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  • 06/23/13--09:00: One Wheel Lauda

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  • 06/24/13--02:32: Duff

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  • 06/24/13--09:00: Townsend Grass Track

  • Grass track racing is an almost forgotten aspect of our sport. Along with bicycle speedway, it is eclipsed by the now very fashionable velodrome version, and even by bicycle polo. Nevertheless, the history and culture is an extended one, and provides us with a rich style. This bike by Townsend Cycles combines the age-old tradition of path racing with the classic ethos of velodrome racing.

    Gregory Townsend is an ex-pat Briton who now resides in Monrovia, California. A 30-year experience with track, cyclocross, mountain bike and road racing is evident in his builds, as is his English heritage: old-world touches reminiscent of Hetchins can be seen (especially on his‘Burgundy Road’ frame).

    The Grass Track Racer is dressed nicely in Campagnolo Chorus Pista components and drivetrain, with some beautiful laminated beech rims made by Ghisallo in Italy (which can be procured in the US through Ric Hjertberg’s Wheel Fanatyk blog). Greg likes to incorporate the bar and stem combination into the overall theme of the bike, and it works well. That leather bar wrap reminds me of the suede elbow patches on a tweed shooting jacket.

    The legendary Joe Bell performed the finishing. The paint is the final touch on what is a perfect blend of past and present, town and country.

    (Via: Cycleexif)

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  • 06/24/13--11:00: Old School

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  • 06/26/13--09:00: Messerschmitt BF 110

  • The Messerschmitt Bf 110 was an aircraft of very mixed fortunes. It has often been criticized for its failure during the Battle of Britain, while its successes in other fields have been largely ignored. Yet, this aircraft that did not match up to Luftwaffe expectations, managed to serve Germany throughout the Second World War in long-range escort fighter, fighter-bomber, reconnaissance, ground attack and night fighter roles.
    The long-range multi-seat escort fighter is possibly the most difficult of combat aircraft to design. Certainly no entirely successful machine in this category emerged from the Second World War, and when Professor Willy Messerschmitt began design studies for such a warplane towards the end of 1934, at the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke at Augsburg, his problems would have seemed insurmountable had he possessed a full knowledge of interceptor fighter development trends abroad. Such a machine as was required by Marshal Goering, to equip the elite zerstorerformations, that he envisaged had to be capable of penetrating deep into enemy territory, possessing sufficient range to accompany bomber formations. The fuel tankage necessary presented a serious weight penalty, and called for the use of two engines if the zerstorer was to achieve a performance approaching that of the lighter interceptor fighter by which it would be opposed. Yet it had to be manaoeuvrable, if it was to successfully fend off the enemy's single-seaters.
    Messerschmitt possessed no previous experience with twin-engined military aircraft when he commenced work on the Bf 110. Indeed, his first warplane, the single-seat Bf 109 , had been conceived only the previous summer. At the time, the most powerful aero engine of national design available was the Junkers Jumo 210A of 610 hp. It was obvious from the outset that a pair of such engines would be inadequate to provide the power needed for the relatively large and heavy fighter envisaged. However, the Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft was actively engaged in developing a new twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled inverted-vee engine, the DB 600 , which held promise of 1,000 hp, and on the premise that such engines would be available for his prototypes—Messerschmitt began the design of the Bf 110.

    Designed to a 1934 requirement for a long range escort fighter, the first prototype Bf 110 made its initial flight on May 12, 1936. A key factor in the design was the use of two Daimler-Benz DB 600 engines—subsequent difficulty in obtaining enough of these to power development aircraft meant that the Bf 110 could not be tested during the Spanish Civil War. Nevertheless, one aircraft was tested at the Rechlin evaluation center in 1937, and proved to be very fast, although not as manoeuvrable as hoped. Despite obvious shortcomings, the Bf 110 entered service in 1939 as the Bf 110C—powered by two 1100 hp DB 601A engines. Production was set up on a massive scale, and by the end of the year, some 500 Bf 110s were flying operationally.

    By the time Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, ten Luftwaffe Gruppen had been equipped with the heavy fighter. Owing to the limited aerial opposition, the Bf 110C was largely employed in the ground-support role, and after the fall of Poland, little was heard of this much-vaunted machine until, on December 14, 1939, it was encountered by a formation of twelveWellingtons over the Heligoland Bight. But it was not until it was to come up against RAF fighters in 1940, that the Bf 110C was to receive its first real trial in combat and to be found wanting.

    As a long-range escort fighter, the Bf 110C received a disastrous mauling at the hands of the more nimble Hurricane and Spitfire during the Battle of Britain. Rather than protecting the bombers under escort, the Bf 110C formations usually found that they were hard put to defend themselves, and the farcical situation developed in which single-seat Bf 109E fighters were having to afford protection to the escort fighters. The complete failure of the Bf 110C in the role for which it had been conceived, led to its eventual withdrawal from the Channel coast but did not result in any reduction in its production priority.

    Against Polish PZL fighters and other European countries, the aircraft fared well. Although the Bf 110s had failed in their primary task, production continued at a high rate, and by 1945 no fewer than 6,150 had been built, ranging from Bf 110As to Gs. As later models became available, the early Bf 110Cs and Ds were transferred to the Middle East and Eastern Front.

    Both the C- and D-models had almost disappeared from the European theatre by the summer of 1941, although they were being used extensively on the Russian front and in the Middle East. Production during 1940 had risen to 1,083 machines, but with the impending introduction of the Me 210, only 784 machines were produced in the following year.

    By the end of 1942, in which year 580 Bf 110s were produced, production of this aircraft had again been stepped up as, on April 17, production of the Me 210 was canceled after numerous accidents, thus leaving a serious gap in the Luftwaffe's fighter and fighter bomber production program. To fill the gap, an improved version of the Bf 110 was introduced, the G-series with theDB 605 engine which provided 1,475 hp for take-off and 1,355 hp @ 18,700 feet. The pre-production Bf 110G-0 fighter-bomber was delivered for service evaluation late in 1942, and from early in 1943, G-series machines were encountered in increasing numbers. Apart from its engines the first production model, the Bf 110G-1, was similar to earlier fighter-bomber variants, and the G-2 differed principally in the armament installed: two or four 20-mm. MG 151 cannon and four 7.9-mm. MG 17 in the nose plus two 7.9-mm. MG 81 in the rear cockpit.

    The Bf 110Es were capable of carrying a respectable bomb load of 4,410 lb (2,000 kg) as fighter-bombers, while straight fighter and reconnaissance versions were also built. These, and later versions, were operated with a fair degree of success in many war zones. The Bf 110F was basically similar to the E, but two new variants were produced—the 110F-2 carrying rocket projectiles, and the F-4 with two 30 mm cannon, and an extra crew member for night fighting. The last version, the Bf 110G, was intended for use originally as a fighter-bomber but, in view of the success of the F-4, and the increasingly heavy attacks on Germany by Allied bombers, was employed mostly as a night fighter.

    From time to time, Bf 110G night fighters were used on day operations. They were first employed as close escort to the Scharnhorst, and the Gneisenau off the Dutch coast and Heligoland Bight, and in the summer of 1943, they fought American day-bomber formations, whenever the latter flew unescorted. The Bf 110G groups sustained heavy losses during these actions owing to their pilots, trained in night-fighting tactics, going in close before attacking and being met by the heavy defensive fire of the bombers. They were no match for the Thunderbolts escorting American B-17 and B-24 bombers over Berlin.

    It was in a Bf 110 that Rudolf Hess, Deputy Fuhrer of Germany, flew solo to Scotland on the night of May 10, 1941, in the hope of negotiating peace terms with Britain, without Hitler's knowledge.

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    Terry O'Neill (born July 30, 1938; London, UK) is a British photographer. He gained notoriety documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s. O'Neill's photographs display his knack for capturing his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings. His work has also been featured in numerous exhibitions. He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Centenary medal 'in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography' in 2011
    O'Neill had a longtime relationship with Faye Dunaway. His son with Dunaway, Liam Dunaway O'Neill, was born in 1980. Terry was married to Faye from 1983 until 1986. In 2003, he was quoted in the U.S. tabloid magazine, Star, as saying Liam was adopted and not their biological son, contrary to Dunaway's public assertions.Terry is currently married to Laraine Ashton, a former model agency executive.

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    Bruce Springsteen purchased this Corvette in 1975, after the succsess of "Born to Run". Photos of the car appeared on various album and singles sleeves, and the car was prominently featured in the book "Songs", a Springsteen songbook journal and photo album.

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  • 06/27/13--11:00: Vespa Chariot
  • Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd, still in costume, have fun with a Vespa
    in-between takes of shooting BEN-HUR.

    During the 1959 filming of Ben Hur, when he wasn’t hurtling round Rome in a chariot Charlton Heston used a more modern and arguably far more elegant mode of transport as can be seen from these photos we’ve dug out from the dusty vaults of the Internet.

    Whether this was a publicity stunt for the burgeoning Italian scooter industry of the time is open to conjecture but we’ll wager you won’t find too many other photos of Roman gladiators scooting around Italy’s capital city.

    We reckon there’s three different models of scooter here so will offer special Brucie bonus points to anyone who can identify which is which.

    Paul Newman was offered the lead role in Ben Hur but turned it down because he didn’t think he had the legs to wear a Roman tunic.

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    Is that a Norton? What year Triumph is that? That’n old BSA? Just a few of the many first-glance questions I field on this 2000 Kawasaki W650. When it was in stock form, the British looks were already in place, but a few key mods helped create a more racy cafe persona to this Wilkinson Bros daily rider.

    Kawasaki will tell you the roots go back to its own 1967 W1, which does bear similarities, but the late-sixties Bonneville vibe is clearly evident. Only a couple years of this model usually surface in the States, the 2000 and 2001. My brother, Casey, and I were on the lookout for one, knowing it’d be a great base for a cafe racer. Luck on our side, we found a stock W650 just a mile down the road with dialed-in jetting and a modified airbox. This W ran smooth as silk.

    To start the cafe conversion, I bought 29-dollar ace bars and 15-dollar Gran Turismo-style grips. Easy enough. An online search for hand-built aluminum gas tanks turned up several vendors – mostly overseas. The craftsmanship was beautiful, but I couldn’t bite on the cost and shipping fees. After scrolling through eBay auctions, I ran across what looked like the same Gold Star tank offered by French accessories provider, VD Classic. This one, however, was in North Carolina sitting on the hood of an old pick-up. It had a crude patch in the tunnel, but looked pretty good in its so-so eBay pics. I was highest bidder at $600; fingers remained crossed until it showed up in the mail. The exterior was perfect and the patch would later be fixed by our buddy Cliff at Meyerbuilt Metalworks. He also relocated the mounting brackets and ears to help it fit nicely to the Kawi’s frame.

    The tail piece was next on the list. A mass-produced fiberglass option was considered, but the desire to have something more unique prevailed. I called on Cliff Meyer of Meyerbuilt Metalworks to hand-form a tail section that would envelop the W’s ascending subframe and flow right into the alloy tank. It utilizes existing mounting tabs, has a built-in LED taillight bracket, and sits solid as a rock on the bike. The Meyerbuilt touch on this tail is the perfect complement to the polished tank, both of which get their fair share of fingernail tapping and admiration at bike gatherings.

    After handlebars, tank, tail and seat, the remaining cafe elements needed were rearsets. Creating custom pegs and linkage was tempting, a task that Casey had just completed for his airhead BMW cafe racer. But, on a quest for a simple solution, I opted for the W650-specific Raask rearsets. In one quick garage session, they were on and ready to go.

    Many elements remain stock, like the chrome pea shooter exhaust, spoked wheels, headlight, front fender, black hubs, fork gaiters, side pods, and faux Smiths gauges. This wasn’t a major overhaul, just enough to evoke the spirit of a cafe with a bulletproof engine.

    Wilkinson Bros is a graphic design studio, but our daily distraction is motorcycles (which led to our creation of Good Spark Garage). If we had more shop equipment and time, perhaps it’d evolve into a full-blown custom bike shop. Who knows. In the meantime, we use the tools we have, take our projects as far as our skill-sets allow, and call on friends/craftsmen when limitations arise. It’s a way we can achieve exactly what our minds and pencils conceptualize rather than stopping short of a goal. We then ride the heck outta the bikes.


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    In an era when riding a motor-bike was not thought to be a terribly ladylike occupation, Beryl Swain became, in 1962, the first woman solo rider to negotiate the notorious Isle of Man Tourist Trophy course in an official event.

    That year she rode her Italian Itom 50cc Racer into 22nd place in a field of 25 in a TT race round the notorious 37-mile mountain road course, which has claimed many lives and inflicted fearful injuries over the years.

    It was the first year in which the 50cc Ultra Lightweight class had been granted world championship status, and the class was to prove immensely popular. But this was not, alas, to be the start of an international career for Beryl. Feeling that Isle of Man TT racing was far too dangerous for solo women, the sport’s ruling body moved swiftly, and revoked her international licence, effectively putting paid to thoughts of a career at that level.

    Born and bred in Walthamstow, where she went to school, Beryl Tolman worked as a senior secretary at P&O in the City before her marriage in 1959 to Eddie Swain, the owner of a motorcycle repair business.

    From that point on her passion for bikes developed rapidly. A member of several motorcycle clubs, she became a keen competitor in events at Brands Hatch and Snetterton. The 50cc class was to be ideal for her, but she also flirted with 500cc bikes at Hackney Wick speedway.

    After the end of her racing career she went to work for Sainbury’s, and was for many years a departmental manager at branches around the London area. In retirement she lived in Woodford, Essex, and then Epping. An outgoing character, she was secretary to WI local branches and helped to organise meals on wheels for the elderly.

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  • 06/29/13--09:00: Ferrari 156 "Sharknose"

  • Ferrari joined the rear-engine revolution with the Ferrari 156 "Sharknose". Designed by new engineer Carlo Chiti. The chassis was a tubular spaceframe that while not in the same league with designs created by Lotus and BRM it proved serviceable. The star of this car was the 120 degrees V6 engine that was a developed for the new regulations.

    The angle of the cylinder blocks allowed for the engine to have a lower center of gravity. Because the engine was substantially wider its rear placement was deemed necessary. Another striking feature of the new engine was its relative light weight, weighing 30 lbs. lighter than the four-cylinder Coventry-Climax engine still being used by the British teams.

    While the British teams argued about the necessity of the new formula Ferrari had a brand new car and engine to start the season.The cars first season bore fruit with five victories out of seven races including a 1-2-3-4 finish at Spa. Only tremendous victories at Monaco and the Nurburgring by StirlingMoss could stop the red cars. The World Championship was a battle between Phil Hill and von Tripp and was won by American Phil Hill. His three victories providing the winning margin. 
    Unfortunately the successful season was marred by the tragic death of Hill's teammate, Wolfgang von Tripp and 14 spectators at Monza. The lack of a competitive engine for the British teams changed in 1962 and Ferrari failed to win a race. Ferrari was also racked by internal politics which resulted in the departure of eight top Ferrari executives including Carlo Chiti. The Ferrari 156 continued to be used for two more years with John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini scoring single wins in 1963 and 1964 respectively.

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    Lightweight, compact and reliable thanks to its engineering simplicity, the Mitsubishi Lancer cut a swathe through the road-going vehicle market when introduced in February 1973. It's smooth sporting lines signalled superb performance under the skin, and it was on this base that the sporting version, the 1600 GSR, was based, combining the Lancer's inherent qualities of strength and high performance with the experience gained through seven years of successful competition with the Colt and Galant. Fondly remembered as the "A73 Lancer", the Lancer 1600 GSR was an immediate success in rallying, taking a remarkable 1-2-3-4 victory in the 8th Southern Cross Rally in October that year. And the victor? One Andrew Cowan, a man who would be part of the Lancer success story for many years to come. But it was during the following year that the Lancer really made its mark on the world stage. While events such as the Southern Cross had a world-wide reputation, a manufacturer couldn't truly claim rally superiority until it had won a World Championship event. Mitsubishi chose the toughest of all, the Safari Rally, held in Kenya, Africa, in which to launch the Lancer onto the world scene. And what a glorious success it was!

    Few manufacturers have ever enjoyed such a remarkable feat as Mitsubishi did in 1974 when, on its world debut, the Lancer strode confidently to a maiden victory at the hands of Joginder Singh. It's remarkable to note that the 1600cc Lancer beat Bjorn Waldegaard's Porsche 911 which boasted 2600cc, proving that the light, compact reliable Lancer could beat all-comers. It was a momentous occasion, and one which started a love affair between Mitsubishi and this great classic event. The Safari Rally enjoys a reputation as an extremely tough event. It ranks as one of the most famous rallies in the world and, at the time of the Mitsubishi Lancer's memorable 1974 victory, the event was the biggest rally in the FIA World Rally Championship, stretching over five days and a gruelling 6,000 km.Safari was, and is, regarded as a real "car-breaker", a term coined by rally followers for those events one is lucky to finish in one piece, never mind win. To contest such an event successfully, a driver needed a car that he could rely upon totally, even in the harshest conditions, and combine that resilience and reliability with speed and performance. Clearly, the Mitsubishi Lancer combined those rare qualities with great success. Singh gave the Lancer the most praise when he said: "To win the Safari Rally your machinery must have the best performance and superior handling, as well as strength, ease of maintenance and simple design. I believe I won this race because of the Lancer. This victory will remain a vivid memory throughout my life and the Lancer will surely become a lifelong friend. I was lucky to be able to drive such a reliable machine." Singh went on to repeat that success with a further win with the Lancer on the 1976 Safari Rally, heading a Mitsubishi 1-2-3 and beating the World Championship winning Lancia Stratos in the process. During this time the Lancer went on to dominate the Southern Cross Rally in Australia, which became the scene of yet another famous driver's debut, that of Kenjiro Shinozuka, Japan's first rallying superstar. Having already enjoyed success on domestic events in Japan,

    Shinozuka drove his first international event at the wheel of a Lancer on the Southern Cross, where Andrew Cowan was the acknowledged master and went on to win a further three of these great events in a row in the Lancer. By this time the Mitsubishi Lancer was developing a reputation for being invincible at home in Japan and abroad. Indeed, in Africa it had gained the sobriquet "The King of Cars." It seemed that everyone who drove a Lancer prospered from its superior performance, especially over rough and arduous rallies where it undoubtedly excelled. While Shinozuka's loss of concentration after losing his way on his first Southern Cross Rally resulted in retirement after leaving the road, his first world championshipexperience on the 24th Safari Rally gave cause for celebration when he won the Best Driver award for finishing sixth overall, joining such luminaries as Hannu Mikkola, Shekhar Mehta and Joginder Singh. By the time Andrew Cowan won the Southern Cross yet again in 1976, the Lancer had clocked up six wins overall and including Cowan's class victory on the 1975 Safari, a grand total of seven major international awards. Lancers also dominated the Bandama Rally in 1977, with Cowan and Singh beating the works Peugeot 504s, but with this event, the endurance era drew to a close.

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  • 06/30/13--11:00: I'm hip about time.

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    An awesome KO Zieleman built track bike from Amsterdam. This bike still has its original paint and is also quite a nice build, though probably not original.

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  • 07/01/13--11:00: Pikes Peak Champion: 1920

  • 1920 or 1921. "Lexington. Pike's Peak car." One of two Lexington racecars that placed first and second in the 1920 Pike's Peak hill climb seen at 1020 Connecticut Avenue N.W., the Washington branch of Hummer Motor Sales Company. E. Adie Hummer, Manager.

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  • 07/02/13--09:00: 1964 Honda RA271

  • By the 1960s Honda had established themself as a very successful motorcycle manufacturer and now wanted to try their luck on four wheels. The first car, the S500, was introduced at the 1962 Tokyo Motorshow. It still relied heavenly on motorcycle technology with a 500 cc overhead camshaft engine. The racing motorcycles racked up victory after victory so it was only logical for Honda to enter in motorsport as well. What better platform to showcase their abilities than F1?

    Yet the first Formula 1 programme did not go altogether according to plan. In the 1960s designer Tadashi Kume had an engine ready but no car. Colin Chapman talked of designing a Lotus with a Honda engine for Jim Clark to drive, but the plans came to nothing. Honda needed a starting-point from which to set out its own design and since Cooper had just won two world championships, a Formula 1 Cooper-Climax was bought and shipped to Japan.

    The Kume designed engine was not suited for the Cooper chassis so Honda decided to built their own chassis. The car Honda built was more radical than the Cooper-Climax it had bought to study. Instead of the bent-tube frame with the 4-cylinder engine in-line at the rear, the little Honda had a 60-degree V12 engine mounted transversely behind the driver.

    In 1964, V8s from BRM and Coventry-Climax were seasoned campaigners. The V6s, V8s, and flat-12s from Ferrari, and Porsche with its air-cooled flat-8 were reaching maturity. The Honda was a radical little V12, with needle roller crankshaft bearings, revving to 11,500rpm, in a semi-monocoque chassis with tubular rear sub-frames and inboard springs.

    After lenghty tests on the Japanese Suzuka and Dutch Zandvoort tracks, the Honda team debuted the RA271 in the 1964 German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring. Being the most difficult track on the calender, it was not the most logical place to debut a completely new car. American Ronnie Bucknum fought his way up from 22nd to 11th before his steering failed.

    The experimental car was used for another two races that season and over the winter many of the lessons learned were put to good use in designing the RA272 for 1965. After several point finishes new driver Richie Ginther finished the season off at a high with a win in the Mexico Grand Prix. Extensive rule changes meant Honda could go back to the drawing boards to design a completely new car for 1966.

    Celebrating Honda's return to Formula 1 as an independent manufacturer, the surviving RA271 is seen here at the 2006 Geneva Motorshow. It was joined by a RA272 and the new RA106.

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