Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1971 08 24

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Vo'LUME VIII NUMBER 32 WEST August 24, 1971 PRICE THIRTY CENTS America's largest and most complete weekly motorcycle newspaper Maine to Calif.: 89' 25" By David Swift "It's a well·known fact that people in the motorcycle industry are just a little loose. " - Bob Lenk, Dixie Cycle News. Thus began a recent article written in honor of the author's chum and editor, Don Woods. "We have a gentleman that takes the cake" - ibid. Why would Lenk display such kind antagonism towards his comrade? Simple. Woods was going to ride from Maine to California. On a motorcycle. That is, on a one·two·five Harley·Davidson Rapido. In three days. The whole thing began like all oth er great modern ideas - over a beer at Woods' and publisher Chuck Clayton, daddy of three sisters who look nothing alike, decided that 125s never got a fair shake and Don wanted to set a record of some sort with one. Since Chuck wasn't riding (in fact, he was giving Don a week's vacation to do it, paid), he suggested the longest route possible: "Start with your rear wheel in the Atlantic and finish with your front wheel in the Pacific. From Maine to California." Chuck always has liked the theatre. When Don agreed, the three aforementioned sisters got into it. Dixie roUed around on the floor in laughter. East got pumped up and got Don on the telly. West reacted with shock when, on Monday, Aug. 9, Woods called. They found out it wasn't a joke. Woods called from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and said he would be in that night. The previous Friday, Don Woods, with a little help from his friends, pushed off from Yark Beach in Portsmouth, Maine. The bike he was riding was a brand new 1972 Harley·Davidson Rapido. Of course, modifications had been made. First, a five.gallon tank from an older Sprint was added. Then, lower narrower handlebars replaced the stock ones. An extra set of footpegs were added to make a total of three, to relieve physical fatigue. A rack for luggage and a touring bag for the top of the tank, and he was off. The official time of departure was 4: 15 EST and 600 miles later he was in New York with a loose float bowl. Clever Don found that a screw that held a brake cable wire loop to the frame fit perfectly, for one side. Using three slightly larger screws to secure the : other, he tapped the hole with two of them and snugged the other one. From then on it was easy truckin'. He had figured on paper it could be done in 72 hours and he was running on schedule. Within 24 hours Don made Indianapolis. By the second sundown he was in Springfield, Missouri. In the first day over 1100 miles were covered, a 'good record for a Sportster. On he ch urned, barely capable of 60 mph under favorable conditions, but never missing a beat just the same. In figuring his schedule, sleep was all but disregarded. Nice country to watch, anyway. Daring Don finally ran in to trouble in the form of rain on the beginning of the second day. Torrents greeted him through Missouri and after a sligh t let-up, thunderous showers wreaked havoc upon the entire person while sending his bike sliding helter·skelter across the busy highway. Welcome to Oklahoma. That is when he found out that while the front tires are all·around good ones, PereUis with a K-70-type pattern. The rear ones, also Pirellis, were all-aroWld had. They have a big block patten partly suitable for the dirt, barely suitable for the street and completely unsuitable for the rain. CiU.ENEWS 2499Coa i ItDsAwe. As he left the rain and entered the Texas Panhandle, th e bike finally started showing its lack of appreciation for the whole ordeal; it slowed. By the time he bit New Mexico the machine was barely capable of 40. Drowsy Don hadn't realized he bad been climbing for some time and the jetting was rich. He visited a friendly Harley sbop at 7:30 that morning, was surprised to find everybody there; and asked for some assistance. "You're a mile up, here, and you're going to be that way until you get out of Arizona. We can re-jet you here but you'll have to change it back later on." As a compromise, the air cleaner was taken off. Don made the aforementioned phone call to his pals in the West, creating all sorts of excitement in the process. Long about Clovis, N. M., Don picked up the Mysterious Benevolent Sportster Rider, a soft-spoken adventureso~e motorcyclist whom Don credits WIth saving his ride, if Dot his life. It wasn't long before Drivin' Don began experiencing the first real problems; the electric. were shorting and it was getting dark. At 8:30 pm PDT Don Woods placed a collect phone call to the Culp'sresidence announcing that he was officially broken down with lighting failure - he had received a citation in Arizona for driving without lights - but was going to try to make it to the border town of Needles, Calif.. "Where asked Tom. . "Ah don't know. Somewhere in the middle of the desert. In Arizona. I'm really quite tired, Tom." . Culp and three other staffers hopped into the sleek Ford Econoline Cycle News van and sped into the warm summer night. In less than five hours they arrived in Needles. It was 1 a.m. and 95 degrees, in the shade. Don Woods was nowhere to be found. Many miles were driven hunting the weary motorcyclist. Exhausted, they just waited. At dawn, the trusty van again rumhled to life as a last-ditch attempt to find Don Woods took shape. Suddenly the sharp-eyed driver caught a glimpse of two cyclists heading for t1te West. Quickly, the stout van was reversed and, several miles later, overcame the cyclists. Don Woods was slumped in the saddle of the Harley, his face bloated with fa tigue. When he spotted the van next to him, he couldn't read the letters painted on the side. But he knew who his visitors were and he brightened considerably. It was about 15 miles to the California border. Using the van as a windbreak, Don and his buddy rode steadily, counting off the miles as the signs teased th em. As he crossed the Colorado River, the border line, Woods raised both arms in the air as if making a giant "V". Two miles down the highway was the agricultural inspection station. Don tucked in and passed the van to be the first one there. An inspector asked him if he was carrying any fruit" and Don shook his head and pulled over next to the parked van. "Are you going to go all the way?" asked Tom. "No, I can't. The bike won't go. It will take me all day and I can't see." He had made it to California in 89 hours and 25 minutes, a record for a Don hardly regrets that smaU bike. he didn't go all the way to the Pacific. He went from Maine to California in a new record time, on a 125. That makes him one of t1te finest men in the industry. You have to trust motorcycles a lot to do that. "'iJ-' .. areyounow?" '. .. . 7L-~ o' •• • .: . .. ' . /~..... ",." PART~:ONf D,er . , . ," MANN, • THE COMPLETE RACER By David Swift "I'm afraid I'm not a very good person to interview. n Dick Mann is not being modest; be is stating a fact. Any professional rider worth a tear-off is certainly worth something more than a where-were·you-born· what-was·your-frrst-bike interview. Mann is many steps further. A professional racer has his own philosphies of winning, machine preparation, mental preparation, and the like, and most would be happy to tell an interested party who could appreciate it. Mann doesn't wich to be rude to the press, fans, or young racers but he can't open up like others. Mann is too intense an individual. Those who would get him to open up are likely to be shaken at their foundations should they feel the gravity of his words. Or worse, they wouldn't understand, and much time would be wasted. After several unsuccessful calls I finally met bim at Seattle International Raceway, site of this year's Kent 100-mile Road Race National. It was Saturday and the yawning riders and Ne-.rspaper not-yet-unloaded vans gave the only clue as to the hour; the sun was obscured by some clouds dressed in business suits. Cal Rayborn had just told me, no, I haven't seen Bugs but be's always hard to fmd, (that's what everybody says) when, 10 and behold. Mann walked towards us in short steps. With his hands thrust deeply into his pants pockets he affected a slight waddle, his tennis shoes adding to the effect. He greeted aU of his churns in a low, slightly hoarse voice. In the rare occasion when Mann raises his voice, it still sounds low. I finally worked up the courage to introduce myself, and did so almost apologetically. He said he had tried to return my call and then proceeded to try to talk me out of the interview. He was doing it for my own good. "Most of what the papers print just isn't true. I read about something I did at Daytona and I can't believe the guy was at the same race. I guess the writer has his mind made up what happened (Please turn to page 16)

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