Through the first three episodes of Chronicles of a Club Racer, John Hensley has opined on many aspects of motorcycle racing. Ranging from the inevitability of a crash, the sublime pleasure experienced while watching a true professional turn laps, and the demands of racing on the mental state of its participants, Hensley approaches this segment of motorcycling with due reverence and awe.
Episode 4, “A little bit of Vegas…” puts Hensley in a somewhat unfamiliar situation, carting two custom bikes to a Las Vegas show full of outlandish choppers, baggers, bobbers and everything in between. Hensley’s got two Indian Larry entries in his keep, thanks to a favor called in from his good friend Bobby Seeger, former business partner of the late Indian Larry and current owner of the brand.
Coming from the race-tuned world of bikes built to perform at the highest possible level, Hensley is skeptical of the custom cosmos where performance can be, and often is, a sidebar to aesthetic expression. This is a segment of the industry that makes little sense to the Club Racer, coming off as self-indulgent, an exercise in futility. Though his judgments are harsh at the outset, Hensley soon realizes that it’s not all just about looking flashy.
Bean're (left) chats with John Hensley at a show in Vegas.
Through conversations with Seeger and a wild-man nomad named Bean’re, Hensley comes to understand that there’s more here than meets the eye. Bean’re, especially, embodies the spirit of unashamed freedom that motorcycling affords so completely, that the Club Racer ends up leaving with the same veneration felt for the renegade in a top-hat as he does for a Checa or Biaggi.
At bottom Episode 4, “A little bit of Vegas…” opens an entirely different, but not unequal, side of motorcycling that can frequently sit beyond the purview of riders entrenched in logging laps at the track. While all the showy mounts may not be to his taste, Hensley comes to respect the spirit behind the effort that went into building these bikes and leaves with a deeper appreciation of the people involved in the industry. Plus it’s Vegas, and there’s nothing like a night of debauchery to create a lifelong bond between people of a different stripe.
As part of his club racing journey, Hensley has put together a website that has pictures, a blog and links to Twitter and Facebook so you can stay connected to his progress. CCRacer.com
also accepts your stories about anything to do with two-wheels and may even post as a guest blog entry.