Henne’s first step to greatness started at just 15 when he secured his motorcycle licence. At the age of 19, with a self-funded mechanic’s apprenticeship gained, Henne was already a master technician and tactician, and such skills were rewarded with a working contract with BMW. And then, at 23 years of age, Henne seized upon a chance to enter a motorcycle race aboard a friend’s machine and finished in third place. Henne’s successful motorcycle racing career had started.

    Finally, after protracted negotiations, Henne reached agreement with his BMW employers to enable him to chase land speed records on BMW Motorrad machinery. Some of his records were set while riding a supercharged 750cc (735cc) machine based on the BMW R 63. In 1929, and in the space of just seven hours on 19 September, Henne smashed eight world records. Unfortunately, only half were officially recognised, but Henne was not deterred...

    Henne and his BMW Motorrad machinery went from strength to strength. He pioneered aerodynamics with tight-fitting clothing and a helmet shape that is still favoured by today’s fanatical downhill speed-skiers. With assistance from a growing army of friends and technical experts in a bid to combat the growing global competition, Henne encompassed his machines in wind-cheating bodywork. The famous enclosed and very streamlined aircraft cockpit-style was painted white and gave rise to the tag “Henne and his egg“, which sat nicely with his nickname of “The White Ghost“ from competing in all-white garments.

    Henne’s relentless determination came to fruition on 28 November 1937, when he set a new World Landspeed Record on a closed German autobahn. Sat within the confines of his fully enclosed fairing, Henne completed the necessary two-way run on his 500cc supercharged BMW. The average speed was recorded as 173.6mph (279.5km/h). Such was the phenomenal speed for the time; it took another fourteen years before it was officially beaten.

    After the ‘fast one’, Ernst Jakob Henne retired from chasing land speed records but never moved away from the thrill of speed and continued riding bikes. Before he passed away on 24th May 2005, Henne recorded one more milestone by reaching his 101st birthday. Ernst Jakob Henne: a gentleman, a legend and one of the fastest men to have lived.

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    In one of our all time favorite “One Piece at a Time” by The Man in Black, a.k.a Johnny Cash, a guy working on a GM assembly line uses his big lunch box to take home a part of the car he’s working on, every day. And for the big ones, he uses a friend’s RV.

    The car you see above is the “official” one, since it was built specifically to promote the song. The work was executed by Bruce Fitzpatrick (far right on the picture) of Abernathy Auto Parts and Hilltop Auto Salvage in Nashville, TN.

    Another one was built by Bill Patch (!) along with the Lions Club of Welch, Oklahoma, to raise funds to build a new civic auditorium. Mr. Cash himself came to the town to perform and thus help the fundraiser. The car can be seen at the Historic auto attractions museum in Roscoe, Illinois.

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  • 05/23/13--11:00: Ray Charles By Jim Marshall

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    Christian Klein is a skilled lathe operator and a craftsman engineer. He’s also a Ducati fan, and rides a red 900 GTS. In the cold German evenings, he drifts towards his workshop, inhabiting what he calls his ‘parallel world’. And it was in here, a few years ago, that Klein decided to build a light and quick café racer. So he created a custom frame, using high-strength, low-alloy steel. That bike is now finished, and it’s a work of art. The rear is unusually narrow, with the seat being merely two sections of foam rubber inset into milled aluminum plate. The exhaust winds through the frame under the seat unit, and was created using a home-made tube bending machine. The motor is from a Ducati 350 Scrambler, which Klein rebuilt and treated to a port and polish job. (It’s a very reputable motor, as far as singles go: in 1967, it was even selected to power the Swiss military’s Condor A350 motorcycle.) Attention to detail is everywhere, from the foot controls to the single rear (CB600-based) shock arrangement, and even the hand-made screws and locknuts. The forks, in case you’re wondering, are from a Yamaha RD. And the result is simply wunderbar.

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  • 05/24/13--11:00: Höhenstraßen-Rennen 1957

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    On May 23, 1928, the group took RAK 2 to the Avusring near Berlin. In front of 2000 spectators, the world's press, politicians and celebrities Fritz von Opel himself took the wheel. Pressing the firing pedal eight times, he accelerated to a record-breaking 148 mph in just over a mile. By that time Fritz was struggling to keep control, and when the front end started to lift dangerously he shut the car down, pulling up to applause from the crowd - and a kiss from actress Lillian Harvey.

    Although it's been suggested Opel were only in it for the publicity, the group had always made it clear that rocket cars were just a first step. In a short speech after the run von Opel said "We also want to investigate the effect of acceleration on the human body - the final stage in our project will be to produce manned rocket propelled space ships". The publicity from the event more than repaid every pfennig that Opel had invested, and gave a significant boost to the then fledgling science of rocketry.

    Further rocket car experiments followed. In June 1928 RAK 3, a rail mounted car with 10 rockets, set a new record for rail mounted vehicles at 158 mph watched by 20,000 spectators, before being destroyed on its second run. In the summer of 1928, RAK 4 - another rail car - was wrecked when a rocket exploded on ignition, setting off all the other rockets and making the car jump the rails. The railway authorities banned further tests, but by then the group had moved on, buying a glider christened Ente (duck), which they fitted with two 44 lb thrust rockets.

    On June 11 1928 Ente flew just under a mile under rocket power, although on its second flight a rocket exploded, damaging the wing and setting the plane alight. Undeterred, von Opel commissioned Julius Hatry, a well-known glider builder, to make a bespoke rocket powered craft, the Opel - Sander - Hatry RAK 1. On June 30, 1929, RAK 1 flew two miles in 75 seconds, reaching 90 mph, before being destroyed in a crash landing.

    That was the last time Fritz von Opel piloted a rocket-propelled vehicle, and soon afterwards the group separated, almost certainly as a result of changes at Opel. Perhaps realising what was soon to happen in Germany, the von Opels sold the company to General Motors later in 1929. Max Valier continued to experiment with rockets, moving from black powder to liquid fuel motors; he built two further cars, but was killed when a liquid fuel motor exploded on a test bed in 1930. Sander was twice arrested by the Nazis, who coveted his rocketry interests, and died in prison in 1938. 'Rocket Fritz' moved to Switzerland after the sale to GM; he lived until 1971, long enough to see the first manned landing on the Moon.

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  • 05/26/13--09:00: Bob McIntyre The Flying Scot

  • Robert McGregor McIntyre was born to race motorcycles, he had all the right qualities to be one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, natural ability, clinical logic and outstanding race-craft. He was also a skilled engine tuner, mechanic and machine-builder, but "Bob Mac" was tragically taken from us while still in his prime. The "Flying Scotsman" was only 33 when he was fatally injured racing in the British Championship meeting at Oulton Park on August 6th 1962.

    Bob McIntyre was born in Scotsoun, a suburb of Glasgow, on November 2nd 1928. (He also had a younger brother, nine years his junior, who never raced bikes and later emigrated to Australia). His father worked on the Clyde in the shipyards and never wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, so when Bob left school at 14 years of age, he went to work in a motor garage in Partick to learn a trade. He started his apprenticeship on his 16th birthday and later bought his first motorcycle, a 1931 Norton 16H, which cost £12. He wasn't interested in racing at all at this time, the bike was nothing more than a means of transport and also something he could rebuild and tinker with. He soon had the bike looking as good as new and after six months he sold for £50 - a tidy profit in the 1940s. With the aid of a loan from his parents, Bob's next bike was a 1935 Ariel Red Hunter, a much faster machine than the Norton and the cause of one or two spills for young Bob. Shortly before his 18th birthday, a motor cycling club was formed in Scotsoun and Bob became one of the first half dozen members. The club was the Mercury Motor Club, whose emblem adorned Bob's crash helmet throughout his career.

    At 18 Bob was called up for National Service and eventually found himself posted to Suez, where his experience on a motorcycle got him a job as a despatch rider. Once his service was done, Bob returned to Scotland and continued with his apprenticeship. The Mercury Club had grown during his abscence and some of the members were taking part in trials and scrambles. Bob went to watch one of the scrambles at Airdrie, where he was captivated by the legendary Bob Smith on his AJS and decided he'd like to have a go himself. His first ever race meeting was a scramble at Craigend Farm. not far from his home at Scotsoun, where he raced his own Ariel, minus the headlamp. As the months passed by, the Ariel was modified and tuned, and Bob got steadily better. His fascination with tuning motorcycles had grown too, so as soon as he had completed his apprenticeship, he found a job with Valenti Brothers, a motor cycle dealers in Glasgow.

    It was around this time that Bob witnessed his first motorcycle road race too. he went to Kircaldy and thought to himself that he could ride better than most of the guys he was watching, so decided there and then to enter a road race for himself and see how well he could do. Bob's biggest obstacle was not having access to a bike suitable for road racing, but Alan McKenzie, a fellow member of the Mercury Club, offered him the chance to share his BSA 350cc Gold Star at an event at Ballado Airfield near Kinross. The race was held on the old concrete runways, which had seen better days, but Bob's scrambling experience proved invaluable on the loose gravel and he won three events before falling off in his fourth race.

    Bob and Alan entered more and more Scottish races on the BSA and Bob did reasonably well in his first season. The Ariel was sold to fund new parts, tyres and entry fees so the two of them would turn up at the races aboard the BSA with their spares and toolkit strapped to their backs.

    One of Bob's rivals in those early days was Les Cooper, whose family owned Cooper Bro's of Troon. Les rode a brand new AJS 7R, a proper racing bike. Towards the end of the 1951 season, Sam Cooper, the senor partner of Cooper Bro's, asked Bob if he would like to race their Gold Star BSA in the 1952 Isle Of Man Junior Clubman TT. He also asked Bob if he would like a job, so in the winter of 1951, Bob switched jobs and started to ride his racing bike to and from work, choosing the most demanding routes he could find, just to improve his skills and get a better feel for the bike.

    During practice for the event, Bob made an error which almost cost him his chance, He forgot to remove the centre stand and as he descended Hilllberry at speed, the stand hit the ground and threw Bob off, causing the bike some serious cosmetic damage. Sam Cooper was furious and threatened to pack the bike up and return home, but Bob protested and eventually Cooper calmed down and let him take his place on the starting grid, on the promise that Bob would ride with caution! This turned out to be a defining moment in Bob's racing career as he finished 2nd to Eric Houseley and also set a new lap record of 80.09mph, a remarkable feat considering his bike was struggling with carburettor problems, a blown head gasket and young Bob was supposed to be riding cautiously!

    In September of that same year he took Cooper's 350cc AJS 7R and Manx Norton to the Isle Of Man. While he was there he was given the chance to ride a works AJS which he rode to victory in the Junior Manx Grand Prix. Two days later he rode the same bike to 2nd place in the Senior race. This was the beginning of a great career that would see Bob at the top of the road racing game for ten years.

    Bob McIntyre took his racing very seriously and set standards that many still strive to achieve today. Not only did he make sure his bikes were always immaculately turned out, but he made sure his body was in peak condition too. He kept fit by playing badminton and swimming and spent the closed season climbing in the Scottish mountains. He was also teetotal, never smoked and watched his diet very carefully. He was equally concerned with his appearance too. He wore a custom-made one-piece leather racing suit which was snug fitting and unpadded. His boots were also custom made with a supple, fine grade leather and soled with rubber to aid quick push starts. His racing kit was supplemented with wrist length gloves, a white helmet featuring the badge of the Mercury Motor Club and a pair of Italian pattern goggles. If nothing else, Bob was always the fittest and smartest racer on the grid.

    In 1953, Bob was invited to join the AJS works team, but he struggled at first. He had a disappointing TT, failing to finish in any event, but he finally scored his first international victory at the North West 200 where he won the 350cc race on a standard two-valve AJS 7R rather than the 7R3 "triple knocker". He also stood on the podium at the Ulster Grand Prix and recorded his first GP victory at Pau in France. McIntyre appeared to have had his best results on standard machinery and even in the senior class he preferred to ride the production Matchless G45 rather than the works E95 "Porcupine", which he described as "...most horrifying... a camel!"
    For 1954 Bob stayed with AJS, preferring to ride the standard 7R and G45 whenever he could. Once again, he was frustrated with his results and and had another disappointing TT. The 7R3 let him down in the Junior event and he could only finish 14th on the "Porcupine" in the senior race. AJS pulled out of Grand Prix racing at the end of the 1954 season, so Bob seized the opportunity, went back to his privateer roots, and beagn a famous partnership with Glasgow's ace tuner and sponsor Joe Potts, who provided him with 350cc and 500cc Manx models and also prepared a special 250cc Potts Special Norton.

    At the Isle of Man TT Bob rode one of the greatest races of his career. His streamlined Norton had the beating of all the British factory entries and he even beat Surtees on the Moto Guzzi. He actually led the race for the first four laps only to be beaten by Bill Lomas on the last lap. Giulio Carcano was so impressed with his perfomance that he offered him a ride on the factory Moto Guzzi, but Bob stuck with his trusted friend and did not accept the invitation. Despite a brilliant domestic season in 1956, Bob could not repeat his success at the TT, retiring from both the senior and junior races with mechanical problems. 1956 saw the legendary tuner J "Pim" Fleming join the Potts team, adding another dimension to the preparation of Bob Mac's engines.
    1957 turned out to be Bob's big year. He was invited to join the Gilera works team and mounted on a 4-cylinder Gilera Arcore, he won both the Junior and Senior races at the Golden Jubillee Isle Of Man TT and also became the first rider to do a 100mph lap on the mountain circuit when he completed his third lap of the senior at 101.03mph. The fourth lap was even faster at 101.13mph! During the extended 8-lap race it is estimated that McIntyre reached speeds of around 160mph, so it came as no surprise that he actually caught and overtook the 1956 World Champion, John Surtees on the 500cc MV Augusta and won the race. It was this success that really cemented his place in history as one of the greatest TT riders of all time.

    Bob later described the 1957 junior TT Gilera 350 as "the nicest machine I ever rode... smooth as silk". He also recalled how every time he passed the Guthrie memorial he imagined the fellow Scot urging him on to victory, but during the senior, on that fully streamlined Gilera, he reckoned Jimmy was shaking a finger at him and warning him to slow down!
    The 1957 World Championship also looked to be within his reach, but a crash in the Dutch TT at Assen put him on the sidelines for a couple of months. His record for the season was still excellent though, with a 2nd place in the 500cc Ulster Grand Prix and victory in the 350cc Nations Grand Prix at Monza. Bob finished 2nd in the 500cc World Championships and also took 3rd place in the 350cc World Championship. At the end of 1957 the Italian team also quit Grand Prix racing, but in November 1957, Gilera invited McIntyre to ride a 350cc racer around the banked Monza circuit in an attempt to break the one hour speed record. He averaged 141 mph on the bumpy Monza surface, a record that was not broken until 1964 when Mike Hailwood lapped Daytona at 144.80mph on an MV Agusta.

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    The Black Cat - the first movie pitting Lugosi and Karloff together, in 1941 - was a slam duck for the two who were riding the crest of fame as Horror Icons at Universal Studio.

    It was a rainy morning in 1932 when Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, the men behind two of the most legendary screen monsters, would officially meet at Universal City. The two posed for publicity stills in their dapper tuxedos, bandied words and finally made a wager as to who could scare the other to death. While the tone was subdued, the meeting would hit on the palpable rivalry that would exist between Karloff and Lugosi for years to come; a rivalry clearly displayed in their collaboration on Universal's The Black Cat and The Raven.

    In The Black Cat, Karloff plays Hjalmar Poelzig, a satanic cult leader who plays a game of chess with Lugosi’s Dr. Werdegast for the soul of a young woman Poelzig wants to sacrifice to Satan. Dr. Werdegast wants his wife Karen, who Poelzig ran off with, and his daughter.

    It is revealed that though Karen is dead, Poelzig has made her daughter (also named Karen) his wife. The film ends with a startling clash between Karloff ad Lugosi, as Dr. Werdegast flays Poelzig alive for killing his daughter Karen.

    In their next feature, The Raven, Lugosi would play Dr. Richard Vollen, an eccentric surgeon with a taste for Poe. Vollen has built Poe’s various contraptions of torture and death, including a pendulum and room where the walls come together to crush the unlucky inhabitant.

    Karloff plays Edmond Bateman, a criminal on the run who comes to Dr. Vollin for a new face. The film from here on out plays strangely like a retelling of Frankentstein, as Dr. Vollen severs Bateman’s facial nerves, turning him into a hideous monster. It is here where the success of the film can be found, as Lugosi once again takes up his Dracula hat and Karloff brings back a touch of the monster audiences had grown to love.

    Both The Black Cat and The Raven reveal the essential difference between Karloff and Lugosi that would lead to one’s stardom and the other’s downfall. What separated Karloff from Lugosi was his “uncanny” ability to change characters from film to film. Karloff could play the broken voiced gangster of The Raven or the haunting Satanist of The Black Cat without a trace of the creature he was so famous for portraying on the silver screen. In essence Karloff could separate himself from the character of Frankenstein in a way Bela Lugosi could not leave Dracula behind.

    Both Dr. Werdegast of The Black Cat and Dr. Richard Vollin of The Raven are essentially Dracula. As Dr. Vollin recites the opening lines of Poe’s “The Raven”, the viewer is reminded of Dracula’s dulcet tones exhorting Jonathan Harker to enjoy the “ children of the night [and the] sweet music they make” The majority of Lugosi’s film roles have him ghosting Dracula in the tradition of personality actors like Woody Allen or Christopher Walken. This might be why several posters for The Raven bill Boris Karloff as simply “Karloff” and Lugosi as “Bela (Dracula) Lugosi”

    The difference between Karloff as character actor and Lugosi as personality actor can best be seen through the eyes of Mary Sharon who interviewed both men. Sharon was anxious about her interview with Karloff and felt that based on his portrayal Frankenstein’s monster their encounter would be “repellant” and “aloof” But counter to her expectations, Sharon found Karloff to the be “the most amazing man in Hollywood…because he can play the most abnormal, horrible characterizations without being affected by them”

    Conversely Sharon’s interview with Bela Lugosi had the opposite effect: “Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula, was Dracula at heart. Meeting him under normal circumstances did not destroy that sinister something that enabled him to play his weird character so convincingly”


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  • 05/27/13--09:00: Almond & Linus Summer Bike

  • There are similarities that can be drawn between cycling and surfing; the pleasure of fluid motion and the zen-like action of movement within one’s environment are two that come to mind. California’s Almond Surfboards and Linus Bikes worked together to produce the ideal combination of the two.

    Almond Surfboards are a passionate collective of Californian surfers, shapers and designers whose storefront on Old Newport Boulevard, Newport Beach is a little more than a comfortable walk from the waves but a three minute bicycle ride. Venice Beach locals Linus Bikes were an obvious partner to work with on a collaboration—their bikes share a similar aesthetic of traditional, reliable design with Almond’s longboards and retro fish shapes. Adam and Chad at Linus also happen to be surfers from South Africa, so the partnership was bound by a common love for the ocean.

    The Almond X Linus Summer Edition bike is the quintessential beachside transport. A cherry wood crate on the rear rack will carry all the essentials for a surf session, while a board rack will keep your custom log out of the way while navigating the track to the beach. Linus bikes are cool, elegant and understated, and a perfect complement to your custom Almond board. You can view the range of Almond shapes on their website, and follow the happenings around the shop and beach on their blog. You can contact Linus Bikes through their website. Special thanks to Cam Oden for the photography.

    (Via: CycleExif)

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  • 05/27/13--10:00: Audi Quattro Rally Car

  • Audi's Quattro became a huge part of world rally history when it introduced four-wheel-drive as a competent and necessary element of World Rally cars. The S1 was one of the most extreme of these and this Sport Quattro was the homologated road-going version of it. These cars became the holy grail for Audi enthusiasts and only around 200 were made to satisfy requirements.

    The Sport Quattro benefited from the Quattros that contested the Group B category of rally racing from 1982 to 1984. With upcoming four wheel drive threats from Peugeot and Ford, the Sport was created to keep Audi at the top of their game.

    One major difference between the Sport Quattro and the regular production version was a wheelbase reduction of 12.4 inches (320 mm) to just 86.8 inches (2204 mm). With a huge chunk missing from the middle of the car, the profile almost resembled a hatch back, but this smaller size greatly improved handling and reduced weight.

    Furthermore, the Quattro was full of technologies such as ABS, four-wheel drive and self-locking differentials which were way ahead of their time in 1984.

    Most of the Quattro Sport's outward changes were the work of Audi stylist Peter Birtwhistle. His design included larger grills and additional intakes on the hood and bumper to help increase air flow to the radiator and oil cooler mounted behind them. Huge wheel flairs covered 15x9 Ronal wheels.

    The displacement of engine was dropped slightly from 2144cc to 2133cc so that Audi could satisfy the 3-liter rallying class with a 1.4 times multiplication factor. The enigne had 300 bhp on tap thanks to a turbocharged version of the double overhead cam, 20-valve, cross-flow, five cylinder engine that used an alloy block to save 51 lbs. This was the first Audi engine to use four valves per cylinder and a crossflow head, which helped it reach 143 bhp per liter!

    Brakes were upgraded with four-piston calipers that clamped inner vented discs and ABS was included as standard but could be disengaged.

    Because of the huge reduction of wheelbase, the rear passenger space suffered the most. There was absolutely no legroom and the rear bench was halved in size. In the front, new Recaro seats were used and an updated dashboard had to be the envy of every other regular Quattro owner.

    With 4WD, high gearing and a low weight, the Sport Quattro could hit 0-100 kph in 4.8 seconds, which is an incredible figure still to this day. By comparison the S1 Rally version had 530 bhp and was probably the fastest way to get from point A to point B in 1986.

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