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Online Kobus Myburgh

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The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« on: July 11, 2019, 05:58:43 am »
Enjoyed this read and just wanted to share:

The Blackwater 100

America’s Original Extreme Offroad Race
Words by Dale Spangler | Photos courtesy MX Sports



Many would agree the Blackwater 100 is America’s original extreme offroad race. Before the terms “extreme enduro” or “hard enduro” even existed, before there was an EnduroCross Series, and before there was a Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series—there was the Blackwater 100. One of the most famous (some would argue most infamous) offroad races in the world, the Blackwater 100, for the most part, has been all but forgotten. What’s the background of this race and why was it so significant? What became of it?

It began as an idea in the mid-1970s, when a preacher from the small town of Davis, West Virginia, located in the northeast part of the state in the heart of coal country, approached a race promoter by the name of Dave “Big Dave” Coombs at one of his motocross races. The preacher, concerned for the economy of his struggling little town, had an idea to hold a motorcycle race on lands surrounding Davis in the hopes of attracting spectators and racers to the area. Big Dave and the preacher watched the movie On Any Sunday, and after seeing the scenes featuring the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix, they decided a similar type of event would be just what was needed to the boost the economy of Davis. Big Dave went down and inspected the land around Davis and saw that the area had immense potential for a motorcycle race, which resulted in the first race being held outside of town in 1974. For 1975 the race was moved into town and became part of Davis’ “Alpine Festival.” The event was named the “Blackwater 100” because of the surrounding Blackwater River that runs through Davis, and the nearby Blackwater Falls. The race’s length was to be 100 miles, therefore “100” was added to the end of the name, and the Blackwater 100 was born.







Steep hills, tight woods, water crossings, swamps—you name it, the Blackwater had it all. The event was a true test of endurance—for both man and machine—and to simply finish became a sought-after achievement. Due to the difficulty of its varied terrain and four grueling 25-mile laps, the event was eventually dubbed “America’s toughest race.” The winner that first year in 1975 was Kevin Lavoie from Chepachet, Rhode Island riding an Ossa, and he would go on to win the 1976 and 1978 versions of the event also. Other notable names in those early years included Frank Gallo (1977 winner), and Mark Hyde (1979 winner).

“I always looked forward to Blackwater every year as it was one of those must-do events,” remembers 1979 winner Mark Hyde. “After watching the movie On Any Sunday, and seeing how that played out, it was cool to be in a race that had an impact like that. After I won the race for the first time in 1979, I was rewarded with my first factory support ride, and started my career in the motorcycle industry.” [Hyde would go on to win the event three more times].







Through the support of spectators, racers, and sponsors alike, the Blackwater event continued to grow in popularity. Davey Coombs, son of Big Dave and current Editor-in-Chief at Racer X Illustrated magazine, explains how the event quickly gained the attention of powersports media at the time: “A large part of the popularity of the event came when the staff of California-based Dirt Bike magazine—Rick ‘Super Hunky’ Sieman, Tom Webb, Paul Clipper and Dennis ‘Ketchup’ Cox—came back east for the event at the invite of Big Dave. They had little experience with the thick woods and bottomless swamps, and struggled to even finish the event, yet they wrote very complimentary articles about it (it was Super Hunky who dubbed it ‘America's toughest race’ after he tried to ride it on a big-bore Maico and had a brutal day just trying to get around). They gave the event immediate credibility, and helped bridge the gap that existed between eastern off-road racing and the mostly-California-based motorcycle industry.”

By 1980, due in part to the event’s popularity, the single-day Blackwater event evolved into a three-race 100-mile series with the Blackwater 100 as the premier race. Three-wheelers were added in 1983 (later to become four-wheelers) and then in 1984 Wiseco Piston signed on as title sponsor of the seven-race “Wiseco 100 Miler Series,” which was renamed the Wiseco Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series in 1986.








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« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 07:06:29 am by Kobus Myburgh »
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Re: The Blackwater 100
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 06:05:58 am »
“It was back in 1981 when I was working for Wiseco that I first met Dave Coombs,” explains Bob Gorman, former Wiseco Sales and Marketing Manager and current CEO of Cometic Gasket. “He threw out his idea of the Blackwater 100, and I thought, ‘what a great way for Wiseco to reach out to its customers, and at the same time have some fun.’ Knowing Dave and the Coombs family and how they operate—treating the competitors with respect and always taking care of their sponsors—it wasn't a tough sell.”

Just how difficult was the Blackwater 100? Unlike today’s GNCC series, where each race is a timed event, the Blackwater, and the other races that comprised the Wiseco 100 Miler Series, were distance events. Perhaps the speeds may not have been as high as today’s races, and of course, the machines of today have evolved to allow higher speeds, but in some respects, the 100-mile races may have been more difficult than today’s races. Whereas today’s GNCC races last around three hours, the winners of the Blackwater event clocked in at over five hours—and that was for the winner! A grueling five hours on a motorcycle or ATV unlike today’s lightweight, high-horsepower and high power-to-weight ratio long-travel machines.







“Going into the race, my first goal was always just to finish, and if you did that you would end up with a good result,” recalls Mark Hyde. “I never finished the race in under five hours and I don’t think I ever made it through a year without getting stuck at least once. It was also on Father’s Day Weekend every year, and since I started out riding with my dad as a kid, he went to most of my races. That was also special.”

“The Blackwater 100 made the Baja 1000 look like a trail ride,” shares former pro motocross racer and Wiseco employee at the time, Steve Johnson. “I have ridden them both and finished.” Johnson raced the 1989 Blackwater on a mostly stock Yamaha Warrior 350 ATV and finished fourth in the Four-Stroke A class. “It was like racing on the moon in some spots, the Bayou in other spots, and rainforest in others,” continued Johnson. “You would be riding a wave of mud on top of the moss, it was insane, if you stopped you sank to your waist! I have never been so tired in my life. The best feature of the Warrior was e-start and reverse! Nothing like backing up at a bottleneck.”







The Blackwater 100 was survival of the fittest, and finishing not only required endurance and strategy, but also the ability to keep one’s machine running for the entire event after crossing gas-tank-high streams, smashing through hundreds of rocks, and navigating the swamps and deep woods of rural West Virginia. And then there was the dreaded Highway 93 river crossing, the most famous and popular obstacle on the race course. A place where thousands of adult beverage-fueled spectators (called “mud fleas”) lined the course to watch riders navigate the Blackwater River, followed by a steep, greasy uphill embankment. Imagine a chaotic festival atmosphere where riders funnel through a narrow chute, cross the river, then attempt to climb the slippery embankment. The tricky part, climbing the embankment, often involved a technique whereby a rider launched their motorcycle or ATV up the sheer face in hopes that the mud fleas deemed the effort worthy of their assistance. Make it across the Highway 93 River crossing once, and you only had to accomplish the task three more times.

Adds Hyde, “Having the race in that setting was very special and my wife would go every year along with other family members and friends. We would go check out the falls and other interesting things in the area. Year in and year out, it was always the most difficult race we had on the schedule. It had a wide variety of terrain that was very challenging, plus the bogs and river crossings made line selection very important. The spectators were also very different and they did not hesitate to jump in and be a part of the race. I have been lucky enough to travel the world racing motorcycles, and when that race was in its prime, I would get asked about it where ever I went.”







The list of winners of the Blackwater 100 reads like a veritable who’s who of offroad racing legends. Names such as four-time winner and KTM Ride Orange Manager Mark Hyde, multi-time ISDE Gold Medalist and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jeff Fredette, four-time National Enduro Champion Terry Cunningham, and future GNCC champions Scott Summers and Fred Andrews. ATV winners include two-time winners Jeffrey Bernard and Roy Dains, three-time winner and two-time GNCC champion Bob Sloan, and future seven-time GNCC champion Barry Hawk.

“My first experience at Blackwater was something I will never forget,” describes Barry Hawk. “I was 15 years old and went with a friend who ended up with a broken collarbone, which left me scrambling to find a way home. Somehow, I made it, but the entire experience of being there and watching the race, the sights, the smells was something I knew I wanted to be part of from that day on.”






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Re: The Blackwater 100
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 06:10:40 am »
The following year, Hawk was finally old enough to compete in the race, but as he explains, it didn’t quite go as planned: “I’m pretty sure I finished, but I didn’t get a trophy which was something that I absolutely wanted in the future. Heck, thinking back on it, I didn’t get a trophy until the final year in 1993, but it was well worth the wait. I started on the last row of the pro riders and it was extremely dry and dusty that year. I knew any guy that I caught I would beat on adjusted time, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I pushed the entire race until the last lap and passed Bob Sloan who was physically leading the overall, and even though I didn’t need to pass him because of the time adjustment, I had to do it, and it paid off: I crossed the finish line first and won the freaking Blackwater 100! To this day, that ranks up there as one of the best and most memorable wins for me. I have so many more stories and memories from that event, it truly was a unique experience that every person that’s been there I think would agree with me.”

In its heyday, the Blackwater 100 was the Indianapolis 500 of offroad racing, and at the time, there was no other race like it, except the Baja 1000 in Mexico. The race was as unpredictable as it was difficult, such as in 1990 when a little-known racer from Norfolk, Massachusetts named Tommy Norton won the overall on a 125cc KTM—the only rider to ever do so. Then the following year, Scott Summers would win the 1991 race on his 321-pound air-cooled Honda XR600R and follow it up with another win in 1992. The Blackwater required strategy—not just speed—and nothing was a guarantee until a rider crossed the finish line. Winners of the Blackwater 100 earned their win, and winners became instant legends.



“The Blackwater from a racer's perspective was so thrilling,” recalls 1991 and 1992 winner Scott Summers. “The place is breathtakingly beautiful, but when trying to negotiate all the dangers lurking, from course obstacles and sometimes spectators, you didn't have much opportunity to really soak in all the beauty. The faster you went, the more dangerous it got, but the reward was significant. Winning that race was a big deal. Maybe like winning the whole GNCC series today. What made it so thrilling is that it always lived up to the hype. It was physically, mentally and emotionally draining—so many eggs were in that basket—the stress was unbelievable.”

The last Blackwater 100 took place in 1993, the race shut down due to environmental and liability concerns. “One of the reasons for the demise of the event was that it had outgrown itself,” explains Davey Coombs. “Because there was no admission, no fences, no real rules out there in Canaan Valley (where the race was mostly contained) the liability became too much for not only the Alpine Festival but Racer Productions as well. Too many people were out there riding around on their own ATVs and motorcycles (but not racing) or just walking the trails that the event became risk adverse.”





Adds Summers, “I'll cherish my Blackwater memories forever, there was no better way to enjoy nature and quench your desire for excitement than to spend Father's Day among other thrill seekers in the middle of one of West Virginia’s biggest parties. It was insane, and it was a legendary experience—definitely quality time.”

During its heyday, the Blackwater was a legendary offroad race with lasting effects on those who witnessed or experienced the event. “In all of American motorsports there are very few events that are larger than the series or sport they are a part of,” suggests Fred Bramblett, Scott Summers’ mechanic and business manager at the time of his Blackwater wins and GNCC championship runs. “In automobiles, for open-wheel racing it’s the ‘Indy 500,’ and in NASCAR it’s the ‘Daytona 500.’ In motorcycles, for road racing there is the ‘Daytona 200,” and for offroad racing there was the ‘Blackwater 100.’ To have entered and finished was a huge rite of passage. Any winner of this event was ensured huge media exposure and a line of happy sponsors wanting to be associated with them. Here it is 20+ years later and you cannot name any other single offroad event that a rider could make a career around winning.”





Fortunately, by the time of the Blackwater’s demise, the GNCC series had grown into 14-rounds for both motorcycles and ATVs and established itself as one of the premier national championship offroad racing series. Today the GNCC series is considered the pinnacle championship in offroad racing in the United States and a coveted title by the OEM manufactures. Wiseco remains a big part of off-road racing, being a feature sponsor of GNCC today, and even having a title GNCC event, the Wiseco John Penton in Millfield, Ohio. Riders from around the world move to the United States to race GNCC events, and the series has experienced record crowds and rider turnouts at each round in recent years.

From its humble beginnings as a single-day, one-off event called the Blackwater 100, to the multi-round GNCC championship of today, cross country racing continues to thrill racers and spectators alike. Wiseco is proud of its shared history with an event of such legendary status and its continued support of the GNCC series today. It was an easy decision early on for Wiseco to get behind the Blackwater 100 and Big Dave Coombs’ vision of an elite offroad racing championship series.


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Re: The Blackwater 100
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 06:34:08 am »
Ek het nog nie alles gelees nie. Daai 3de foto vertel so baie van die verlede toe dinge nog anders was :lol8: :lol8:
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Re: The Blackwater 100
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2019, 06:45:32 am »
That camp referee  :biggrin:
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 06:47:26 am by 1ougat »
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Re: The Blackwater 100
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 06:47:46 am »
That was a good read, thanks for sharing
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Re: The Blackwater 100
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2019, 07:05:52 am »
Wouldn’t this be fun:

Scram Africa is not a trip like any other. 

2.500km full of challenges to overcome every day... sandstorms, bike failure, cold weather, hot weather and extreme fatigue.  This ride will make you stronger and as this Charles Bukowski poem says, "if you are going to try, go all the way, otherwise don’t even start”.



"If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them.  I want men who will come if there is no road at all."

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 07:14:43 am »
Love the rider Attgatt and spectator Health and Safety protocols!

Thanks for sharing this!
 

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 07:19:45 am »
John Penton

SEPTEMBER 24, 2018

A Conversation with the Legend
Words by Brett Smith



John Penton opens his front door with a slight look of confusion on his face; he knows about the scheduled visit, but he’s still clearly puzzled why a young man from Baltimore would drive 400 miles to Amherst, Ohio, to chat. Now 90, Penton’s peak height of 5 feet, 5 inches has been rounded off with age; the athletic build he once had as one of the greatest motorcycle racers of his era is gone, now immortalized in the engravings of the plaques and trophies that bear his name and in the book and movie about his life, both created by other men who admired him. Penton has never asked for any of this attention, and it still makes him chuckle that people continue to find his life interesting.

Wearing a long-sleeved Husaberg T-shirt with tatters and holes from more than two decades of use, and black suspenders that hold up green cargo shorts, he turns and waves me inside to a small kitchen table that has room for three. His wife, Donna, washes the dishes from breakfast, and Penton sits and shuffles a stack of papers. The tick-tock of the grandfather clocks in the house fills the dead space while Penton waits for me to explain why I’m here. Of all the deals, victories, awards, and milestones that made him an international motorcycle-industry legend, I want to talk about only one; of the nearly 33,000 days John Alfred Penton has been alive, I’m here to discuss slightly more than two: the 52 hours, 11 minutes, and 1 second of his life he spent riding from New York City to Los Angeles in June 1959. His transcontinental ride, which annihilated the existing record by more than 25 hours, has always seemed like an incompletely told story. It was one page in his biography and a few minutes in a movie more than two hours in length. He laughs, tilts his head back, and says, “Oh, my.”

“The little incidences that naturally happened along the way, so many of them are gone,” Penton says after several moments of pause. But then he immediately jumps to the end of the 1959 ride, to a moment on Route 66 west of Needles, California. “I never saw [Earl] Flanders. In fact, I never knew he was following me until he did catch me up.” Very few people knew Penton was attempting the record—only his brothers and Al Bondy, the U.S. BMW distributor with whom he’d stayed the night in New York before his departure. Flanders, the Western BMW distributor, got a call from Bondy and waited for Penton in the Mojave Desert west of Needles to help guide him through Los Angeles to the Western Union office, where his time was recorded. A photographer took photos, the news went out on the AP and UP wires, and soon the entire world knew the name John Penton.





The first person to cross the United States on a motorized vehicle was George Wyman, in 1903. Riding a California Moto Bicycle, he spent 50 days traveling from San Francisco to New York. The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review reported on his progress and Motorcycle magazine contracted him to write five articles about his journey. The most famous name associated with transcontinental rides, and to whom the term “Cannonball Run” pays homage, is Erwin Baker, who set dozens of long-distance records, including a motorcycle ride across the country—San Diego to New York—in 11 days, 12 hours, and 10 minutes, in 1914. Like Wyman, he wrote about his own journey in a 10-page, detail-rich article for Motorcycle Illustrated; in the desert, he put a pebble beneath his tongue to keep him from wanting to exhaust his water supply. He ran out of gas in Arizona and carried a .38 caliber gun, which he used to kill the animals that attacked him.



In 1958, after spending a month on his bike soul-searching in Mexico following the death of his first wife, Katherine, Penton concluded that journey with a straight-shot ride from L.A. to Amherst, stopping only for fuel. His older brother Ted encouraged him to try to beat Earl Robinson’s transcontinental record, which had stood since 1935 at 77 hours, 53 minutes. Penton liked the idea of the challenge; the pair also thought it could help them sell more motorcycles at the family dealership. Proving that one of their brands could reliably cross the country would be good for business. “My brothers played a big part in my mind,” Penton says. “They always encouraged me forward. They had lots of faith in me.”

Penton trained for the ride by slipping through a hole in the fence bordering the Ohio Turnpike and running end to end through the night. Tim Masterson, who has crossed the country 25 times, who rides at least 50,000 miles a year, and is the president of the Wyman Memorial Project, says endurance riders call it “extending their riding horizon.” “People ask me how I can ride 1,500 miles at a time,” Masterson says. “One gas tank at a time. Each time you reach for a challenge, it’s always wrought with uncertainty.” Like ultra-marathoners and other endurance athletes, long-distances riders (LDRs) see what they do as a physical challenge to conquer. “It’s the experience of the ride and not the destination or things along the way,” he says. “It’s all about riding the bike.”

Penton’s riding horizon was already built up through all the miles he spent in the saddle traveling to the major enduro races, competing on the same bike—a German-built NSU—and then riding it home. He also realized his knack for LDR in the weeks he spent riding and mourning the loss of his young wife. By the time he rolled away from the New York City Western Union office on Broadway and into the Lincoln Tunnel at 5:59 a.m. on the morning of June 8, 1959, Penton was more than ready to cross the country in one sleepless dash. Although he admits today that he had no set time or goal, interviews given to Cycle magazine indicate that he was shooting for 54 hours. Riding a 600cc, 35-horsepower BMW R69 with two small modifications—a 6-gallon fuel tank and a fender rack—the 33-year-old rode across the newly built turnpikes of the Eastern United States. He remembers waving to his brothers, who were on the side of the Ohio Turnpike near Amherst, and vividly recalls the moment he saw the flashing lights coming into St. Louis. Word was passed from New York and a motorcycle dealer in St. Louis arranged for a group, which included two police officers, to help guide him through the city. They handed him two ham sandwiches and two cups of milk without stopping.

At the turnpike tollbooths, he hurriedly asked the operators to stamp his letter to further legitimize his run; with the gas-station attendants, he was short in conversation. “As I went across the country, those stops were so brief,” Penton says. “As I would leave, I’m sure those people wondered, ‘What’s wrong with that guy?’”



In Oklahoma he encountered 200 miles of driving rain and strong winds, and 110-degree heat in Amarillo, Texas, but overall he remembers the weather being exceptional. The only blemish of the run was a rest stop near Flagstaff, Arizona, about 500 miles from L.A. The road was blacktop and Penton was seeing double in the night. “Those lines were getting closer and closer together and I was getting into trouble,” he says. He stopped, set two alarm clocks, and shut his eyes for 45 minutes. At 8:10 a.m. on June 10, still wearing his rain pants from the Oklahoma showers, Penton stopped in front of the Western Union office in downtown L.A. to record his official time: 3,051 miles in 52 hours, 11 minutes, and 1 second, traveling at an average speed of 58 miles per hour. Motorcyclist magazine reported that very little fanfare greeted Penton. He handed his tattered and stamp-filled letter to Miss Jeanon Smith, a Western Union employee, and posed for the camera of George O’Day of the Los Angeles Herald-Press. He gave reporters a few quips, “Some people like to climb mountains” and “Just for kicks,” when asked why he rode across the country so quickly. After 12 hours of sleep, he met with Floyd Clymer, publisher of Cycle and a future fellow AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame member, attended flat-track races at Ascot Speedway, and was introduced by announcer Roxy Rockwood. There he met Rodger Ward, who had recently won his first of two Indianapolis 500 races. “That must have been a lot tougher ride than my 500 miles,” Ward told Penton. After visiting friends in Riverside, Penton rode home and moved on to the next challenge, which was to try to earn a gold medal at the International Six Days Enduro, the one racing goal he regrettably never achieved. Nine years later, a 22-year-old Hungarian named Tibor Sarossy bought a BMW from Penton’s dealership and rode from New York to L.A. in 45 hours, 41 minutes. With more interstate options, Sarossy’s ride was 2,687 miles, nearly 400 miles less than Penton’s. The details of his ride were documented in a Cycle World feature in December 1968. By that point, Penton was importing motorcycles with his own last name emblazoned on the gas tank.





I naïvely believed that there was unpublished information to be gleaned from Penton himself, that maybe the many (and more knowledgeable and talented) historians before me didn’t ask the right questions or didn’t read his journal from the ride. But Penton didn’t keep one; he wrote nothing down, which was the exact opposite of his younger sister, Patricia Penton Leimbach, a member of the Ohio Agriculture Hall of Fame, who wrote a column for the Chronicle Telegram for 40 years and three books, which all contained private details of her life. For Penton, when one challenge finished, he looked for the next. “I rushed all my life,” he says. “That’s what I did.” When asked why, he tries to explain, but after a few minutes concludes with, “I can’t answer that question. I don’t know why.”

I came to Amherst to talk about a single motorcycle ride, but the conversation often veered into World War II, where Penton crossed the Atlantic three times with the Merchant Marines and risked the wrath of German U-boats; he watched ships go down, rescued former schoolmate Mack Mackenzie from the Mediterranean Sea, and sailed to Okinawa and Korea in the Navy, where he waited for the defeated Japanese to leave Seoul. We got into a discussion about what he believes to be the most revolutionary product in off-road motorcycling history: the O-ring chain. Never mind the fact that it was Penton who introduced the small-displacement off-road motorcycle to the U.S. in the form of a 125cc, 15.5-horsepower, 185-pound two-stroke called the Penton. No, he’s more fascinated by how riders like Kailub Russell and Taylor Robert can race for a week in the ISDE and not swap a chain. “They don’t even have to think about it!” he exclaims. The chain conversation then causes him to bring up a product he feels stupid about not having invented himself: hand guards. “Look at these hands!” he says, holding up his wrinkly and bumpy 90-year-old paws. The knobby knuckles and deep purple lines tell stories of the many trees that were unfortunate enough to be in the path of one of his motorcycles.

And then, after three hours of discussion that weaved in and out of the transcontinental ride, it’s obvious that the minor details have simply been lost to time. Penton has done so much that the record run to L.A. can be seen as a footnote, and it’s almost as if he’s being asked to recount the details of a long-passed routine trip to the grocery store. He leans forward to examine a piece of paper on the table. “I have a tax problem that I have to take care of today,” he says. And that’s it. The next challenge, while minor, waits at the Lorain County Courthouse, and John Penton rushes off to face it.



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Re: The Blackwater 100
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 07:46:15 am »
Wouldn’t this be fun:

Scram Africa is not a trip like any other. 

2.500km full of challenges to overcome every day... sandstorms, bike failure, cold weather, hot weather and extreme fatigue.  This ride will make you stronger and as this Charles Bukowski poem says, "if you are going to try, go all the way, otherwise don’t even start”.


Like the Paris Dakar used to be
Little by little, one travels far

J.R.R Tolkien
Ride reports :
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=134175.0 Penge's pass and the Old Forest http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=9421.0 - Orange Atlantic adventure http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=7514.0 - 805 km day trip http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=20260.0 - East Cape Bash http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=70199.0 - Two KTM thumpers head north
 

Offline I&horse

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 08:51:38 am »
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Silence is golden...... Duct tape is silver

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Offline jaybiker

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2019, 09:51:56 am »
Great reading on the forum this morning! :sip:

Now, what was that urgent thing I was supposed to do before I logged in for a 'quick catch up'?   :biggrin:
 

Offline Gee S

Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2019, 10:06:10 am »
Two great reads. I just love the photo of the guy with the cigarette in his mouth. When men were tough and rules only applied to woosies :ricky: :ricky:
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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2019, 02:52:23 pm »
Fearless Leader

The Legend of Evel Knievel
Words by Andrew Campo



Several years back, my mother was in my ear about world crisis—preaching her views on government, the conspiracy of the Illuminati, and their role in the impending economic collapse—but I was tuned out, thumbing through a fresh issue of Racer X. I tried to make eye contact, faking my best “Oh, really?” expression every so often, hoping she’d let me get back to the “real issue” at hand. The charade was over; she wasn’t buying it. She could see by the blank stare in my eyes that I was elsewhere. Her voice cut through my thought process like a hatchet:

“All you have thought about since the third grade is motocross; can’t you put down that magazine and give your mom five minutes of focus?”
I knew the answer to her question was no. I did not have five minutes of focus for rantings about global chaos.

My love affair with motorbikes began when I was 4 years old. Since then it’s grown infinitely, its infectious and inexplicable nature weaving its way into every facet of my life and of those around me. Motorcycles create a special bond and unite the souls of those who ride them. As we started to pull together the pages of this book, I drifted back to my earliest memories of motorcycles and the people who introduced them to my life in an attempt to celebrate it in written word. Tracing the thread back in my mind, I arrived at the memory of me building backyard ramps for a toy that would impact me for decades to come and ultimately help to shape my character.



In 1973, New York–based Ideal Toys created toys based on Butte, Montana’s daredevil son, Robert “Evel” Knievel. This toy changed my life and history was made. I spent countless hours winding up the stunt machine and sending Knievel rocketing to ramps better suited for “Hot Rod”; he jumped anything and everything I could conjure up. Win, lose or draw, I was addicted to those precious seconds between takeoff and touchdown. Those moments when time slows down, life hangs in the balance and one way or another you’re gonna leave saying, “Whew, that was a hell of a ride.” When it was time for bed, I would end the day with a gander through one of my Evel Knievel comic books, and when I woke up and headed to school, you can bet your ass I didn’t forget my Evel Knievel lunchbox. I could care less about football teams, superheroes, any of that. I was on a steady diet of dirtbikes, Farrah Fawcett and AC/DC at an early age when most kids were playing around with Stars Wars figures and Little League.
 

Knievel had become a household name, but to me he was much, much more. American hero, daredevil, death defier and living legend defined his character and created an allure that put him above all on my list of badass dudes. Knievel was a pioneer who would influence my life path for decades to come. From jumping my sisters on my Schwinn Stingray back in ’77 to going over the bars and cartwheeling into the Pacific in February of 2014 to the Whiskey Daredevils tattoo I wear with pride, Knievel has been there as my fearless leader.



The legend of his death-defying feats came to life at sold-out stadiums across the globe as fans flocked in anticipation of witnessing the baddest man on two wheels hurl his Harley over anything standing in his way. He was a one-man show of enormous stature in a golden era. Through the ever-furrowed brow and piercing stare of his trading card, Knievel challenged me to fight the system and defy the odds. Knievel’s story is best told through the facts below, but not before noting his eminent ingenuity and ability to look forward. His marketing genius not only influenced kids of the era and beyond, but it also opened the door for his son, “Kaptain” Robbie Knievel, and the likes of Travis Pastrana and Robbie Maddison, who continue to keep his daredevil spirit alive. The legend of Evel Knievel will stand the test of time. As an journalist, a fan and a motorcyclist, it is simply an honor to put this to press.

Evel Knievel, 1938–2007
An American Daredevil

More Facts on the legend, Evel Knievel





After a police chase in 1956 in which he crashed his motorcycle, Knievel was taken to jail on a charge of reckless driving. When the night jailer came around to check the roll, he noted Robert Knievel in one cell and William Knofel in the other. Knofel was well known as “Awful Knofel” (“awful” rhyming with “Knofel”), so Knievel began to be referred to as “Evel Knievel” (“Evel” rhyming with “Knievel”). He chose this misspelling because of his last name and because he didn’t want to be considered “evil.”

Wanting a new start away from Butte, Knievel moved his family to Moses Lake, Washington. There, he opened a Honda motorcycle dealership and promoted racing. During the early 1960s, it was difficult to promote Japanese imports. People still considered them inferior to American-built motorcycles, and there was lingering resentment from World War II, which had ended less than 20 years earlier. Always the promoter, Knievel offered a $100 discount to anybody who could beat him at arm wrestling.

After the closure of the Moses Lake Honda dealership, Knievel went to work for Don Pomeroy at his motorcycle shop in Sunnyside, Washington. It was there that Jim Pomeroy, a well known motorcycle racer taught Knievel how to do a “wheelie” and ride while standing on the seat of the bike.

While trying to support his family, Knievel recalled the Joie Chitwood show he saw as a boy and decided that he could do something similar using a motorcycle. Promoting the show himself, Knievel rented the venue, wrote the press releases, set up the show, sold the tickets and served as his own master of ceremonies. After enticing the small crowd with a few wheelies, he proceeded to jump a twenty-foot-long box of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions. Despite landing short and having his back wheel hit the box containing the rattlesnakes, releasing the snakes and dispersing the crowd of around 1,000, Knievel managed to land safely.

One of Evel’s qualities was that he had great pride in his core values. Throughout his career (and later life), he would repeatedly talk about the importance of “keeping his word.” He stated that although he knew he may not successfully make a jump or even survive the canyon jump, he followed through with each stunt because he gave his word that he would.

Knievel would regularly share his anti-drug message, as it was another one of his core values. Knievel would preach an anti-drug message to children and adults before each of his stunts. One organization that Knievel regularly slammed for being drug dealers was the Hells Angels. A near-riot erupted on January 23, 1970, at the Cow Palacein Daly City, California, when a tire iron was thrown at Knievel during his stunt show and Knievel and the spectators fought back, sending the Hells Angels to the hospital.



On the morning of his December 31, 1967, jump at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Knievel stopped in the casino and placed his last $100 on the blackjack table (which he lost), stopped by the bar and had a shot of Wild Turkey and then headed outside, where he was joined by two showgirls. After doing his normal pre-jump show and a few warm-up approaches, Knievel began his real approach. When he hit the takeoff ramp, it was perfect; the landing, however, was a disaster. Knievel came up short, which caused the handlebars to be ripped out of his hands as he tumbled over them onto the pavement, where he skidded into the Dunes parking lot. As a result of the crash, Knievel suffered a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles, and a concussion that kept him in a coma for 29 days. For certain, it was the most famous motorcycle crash in history.





On October 25, 1975, Knievel successfully jumped 14 Greyhound buses at the Kings Island theme park in Ohio. Although Knievel landed on the safety deck above the 14th bus (the frame of the Harley-Davidson actually broke), his landing was successful and he held the record for jumping the most buses on a Harley-Davidson for 24 years.

In January 1977, Knievel was scheduled for a major jump in Chicago. The jump was inspired by the film Jaws. Knievel was scheduled to jump a tank full of live sharks, and it would be televised live nationally. However, during his rehearsal Knievel lost control of the motorcycle and crashed into a cameraman. Although Knievel broke his arms, he was more distraught over a permanent injury his accident caused the cameraman, who lost his eye. The footage of this crash was so upsetting to Knievel that he did not show the clip for 19 years, until the release of the documentary Absolute Evel: The Evel Knievel Story.

 
After the failed shark jump, Knievel retired from major performances and limited his appearances to speaking only, rather than stunt riding, saying “a professional is supposed to know when he has jumped far enough.”

In one of his last interviews, he told Maxim magazine, “You can’t ask a guy like me why [I performed]. I really wanted to fly through the air. I was a daredevil, a performer. I loved the thrill, the money, the whole macho thing. All those things made me Evel Knievel. Sure, I was scared. You gotta be an ass not to be scared. But I beat the hell out of death.”

 

Knievel died in Clearwater, Florida, November 30, 2007, aged 69.



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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2019, 03:33:17 pm »
Do you know if those pictures are copyrighted? Im sure its ok to post them here even though its publishing but do you think I could use one of those pics to promote the sport and technically for commercial gain?
Africa trip, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & Moz rr http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=61231.0
 

Online Kobus Myburgh

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2019, 06:53:10 pm »

The Legend of the Gremlin Bell: A Biker’s Tradition

by BikeBandit | May 4, 2018 | Uncategorized |

Some say the “Gremlin Bell” is a supernatural protector against evil spirits that haunt the roads looking for bikers to harm – others say it’s simply a tradition of kindness between riders and friends. Whatever you believe, the “Gremlin Bell” is a unique legend in the biker community, and we tell you all about it in this article!

 

Have you ever noticed a tiny bell hanging on some motorcycles? You may have found one on a bike you purchased, found one on a bike you were working on, or even been given one by a friend and not known what it was. Well it turns out, these little bells have a purpose (besides ringing and making you think your engine is making funny noises), and are a biker tradition going back decades, almost as long as “bikers” themselves.

 

A “Gremlin Bell” (or Guardian or Spirit bell, depending on who you ask) installed on a motorcycle. Gremlin Bells come in all sorts of designs, and are a fun personalized gift you can give any rider. (PC: Triumph Forums)

 

The Purpose of the Gremlin Bell

These little bells, known in the motorcycling world as Gremlin Bells, Guardian Bells, or Spirit Bells, are a kind of good luck charm for motorcycle riders. The bell is said to protect them during their travels, similar to how a pendant or image of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, is often carried in vehicles to protect their occupants while on the road.

Here’s how the bell works: legend has it that there are harmful spirits that lurk the roadways, always on the lookout for motorcycles to cling onto and cause mischief. You may have heard of unusual and hard-to-diagnose problems that occur in machines (most often in electrical systems) being called “gremlins,” and supposedly, it is these same unpredictable and harmful spirits that cause problems for motorcycles and their riders.

The Gremlin Bell is a way to ward off these spirits. It is said to work by capturing them in the hollow of the bell and infuriating them with the constant ringing until they release their hold and break free, returning to the roadway to find another unsuspecting rider withouta bell to harass instead.

 

[https://cdn1]Gremlin Bells are a strong tradition in the Harley riding community, but other riders of cruisers and touring bikes also practice it (however it’s not much of a “thing” in the sport bike and ADV/dual-sporting worlds.)

 

The Rules of the Bell

There are some “rules,” however, to the Gremlin Bell and how it works:

It should not be bought by the user – in order to work, it must be given to a rider from a loved one.According to the legend, a bell is “activated” by the gesture of good will when someone, especially another rider, gives it to a rider they care abou as a giftt.

It should be attached to the lowest part of the frame. Because gremlins lurk on the roadways and “grab” onto bikes as they pass by, the low-hanging bell should be the first thing they contact, so that they are immediately captured by it. It should be attached securely – safety wire is sometimes used, but that can create rust and scratches, so a zip-tie is generally the preferred method.

When a bike with a bell on it is sold, it should be removed. The Gremlin Bell is a gesture of kindness to a rider from someone who cares about them, so it should be kept by the intended recipient, and can be transferred to another bike. If someone sells a bike with a bell and they want the new rider to have it, they should still remove it, and give it to them face to face. A bell that is not given with intentional good will loses its spirit-fighting mojo.

If someone steals a Gremlin Bell, the gremlins go with it – and the bell will no longer ward them off.The key to the bell’s power is good will. If it is stolen, it loses its effect…and karma will take care of the rest!

 

The Origin of the Bell

Like many old-school legends, there is no clear answer as to where the bell tradition (or superstition) comes from. Various explanations range from those “there once was an old biker riding along at night” stories, to having been started by WW2 veteran pilots who had bells for good luck on their aircraft, and carried the tradition over to their bikes after the war. One of the most logical explanations, however, is that the bell was used in the early days of bikers in the 1950s and 1960s as a kind of “low-budget alarm system,” to alert the rider if their bike was being moved in the middle of the night – a cheap solution that morphed into a tradition over time.

 
But regardless of what the “true” story behind the Gremlin Bell is, it is a fun tradition that continues among bikers to this day, and while it is most common in the Harley community, other cruiser and touring bike riders also participate in it. Whether you genuinely believe in the superstition of the “road gremlins” or not, the Gremlin Bell is a fun way to welcome a new rider into the community, christen a new motorcycle, or just to give a rider you care about something to remember you by. As they say, the rider who possesses a bell has the most powerful blessing of all – the love and good will of a fellow rider who cares about them. 

But hey, if the superstition is in fact real, and there really are road gremlins being thrown from other bikes into your path – what’s a little cheap insurance, right?

 

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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2019, 08:18:46 pm »
Fantastic thread Kobus!!
 

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2019, 08:29:10 pm »
Fantastic thread Kobus!!
Dankie Danie, bly jy het dit geniet.


Another legendary story I didn't know about:

Legendary Ghost Rider down Boundary Road has been seen by many people

The “De Deur Ghost” is well known in the Meyerton area in Gauteng.  Since it’s been around for such a long time, the exact details have become lost from telling the story to so many people.  Below is the story of the De Deur ghost which is the most common version.

Many decades ago there lived a farmer with his family in the small town of De Deur.  The farmer kept a close watch on his beautiful daughter and discouraged any male suitor who would try to court her.  He became suspicious of her nightly activities after a young man crossed her path.  This local lad had a motorbike and frequently sped up and down Boundary Road in De Deur.  He became aware of the fact that the two would meet up as soon as he retired to bed at night.  His daughter then signaled the young man who parked further down Boundary road with his motorbike, by flicking her bedroom lights 3 times when the coast was clear.  He would then race toward her house and pick her up while everyone indoors was asleep.  

Legend has it that the farmer wanted to put an end to this relationship and one night he strung a piece of wire across the road from tree to tree in hopes of knocking the lad off his bike.  He estimated that the wire would be around chest height when the young man would come driving down with his motorcycle.  He was wrong.  The wire caught him unawares and was strung too high; instantly decapitating him.  

Exactly how people started to notice this “residual haunting” is unknown.  However, if you park on Boundary Road in De Deur and flick your car’s headlights 3 times, you will be able to lure the headless motorbike rider into making an appearance.  The most common version of those who visit the site is that out of nowhere, a bright light (that of a motorcycle) appears and comes racing past you at great speed. 

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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2019, 09:21:03 pm »
Motorcycling Pioneer Theresa Wallach



There are quite a few extraordinary women in the history of motorcycling, but only a handful who were involved in such a wide variety of riding for as long a time as motorcycling pioneer Theresa Wallach.

Born in 1909, she passed away on her 90th birthday, having lived a life full of extraordinary adventures on motorcycles. Theresa was an adventure motorcyclist, military dispatch rider, racer, as well as engineer, mechanic, author, riding school instructor and more. She was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2003 for her incredible achievements- impressive regardless of gender.

Though her abilities to maneuver motorbikes was advances beyond even some men riders at a rather early age, gender was an issue for Theresa within the world of motorcycling. As a young woman she was denied membership to a local motorcycle club because she was a woman, but went on to prove her skill winning numerous trophies in local competitions.



In 1935, she and a friend Florence Blenkiron took off on a mind blowingly daring trip for the time- one that is still a challenging ride with modern equipment. They rode a 600cc single-cylinder Panther (with sidecar) from London to Cape Town, South Africa. There were no roads through much of their trip- they rode straight through the Sahara desert, across the equator, without a compass. Their trip was frought with danger- running a gauntlet that included wild animals and political nonsense making each leg of their journey difficult. From a complete engine rebuild in Agadez, to creating a make-shift tow-hitch in the desert when theirs broke.



This accomplishment solidified her abilities as a rider in the main stream and she was accepted by the British racing establishment. She was the first woman to win the Gold Star for circling the Brooklands Circuit at over 100 mph in 1939- she hit 101.64 mph to be exact.



During WWII she was a mechanic as well as a motorcycle dispatch rider for the British Army. Later, she fulfilled her dream of touring America. This was followed by a move to the USA where she began to work as a motorcycle mechanic in her own shop, eventually getting hired elsewhere. In 1959, she started teaching people how to ride- it all started with three businessmen who wished to purchase BSA’s through her shop… she wouldn’t let them until she taught them how to ride proper. Later in life she published books including a top seller, “Easy Motorcycle Riding” and opened the Easy Riding Academy in Phoenix, Arizona.



Theresa Wallach’s passion for motorcycling is expressed neatly in this quote from an interview in Road Rider Magazine 37 years ago-

“When I first saw a motorcycle, I got a message from it. It was a feeling – the kind of thing that makes a person burst into tears hearing a piece of music or standing awestruck in front of a fine work of art. Motorcycling is a tool with which you can accomplish something meaningful in your life. It is an art.”



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Re: The Blackwater 100 & other good reads
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2019, 10:50:54 pm »
Love these stories of yesteryear!! :thumleft:
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