Motorcycle racing was a yearly event at Laconia New Hampshire. I must have attended at least seven. The first trip included eight regular customers of the Accord Cycle Shop. Johnny Potts was manager of the shop and our guide to Laconia. John kept a pace of 60 mph, but the last bike in line was always at 75 or 80 just trying to keep up. I was smart. I stayed right behind John. However riding behind John had its draw backs. John smoked a pipe and he refilled it at every opportunity. My white tee shirt was eventually discarded because of the numerous burn holes all over the front.
Each year we reserved motel rooms well in advance to ensure a place to stay. 25,000 motorcycles converge on Laconia from all over the U.S. every year.
One year the Hells Angels from California, Chicago and wherever merged on Laconia. They took over the entire town to terrorize the population. They beat up the local police force and anyone who tried to help.
My first trip was the year following the Angel's terror tour. A police road block checked every person and cycle entering town. If the handlebars were over a certain height, a ticket was issued and the cycle held by the police till the owner decided to go home.
Ed Scharmer purchased a Honda while on a business trip to Japan. A pretty red job that everyone admired. Ed joined us on the next safari. I don't remember if he rode behind John, but I do remember him commenting about his shirt.
We attended the first day of the races. When the races were over we didn't want to be in the jam of hundreds of bikes, all trying to be first at the exit gate. Instead we took a shortcut up a steep bank to the main road. Mine was the last of our group. Everyone had topped the bank and were waiting for me. I proceeded, but, mistakenly put it in second gear.
I never made the top when the BMW stalled. Getting back to the bottom was extremly trickly, playing the brakes an still keeping the bike upright. My group all stood at the top - motioning me to drive through the gate while they waited. My pride would not allow that. Putting it in first gear and waving them aside and I opened the throttle all the way. The BMW responded magnificently. I cleared the top three feet in the air and landed in the first traffic lane. A local police officer stood just 10 feet in front of me. Reflex saved us both. I laid the bike hard to the right and cleared the cop by inches. We didn't stay long enough to appologize.
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