Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2nd Place - Not All It's Cracked Up to be

So, about a week ago my friend Neil approached me about a bike show. I seemed that a promoter friend of his was short some entries for the local edition of the International Motorcycle Shows and that they would be willing to waive all fees if I would enter the Knuckledragger. Since they draw in excess of 50,000 people for their three day event, it seemed like a good way to drum up a little interest in the National Vintage Motorcycle Drag Racing Association, so I agreed to do it.

Friday morning the wife and I loaded up the bike and headed to the Minneapolis Convention Center, where the Knuckledragger took up residence until Sunday evening. The gentlemen running the show were kind enough to bend the rules a bit by allowing me to put fliers next to the bike to promote the NVMDRA.

As bike shows go, this venue is more akin to an expo, with all of the motorcycle manufacturers being heavily represented, displaying all the latest models. The "custom bike show" within the show is really quite limited, featuring fewer than two dozen bikes divided into four classes. The "Retro Mod" class which required the bike to be at least 25 years old seemed to fit the Knuckledragger best. I walked away with a second place plaque for my efforts. That would sound slightly impressive if it were not for the fact that there were only two entries in the class. The winner took home a check for $1000, and I got a plaque that says 2nd Place, but really means last place. Oh well, at least I didn't have to spend any time polishing my bike.

Above are a couple shots of the Gold Wing which placed first in Retro Mod. Now that means I have been beaten twice by a Gold Wing in the space of only 31 short years! The first time involved some "street racing" during the summer of 1981. I had just stroked my Shovelhead to 88 cubic inches, leaving everything else in the motor stock, right down to the cam. The Shovel felt really strong, and so I was really taken aback to be trounced by a stripped down and slightly warmed over Gold Wing owned by the service manager at a local Honda dealer.

That proved to be a pivotal event for me. By the next summer I had done some research and reworked the bike from top to bottom, transforming it from a fat fendered bobber to this:

Sifton 468+ cam, solid lifters, hi-performance valve springs, ported heads, SU carb, Barnett clutch, and a Goodyear "rain slick" ...I wasn't about to let that happen again.

But now, by the grace of God, I am older, wiser and can take a loss in stride. In other words, the Knuckledragger won't be acquiring new paint, chrome or gold plating, and the show bike world will remain safe.


Dan said...

Great stuff Lee. Humbled twice by the Lee, your kKnuckldragger is one of the coolest bikes around...hands down!

Dan said...

Spelling... ugghh

St. Lee said...

Thanks Dan!