Friday, February 27, 2009


Les Harris, the 'bridge' between the old Meriden Triumph factory and the new John Bloor models, died last week. From the South Devon Herald Express:

A MOTORCYCLE display team will sound a throttle roar in memory of a Torquay businessman who resurrected the Triumph Bonneville motorbike and met Margaret Thatcher.
Les Harris, 69 and from Torquay, died at Torbay Hospital on February 17 from a progressive lung condition, which he suffered from for more than 10 years.
Mr Harris leaves behind his wife Shirley, his children Carole, Debbie, Angela and Chris, and 10 grandchildren.
Mrs Harris said: "Les was a decent, very hardworking man, with an all-encompassing passion for work, life and his family. He had a mischievous sense of humour and an irreverent intolerance for snobbishness. He also had a dress sense all of his own. Les has left behind a great legacy in our children and grandchildren and our lives have been immensely enriched by his larger than life character and absolute unconditional love for us all."
A motorcycle enthusiast, Mr Harris set up his own business in 1974 manufacturing and selling spare parts for classic motorcycles. As British motorcycle firms Norton Motors, BSA Small Heath and later Triumph collapsed, Mr Harris would pay for and store parts to be delivered straight to customers. As the parts stocked up, L F Harris International Ltd started trading out of a warehouse in Newton Abbot before acquiring an engineering company in Leighton Buzzard and opening a retail shop in Paignton.
Mrs Harris said: "With the demise of the Triumph motorcycle factory in Meriden, Les and I made a bid for the rights to the Triumph name in 1983. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful in this; however, we were offered the opportunity to licence the name for five years [by John Bloor, current owner of the Triumph name] and so an incredible journey began with the move to a bigger factory and warehouse."
Press coverage of their venture was global and resulted in an invitation to Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. In 1987 the Harris' were visited by the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
"Les was so proud of these visits. For years he has been hailed as the saviour of the traditional classic Triumph motorcycle all over the world. He loved this time, making many new friends as he dealt with customers around the globe," Mrs Harris said.
In 1988 the couple decided not to re-licence and Les began to design his own motorcycle, producing The Matchless G80. The production of the motorcycle ceased after 1990 in the midst of the recession and the business returned solely to the production of spare parts for classic motorcycles. The family-run company now trades from Pavor Road in Torquay.
At his funeral this Saturday, six soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals White Helmets Motorcycle Display Team will carry the coffin and provide a 'throttle roar' as Mr Harris enters and leaves the church.
Mrs Harris explained: "Les was not in the White Helmets, but our company built their bikes and donates motorcycle spare parts to them."

Suthbrother Checks In

Hey Chris,

I found this early '69 pen drawing I did in History class
at eighteen. I was always doing these instead of taking

As you can see, my knowledge was based on vague
impressions of what a chopper might look like as we
hadn't purchased ours yet. Btw, that's a binder
ring hole on the left.

I've been spending a lot of time reading your postings.
Bobber-Not a Bobber was great. Wondered
if the owners of those crappy looking fakers ever got
back to you with hate mail.

Later man,

Gary, My early drawings also suffered from lack of knowledge, I too drew push rods on the left side. It's still a nice "gesture" sketch. No haters yet. So far the comments and email has been supportive.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Readers of George Cohen's 'Flat Tank Norton' have already heard the story of the 'Sgonina Special', but Charles Sgonina had more than one ace up his sleeve, and was a talented rider as well as a development engineer. By the age of 22 he had accumulated over 50 race wins, and was third in the French Grand Prix .

In 1921, Charlie snagged a Works ride for Triumph at the Isle of Man TT, on their new 4-Valve 'Ricardo'-engined machines. Sir Harry Ricardo was a pioneer in scientific engine development, and created the four-valve layout to reduce thermal stress on the inadequate valve materials available, while improving airflow through increased valve area (see pic above, at the TT).

During practice Charlie learned that Scientific Development didn't necessarily equal the fastest bike; the new Triumph was too slow for a decent placing. Another lesson learned before the race was to keep his eyes on the road; waving friends distracted him momentarily at one point, and he found himself riding on the sidewalk! He gained the nickname of 'Pavement Artist' in the bike rags, also being described as "a Welshman with an Italian name, a sunny smile, and a mop of fair hair."
Sgonina was the third rider flagged away at the Senior TT, a minute behind Howard R. Davies, riding his A.J.S. 'Big Port', which shortly achieved immortality as the only 350cc machine to win that 500cc event. Charlie reckoned on keeping H.R.D. in sight to keep up his placing; at the end of the first lap he was in 7th place, but halfway through lap 2 the 'Riccy' (see an example bovve) dropped a valve.

Next race was the French G.P., where he placed 3rd, at an average of 56.96mph. Bill Phelps, in the VMCC Newsletter, relates; "unlike the TT, in France you could practice any old time and they had great fun going flat out through a bunch of chickens - but French chickens know how to look after themselves. One incident Charlie recalls is going around with Freddie Edmunds who was one of the Triumph team. They were riding abreast at about 70mph when they saw a cloud of dust ahead; about halfway through it Charlie noticed a steam roller, and wondering what happened to Freddie, pulled up. Freddie also pulled up and said 'that was a close one; I heard my clutch lever go click against the back wheel of the roller!' (pic below; Sgonina is far left, with the '21 Triumph TT team).
During the race, Charlie was bothered by salt on the road, used to keep dust down, which gave him a sore throat. As he finished on the winner's rostrum, he was able to gargle with a bit of champagne. His mechanic stripped the engine for post-race measurement, but as much more champagne was available, he was unable to reassemble it!

In the Belgian Grand Prix (at Spa-Francorchamps) 'that valve' reasserted itself, and tire trouble too. So it was back to England and Brooklands, where he had never raced previously. During his first event, he was following Freddie Dixon, who burst a tire at 80mph and rolled endlessly, shedding clothing. Charlie thought it would be a long time before Dixon raced again, but Freddie was tough, and jumped back in the race.
At Brooklands, Sgonina hung around a few days to test fettle his Triumph in peace, but found more trouble, and left the bike with Frank Halford to sort out before the Catsash Hill Climb. Halford worked closely with Harry Ricardo and helped develop a bronze 4-valve cylinder head for his Triumph. Charlie was confident he might gain best solo and sidecar times, given such expert tuning, at Catsash. Race day dawned wet though, and the road turned muddy, so Sgonina used sidecar gearing for his first solo run. George Dance (above) on his Sunbeam went first, then Charlie gave the Triumph some welly and went very quickly, spinning his back wheel on the slick surface. At the finish line, the Triumph's brakes were useless on the muddy road, and he approached a T junction at 60mph; he tried to break right but laid the bike down on its footrest, slid into the hedge, and landed in a heap on top of the machine. George Dance was the first to render aid, commenting that HE had turned left and found a softer landing!

Although injured, Sgonina (above, again at the TT) attached a sidecar to his Triumph and made the Fastest Time of the Day on 3 wheels. George Dance stuck to his solo machine, went straight through the hedge, and ended up in the hospital.

When Sgonina returned the Triumph to Brooklands, Frank Halford again sorted the bike out, and promptly used it to break the One-Hour Record on the track, at 76.74mph!

Dance and Sgonina again squared off at Pendine Beach in Wales, a favorite spot for racing and speed work, being long and broad with a slow taper to the sea; a perfect racetrack, refreshed daily by the tides. Plus, Britain's ban on motor competition on public roads didn't apply to public beaches. In a One Mile sprint race, Dance made his customary 'hole shot' (being a past master of Sprint takeoffs) and leapt two feet, nine inches into the lead, which Charlie just managed to close within that mile. When they stopped, Dance congratulated Sgonina on a win, but he demurred, claiming Dance was yet 3 inches ahead... This was the fastest Charles Sgonina traveled in his bike racing career; Dance confirmed that his own Sprint Special would do 95mph 'any day of the week' (see Dance 'down to it' below).

As mentioned, Charlie gave up motorcycle racing shortly afterwards, but owned quite a few interesting cars, including a 1959 Aston Martin, a veteran of the LeMans 24 hours race, with which he would terrorize Welsh roads and tracks into his 60's...

Many thanks again to Bill Phelps for his images of Charles Sgonina, and for the use of his article which I've adapted here. The images of George Dance are from Robert Gordon Champ's definitive 'The Sunbeam Motorcycle' (Haynes, 1980).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Charlie Taylor forwarded this photo recently - I had seen it months ago and wondered how such an amazing lineup of machines came about. Here is his explanation:

"The 1947 B Rapide on the far left was my Vincent. Coburn Benson, New England Vincent guru, had advised me that I needed a "B".He was right. Mickey Mouse Antiques of Amherst MA sold it to me - cardboard boxes packed with rust and mouse nests. It became my daily rider for several years, and is the Vincent I wish I'd held onto.

The Norton '66 Atlas was Howie's, and he bought it in Panama after a stint in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, and drove it all the way to Connecticut, developing what he called 'Norton arm' in the process. 'Norton arm' was akin to 'Vincent knee', which I sometimes had. The former was permanent, and the latter temporary. One night, when Howie was returning from doing the Eleven Step at the Nick, the quick detach wiring harness quickly detached when he hit a pot-hole, and he was plunged into total darkness. It was a dark and stormy night, but fortunately the ignition died too, and he didn't crash. There's a moral in this, but I don't know what it is. Howie sold it to Jocko, and he rode it for several years. Jocko actually paid me to work on this bike, and I did quite a lot to it. After Jocko's untimely demise (he is still greatly missed, as is Howie), I was involved in selling it to Peter Shallenberger (sp?), and I also sold Jocko's magnificently ratty Vincent to a lawyer in upstate New York. I rebuilt the Vincent, and it's in a museum somewhere. Peter didn't ride the Atlas much, making excuses like 'my lizard is inactive'. I lost track of it after that. Where are the Rats of Yesterday?

David the photographer [who took the photograph with a mahogany and brass glass plate camera] bought the '49 Norton International in '66 from Harold Perrault in Shelburne Falls Mass. He used it to commute to work at Mystic Seaport, and eventually Kenny Bean blew it up racing rednecks during a summer party at Dogfight. Rednecks didn't catch him, though. I traded David a Velocette scrambler for the Intersaur, rebuilt it, and rode it for many years, until I restored it and sold it to a collector in Maine. The yuppies were a'comin' in.

I worked on most of these bikes, except for the '60 BSA Goldstar, which was owned by Gold Star Kenny, who packed all his worldly goods on the back, and drove it from Georgia to take a job at the Guild Guitar factory in Westerly R.I. He kept it in razor tune, and it always (almost) started on the first kick which was a good thing, because he weighed about 120 lbs.

Ello's Triumph 3T was the hardest working bike of the lot. It was purchased either at Comerfords or Pride and Clarke in south London. Ello used it to commute to her town-planning job in R.I., and if remember correctly, it morphed into the 'bobber' 650 Thunderbird, which I brought back from London in '75, when we did a trade. The 350 then became Marian's bike when we lived in Tomales CA. She put a lot of miles on it, commuting to Dominican College in San Raphael, a 150-mile round trip. She also used it while working as a reporter for the Point Reyes Light, interviewing geezers about clever ways of doing in gophers etc. When we moved back to Stonington, it sat festering in the barn for several years. After charging the battery and draining the carb, it started right up. I remember the burning carcass of a mouse blowing out the left muffler, followed by its nest. Harsh. Marian rode it down the vineyard road and back, and said, no, I don't want to do this anymore, so we sold it to a lady dentist in Mystic.

The '66 Velocette Thruxton mostly lived in the Quonset hut over the bullshit pit, but was hauled out now and then and started for ceremonial occasions, like this one. I sold it to a couple of guys from up north. It started on the first kick and the sale was sealed.. God loves me.

In the background is the Mosquito Breeding Experiment, Old Blue the Dodge Dart station wagon, whose oil never needed to be changed because David kept ripping the pan out on the dirt road to Dogfight, and the Yellow Truck, a 24-volt Korean War military Dodge which was used for Dogfight dump runs.
But where are the Dogs? Maybe moving invisibly like Civil War soldiers in a Brady photograph.---"

Daytona Bike Week - Get a Start on the Rally Season

The 68th anniversary of Daytona Bike Week is being held February 27 - March 8, 2009 in Daytona Beach, Florida. The start of Daytona Bike Week is often announced on the morning TV news shows. You know, where somebody sticks their face in front of the camera and announces: "We're at the opening of Daytona Bike Week. Good Morning America," and then you see a whole line of bikes roar off in front of the camera. Unfortunately, most of the remainder of Bike Week will not be seen by non-motorcyclists.

Check out my article, Daytona, for details.

Here in the frigid Northeast, I hear plenty of people talking about going to Daytona. Some are riding down with friends. Riding sometimes means riding in a car and towing a trailer with the bike on it. After all, the 1500 miles down with uncertain weather conditions has left many a rider stranded in a snow storm or Nor'easter. After that happens to you once, you tend to be a little more cautious the next time you go.

Maybe you want to skip Daytona and concentrate on planning to go to some smaller rallies this year. Be sure to read my article, Motorcycle Rallies, where I discuss rallies and give you information about the top rallies that I like. Of course, your views may be different -- this is Motorcycle Views after all.

I just got my registration information for the Americade Motorcycle Rally. That one is my favorite and I've gone every year since 1994.

It can get expensive going to lots of rallies, especially if you're taking two bikes. Double gas, double tolls. You just have to pick and choose what appeals to you most in these uncertain economic times. Motorcycle rallies are a lot of fun. If you've never attended a rally, you owe it to yourself to go. You just might find a rally or two that you'll want to go to every year, just like I go to Americade, regardless of the weather.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Living in America"

My first bike was a 71 sportster that I painted white. This makes me want to paint my 72 white.

I took a photo of this 45 cover 4 years ago when I was helping a DJ musician with his house. He loved it so much that it was pinned to the wall at one time.

I can dig it.

Kawasaki Issues Recall of 2009 NINJA ZX-10R Motorcycles for Oil Leak Defect

Kawasaki has issued a recall of certain 2009 NINJA ZX-10R motorcycles.

Kawasaki is recalling model year 2009 NINJA ZX10R (ZX1000E9F/E9FA/E9FAL) motorcycles. The timing inspection caps on the starter clutch cover may come loose due to improper tightening and fall out, allowing oil to leak onto the rear tire.

The number of units has not been specified.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Kawasaki Issues Recall of 2008-2009 KL650E for Wire Shorting Problem

Kawasaki has issued a recall of certain 2008-2009 KL650E motorcycles.

Kawasaki is recalling model year 2008-2009 KLR 650 (KL650E8F/L, KL650E9F/L) motorcycles. Wires in the wiring harness might be damaged due to rubbing contact with a portion of the motorcycle frame.

The number of units has not been specified.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Kawasaki Issues Recall of 2008-2009 KL650E for Loose Muffler Bolts

Kawasaki has issued a recall of certain 2008-2009 KL650E motorcycles.

Kawasaki is recalling model year 2008-2009 KLR 650 (KL650E8F/L, KL650E9F/L) motorcycles. The muffler assembly is secured to the frame of the motorcycle by two bolts. It is possible that heat expansion cycles of the muffler, combined with vibration from vehicle operation may cause loosening of the muffler mounting bolts.

16,500 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The name of Charles Sgonina languished in obscurity until fairly recently, when George Cohen included the amazing 'Sgonina Special' in his 'Flat Tank Norton' book. Created originally as a speed upgrade for his Norton 'Brooklands Road Special', Sgonina (born in 1901) eventually built a Double-Overhead-Camshaft conversion for the former sidevalve machine, and honed the motorcycle into a spindly and extremely purposeful tool, on par aesthetically with George Dance's sprinting Sunbeams, but with far more technical interest.

I recently asked Bill Phelps to fill me in on his old friend Charlie's story, and the following is edited from an article Bill wrote in a 1966 V.M.C.C. newsletter:

"Charlie is in the engineering trade in Cardiff; my first encounter with him was several years ago, when I required some work on my motor-cycle. He does not talk much about the Twenties, when he rode in many International events, and it was a few years after my first encounter with him that he did chat some on the Vintage era.

He bought his first motor-cycle in 1918; a belt-driven 4hp Triumph. His next machine was an Enfield, which gave him his first taste of chain drive. Next, at age 18, he purchased a secondhand 'B.R.S.' Norton (example above), belt-drive with a certificate that it had lapped Brooklands at 70mph. With this machine, Charlie entered the world of motorcycle competitions, and in 1919 he converted it to O.H.V., using a steel cylinder with detachable inlet and exhaust ports - this was three years before Norton introduced their own OHV machine. He raced the bike at Weston Speed Trials and won a few events, then at Pendine [beach], then at Style Kop, Birmingham - he raced Graham Walker in a Novice event, and managed to beat him; they formed a lasting friendship.

Even in the late Forties Charlie wrote articles for Graham, who was editor of Motorcycling.
However the engine of his Norton had a short life; the piston cracked around the gudgeon pin, then Bang! Only the camwheels were salvageable... But by now the Speed Bug had bitten, and Charlie managed in 1920 to persuade Norton to part with an actual T.T. frame and gearbox. His new engine wasn't as good as the first OHV, but with alterations it eventually get a move on, performing in quite a number of events with moderate success. (above, Sgonina on his OHV machine, with Dr. Lindsay and Jack Thomas on their sidevalve racers, 1920).

Charlie said, "About this time I started to alter valve timings and cam design and found out what a lot of study must be put in on this subject, as to make a cam that looks good is just silly. Anyone thinking of making new cams must first of all consider valve gear reciprocating weight, strength of valve springs permissible, and from this work out what kind of constant acceleration cam would be suitable. I always tried to fill the cylinder as full as possible at fairly high engine revs, and run on a compression ratio to suit the hottest plugs available which meant that I was running on a lower compression ratio than many and yet getting more power."

In 1922, after building his own frame, he added a chain-driven Overhead-Camshaft cylinder head, which caused a considerable stir (above); a number of drives were tried, as the chain thrash at certain revs was disconcerting. The best solution [remember, this is pre-Weller tensioner for chains] was to drive the magneto and camshaft on the same chain, but soon Sgonina switched to a vertical bevel gear drive, which cleaned up the appearance, solved the chain thrash, but did not increase speed.

There were plenty of troubles with pistons and and head joints, and a con-rod broke just below the gudgeon pin. There was little trouble with the valves though, using heat-treated Tungsten steel. He used a Petrol-Benzole fuel mix, and always rode his machines to events, but was not always lucky enough to ride them home!

He tried supercharging this engine but was disappointed, and after having a few fires the project was dropped. You can be assured that the flame coming from a blower will beat any brazing lamp!

In 1923, Charlie's last modification to this engine was a 90-degree inclined-valve Double Overhead Camshaft cylinder head - this was fully 14 years before Norton introduced their own DOHC motor. The Sgonina Special used bevel drive, a steel cylinder and silicone alloy die-cast piston. This was his first attempt at die-casting, and made at least six before making a really good one. The pattern for the cylinder head was quite a difficult piece of work and some beautiful castings were turned out. He was surprised at the strength of the valve springs required to prevent valve float, as only light thimbles were used between valves and cams to keep down reciprocating weight. This new engine was installed in a modified Sunbeam Sprint chassis.

This engine was never fully developed, but seemed to have great possibilities and even in this state was better than any of Charlie's previous efforts, being reliable and speedy and with slight alterations would have been ideal to run on alcohol fuel. It was road tested early one morning down Allensbank road in Cardiff and clocked 86mph.

Unfortunately he broke his arm practising on a grass track - with this, and the ban on motor racing on public roads, and the trade depression, Charlie had no encouragement to continue, but once the speed bug bites, you never seem to give it up, and he began to race on four wheels.."

Many thanks to Bill Phelps for the article, and George Cohen for the use of the images from his excellent 'Flat Tank Norton', which you can order here.

Yesterday's Long Beach Swap Meet

Here in SoCal we're pretty fortunate for a few things. Not only can we ride all year but, we also have a great swap meet every month, and like usual I scored some great parts. Besides the assortment of parts it's also like going to a monthly informal show. For me, this is Sunday morning religion.

Amongst a sea of twin cams you'll usually see some interesting bikes so, after my third trip to the car to unload parts, I grabbed my camera and hoped some of the cooler bikes were still around.

This 62 had a cool presence that doesn't quite come across in the photos. Engine and trans were just rebuilt. Perfect example of a bike that's been kept alive by the swap meet. Tanks are 59 -60, bags and foot boards are from the 70's.

Those yellow ignition wires aren't helping any. A note said it also included a foot shift/hand clutch. Asking price was $11.5 obo.

I can't remember a meet when I didn't see this well ridden shovel parked up front. Seasoned bike equals seasoned rider.

A very nice knuck. Minor stuff like the modern rear brake and foot controls are a bit out of place for my taste. None too sure about that tail pipe but still a clean ride.

Turned out to be a fairly rare 41 model.

This original paint 1970 Electra-Glide is also always parked out front. I'd rather see old worn chrome than white paint.

The Garage Company usually has some pretty cool bikes for sale. You could be tying down this S&S powered Pan in your truck for $18.5. It's part of their recycling program. They buy parts at LB and build bikes like this with them.

Can you believe I heard a guy say to his friend, "hey look, a old Triumph"? Besides not knowing bikes, I guess he couldn't read.

Clean half 'n' half stock bobber Knuck.

The owner of this decked out 37 UL mentioned it was a ten year old restoration.

Although he acted like it was giving him problems, it started on the 4th or 5th kick. That tells you just how reliable those old flatheads are.

One day I'll probably leave LA and when I do, I'll miss the swap meet the most.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Knuckleheads Forever But,...

Remember this one?

Old T-shirt art (Not Mine)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Motorcycle Pictures of the Week - Joe

Here are my Pictures of the Week as displayed on the Motorcycle Views Website. These are taken from the Moto Pic Gallery. See Joe on his Silver Wing Scooter. For details, see Motorcycle Pictures of the Week.

If you'd like to see your bike as Picture of the Week, submit a picture of you and your bike along with a description of the bike.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hardley David

For the Hippy Haters

This cartoon used to run in the back of Roth's Choppers Mag. They were signed Luke but it looks like Ed Newton's art.

The Shocking Truth


Dave sent this photo today, and it deserves a click to see the details. Great atmosphere; the old buildings in the town center with a narrow and unlined main street, the expectant crowds wearing suits and fedoras, the Spanish flag bunting (convenient to use a tricolor as the flag - it can stretch endlessly), the marginal start line, all speak to a 'local' race in a small town, where a bunch of motorcycles blasting through the streets is the most exciting thing to happen since the Civil War ended about 10 years ago...
What we see is three professional racers in this 350cc event; two on Velocette MkVIII KTTs (#s 3 & 31), an early AJS 7R (#8), plus the 'local talent' who likes to ride his motorcycle quickly between farm and town, riding a wholly inappropriate Sarolea (?) with hand-shift, heavy valanced mudguards, wide handlebars with up-turned levers, and most dangerously, studded trials tires. He is wearing leathers, but his jacket has epaulets (never seen on racing kit), his pants are bulky, and he appears to be wearing his shiny street shoes rather than the purposeful boots of the other racers.
Worst of all is the utter disdain being shown by #3, literally looking down his nose at #1.
But, he is NUMERO UNO for the moment! Tally ho!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Sutherland Brothers Photos

Once again some photos from my buddy Gary Sutherland. I'll let him do the talking.

Here we go...
We took these color shots in the Haight district in SF in the late 60s, can't recall exactly.

This chick seems to have had the first cell phone.

Lar just returned from Nam so it was probably early 69. Back then bikes were crude... even as late as 69. This was before Altamont. Notice the poorly rendered death head on the first color photo.

Gypsy Jokers and HA

Wild trike was motivated by a big block Olds.

The last color shot was taken at the Atlanta Pop Festival, July of 69... always wondered if this guy got lost... seems out of place for the redneck environs of Georgia. This was before the release of Easy Rider and we know how that film ended.

What's she smoking? Bare feet and hot pipes, a bad mix.

Btw, I found a notation on one of the knuck photos saying the total cash outlay was $1,997 total.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


It seems we have found our Madame X, and her name is Anke-Eve. Six feet tall, slim, and striking, she felt comfortable with cameras and eyes focussed on her, as she proved her abilities on two wheels.

Our first image of her is astride BMW R67/3 in 1954. This model can be distinguished by the plunger rear suspension, tiny taillamp, and fishtail exhaust pipes. The 'Schorsch Meier' dualseat is an unusual item for a plunger-frame BMW - original equipment was a rubber Denfield saddle. It appears she competed in Endurance and Speed competition, but was barred, as a woman, from competing at a higher level of Club or GP racing.

This did not dissuade her from seeking fast motorcycles and race tracks; in many photographs she is hurtling down the tarmac, and mixing with other motorcyclists at Hockenheim and Nurburgring - such as here examining a Norton Manx at Nurburgring.

Her 'pass' at the tracks, beyond her riding ability, was a facility with writing a good story for the press, and she regularly sent racing and riding reports to Moto Revue in France, as well as publications in Spain, Sweden, Germany, the US, and Japan. Here at Hockenheim, she waits for track time with a pair of Jawa two-strokes and a Zundapp outfit - her suitcase strapped to the parcel rack of her R69.

She worked at a U.S. Air Force base, teaching German to the children of soldiers stationed there. She also spoke other languages, and her command of English was good enough to write two articles for Cycle World magazine in 1962. 'An Invitation to a Lap Around the Nurburgring' was published in the June issue of 1962, and a report on women racers in the Soviet Union (!) was printed in October of that year [and yes, I will definitely post it]. In this photo, noted motorcycle author Erwin Tragatsch, author of the definitive 'Illustrated History of Motorcycles', stands with a group visiting Anke-Eve with her late-model R69S, now with a British 'Peel' fairing (distinguishable by the clear panel in the nose - the headlamp is not mounted to the actual fairing, but is retained in the standard position. The clear section is elongated for a full sweep of light).

And don't you wish your Elementary School teacher rode a motorcycle like Anke-Eve! She cut quite a figure in those drab days of the late 1950s, and had a bit of an exhibitionist streak.

By 1956, she had a new BMW R69, which was the fastest Bavarian flat-twin roadster, topping 100mph with aplomb. And she repaid the bike's excellent qualities with loyalty and by becoming an extremely visible spokesperson for the marque, always wearing her pudding basin helmet with a large 'BMW' sticker at the front. These photos show Anka-Eve at the Nurburgring race track, usually alone! Perhaps the male riders were afraid to ride with

In 1958, in concert with 9 other women riders, including Ellen Pfeiffer, she helped found W.I.M.A. (Women's International Motorcycling Association) in Europe. W.I.M.A. U.S.A. was founded in 1950 by Louise Scherbyn, and the idea spread quickly to Britain and Europe. Ellen Pfeiffer is now considered the 'Urmütter' of the organization in Europe.

I don't think Ms. Goldmann was ever sponsored or employed by the BMW factory, but she was clearly given priority when purchasing one of the first half-dozen BMW R69S models in 1960; her new machine has the ultra-rare rearview mirror mounted above the cylinder head. The R69S had 42hp, was capable of 110mph, and made a superb and reliable sports-touring machine.

And tour she did; attending the Elephant Rally mid-winter for many years on her BMW, and riding throughout the year, regardless of the season or road conditions. These photos of Anke-Eve riding in ice and snow give an idea of her determination, and the care with which she designed her own riding gear.

It seems she worked with German leather riding gear manufacturer 'Harro' in creating her own personalized attire. In winter months, she can be seen wearing a large buckled body belt, too large to be merely a 'kidney belt', which must have been an aid to keeping warm in very cold weather.

Her riding suit for winter is significantly bulkier and larger than the svelte summer catsuit, and can clearly accomodate woolens underneath - leggings, sweaters, the lot - the suit approaches Bibendum proportions on her coldest rides.

Her summer one-piece riding suit had the distinctive feature of a diagonal zipper from the neck, crossing over to the side of the body, which may have aided the 'fit' of the leathers, especially on a woman's torso. Her leathers certainly fit well...

Harro went on to manufacture 'her' design for public consumption.

And then, she gave up her beloved BMWs. Perhaps she was bored by the R75/5 model which supplanted the R69S in 1969, or felt that it's performance lagged behind what 'the competition' was offering, especially as Japanese and Italian machines had much faster and better-handling machines at the time. Whatever the reason, Ms. Goldmann moved right on up to M.V. Agusta's 750cc DOHC 4-cylinder hotrods, perhaps the first and only woman to do so - she was a sensation.

While M.V. had been producing 4-cylinder racers since the 1950s, the 750S, introduced in 1969, was their first sporting 4, and what the public had been clamoring for. But, the public couldn't afford the M.V.! It was always an expensive and exclusive motorcycle, revered by collectors today, and out of reach for all but the lucky few in 1969.

Anke-Eve seems totally at home with her Italian rocket, and she kept this bike for several years, upgrading over time with items such as cast magnesium Campagnolo wheels, triple disc Brembo brakes, and a set of aftermarket 'Arturo Magni' 4-in-1 exhaust pipes - all items which were added to the newest M.V. models.

This machine was the total antithesis of her old BMWs! Loud, fast, and a bit fragile, it certainly wasn't the best Touring machine, especially with the clip-on handlebars and rearsets she favored. Her riding position really tells the tale; Anke-Eve had evolved into a full-blown Cafe Racer, and given the noise (however glorious) emanating from those Magni pipes, a bit of a hooligan!

After the death of her closest friend in a riding accident, Anke-Eve Goldmann seems to have given up motorcycles altogether, and began to travel with a backpack to remote Asian locations. Traveling alone, she trekked through Burma, the Sunda Islands, Vietnam, and Cambodia, not many years after the conflicts there had ended.

If you have further information about this remarkable woman, please contact me!