Motorcycle Rap Up

  • BOMONSTER Likes These Bikes

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    Being the artist, pictures tell stories without words. When I came across these old school vintage Harley Ironhead and Panhead choppers at the Hot Rod Reunion I had to stop and soak it in. Bikes strapped down with dufflebags, tarps, jackets, sleeping bags. It says freedom, adventure, back to basics, pure fun, independence, brotherhood, America, all in one visual.

    Photos byBOMONSTER

  • BOMONSTER and the Great J.N. Roberts

    In 1967 my dad Winston Beaumont started a motorcycle results paper called Rap Up and went to many So Cal races and took pictures and wrote the articles. It didn't last long but the memories did. I was a little BOMONSTER back then and tagged along the best I could but mostly was left behind at camp while dad covered the race usually on foot. One of the emerging stars back then was J.N. Roberts. He was in great shape and known to train between races before anyone had thought to do that. The year before he had earned his expert #13 plate riding a stripped down Honda scrambler! I think it was a 305. He wasn't a member of a club yet and was just a great, natural rider. While most of the fast guys rode big Triumphs and sat most of the way, J.N. changed all that by standing the entire 100 mile race. He wore football pads while the photos back then show most of the riders wearing simple cotton sweatshirts and even t-shirts with no padding. These pictures were taken at a two-loop hare scrambles near the intersection of highway 395 and 58 - commonly called Four Corners. He won the overall as a new member of the Checkers M.C. riding one of the first Husqvarna 360s in the states over Triumph riders Gary Preston and Jack Byers.

    Years later I became an art director creating ads and TV spots for Nissan trucks and needed some dirt bike riders to ride in the background for a TV spot out near Palm Springs. He was a stunt man for films back then and was one of the riders. I was shocked to see his name on the call sheet and told him how I knew him from 20 years before. He wasn't impressed and seemed to brush it off like maybe I had the wrong guy. As the day progressed he and the other riders seem to just mill around on their bikes in the background in first gear while we were filming. I asked the director for them to step up the pace and hit the whoops in the background at speed and told him that I knew the rider could handle it. After it was relayed to J.N. word came back that he wanted extra dough to go faster and he had only signed on to do what he was doing. I didn't know much about "stunt" rates back then and told the producer I didn't want anything dangerous, just hit the whoops fast and in control. But apparently what I wanted qualified as a dangerous "stunt" - and it probably did seem dangerous to the city-dwelling Hollywood types surrounding us. I begged the producer to give him what he wanted and she agreed. We rolled cameras and he hit the whoops at a slightly faster pace. I wanted more speed but we ran out of money and we were losing light.

    But in my mind he was still fast.

    Photos by Winston Beaumont

     

     

  • BOMONSTER Remembers the 9th Annual Hopetown GP

    I'm getting ready to go to the Hangtown Outdoor Motocross Classic next week and try to sell some of my BOMONSTER shirts and scratchboard art to a new generation of dirt bike lovers. Hangtown is put on by the Dirt Diggers M.C. and I may be the only person in the world with an original Dirt Diggers Hopetown Grand Prix and International Moto Cross poster from 1967. I bought it in the parking lot of the Corriganville movie ranch Hopetown – named after Bob Hope, and the site of the first appearance by the world champion European riders on U.S. soil. I was a little kid – not much bigger than a poster – but I remember the deep mud hole on the racecourse, walking the back roads of the course and the old west movie sets and trees where they shot Tarzan classics, TV's F-Troop, Rin Tin Tin, some Lassie episodes and tons more. It was on the east end of the Simi Valley and the back hillside had just been graded for the future 118 Freeway to connect to the San Fernando Valley. I think about these things when I look at the poster on my wall behind my computer screen:

    I wish I knew more about the poster artist. The signature looks something like Earl Tressman. It is a beautiful black and red silkscreen on a heavy cream colored stock. The reason I was at the race was because my dad Winston Beaumont produced and distributed a motorcycle results paper called Rap Up. He took pictures, wrote the articles and pasted up the page layouts. It morphed into a competition guide as another investor came on board but after the Hopetown issue, it folded. Here are some photos from that historical race not previously seen by many:

    What made the 1967 Hopetown classic a true classic was the arrival of the Europeans. The rider with the number one plate that year was Torsten Hallman. He is pictured at the top. My dad wrote "...Torsten Hallman clearly demonstrated why he is Number One in the world. He stood up constantly, used trees for brakes and took bumpy corners like the Hollywood Freeway. His Husqvarna backed him up with horsepower, torque and revving abilities we rarely, if ever, see in the United States." Also pictured are CZ riders Roger Decoster (C), Dave Bickers (A) and Joel Robert wheelieing though the mud hole. The Europeans won the two-day event with Hallman and Decoster tied for first in two-day points and Dave Bickers second. The International raced on Saturday on 250cc machines and combined a Sunday race on open class bikes. Gary Conrad on a Greeves was the top American over Eddie Mulder and Bud Ekins. Eddie Mulder almost won Sunday's open class race but got passed by Hallman before the checkers who averaged 51 mph on the 2.8 mile course.

    Among those pictured above is Gary Conrad (3), Eddie Mulder (12) Triumph, and a 16-year-old amateur Al Baker (3) Husqvarna. The Europeans were so fast when they first came over here and it took the rest of the decade before the Americans would shake the moniker of "First American..." in the results.

    In summing up the event my dad wrote "Hopetown was a rare opportunity to see Europe's and America's best riders on the same course and spectate over the differences in their machinery (knowing full-well the differences between factory bikes and individually-prepared entries). Pit commentary explored every possible motorcycle-rider combination, then questioned the relative advantages of being born in in Sweden or America. In Europe, it is custom to run up a hill to the corner grocery store - on legs, not on wheels. Here we start life in a car seat with a miniature steering wheel affixed to it, and seldom venture beyond the garage on foot. Some riders in this country work out daily, with long hikes and rough country bike practice; but will anyone who doesn't begin conditioning before the age of one be destined for disappointment? This question may never be answered, but many people asked it during the race."

    Photos by Winston Beaumont and Harry Burton, 1967

  • Where BOMONSTER spent Black Friday

    It seems the day after Thanksgiving everyone gets in their car and drives to the mall. We got in our car too but the difference is - we didn't stop until we were in the middle of nowhere surrounded by greasewood bushes, rocks, sand and clear open skies. The BOMONSTER family spent Black Friday not shopping but camping and riding dirt bikes in the Mojave desert.

    Mr and Mrs BOMONSTER are usually too busy working to think about fine luxuries - like camping in the desert. We need encouragement from our kids and in this case it was our son who wanted to go riding and show his girlfriend what makes desert camping so fun. We all brought bikes but the girlfriend was getting over a cold so the first thing in the morning Mr and Mrs BOMONSTER and the boy took off on a 26-mile ride across the valley, into the hills, past ancient mine shafts and to the top of a mountain which stands a government microwave station for tracking UFOs and enemy aircraft. Since everyone was out holiday shopping including government employees, we managed to ride to the top without having to show our passports and official documents to any roving BLM Rangers.

    We're all experienced riders and we like to ride far and fast. But me being the artist means everyone is used to me stopping often to take a picture. I see cool things everywhere in the desert. There aren't many animals out this time of year but the rocks, bushes, trees and ant hills are a reminder that the desert stands the test of time. We ride mostly on rugged jeep roads and a few single track trails and I'm always surprised to see how wind, rain, and the seasons erase the marks made by man and how so much of the landscape is pretty much exactly what gold and silver miners explored over 100 years ago. The BLM continues to shut down public lands using the yearly registration fees collected from off-roaders to fund the massive effort to keep public lands out of the hands of the public. Fewer trails means excessive wear and tear on the ones that do remain open and those well-worn trails later become "evidence" of man's impact on a "fragile" environment.

    So we enjoy it while we can. As the sun sets, we play games, gather dry sticks to start the logs we brought from home, cook up steaks, drink bloody marys, start the fire, shoot off fireworks answering the neighbors 10 miles away in the darkness skyrocket for skyrocket, roast marshmallows for Smores and marvel at how many more stars you can see when you get far away from the city.

    The next morning we found the fallen skyrockets and covered the melted wine bottle in the still warm coals knowing it would crack as soon as it hit the cool air. The boy and I needed one more ride so we gassed up, lubed the chains and took off in another direction and covered 46-miles of fast sandy trails, crossed a dry lake, climb up and down some rocky hills and rested on top of some incredible vistas. Later when we returned to camp, he showed me his GPS tracking app on his iPhone which marked a red line on Google Earth showing our route, estimated our average speed of 26 mph, recorded our top speed of 84 mph and our elevation changes from 2,000 ft desert floor to 3,600 ft mountain tops. He saved the map in a desktop folder for future reference. So while it seems we will probably never top that incredible weekend, technically, we can retrace our tracks and do it all over again.

    Photos by BOMONSTER except for the photo of BO by his wheelie-popping wife.

  • What BOMONSTER Saw at Born Free 4

    Bikes, bikes and more bikes. All cool, all creative, all interesting. Yes there are girls, guys, bands, art, vendors, food, beer, painters, and even more bikes in the parking lot but the real draw are the wildly original show bikes and Born Free 4 delivered. It's all about how they're built, how they're painted, and how they're different from every other bike there.

    After setting up the BOMONSTER booth in the morning, I told my "staff" that I was going to take a walk and be back in twenty. And like every time she said "See you in two hours." "No really," I say, "I'll be quick." And then I came back two hours later after taking a few pictures and talking to old and new friends along the way.

    Here are the pictures I took before I had to get back to work:

    All photos by BOMONSTER

  • BOMONSTER's Top Bike Pick at Born Free 4

    Born Free has only been around for four years but it is by far the most interesting bike show in So Cal. The bikes, the music, the vendors and scenery are as interesting and cool any most every other great bike show but what sets this one apart is the level of interest from some of the best bike builders in the world. The bikes built especially for this event can only be described as elegantly engineered badass-ness on two wheels. The problem with picking a favorite is that you can find something to like about every one. But one really got to me. It's a '52 Pre unit Triumph built by Todd Asin's Small City Cycles of Boise, ID. I know of "Asid" through Tiny's articles in Rod&Kulture and Zombie's mentions of stashing Asid's bikes in his garage but all the bikes were sitting by themselves and had no builder credits nearby to know who did what. I loved the sixties-style peanut tank, the white-gripped hangers, springer, Frisco look that makes me want to ride it. Lots of nice touches beyond the color with the finned case covers and nicely shaped trumpet flare pipes. It looks like something Von Franco and Ed Newton would draw – or ride themselves – and then park on white fur.

    All Photos by BOMONSTER

     

  • David Mann Chopperfest Welcomes BOMONSTER

    Truth is, every one was welcome. It was the day after the Mooneyes Show and I was exhausted from selling my BOMONSTER art the day before but I got out of bed early and went to enjoy the bikes and take in the scene and wasn't disappointed. There was a nice range from show customs to custom baggers and "cartoon" bikes but mostly traditional-style bobbers and choppers. Getting there early means you get to take some nice pictures without a lot of elbows, feet and shadows in the way. I had such free access to so many cool bikes it was as if the whole show was set up just for me. After taking these pictures I walked around, saw some old and new friends and about an hour later the bands started and I looked up to see a wall of people walking in to enjoy the show. And just like that it was a party...

    All photos by BOMONSTER.

  • 24 Reasons for Buying a Triumph in 1967

    Before the two stroke invasion, big sleds like this ruled the desert. And Ted's in West L.A. knew how to strip down a stock bike and prepare it for battle. In 1967 my dad wrote a motorcycle results paper called Rap Up. He wrote the articles, took the pictures and created the ads. He must have been on a deadline because he hand printed all the cool features like "spokes securely wired," "Short kick starter for quick starting," "Straight through exhaust rerouted," "fork travel extended 1 1/2 inches - H.D. dampers," "wheel hub tack welded to wheel flange," "oil spout relocated to outside."

    As it turned out this was the beginning of an end of an era. That year new two strokes from Greeves, Husqvarna and Bultaco began showing up on the results list and it didn't take long before they were at the top of the points race. Guys like J.N. Roberts, Gary Conrad, George Walker and many others started a two stroke winning trend that lasted forty years.

    These days you can probably count on one hand the number of two strokes finishing in the top twenty. What goes around comes around.

    I sure wish I owned this '67 Triumph now.

     

     

  • Tanks a lot: BOMONSTER's look at chopper tank paint

    While at Born Free 3 I couldn't help but love the variety of painted functional masterpieces atop equally cool rolling pieces of art. Translation? Painted gas tanks on motorcycles. So cool.

    Photos by BOMONSTER. Paint by real artists.

     

     

     

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