4/30/09

Dan Gurney's 1955 Norton Manx

Dan Gurney, the legendary Formula One racer and car-builder, was celebrating his birthday at lunch a few years ago at his favorite restaurant when he heard the distinctive sound of a British-built single-cylinder motor outside.
"I looked out, and there was someone on a Manx Norton, wearing a pudding-bowl helmet," Gurney recalls. "I went outside with the idea of looking at it and listening to it, and the next thing I know, it's my son, Justin, riding it, and he's giving it to me as a birthday present!"



The choice of a 1959 Manx Norton as a gift was simple, says Justin: "They really don't get much cooler than that," he says. "He really likes singles and loves the history of old bikes."
When it comes to vintage racing, few bikes are more iconic than the Manx Norton.
The quintessential British-built road-racers of the 1950s, the bikes started life as Norton Internationals, but were re-tuned from the factory for the singular purpose of racing on the Isle of Man in the Manx TT, the most prestigious race of its time.



The 495cc single-cylinder motor was designed for longevity—the Manx TT was, after all, a 264-mile race. But the motorcycles were equally well-known for their chassis, which were all-welded duplex frames with pivoting rear forks and suspension. Designed by Rex McCandless in 1950, the frame provided the high-speed stability so important to the TT.



So impressed was Norton's Harold Daniels that he described the chassis as offering a "featherbed ride," and the Norton Featherbed frame was born. From the start, the bikes built a reputation for speed and handling that was unmatched in Europe, and Manxes were raced by legendary riders, including Geoff Duke and John Surtees, through the 1950s.



"What's most impressive," Gurney notes, "is that the company spent a lot of time tuning the bike without having any kind of modern computers, yet they managed to get that single where it was very reliable and relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain—and still capable of winning international races."



The bike is all the more amazing, Gurney says, considering the demands of the Manx TT track, which is made up of closed public roads. "I was able to ride two laps of the course on a different motorcycle, and I was staggered by how high-speed the track was," he says. "There's not a lot of hairpins or slow corners, and a lot of really fast stretches. To build something that runs strong the whole way is impressive."

Courtesy of the AMA's motorcycle hall of fame Museum

4/28/09

Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling

Reviewed by Graham White



Beatrice “Tilly” Shilling
is a legend in Merlin lore. It was Ms. Shilling who overcame the serious negative “G” cutout problems with SU carburetor equipped Merlins. The tale has been told many times but briefly the SU carburetor was not equipped to handle negative “G” without first starving the engine for fuel and then over compensating and drowning the engine with an over rich mixture. The solution was disarmingly simple, a restrictor orifice fitted to the fuel supply line. In a way it’s too bad that Ms. Shilling’s reputation at the Royal Aircraft Establishment was based on this one, albeit major, accomplishment.

Prior to WWII she was an expert motor cycle rider who participated at the famous Brooklands speedway, basically a British equivalent to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Unfortunately but understandably, Brooklands was demolished during WWII as it stuck out like a sore thumb and would have made an ideal navigation reference point for German bombers. The book delves into the frustration Ms. Shilling suffered for not being promoted and blamed it on her sex. Reading between the lines I got the impression that, true, she lived in a very chauvinistic time when it was rare to have female physicists running the show. However, part of the blame should have rested with Ms. Shilling. As author Matthew Freudenberg astutely pointed out, she was not what would today be known as a “power dresser”, in fact she looked pretty awful. One interesting photograph in the book shows her consulting with Dan Gurney in 1967 when he was campaigning his All American Eagle Formula 1 racer. At the time his Harry Weslake designed V-12 was suffering overheating problems and Ms. Shilling was brought in as a consultant. In the photo she looked like a frumpy old British housewife with hand bag draped over her arm and yet despite this persona she was one of the most brilliant engineers of her time – fascinating.



Today, she would no doubt be regarded as politically incorrect. Exacerbating the situation for her was the fact she showed little respect for her superiors. I can certainly empathize with that attitude, however, the consequences are few or no promotions. One has to respect her single mindedness and independence because she must have surely realized that it cost her big time. If she had been a male and knew how to play the game there is no doubt she would have ended up running the RAE.

The book also explores her personal life, particularly her relationship with her husband and his WWII service as a Lancaster bomber pilot who completed 36 missions. Overall, I rate this book as an excellent read and well worth the money.

4/26/09

1923 2hp Monet & Goyon



This is the first real motorcyle a "between tubes" from the french firm Monet & Goyon. Proppeled by an English 147cc two strokes Villiers engine, built by the firm under license. This popular model launched in
1923, was followed next year by a racing version, a ZS 174 cc "Brooklands TT" Villiers engine with a double exhauts port. The bike had a big success in "Grand prix" and world records.



In option was a two speed English Albion gearbox actionned by a suicide shifter, who's allowed a maximum 50mph speed.



This lightweight was sporty for the 1923 roads; there's no front brake and the rear one is a simple rubber pad.





Joseph Monet (Engineer) and Adrien Goyon (rich familly from Macon), founded the firm during WW1. Their first productions where gear without engine for war wounded.




The marvelous carbide lamp consist of two separated tanks by a joint, the upper is filled with water and the lower tank contains pieces of calcium carbide. In contact with water, the carbide produce a flammable and very luminous gas: the acetylene.



You can imagine the rear brake action...



The rear "Luxor"lamp (another British make) has his own separate water tank.





Primary transmission by chain but final by belt.



Just before an intensive rain, I had climbed on first gear to "The battle of Toulouse" monument.
So Risky!



On the right side the throttle lever doesn't allow you a quick gear change, but you can done very pleasant rides with this machine.

4/25/09

The Trophy Queens

If you're hanging out in L.A take the time to go there .



Before she was Raquel Welch, she was 19-year-old beauty queen Raquel Tejada. She's one of the many glamor girls of racing whose photos will be on display in this exhibit.

From April 10 - May 9
At the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum
1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768
909-622-2133

4/23/09

Books

The Story of The Ramones
From their 1974 debut at New York's premier punk dive, through the classic albums and blistering live sets, The Ramones cut an unforgettable swathe through two decades of pop, setting the scene for punk and hardcore with honed-down songs and ferocious 20 minute sets, but always putting the music first.
Seen through the eyes of the people who were there at the time, including musicians, managers, producers, publicists and New York punk scenesters, this book shows the heroic Ramones staying faithful to their own unique musical vision right to the bitter end.



The African from J. M. G. Le Clézio
In writing L’Africain Le Clézio reflects on his childhood in 1948 when he was 8 years old.According to the publisher he left Nice with his mother and brother to meet his father who was a doctor in Nigeria.His father remained there during the war but was too far away from the wife he loved and too far away from their two children.In this short book Le Clézio remembers his father, who was a “jungle doctor” first in Guyana and then in Cameroon and Nigeria. Here you can find Le Clézio's thoughts about his African childhood and about life in remote places. L’Africain, the story of the author’s father, is at once a reconstruction, a vindication, and the recollection of a boy who lived in the shadow of a stranger he was obliged to love. He remembers through the landscape: Africa tells him who he was when he experienced the family’s reunion after the separation during the war years.The author may seem to be honouring the father from whom he was separated.

4/22/09

New blog interface



After a desperate month into the Html code (Hate code!)  of the Blogger template, we finished last nite a new and more personnal interface. 
Hope you"ll enjoy.

I take this opportunity to introduce you the new Falcon website. More than a simple website there is now a blog with living news... 
Congratulations to Amaryllis the "Programer" because I understand the difficulty of this blind Job!

4/21/09

The Brown Bunny

A lot of you know Vincent Gallo aside from his creative brilliance was also a world class Grand Prix motorcycle racer.



The Brown Bunny is a 2003 American independent film written, produced and directed by actor Vincent Gallo about a motorcycle racer on a cross-country drive who is haunted by memories of his former lover.
It had its world premiere at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival to boos and catcalls. The film garnered a great deal of media attention due to the explicit sexual content of the final scene, and due to a war of words between Gallo and film critic Roger Ebert, who stated that The Brown Bunny was the worst film in the history of Cannes, although he later gave a re-edited version of the film his signature "thumbs up".
Bud Clay (Vincent Gallo), a motorcycle racer, undertakes a cross-country drive, following a race in New Hampshire, in order to participate in a race in California.


All the while he is haunted by memories of his former lover, Daisy (Chloë Sevigny). On his journey he meets three women, but is unable to form an emotional connection with any of them. He first meets Violet (played by Anna Vareschi) at a gas station in New Hampshire and convinces her to join him on his trip to California. They stop at her home in order to get her clothes, but he drives off as soon as she enters the house.



Bud's next stop is at Daisy's parents' home, where there is Daisy's brown bunny. Daisy's mother does not remember Bud, who grew up in the house next door, nor does she remember having visited Bud and Daisy in California. Next, Bud stops at a pet shelter, where he asks about the life expectancy of rabbits. At a highway rest stop, he joins a distressed woman, Lilly, comforts and kisses her, before starting to cry and eventually leaving her.



Bud appears more distressed as the road trip continues, crying as he drives. He stops at the Bonneville Speedway to race his motorcycle. In Las Vegas, he drives around prostitutes on street corners, before deciding to ask one of them, Rose, to join him for a lunch. She eats McDonald's food in his truck until he stops, pays her, and leaves her back in the street...



For the rest of the story ... rent or buy the Movie.







4/19/09

Olivier Mosset



Olivier Mosset (born in 1944 in Bern) is a Swiss artist who lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.

After studying art in Lausanne, he became the assistant of Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri.
Arrived in Paris, he painted canvases bearing one or more times the letter "A" that outlines the "Musée d'art moderne" from Paris in 1966.
In 1967 He participates in the "BMPT" group with Buren, Parmentier and Toroni.
His first personal exhibition date from 1968 to Paris.
In 1977, he moved to New York where he painted monochrome (red, orange, pink, green).
In 1994, the Museum of Fine Arts from Zion, he created an installation of cardboard sculptures (Toblerone).

"Mosset, like other members of the group BMPT, is a" non-painter "in the traditional expression sense
, in that it asserts the fact to "make visible the mechanism that carries the paint "and he criticizes the institutional framework of the art". Paul Eli IVEY
His radically minimalistwork, was extended into three dimensions.

"Indian" Larry Desmedt (1949 - 2004), whose own signature symbol was the mute, very Mosset-esque question mark, was an award-winning custom motorcycle mechanic and stunt rider who originated the 'hard-core' motorcycle style - a blend between classic choppers and hotrod race bikes influenced by 1950's-60's motorcycle clubs. He appeared frequently in movies and television shows and built up a huge cult following.

Mosset, known for his innovative collaborative exhibitions with other artists including, most recently, his 2004 show with Cady Noland at the Migros Museum in Zurich, is a lifelong motorcyclist himself (he can be seen making a drive-by salutation to Jean-Michel Basquiat in 'Downtown 81') and owns several Indian Larry-customized bikes. The artist was in the process of planning an exhibition with him in 2004, when Larry died from head injuries sustained performing a stunt during a bike show in North Carolina.
Thanks to Emmanuel Brunet

My new Commuter

Yesterday I bought this old  "Gitane" bicycle from the late 70s,  for everyday commuting, 18 speed, San Marco "Rolls" saddle, Cinelli and Campagnolo components  : I 'm the king of the road now !

4/16/09

Morbidelli an Italian Storia

I received today those great Morbidelli pics and i take the opportunity to take a look on what was those great bikes in the 70s



Morbidelli was an Italian motorcycle manufacturer founded by Giancarlo Morbidelli in Pesaro, whose 125 cc racing motorcycles were particularly successful from 1975 to 1980.



In 1969, he entered a team in the Grand Prix motorcycle racing world championships with a 50 cc machine. He also commissioned the construction of a water cooled disc valve 125 cc two-stroke of Rhingini design.[2] The team won two 125 cc Grand Prix races with Italian rider Gilberto Parlotti at the beginning of the 1972 season but tragedy struck when Parlotti was killed during the Isle of Man TT race.



Despite Parlotti's death, Morbidelli persevered with his racing effort. Starting in 1974 Jorg Muller, previously the designer for Van Veen Kreidler, took over development. In 1975, he was rewarded with his first World Championship when Paolo Pileri won the 125 cc crown. His Morbidelli team-mate, Pier Paolo Bianchi finished in second. Bianchi won the 125cc championship A year later The 1977 Grand Prix season would mark the height of Morbidelli's accomplishments when the team won both the 125 and 250 classes. Mario Lega won the 250 crown and Pier Paolo Bianchi would take the 125 honors.



Up until 1976 Morbidellis were not available for sale to private racers - only the team's own works riders could race on them. A new factory was built with help from Benelli at Pesaro, called the MBA factory (Morbidelli-Benelli-Armi), to produce Morbidelli motorcycles of 123 cc and 248 cc in quantity. These were raced successfully for several more years.



Morbidelli would continue in Grand Prix competition until the 1982 season.

Today the former Morbidelli factory in Pesaro houses a classic motorcycle museum that reminds visitors of the Company's former glory. The complete world championship story is represented among the exhibits as well as many antique motorcycles.

4/15/09

The Meyers Manx

Of course there is Manx & Manx but those ones are really cool to...

The Meyers Manx dune buggy was designed by Californian engineer, artist, boat builder and surfer Bruce Meyers. It was produced by his company between 1964 and 1971.

The car featured a fiberglass bodyshell coupled with the Volkswagen Beetle frame and engine. It is a small car, with a wheelbase 14 1/4 inches shorter than a Beetle for lightness and better maneuverability. For this reason, the car is capable of very quick acceleration and good off-road performance.

The Meyers Manx received widespread recognition when it won the inaugural Mexican 1000 race, the predecessor of the Baja 1000 beating motorcycles, cars and trucks in the process.



Manx-type cars appeared in several movies with stars such as Elvis Presley. One of the more memorable appearances was in the original version of The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Steve McQueen. In the movie there is a lengthy beach driving scene where a heavily modified Meyers Manx equipped with a Chevrolet Corvair engine is launched over several dunes.



Approximately 6,000 of the original Meyers Manx dune buggies were produced, but when the design became popular many copies (estimated at a quarter of a million worldwide) were made by other companies. Although already patented, Meyers lost in court to the copiers, the judge recinding his patent as unpatentable opening the floodgates to the Industry Meyers started. Since then countless buggies continue to be produced today. Many people recognize this body-type simply as the "Dune Buggy" or "Beach Buggy".



In 2000 Bruce Meyers created a resurgence of interest by starting up Meyers Manx Inc. and offering the Classic Manx, signature series limited edition of 100.
In 2002 the Manxter 2+2 and Manxter DualSport were born. These two new models are true to the original design but are sized for a full-length Beetle floor pan. Custom versions for higher power engines and other variations are also available. New models are now being designed at Valley Center, California.

4/14/09

Casa del Jamon: "La Cepa"

"La Cepa"
Home of the best "Jabugos" "Pata Negras" and "Belotas" Jamones in San Sebastian (North Euskadi) 
Last Saturday night fever

4/13/09

"2009 Coyote Days" registrations open


there is a limited numbers of place for The "2009 Coyote days" Edition in Nogaro Armagnac
Registration are open, so Guys: hurry up !

Fill the form here

New Biker Café - N.Y.C

Motorcycles and croissants were made for each other — just ask the Beaujolais Biker Brigade! Now, four local enthusiasts have opened the New York City Motorcycle Federation, a shop that appeals to riders and non-riders alike by selling modified gear as well as Illy espresso drinks and Ceci-Cela croissants. “I don’t want to look like a Teenage Ninja Turtle when I ride,” partner Leila Barratt-Denyer told us of the gear. “I want to look like James Dean.” Further to that, The Wild One, Mad Max, and other biking movies play on a projection screen over the café’s one communal table — accompanied by Pink Floyd, the Doors, and other classic rock. In the spring, the self-described “refueling station” will add more seats via an outdoor café serving salumi, beer, and wine, and it’ll close at midnight instead of at 7 p.m. Doubtful you’ll get loaded enough to buy that $65,000 custom Harley, but who knows — maybe the helmet with the horns on it?

New York City Motorcycle Federation; 259 Sixth Ave.; nr. Downing St.; 212-255-1234

4/12/09

A festival of Norton

The Norton Owners Club in association with Norton Motorcycles and the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club presents a festival of Norton at the Donington Park circuit.
The centrepiece of the day will be a huge Historic Display of Nortons of all shapes and sizes dating from 1903 to 2009. During the day, technical experts will present information on the various models and there will be the opportunity to see and hear some of the machines as they run up a paddock area.
The full circuit at Donington will be available for use and during the day there will be opportunities for visitors and their Nortons to parade in either the road or race class.
Exceptionally, this day is free from any noise limits so any Norton can take part in the track sessions without exhaust restrictions.
There will also be a parade of Featured Nortons and well known riders. Expect to hear everything from the growl of the Manxs through to the howl of the Rotaries, including the new 2009 NRV588.
In the evening, there will be an informal party on the Donington site, to which all Norton enthusiasts are invited

4/10/09

And God created Laverda (by Max Collonge)

Once upon a time right after the Dinosaurs, God created Laverda …



After Laverda, God created Orange color!




In 2004 I invited Piero Laverda to attend the Trofeo Rosso and have a drink with me and all the Team.


Piero Laverda on the Left

During 1 hour 1/2 we took an aperitif called « The Lavergnac « … I let you find out what it is ….
One Year later in 2005 , at the Bol d'Or classic race, Mr Laverda  came with all his staff (about 30 pers.)to see me and ask for another famous Lavergnac aperitive...
2006, with our race organisation (Cambouis et compagnie),I kept on inviting Piero Laverda to have a ride with us on the fabulous Charade Circuit.



In September 2007, I called Piero to ask him a favor , I needed a 750 SF cylinder head and a lightened crankshaft to race the 2008 Bol D’Or Classic.
He told me that this part wouldn't work well  and proposed me something else.
His proposal was to drive for the Bol D’Or with my brother a 1974 Bol D’Or Spaceframe 1000.



In March 2008 we’re going in Italy to see Mr Laverda.
4 unbelievable days invited in his house surounded by all the most beautiful bikes and prototypes made by Laverda where we tested the Spaceframe 1000 on the Adria Circuit.
After testing the bike in Italy we came back in France to test the bike in Magny Cours on dry and wet conditions.



We were qualified for the race where my brother took the first start and i took the second one.
We arrived at the 27th position but happy to be there… We will do better rank next time but this will be another story.
The brothers in Nogaro last Summer



Text by Max Collonge
Pictures by Laurent Tomas and Southsiders-MC