Of course Rennsport Reunion is on my bucket list! There is no shortage of awesome and amazing vehicles in this video.
A little known fact about myself is that I have deep affection British automobiles and motorcycles. The typical cars come to mind, the Triumphs, MGs, Morgans, and Jaguars. And I can’t leave out the Lotus cars, simple, lightweight, and extremely agile. There are days where I dream of driving through the country side in a Series 1 EType Coupe or going for a drive in the French countryside near Le Mans in an XKSS. Unfortunately to my dismay, the latter will only happen through some sort of divine intervention and losing about ten inches of overall height, as I’m an above average drink of water.
Another growing fascination of mine as of late has been the British motorcycles, the more I read about them, the more I’m intrigued. I’m the type of person who loves to delve into the reasons why things are the way they are. What started all of this? An episode of Top Gear. Where there was a race between a train, a motorcycle, and a car. A 60163 Tornado, a Jaguar XK120, and a Vincent Black Shadow. While I’m not too interested in trains, maybe in the future, they are a marvel of engineering themselves. It was a particular segment with Richard Hammond on the Black Shadow that intrigued me. He said his Black Shadow had a reserve fuel tank on it. He had to turn a handle to open up the reserve tank. Might I add this bike was built in 1949, ahead of it’s time? Indeed, quite ahead of it’s time.
The second nudge towards British motorcycles came from, who else, the King Of Cool, Steve McQueen. If you have a chance pick up McQueen’s Machines, a nicely written sort of memoir in ode to McQueen’s affections for everything automobile, motorsports, and airplane related. This was the nudge towards the other favorite of mine, Norton being the first, of the British motorcycles, Triumph. The simple yet effective bikes Triumph produced could be ridde hard, put away yet, and yearned for more as the door shut on your garage. While going off roading on a motorcycle isn’t my thing. I would gladly pick up a battle beaten and worn Triumph or Norton, pick up a welder, and go to town building a simple little bobber to tool around town on.
The British motorcycle companies were a great group of manufacturers. It’s a shame that companies like Ducati, KTM, Suzuki, and Honda came in to play with their race and road variants. Don’t get me wrong, my affection for Ducati, KTM, and Aprilia is there. This isn’t what this entry is about it, it’s about British motorcycles and how they set the standard in the post war era for motorcycles. Where everyone was scrambling on what to do.
Now what brought this post about? I was scrolling through my YouTube subscriptions this morning when I got home from work, when I noticed a video put out by Motorcycle News. They did a short teaser of Norton’s new 2013 TT bike. A bike being brought to the Isle of Man in a few short weeks to tackle the Tourist Trophy. It reignited the urges of a simple life where I could walk into the garage, see a Norton and a Triumph sitting in the garage waiting for a ride. This was only worsened by the short nap I took where I dreamed of that very feeling. Riding through the rolling countryside in Pennsylvania, wind blasting around my chest, a smile on my face, as that Norton CS1 rumbled off of the road below me.
Tried this a couple times this morning before leaving for work.
Took a trip out to Watkins Glen today with my parents. I wanted to walk around the track, like literally walk it, but because Chrysler had some track gimmick going on that was shut down. Plus they also don’t let you do that stuff either. Odd, but okay. So we traveled back into town. In the first place, we stopped at The Lodge before even going to The Glen. I just had to walk in there and see where the legends partied after races. It was a pretty solid place. Too bad the place opened up at 3:30pm. No beers for me!
The place was pretty wicked to say the least. Just the tales in that place are amazing, the likes of James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Emmo Fittipaldi, Jackie Stewart, and the late great Jochen Rindt have partied here. I could only imagine what James Hunt brought to the table in this place. The lodge is pretty unique as they have little buildings you can stay in, which is pretty cool. After leaving here is when our encounter with The Glen occurred.
We drove around it twice, trying to find the entrance, which we actually drove by twice in the process. That’s when we found out the whole deal with the Chrysler thing. It wasn’t a problem really. We got told about the Thunder Road Tour. Which was twenty five bucks a car and took place at five o’clock. If we had stayed to do that, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now. I’d probably be passed out on the drive back to PA.
We stopped to have lunch on Seneca Lake at some restaurant that I really can’t remember the name of right now. To further worsen this fact, it’s not on Google Maps or the Watkins Glen website. The food was mediocre at best, they a least made their own potato chips. I ordered a fish and chips, I got three glorified fish sticks with some nice fries and homemade tartar sauce.
On the way out of town we stopped by a guy’s house that my Dad did some business with a few years back. The guy lived on Decatur street in Watkins Glen. Where the cross streets have signs in older style F1 cars. It’s pretty neat, but the more interesting part is the fact this guy owns a real Mini Cooper. Not a converted one that we got here in limited supply. But a real right hand drive Mini Cooper. If my memory serves me correct it’s a Mini Morris Cooper, only offered in Australia and New Zealand. Any Mini fans can leave me a comment and I’ll edit the blog post as needed. It’s a neat little car and I’d like to eventually put one in my collection when I’m older.
For almost a decade now I have been lusting after just a week on the Nurburgring. A day or two just to get situated on it. If my PS2 could talk, it would tell you how many hours I spent racing on the Nurburgring. I drove it using everything, a Supra, Shelby Cobra, E46 M3 CSL, and an R34 GTR. There’s just something so magical and awe inspiring of thirteen miles in the German country side when you’re all alone with something as visceral as your favorite car. I’ve had many dreams of rolling into the parking lot in an M3 GTS. The radio off, the windows down, the sound of the V8 screaming through the Akrapovic exhaust. Kind of like what this guy is about to do.
Now why the title for this current entry? The Nurburgring fell into quite a bit of debt because of a pair of businessmen who pretty much lied to the government and everyone around them. A museum was built, a single ran rollercoaster, and quite an empty mall. A good friend had visited the Nurburgring a few years ago and he said it was a ghost town. There were more bars than people. Hotel rooms were being given away because of the problems that had come across the area. The pair of clowns had inflated the numbers of people attending. They were given more money on top of the money they had already received and left the Nurburgring with an empty sack. But sometimes, there’s more to it. So let’s hope it’s saved.
Just some experiences can never be replicated, the idea of blasting through the Karussell, the four liter flat six behind you echoing off the trees. There’s just something about that that makes it seem it could never happen again unless you do it yourself, again. Memories are forged on the pavement. Lifelong memories, relationships are built, and one day, I hope to climb into either the previously mentioned Porsche or BMW for a lap or six of the Nurburgring. I also wouldn’t mind a Ring Taxi ride with the ever so vibrant Sabine Schmitz in her personal GT3RS.