Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

Backmarker Features Photo Gallery

Find the latest photos from our backmarker photogallery at Motorcycle USA.

Slideshow
BM-Barber7-Britten.jpg
In the mid-'90s, there were intriguing rumors that an Australian investor planned to buy up the Indian trademark and hire John Britten to design a new Indian Chief.
Inidan-Motocycle-logo.jpg
The original Indian 'motocycle' logo; the company dates itself to before we'd even settled on the spelling of the word motorcycle.
Shinya-Kimura.jpg
Ace custom builder Shinya Kimura rode his 1915 Indian big twin almost all the way across the U.S. in last year's epic 'Cannonball' motorcycle rally. By the time this bike was built, Indian's best years were already behind it.
PeterGagan.jpg
Peter Gagan's 1911 Indian replica is based off the design that won the first Senior race at the Isle of Man and will be piloted by Dave Roper at the upcoming 2011 event.
Dave-Roper-by-Mark-Gardiner.jpg
Dave Roper will have a lot to contend with as he rides Gagan's 1911 Indian, including a left-hand throttle, a clutch lever on the right handlebar, a hand shift and two rear brakes.
Dave-by-Mark-2.jpg
Dave Roper: "Being invited to lap in the Parade of Honor sounds like great fun, but this is more like lapping the course while simultaneously rubbing your stomach and patting your head!"
IMG_0014.JPG
Also at the 2011 Isle of Man TT will be Lennon Rodgers' MIT EV team, which developed an electric motorcycle for the competition out of a S1000RR chassis.
assembly.jpg
In conjuction with Motorrad's top R&D engineers, the MIT EV crew came up with a design for the 2010 Isle of Man, but delays forced the project back another year.
DSC_0044.JPG
As a result of MIT's prestige the team received support from high-tech companies including A123 founder, Yet-Ming Chiang.
634422823858545348IMG_0236.jpg
An off-the-shelf motor controller from Kelly Controls was used along with a pair of air-cooled, brushed, DC, Lynch motors.
MIT_Teammember_MarkJuennette.JPG
The design was taken to New Hampshire International Speedway for testing where Lennon Rodgers got a feel for the bike.
IMG_0922.JPG
Just as the internal combustion engine did for racing, MIT's EV team hopes that its electric bike can pave the way for future high-performance designs.
1Ebike-indian-IOMTT.jpg
Dave Roper (left) and Lennon Rodgers (right) will be competing with radically different technologies over the mountain course.
Ebike-indian-IOMTT.jpg
Peter Gagan's 1911 Indian contrasted with Lennon Rodgers' MIT EV project.
mert7-wirth77-ken-springsteen76x-terre-haute-pits-august-1975.jpg
Mert Lawwill is seen here in the pits at Terre Haute in August of 1975.
palmgren38-lawwill7-hank-scott14-syracuse-mile-heat-action-sept-1975.jpg
Chuck Palmgren (#38) leading Mert Lawwill (#7) and Hank Scott (#14) at the Syracuse Mile in September of 1975.
romero3-lawwill7-terre-haute-heat-august-1975.jpg
1970 AMA Grand National Champion Gene Romero (#3) and Mert Lawwill (#7) at Terre Haute.
scott-drake91-rick-hocking13-paul-bostrom46-mert-lawwill7-fast-company-heat-race-terre-haute-august-1975.jpg
Rick Hockings (#13), Paul Bostrom (#46) and Mert Lawwill (#7) during the start of a heat race in Terre Haute in 1975.
634510736196041084James-Parker-GSX.jpg
Parker, at his home in New Mexico, with his personal GTS1000. He's never given up on the RADD front end. He's currently working on a Moto2-eligible version of the design and told me about other cool projects that must - for now - stay off the record.
Thacker_3_guys_on_choppers.jpg
London, 1972. There were the Mods, there were the Rockers, and then there were these guys... Thacker flashes the peace sign with local chopper-builders Guy Carter (on left) and Chris Boyle.
Thacker_with_flat_trackers.jpg
Thacker today, with a couple of flat trackers on display at the Wally Parks Museum. It's only a couple minutes' walk from the Pomona flat track to the museum.
Thackers_first_chopper.jpg
Tony built this chopper in his parent's basement in 1969. He paid about five bucks for the sprung-hub Triumph donor bike.
Gardiner-Steinathome.jpg
Dig the furniture, eh? John Stein at home in L.A. Before becoming a motorcycle historian, he was one of America’s top advertising creative directors. Like many niche authors, he was dismayed to realize that while he was writing, the publishing industry had collapsed. His response was to create his own publishing company called, appropriately, Gearhead Publishing. Although he was advised to print his book in China, he insisted on North American production.
Gardiner-Cycle.jpg
John says he’s never, ever, thrown away a motorcycle magazine. His enormous magazine archive was a good place to begin the basic research that grew into his new book. Note that while the motorcycle media pays scant attention to drag racing nowadays, drag bikes were worthy of covers in ‘60s and ‘70s.
Gardiner-Saint.jpg
Drag racing is not just the purest American motorsport; thanks to John Stein’s history of the sport, it’s also a lens through which all of America’s pop culture can be examined. This is Tommy Smith on Saint, a bike built by Joe Fernandez in the early ‘50s.
Gardiner-Stagefright.jpg
Besides interviewing countless stars (and bit players) in the world of drag racing, John also sourced hundreds of photos from dozens of photographers. Here’s Sonny Scott’s photo of Priness Perry, on Stagefright -- its 9.70 ET made it the quickest bike in its day (mid-‘60s.)
Gardiner-Didntknow.jpg
As John says, "They didn’t know what they couldn’t do." Several bikes were built with automotive V-8s motors. Here Joe Teresi (standing) and Mil Blair get ready to run their Buick-powered bike, nicknamed 'Italiano'.
Gardiner-MotorcycleDragRaci.jpg
Stein’s book weighs three pounds. It’s a ‘coffee table’ format, combining a comprehensive text with amazing pics. Since he’s acting as his own publisher, Stein gets to set the price, too. It’s a bargain at $40 (price includes postage.) To order it, go to www.gearheadpublishing.com
Matt_with_lute.jpg
If you can identify this instrument by sight, you may be one of the few Backmarker readers who’s already heard of Matt Wadsworth.
Matt_in_helmet.jpg
Matt Wadsworth will hardly know he’s blindfolded. He’s been blind since birth. Thanks are due to Leatt, and Troy Lee Designs, for the safety gear visible in this shot.
Matt_on_approach.jpg
The setting’s not exactly picturesque, but that won’t bother him...
matt-and-micky-with-helmet.jpg
Micky Dymond is the most naturally talented motorcycle rider that I’ve ever personally ridden with. (Some day, you should remind me to tell you the story of the first time he ever rode in a road race.) It’s strange to say that a multi-time AMA MX and SM champ failed to live up to his potential, but he’s the first to admit that he 'pissed it all away.' I get the feeling that by helping Matt Wadsworth achieve his goals, Micky’s hoping for some kind of redemption of his own.
Old-Blue.jpg
Old Blue is now parked in a New Jersey collector's bedroom.
Winners-Circle.jpg
Cycle Editor Cook Neilson in the Daytona winner's circle, 1977, with Dave Emde and Wes Cooley.
77-Cycle-Cover.jpg
Gone but not forgotten. Cycle Magazine was a seminal publication in '70s motorycle journalism with Cook Neilson at the helm.
Neilson-Schilling.jpg
Neilson and Phil Schilling, who largely built Cycle's Ducati race bike, were invited to parade it at Daytona on the 20th anniversary of their win; that was one of the last time's it was ever seen in public.
NCR-M4-.jpg
Beautiful? Absolutely. Affordable? Not so much.
634641356157303844Assembly_Line_13.jpg
World economic conditions in recent years have greatly impacted the motorcycle industry as brands struggle to cope with reduced demand.
6346413596505006282_1_2011_MCUSA_250Street-58.jpg
Entry-level mounts like the Kawasaki Ninja 250 and Honda CBR250R are on a path toward becoming top-selling models. For the moment, however, even these are out of reach for the American middle class.
HD_72_Slim_Cooks_IMG_1488.jpg
Instead of developing affordable machines for younger riders, the industry has been targeting baby boomers who have deeper pockets.
63464137753867950012Marlon-Brando-Triumph-Thu.jpg
The increasing economic divide between classes may have some interesting ramifications for riders and their culture.
EirikandMunns.jpg
Eirik Nielsen to Munns: "Pass me like that one more time and, I swear, I'll karate chop you right in the gut!"
Munns55.jpg
Munns races his little Honda in classes up to 250GP. Here, he's dicing with Canada's Paul Germain at Miller. On a more flowing, technical track like Barber, his lap times on his Honda 175 are almost as fast as his times on his other race bike, which is a highly-developed Sportsman 350-class Honda twin.
Munnstank.jpg
Jon Munns' AHRMA 200GP championship-winning Honda is tidy but not fancy. He sinks his budget into the motor, because it's a class where even a couple of extra horsepower make a big difference.
634666431973714862heed_proj_zx6r-014.jpg
The recession has had a major impact on racing motorcycles as rising costs have led to shrinking grids in amateur classes.
634666458151930670IMG_2432.jpg
The Yamaha TZ750 changed the AMA racing scene and provided amateurs with an affordable yet competitive race bike.
Moto-Clash-site.jpg
The World Moto Clash web site has more umbrella girls than hard info; should that make me skeptical?
robbie-petersen.jpg
Robbie Petersen, late in the 1990 season, on one of the bikes Wayne Rainey had just ridden to the 500cc World Championship for Kenny Roberts. Petersen and Rich Oliver dominated the '91 season on Roberts' bikes; in hindsight, that was probably the beginning of the end for Formula USA
Fritz-Kling-yamamonster.jpg
Stuhler caught Fritz Kling, a winner in the F-USA class at IRP in '92, on the Gold Hill 'Yamamonster'.
graves-and-dalusioi.jpg
Mike 'Stu' Stuhler's amazing photo archive yielded this shot, taken at Indianapolis Raceway Park in the early '90s. Chuck Graves (24) is riding one of John Ulrich's 'Valvoline-sponsored, methanol-fueled GSX-R1100s. Keith Perry, who prepped these machines, punched them out to 1180cc. Running on alcohol didn't boost power that much, but the bikes produced a ton of torque and ran cool. Chris D'Alusio, on bike #2, is competing with about 1/4 the displacement, on a TZ-250 two-stroke.
dave-sadowski.jpg
Towards the end of Formula-USA's glory days in 1994, Dave Sadowski campaigned this CBR900RR prepared by Mike Velasco.
634715535202984070Backmarker_May_NewSidecar.jpg
Mike (in flat cap), 'Tank' (in ball cap), and Chris Hoge, with the crew who built the sidecar. Javier, at far right, owned the shop. No one's ever seen a sidecar in the Andes. It attracted so much attention that Chris felt like the Pope in his Popemobile as peasants stopped what they were doing, gawked, then smiled and waved.
1000px-Ideal_projectile_motion_for_different_angles-svg.jpg
This nice graphic (thanks, Wikipedia Commons) illustrates the way that at all launch angles less than 45 degrees, a lower trajectory results in a shorter flight. That means that at any given speed, a lower trajectory allows a rider to land and get on the power sooner. It’s equally true that a lower trajectory allows a rider to hit jumps faster without overjumping his landing. The much crappier drawing below is my own illustration of the way a scrub lowers the trajectory vis-a-vis the launch ramp.
634715535827456073Backmarker_May_NotFriendly.jpg
Overloaded? Not much. As you can see, the trio was not popular at all and made a very bad impression on the locals.
634715535955220892Backmarker_May_OutputShaft.jpg
Improvising new teeth on the 250's output shaft. Not the first time the lads had to channel MacGyver.
634715536534140603Backmarker_May_Uyuni.jpg
Mike and Tank on the Uyuni Salt Flat, in southwestern Bolivia. If the bikes weren't about to die before being soaked in brine, they were done in afterward.
McCoyFinish.jpg
Wausau Harley-Davidson’s Willie McCoy didn’t realize how narrow his victory was until he saw this photo.
McCoyPodium.jpg
Responsibility for his wife and kids weighs on the racer’s mind, but McCoy believes his fate is in another’s hands.
Motorcyclepedia-2.jpg
Motorcyclepedia features an extensive collection of Indian Motorcycles.
Kate-Ted-and-Jerry-Doering-2.jpg
From left to right are Kate, Ted and Gerald Doering.
Vern-Wallis.jpg
Vern Wallis, a Velocette expert who lives on the Isle of Man.
Gardiner_September_McKee.jpg
Mark Wilsmore, who resurrected the Ace Café was a biker who had to learn the restaurant business. Mark McKee, (pictured) has lots of restaurant experience but if he’s to tap into the Ace Café’s essence, he’ll have to develop a genuine grasp of the Café racer scene.
Gardiner_September_Wilsmore.jpg
Mark Wilsmore was cop in the UK, and an avid biker. After organizing a 25th reunion of Rocker-era bikers on the old Ace Café’s parking lot in 1994, he set about reopening the biker’s landmark. The new Ace Café opened in 2001 and hasn’t looked back. Now the brand and it’s famous Ace-of-Clubs logo is set to appear here in the U.S.
Gardiner_September_AceLogo.jpg
Although it was pronounced ‘kaff’ by Brits in the ‘60s, even Mark Wilsmore now pronounces it ‘café.'
Gardiner_September_BikesInside.jpg
My friend Ken Gross, who is an automotive journalist & historian, curated the LeMay’s first exhibition. He’s also an avid biker, and incorporated a few motorcycles. All in all, the museum’s well worth the detour for any gearhead. It’s just off the I-5 in downtown Tacoma, which is about half-an-hour south of Seattle.
Gardiner_September_LeMayEntrance.jpg
Although it calls itself ‘America’s Car Museum’, the LeMay has incorporated a few motorcycles into its exhibits, and plans to make the August motorcycle concours and vintage ride an annual event.
Gardiner_September_LeMayInt.jpg
The museum launched its fund-raising program right at the worst possible time, as the economy was cratering. So, they’ve ‘settled’ for building only one of two planned buildings. This one is spectacular enough. There are two levels below this one, connected by ramps. Unlike the Barber, however, the LeMay does little or no restoration on its own, so visitors can’t peek in on works-in-progress.
CannonballRun2012.jpg
Andreas Kaindl came all the way from Germany, and rode this barn-find beauty all the way.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner2.jpg
When Buck Carson told me that his BSA had seized repeatedly in the Black Hills, I knew that it wouldn’t make it across the Rockies. No Class 1 bikes (of less than 500cc displacement) completed the ride with perfect scores. While it’s true that even the backroads of the Cannonball route are far better than the roads of the 1920s, today’s better roads actually make the event harder on the bikes. None of them were engineered to hammer along at 40-50 miles an hour for hours on end.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner3.jpg
How did Cannonball Baker do it before the invention of the Amex gold card? LA-based film industry workers Bill Buckingham (left) and Sean Duggan (right) rode a pair of 1928 Harley-Davidson JD models. That was the most common single motorcycle choice in this year’s event.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner4.jpg
Mark Hill (left) built eight of the four-cylinder Hendersons entered in the race, including Frank Westfall’s (right) book.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner5.jpg
Ex-fighter pilot Josh Wilson rode a ’29 Indian 101 Scout that had been fitted with later-model Sport Scout cylinders.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner6.jpg
Riding in the Cannonball is an exercise in sleep deprivation for competitors who ride all day and rebuild their bikes all night.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner7.jpg
This year’s edition of the Cannonball followed a nearly 4,000-mile route from Newburgh, NY to San Francisco. “California or bust” indeed; barely a third of the pre-1930 bikes that started the ride completed all the miles.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner8.jpg
Lonnie Isam Jr. is the organizer of the Cannonball event. He didn’t want to be quoted on it, but I’m guessing that it will be a biennial event.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner9.jpg
It’s great when the coolest guy in the event is also the nicest guy. Shinya Kimura rode a 1915 Indian similar to one that had been in his family, long ago, in Japan.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner10.jpg
Legendary race bike painter Mike Vils split the use of his Harley with sculptor Jeff Decker. On the days that Vils rode, his wife rode pillion.
CannonballRun2012MarkGardiner11.jpg
And the winner is... Brad Wilmarth. Once again, the Richmond restorer proved his mettle by covering all the miles on the oldest motorcycle in the event -- a 1913 Excelsior that he’s been riding for decades. You can see the brake he added, at the top of the front wheel.
carmelo-ezpeleta.jpg
Carmelo Ezpeleta: As a communications strategist, I've been on the inside of a few mergers. The easy ones involve merging similar businesses that operate in different markets (Fiat absorbing Chrysler) or merging a manufacturer with a distributor to create more vertical integration. Merging competitors is harder. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta will find that the problem is not rationalizing the business, it's merging two very different corporate cultures.
Flammini.jpg
Paolo Flammini, with his brother Mauricio, operated WorldSBK as a family business for years, before selling out and becoming an executive at InFront. You can bet that in his heart, the Superbike championship is still his. Some observers have already said, 'Before long there will be one series.' I say, Flammini will throw himself on his sword before he'll allow the Superbikes to become a MotoGP support class.
634849480084475906Miller-crowd1.jpg
Fans throng the pit lane before a WorldSBK race at Miller Motorsports Park, in 2010. Both racers and fans love the relaxed attitude in the Italian-run series, compared to Dorna' uptight paddock, where even Moto2 riders can barely get this kind of access. It would suck if Dorna influenced the friendly vibe in WorldSBK.
Nov2012Backmarker_Bultaco.jpg
Since we're all fascinated by the bikes we wanted to have as we came of age, I ogled an elegant Bultaco short tracker.
Nov2012Backmarker_Donate.jpg
The coolest thing about Ralph’s party is that it’s free, although bikers donate enough to pretty much cover the cost of beer and brats.
Gary-Inman-cropped.jpg
While the bottom was falling out of the U.S. moto-magazine business, Gary Inman (seen here with Dave Aldana) launched a very cool flat track magazine. The catch: it's British. The U.K. flat track racing organizers occasionally bring over past and present GNC stars, both to promote races and teach workshops. Chris Carr's been over a couple of times.
Sideburn.jpg
"I'd really like to point out that Sideburn isn't a normal kind of magazine," Inman told me. "The quality of paper and print is better than any bike magazine on the planet (I'd argue), we don't have results or race reports. It's about the feeling. It is anti-mainstream, but it is made with love." If that appeals to you, you can subscribe at sideburnmagazine.com.
63492738199781830402-Lascorz.jpg
Let's make 2013 the year that the motorcycle industry stops acting as if spinal injuries aren't a real problem. Injuries like the one that sidelined Joan Lascorz are tantalizingly close to becoming treatable. That's urgent research that we all need to support.
Nov2012Backmarker_SpeedTwin.jpg
This meticulously restored ’38 Speed Twin would be worthy of a much snootier show...
Nov2012Backmarker_Harley.jpg
...as would this ‘20s Harley.
Nov2012Backmarker_Whizzers.jpg
But, Ralph’s egalitarian. There was a place under the tent for Whizzers, too.
Nov2012Backmarker_Strokers.jpg
Meanwhile, these end-of-an-era two-strokes were condemned to the ‘Salon des Refusees’ just outside the tent.
DharmaBums.jpg
Locke was portrayed, as the character Sean Monahan. In Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel ‘The Dharma Bums’.
LockesBook.jpg
Sex? Locke literally wrote the book on it.
Nov2012Backmarker_StreetParking.jpg
On the first Saturday in October, the working-class suburb of Loma Vista is overrun with bikers. Strangely, Ralph’s neighbors don’t seem to mind that much.
November2012Backmarker_banner.jpg
Has Kansas City really seen the last-ever ‘Backyard National’? It seems so, but hope springs eternal. (And besides, Ralph’s said that before.)
November2012Backmarker_Ralph.jpg
Kansas City’s Ralph Wayne has held his Vintage Backyard Nationals for 20 years.
Benzina_spread.jpg
Benzina is another upstart UK magazine. The bikes featured in Benzina are of Italian origin, like the slow-food movement. Magazines like Sideburn, Benzina, and (soon) Iron & Air, are all about slowing down, too. Their publishers are not trying to compete with the Internet; rather, they're trying to turn print's disadvantages into advantages. Strategically, that makes great sense.
LockeMcCorkle.jpg
Locke McCorkle at home in Palo Alto, as photographed by Stephen Kennedy (www.stephenkennedy.com). When I finally grow up and hit my 80s, I hope to have an S1000RR in the garage, too.
Mike-Vils.jpg
Kassie Graves and Stephanie Adams made a quick pilgrimage to Vils’ shop, and brought back this great photo of Mike holding Kenny Roberts’ and Gene Romero’s fairings, from their 1974 TZ-750 factory racers. If you look closely, Kenny’s still has a Daytona technical inspection sticker on it. Talk about a piece of history!
Kassie-and-Les.jpg
Kassie is about to make the transition from the parking lot to the streets around her house. “I’m more relaxed and smiling on the bike,” she told me.
MarkdoesBubba.jpg
Professor Gardiner explains the Bubba Scrub
BM20130321_Medal.jpg
This is the FIM's special gold medal. There are many years in which no one does anything worthy of being awarded this medal. In 1999, it was awarded, posthumously, to Pierlucio 'Spadino' Tinazzi for the rescue of a dozen people during the Mont Blanc tunnel fire.
BM20130321_Plaque.jpg
This plaque was placed at the Italian end of the tunnel, by the motorcyclists who gathered here on the first anniversary of the fire.
BM20130321_TunnelInterior.jpg
Thousands of feet under Mont Blanc, the middle of the tunnel is always about 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
BM20130321_Mauro.jpg
Mauro Branche described Pierlucio as a quiet guy whose principal hobby outside work was tending his garden. The locals all remembered Spadino as a kid who’d always loved motorcycles.
BM20130321_Spadino.jpg
Pierlucio ‘Spadino’ Tinazzi (27 December 1962-24 March 1999)
BM20130321_DayoftheDead.jpg
It was easy to find the cemetery. Everyone in town was slowly walking in the same direction. I just joined the flow.
BM20130321_Eva.jpg
We talked for a couple of hours, and when I left it was like two high school kids with a crush on each other getting off the phone. We stood looking at each other across the threshold, and said ‘Good-bye’ to each other 15 times.
BM20130321_Garden.jpg
This was where he planted his garden.
BM20130321_Troppiano.jpg
Of course, I interviewed the tunnel administrators even though I knew they wouldn’t cooperate because liability for the fire is still a point of contention. At one point, Michele Troppiano (seen here in the tunnel control room) phoned down to some lackey to ask a point of clarification. He referred to the tunnel fire only as, ‘the incident’.
kieran.jpg
If The Clandestine survives, I suppose a lot of the credit will go to writer Kieran Doherty, for having created a memorable cast of characters.
MarcusFredy.jpg
Marcus (left, played by actor Bennett Warden) and Freddy (Michael Lavery) portray the founding members of The Clandestine gang. Let’s just say, they don’t have the right stuff for the Hells Angels.
Clandestine-Algebra.jpg
Is this the formula for success? The Clandestine isn’t a show for bikers; it’s trying to reach the far larger audience of would-be bikers. That said, the first people who’ll watch it are motorcyclists, which is why Video Hacker, the production company, was able to attract a motorcycle industry sponsor.
ClandestineCrew.jpg
Joe Campo, at right, on the set with the actors who play the core members of the gang. Besides Bennett and Lavery, there’s the insufferable bosses’ nephew Will (far left, played by Dermott Hickson) and the utterly inarticulate Alfie (John Render). A total of 20-30 actors and extras appeared in the series, with about an equal number of people on the crew. Everyone got paid. “We weren’t some big movie crew with trailers,” Campo told me, “but we weren’t two guys with a camcorder, either.”
AndrewWheelerNC_WEB.jpg
Andrew Wheeler is one of the top motorcycle racing photographers and has captured some legendary moments in MotoGP competition over the years.
BackmarkerAustinsPower5.jpg
This is the line for the toilets. Maybe it’s a good thing beer’s $8.50, eh?
BackmarkerAustinsPower3.jpg
In Shakespeare’s day, the people too poor to sit in any of the three tiers of seats at the famous Globe Theatre were dubbed ‘groundlings’. Here, MotoGP groundlings such as your humble scribe find a patch of grass in Tilke’s ‘Stadium section’ -- an homage to Hockenheim.
BackmarkerAustinsPower4.jpg
A random fan, plunked on the grass in front of me. Coincidentally his t-shirt commemorates the last race I’d attended as a regular fan.
BackmarkerAustinsPower6.jpg
The observation tower dominates the track. Trip to top: $25. I think it should be free if you want to climb the stairs.
BackmarkerAustinsPower2.jpg
Food prices at COTA were steep, to say the least.
635030008765715458BackmarkerAustinsPower1.jpg
No outside food or drink allowed, and healthy choices were nearly non-existent.
Gardiner_20130502_Vista.jpg
By race time on Sunday this hillside was thick with fans. Still, there was lots of good viewing for General Admission fans.
Gardiner_BM20130516_Deus.jpg
This Deus airhead Beemer might show where The One Show’s ‘cool factor’ is headed.
Gardiner_BM20130516_Stulberg.jpg
Alan Stulberg is a designer and partner in Austin’s Revival Cycles shop. This heavily breathed-upon Moto Guzzi 850T is a prime example of their work.
Gardiner_BM20130516_StulbergDetail.jpg
Revival’s style is influenced by Art Deco. Here’s a nice touch, in the form of an extensively hand-worked fuel filler cap.
Gardiner_BM20130516_Thor.jpg
Portland’s Thor Drake drove all the way to Austin, towing a trailer with about a dozen ‘One Show’ bikes, but most of the machines on display in Austin were sourced through Alan Stulberg’s network of friends and clients.
Backmarker20131530_Cain.jpg
Driver: Karl Bennett, Passenger: Lee Cain
Backmarker20131530_KipperBap.jpg
You can't get a decent kipper anywhere these days. Except here. Kipper Bap and tea; breakfast at the Crab Shack in Peel, on the west coast of The Island.
Backmarker20131530_Lines.jpg
Driver: Julie Hanks, Passenger: Michael Lines
Backmarker20131530_Marshal.jpg
Putting on the TT involves a massive volunteer effort by hundreds and hundreds of marshals.
Backmarker20131530_MountainLicense.jpg
This is what a ticket to ride on closed roads looks like, around here.
Backmarker20131530_Parker.jpg
Driver: John Saunders, Passenger: Shaun Parker
Backmarker20131530_Schofield.jpg
Driver: Deb Barron, Passenger: Karl Schofield
Backmarker20131530_Thomas.jpg
Owner: Keith Walters, Driver: Andy Williams, Passenger: Alun Thomas. Not shown, Thomas' crutches. He broke his heel in a short circuit race earlier this spring. He had the cast removed last week, and boarded the ferry the next day.
Backmarker20131530_Vincent.jpg
A lot of nice bikes come out around TT time. This stylin' custom-framed Vincent was parked up at the Crab Shack last Sunday when we ate breakfast.
Backmarker20131530_Wechselberger.jpg
Driver: Michael Grabmuller. A newcomer, he spent ten days here over the winter, putting in 5,000 miles around the course by car. Passenger: Manfred Wechselberger. ("I'm pretty sure he knows his way around.")
BackmarkerManxTTPostcardII1.jpg
The homeowner, a gracious and friendly woman who preferred to remain anonymous, pointed out that the spot we watched from -- lying on our bellies with our heads poked out past her hedge -- was the precise spot where Agostini and Valentino Rossi had watched from, when Ago returned to the TT a couple of years ago to show Rossi around.
BackmarkerManxTTPostcardII6.jpg
Keith Shawcross, with the 1962 Velocette Venom he rode, when he came to watch the TT in 1978, carrying his 10 year-old son as a passenger. The day Mike Hailwood made his famous comeback, they watched at Ballaugh Bridge.
BackmarkerManxTTPostcardII5.jpg
Laxey Train controls.
BackmarkerManxTTPostcardII2.jpg
The train was built for 19th-century passengers. By the time there were two 21st-century-width fans in every seat and another dozen or so standees, it was cozy to say the least.
BackmarkerManxTTPostcardII3.jpg
There was no bitterness between the two riders' signallers. I heard them making good-natured side bets during the race. At the end, one said, "That's 1£10p you owe me, plus the change from last night's fish and chips."
BackmarkerManxTTPostcardII4.jpg
Then the sun comes out, and changes everything.
BM20130620Celticmusic.jpg
The Tynwald Inn is a pub about a mile west of Ballacraine, so it’s off the current course, but only about 20 yards from the start line of the course used for the first few years of the TT. Tom and I wandered in there, and chose the room where this traditional Celtic music group met, instead of the room where, in typical TT fashion, they were pounding out ‘80s rock music.
BM20130620Lotsofpatches.jpg
“So, is this your first motorcycle trip, then?” “No.”
BM20130620Crowdedmedia.jpg
By the day of the Senior, the media center was overflowing. With the increased success the organizers have had lately, it’s probably time to upgrade facilities.
BM20130620FairyBridge.jpg
No racer crosses this bridge without saying ‘Hello’ to the fairies. Many stop to drop coins in the small stream below, or to add a little note or special request.
BM20130620Frances.jpg
During the TT fortnight, ex-TT racers can always wander in to the 38th Milestone, for a cup of tea, a cookie, and soft chair out of the wind, cold, rain (or, as was the case on Senior day, out of the sun).
BM20130704_RogerWillis.jpg
Roger Willis, seen here at the Karl Gall memorial in Ballaugh, Isle of Man, is the author of The Nazi TT, available at Amazon.
BM20130704_SrTrophy.jpg
TT winners used to take the trophy home with them, and return it the next year. The TT organizers learned their lesson after losing track of this iconic trophy for six long years during WWII. Nowadays, this permanent trophy spends almost all its time under tight security; winners leave only with a smaller replica.
mcguinness-senior-trophy.jpg
It was an emotional moment when John McGuinness hoisted this 106 year-old piece of silverware, last month
BM20130704_TheNaziTT.jpg
The Nazi TT is authored by Roger Wills
BM130718-Degner.jpg
In 1962, Degner gave Suzuki engineers a running start by bringing them the secrets of the two-stroke expansion chamber.
BM130718EastGermanGP.jpg
In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, the East German GP drew the largest crowds in motorcycle racing history. The trackside banners read, “Go MZ”.
BM130718-kaaden.jpg
Walter Kaaden, left, invented the expansion chamber exhaust. In this photo, he’s chatting with legendary motorcycle journalist Vic Willoughby.
BM130718-MZproduction.jpg
While the vast majority of MZ production capacity was devoted to the manufacture of plebian two-strokes for day-to-day transport, the race bikes were things of beauty.
Sachsenring-2013.jpg
The current Sachsenring track is in the same location as the old course, which was laid out on real roads. The old lap was about twice as long, and included a cobblestone section!
BackmarkerMonsteroftheSalt1.jpg
Sire has had a life-long fascination with American hot rod culture.
BackmarkerMonsteroftheSalt2.jpg
The photo of Nira Johnson was turned into this illustration of fictional racer ‘Bill Carbu’.
BackmarkerMonsteroftheSalt6.jpg
This grainy image, pulled from a 1967 edition of the French car magazine L’automobile, served as the only reference for an illustration that appeared in Sire’s graphic novel 6T Melodies.
BackmarkerMonsteroftheSalt3.jpg
Denis Sire, a French graphic novelist, in his studio in Paris.
BackmarkerMonsteroftheSalt4.jpg
Laurent Romuald, one of the top motorcycle restorers in France, looks on as artist Denis Sire tries out le monster du lac salé.
BackmarkerMonsteroftheSalt5.jpg
I finally met the real Nira Johnson and saw the original ‘monster’ at Miller Motorsports Park, in 2008.
BackmarkerMonsteroftheSalt7.jpg
The real Monster.
Rachael_Parliament_Square.jpg
This image from the 2014 edition of the Milestones TT Calendar was shot in Parliament Square, which for the record is the busiest intersection in the Island’s second-biggest town. Suffice to say, getting a shot like this is not for the bashful! The choice of image is tied to a story about Joey Dunlop stopping to check his tires at Parliament Square, and still having enough time to win the ‘Jubilee TT’ in 1977.
Felix-Baumgartner.jpgwr.jpg
The enormous audience that watched the Stratos Jump will surely encourage a shift from racing sponsorship, in which there’s only a return on investment when your team wins, towards branded content.
Rachael_Ktree.jpg
Rachael Clegg, producer of and model for the Milestones TT Calendars.
Rachael-and-grandad.jpg
Rachael, her brother, and her grandfather Tom Clegg wait for her dad, Noel Clegg, to finish a lap of the TT some time in the early ‘90s.
Rachael_Cows.jpg
“Are you sure these things are tame?” Rachael had a photographer on hand, and an assistant charged with “crotch-watch, nipple-watch, and perv-watch” but there was no wrangler on hand when they went to get a photo commemorating an incident between John Surtees and a cow. “I was just a part of the furniture,” she told me, as she recalled growing up listening to motorcycle racers’ stories. Many of those stories now inspire the images in her calendars.
Bob-Hansen.jpg
Bob Hansen (left) and Bob Jamieson were Mann's crew chief and mechanic, for the Daytona 200. I interviewed them at length ten years ago. Hansen died earlier this year.
Honda-Dick-Mann.jpg
The bike Mann rode is often described as a CR750, but that's not accurate. It was an infinitely rarer beast: the Honda CB750 Racing Type.
BM131003_LinasMontlhery.jpg
Coupes Motos Legende is sort of France’s equivalent of AMA Vintage Days. It used to be held at a fabulous old race track on the outskirts of Paris.
BM131003_Mercier_Bodden.jpg
Patrick Bodden looks on as Daniel prepares to fire up bike. So was it really Dick Mann’s 1970 Daytona-winning bike, or just a replica good enough to fool an expert like Bodden? Check back in two weeks, and I’ll tell you what Bob Hansen, Bob Jamieson, and Ron Robbins – Mann’s Crew Chief and mechanics – concluded.
BM131003_MontlheryBanking.jpg
The circuit is, sadly, no longer ever open to the public. The event I attended with Patrick Bodden was its last hurrah.
BM131003_KarlMagnusWathne.jpg
My Facebook pal Karl Magnus Wathne is the current owner of the motorcycle that Honda’s Racing Service Center built for Mr. Stigfelt, in exchange for, presumably, one of the CB750 Racing Types from Daytona. Karl describes it as a ‘CR750’. If you’re a stickler for details, that term applies to a CB750 set up with the full CR race kit; the real Daytona bikes were ‘CB750 Racing Type’ models. The Daytona bikes had chrome-molybdenum frames that were presumably stronger and/or lighter than stock. In any case, the bike seen here now has a mild-steel frame since Mr. Stigfelt’s original frame was wrecked in a crash.
BM131017_Robbins.jpg
Ron Robbins remembered welding on the bike’s frame. The characteristic smell made it easy for him to tell the factory frame was chrome-molybdenum steel, not the mild steel used in the stock CB750 frames.
BM131017_Stigfelt.jpg
This cool hand-tinted photo from the early ‘70s shows a well-attended race at Anderstorp, in Sweden. Peter Williams/Norton (#6) and Kent Andersson/Yamaha (#41) were major stars. Kenneth Stigfelt (#20) is racing the Honda that, so the story goes, he traded for the Dick Mann bike.
BM131017_Jury.jpg
Mann’s 1970 team, reunited in Paris in 2003, with Daniel’s motorcycle. L-R: Ron Robbins, mechanic; Bob Hansen, crew chief; Bob Jamieson, mechanic.
BM131017_Daughters.jpg
“I tell my girls,” Daniel laughed, “when I die, this is what you’ll inherit.”
BM20131107_Warburton.jpg
Vancouver-based graphic designer Matthew Warburton was actually on the Isle of Man this spring, on the day his stamp designs officially went on sale.
BM20131107_RecruitingPoster.jpg
Canada Post’s marketing plan for the new motorcycle stamps included this First Day Cover, with a cool cancelation stamp inspired by a beautiful WWII-era recruiting poster.
BM20131107_Cancelation.jpg
Canada Post’s marketing plan for the new motorcycle stamps included this First Day Cover, with a cool cancelation stamp inspired by a beautiful WWII-era recruiting poster.
BM20131107_FirstDayCover.jpg
Canada Post’s marketing plan for the new motorcycle stamps included this First Day Cover, with a cool cancelation stamp inspired by a beautiful WWII-era recruiting poster.
BM20131107_PhotoShoot.jpg
Warburton and photographer Paul Joseph found the first two motorcycles at the Deeley motorcycle collection and museum in Vancouver. That’s a place you must visit, if you’re ever in that part of Canada.
Jeremy-Burgess.jpg
Even though I don’t know Jeremy Burgess, I can guarantee you that he too is very competitive, and I’m 100% sure that when Marquez stepped up from Moto2, Burgess didn’t quietly approach him and say, “If you’re looking for a crew chief, I’m looking for a faster rider.”
BM20131107_Stamps.jpg
These stamps — the first Canadian stamps to ever feature motorcycles — are currently available in Canadian post offices.
BM20131107_Uhlarik.jpg
If things go according to plan, the next pair of stamps in the series will feature Michael Uhlarik’s Amarok P1 electric motorcycle. This picture was taken a year ago, during a test session at Atlantic Motorsports Park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. The rider is eastern Canadian young gun Austin Shaw-Leary. In the background is Andrew Murray, of FOGI Racing.
Gardiner_20131121_Triumph.jpg
My bike’s corroded cases fool even pretty experienced motorcyclists into believing that it’s a genuine vintage machine. It’s actually new, but sadly it handles like a machine at least 50 years old! (I have a friend in France who has built a few fast modern Bonnies, and he’s warned me that the frame is made of, as he says, “saucisse” — sausage.) Making this thing handle will provide fodder for a few future Backmarker columns, I’m sure...
Kurt-Caselli-Dakar-2013.jpg
The decision to go racing has meaning precisely because of the risks it entails. Racers learn things about themselves that are very hard to learn in our otherwise-civilized existence. Caselli, a national Hare and Hound stalwart, will be remembered at the final race of the 2013 championship, this Saturday at the Johnson Valley OHV area near Lucerne Valley CA. Meet up at the Blais Racing/KTM pit, at 2 p.m. to honor a fallen champion.
Superprestigio_BakerKTM.jpg
Brad’s been racing almost every weekend since winning the Grand National Championship in Pomona. When he’s not on a motorcycle, the Washington-state resident prefers his mountain bike to the gym. Barcelona? He’s ready if Marquez is.
SuperprestigioNewspaper.jpg
Throughout the 1980s, the Spanish magazine Solo Moto promoted the post-season ‘Superprestigio’ invitation races at Calafat. The races attracted lots of media attention and top riders. Nowadays, most GP riders contracts would probably forbid such a race, but that hasn’t stopped Marc Marquez from resurrecting it as a flat track race, and charity fund-raiser.
635215746449619816Pomona-Podium-2013.jpg
Brad’s going to be Harley-Davidson’s official rider in 2014, racing an XR750 on half-miles and miles. He’ll race a KTM on short tracks. Both brands stand to score a PR coup if Baker’s invited to participate in Marquez’ Superprestigio race.
TwitterNews.jpg
Thanks to social media, Brad "The Bullet" Baker now has an invite to Marc Marquez's Superprestigio race in Spain.
635229812919619297Untitled.jpg
More from the news of Baker's invite to Marquez's Superprestigio.
Superprestigio_PalauStJordi.jpg
Marc Marquez has taken on the task of resurrecting the Superprestigio as a charity fundraiser, although this time it will be a dirt track race held in the Palau St. Jordi, the spectacular indoor arena built for the ’92 Olympics.
Superprestigio_marc-marquez.jpg
They reached their top of their respective championships within a month of each other. They were born one day apart. Are Brad Baker and Marc Marquez twins from different mothers? Will we see some wicked sibling rivalry in Barcelona on January 11?
Superprestigio_Baker-2.jpg
They reached their top of their respective championships within a month of each other. They were born one day apart. Are Brad Baker and Marc Marquez twins from different mothers? Will we see some wicked sibling rivalry in Barcelona on January 11?
twochamptwitpic.jpg
Two champions will face off in the Superprestigio.
Spanish-Bus-Poster.jpg
Now, the Europeans train like Americans, and Americans train like Europeans.
bubba.jpg
Bubba Shobert was the last rider to win the AMA’s #1 plate by scoring points on asphalt and dirt.
Barcelona_parking.jpg
Barcelona’s sidewalks are wide, and the cops tolerate scooter and motorcycle parking pretty much anywhere.
Bacelona_BradleySmith.jpg
When was the last time you saw a MotoGP rider carrying his own wheels back from the tire truck? In that sense, it was a pretty authentic dirt track race; lots of aptitude, not so much attitude.
Barcelona_JordiCastels.jpg
The nuts-and-bolts of the event were handled by Jordi Castels. I asked him if he’d ever made a dirt track before. “Yes,” he replied, “in 1991.”
Barcelona_Monjuic.jpg
Montjuic Park is also the site of the Catalunya ‘National’ Art Museum, seen here. Palau St. Jordi, where the race was held, was just on the other side of this building. (It was no Daytona Municipal Stadium!)
Bacelona_Boots.jpg
Marquez puts on his boots. Film at 11.
Barcelona_BakerDirt.jpg
Brad Baker talks dirt with the organizers. By following his advice, they improved the track a lot between practice and racing. But, in addition to bringing over AMA Pro’s flagman, they should have brought in an experienced track guy. You know the way Eskimos are supposed to have 50 words for snow? Pro flat trackers have that same nuanced appreciation of ‘dirt’.
Barcelona_Ground.jpg
We’ve all been there. Just not on national TV, with millions watching.
Barcelona_Intro.jpg
Marc Marquez films Brad, with his GoPro, for a future home video.
Barcelona_Marc.jpg
Kid’s got skillz.
Abadie-ticket.jpg
Abadie also posted this photo of her ticket on Google+. In the comments below she wrote, “I don’t use it much while driving”, i.e., she does use it. One lawyer in her circle added, “The problem here seems to be that there is no way he could know what was displayed at the time. That's probably your best argument.”
Abadie.jpg
In this photo from Cecilia Abadie’s public Google+ profile you can see her selfie. Note that Google put the electronics on the right side of the glasses, which will make it harder for motorcyclists to tell whether the driver beside them is watching the road or Pornhub.
Barcelona_Pass.jpg
Baker kept it close in the early going, but this is nothing compared to the way Marquez consistently pushed him right to the wall on corner entries every time he got the chance. It was kind of a fight between a pit bull and a spaniel, but you had to admire the smaller dog’s spirit.
Barcelona_RaceFace.jpg
Judging from the look on his face, Baker’s getting into his zone. No champion has a “just for fun” setting.
Barcelona_Selfie.jpg
Nice work, if you can get it.
BarcelonaPressRoom.jpg
The stands weren’t full, but the media center was.
MontesaCota_2014_01.jpg
Until the 1980s, the Spanish market was closed to the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers. In order to get access to it, every Japanese brand ended up buying a Spanish company. Honda bought Montesa. Since trials is still a major sport in Spain, Honda’s chosen to leave the Montesa brand on its trials bikes.
Gardiner_KennyTolbert.jpg
Kenny Tolbert shows one of the restrictor plates that was in use in Chris Carr’s Harley-Davidson XR750 (Prescott, AZ, 2010).
BryanSmith_42Bike.jpg
One of the first metric bikes to give the Harley teams fits was this brutal looking Kawasaki 650-powered framer, built in 2010 by none other than Bill Werner. After decades running the H-D factory race shop, he shook them up by switching brands.
Gardiner_Bridgestone.jpg
Bridgestone disc-valve two-stroke 175cc twins. These were some of the best-performing Japanese bikes in the mid-‘60s, until the other Japanese manufacturers told Bridgestone, “Either you compete with us, or you supply tires to us, but you can’t do both. They decided to abandon the bike business and focus on tires.” There’s probably enough of these to make one runner.
Gardiner_Sprockets.jpg
For a while, Frasier raced a Ducati 450 at the Burr Oak Sprockets MC’s motocross track.
Gardiner_Rohn.jpg
Rohn Grotenhuis (left) is the Kansas City architect and bike collector who led me to the Burr Oak trove.
635309056874570950Gardiner_Riverside.jpg
Wards Riverside motorcycles were bikes that the Montgomery-Ward department store chain imported from Italy. Lots of them were made by Benelli.
Gardiner_BurrOak_Satellite.jpg
Another friend discovered this satellite image, that seemed to show a bunch of motorcycles exposed to the weather.
Gardiner_Burr-Oak.jpg
This view pretty much shows all of Burr Oak, KS. Yes, this podunk town had a Ducati dealership in the ‘60s. Different times...
Gardiner_Bassani.jpg
There’s lots of ‘70s aftermarket dirt bike love to be found here. Bassani, Preston Petty...
Gardiner_Barn.jpg
How often have you driven past a barn this innocuous, out in the countryside? Ever wonder what might be hidden away inside?
Gardiner_AmericanPickers.jpg
Doug Frasier was a Ducati dealer at 14.
BM20140403_Candle.jpg
Just the thing, when you want to hold a romantic candlelit dinner in the pits at an AHRMA event. Sold online for $18.
BM20140403_EricBess.jpg
Eric Bess opened Flying Tiger in 2010. The shop’s moved and expanded twice, and become a key resource for anyone in St. Louis who’s got an old motorcycle they’re trying to keep running.
BM20140403_Islo.jpg
Four of these were built for the Motogiro, but never used. The event was a grueling, multi-day affair, and racers were sometimes on the road in darkness. A neat feature of this bike was a dual-battery setup, to reduce the risk of a lighting failure.
BM20140403_Kiernan.jpg
Although his persona’s gruff, while we were talking two guys walked in from the neighborhood with an old chain that they needed shortened by one link. Kiernan broke off our conversation, wandered back into the shop, and shortened the chain free of charge. He holds an informal bike show and BBQ every spring. If you’re in the St. Louis area on April 19, you should drop by the shop at 3537 Chouteau Avenue.
BM20140403_Lyster.jpg
The philospher Thomas Hobbes once described the life of the common man as “nasty, brutish, and short”. The same description could be said to apply to most race bikes. This one’s life’s been longer than most, but Lyster’s design has all the subtlety of a set of brass knuckles.
BM20140403_Scott.jpg
I forgot to ask what year this bike was made; not that it matters, since Scotts hardly changed for decades. Alfred Angus Scott was the holder of more than sixty patents. His eponymous motorcycles were among the first to feature kick-starters, chain drives, and multi-speed gearboxes. He usually used simple two-stroke motors that were water-cooled – about 60 years before such cooling was “pioneered” by Suzuki and introduced with great fanfare on the GT 750.
HillierLWTT2013.jpg
Hillier coming down off the Mountain, at Creg-ny-Bar, victorious in the 2013 Lightweight TT.
SupersportDunlopAnsteyMcGHillier.jpg
Hillier follows Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey, and John McGuinness into Ramsey. By starting in first place, he gets to learn from the fastest guys as they come past. That said, they’ll be coming past less frequently this year.
SuperTwins-Race-ashx.jpg
The “Supertwins” podium included Dean Harrison and local-amazing-comeback-story Conor Cummins. The top 10 finishers were all on Kawasakis.