Thursday, March 12, 2009


In 1954 SPEED THOMAS the Harley-Davidson Dealer KC.MO mention to me that he was going to Trailer Ray Hendershot's Triumph to Daytona Beach for the races, and ask If I would like to come along. Having never been to Daytona . SPEED did not have to ask me twice. The plan was that Ray was going to ride his new BSA SUPER FLASH down to Daytona and we would hook up with him when we got there. Ray was a BSA DEALER IN KC. KS

Making this trip would mean several FIRST so I was really looking forward to the trip. One of the BIGGIES was to see the OCEAN for the first time. Oh, I know you people that live on the COASTLINE and seeing BIG BLUE is no big deal. However for us here in the HEART OF THE HOMELAND it was a BIG DEAL for me. Later in life I had a chance to SAIL across the BIG BLUE, Thanks to the US. ARMY , while on my way to KOREA, but that is a whole other story.

Speed, had ask two other fellows to come along , so the non -stop trip with limited driving was to be a easy one.
My Twin Brother ( Fred) and I had been reading & saving Motorcycle Magazines for several years. and had read all about the 200 MILE BEACH RACE AT DAYTONA BEACH . We arrived at DAYTONA early in the week and the Main Street and South Atlantic Ave. was already full of People and Motorcycles, just like we had read in the Motorcycle Magazines over the years.

We went to our Motel that was right on the BEACH SIDE, and my First view of the OCEAN was AWESOME ! I could also view Bikers riding on the beach enjoying the SUN & SAND'S OF DAYTONA BEACH.

They say that you never forget " THE FIRST OF ANYTHING " and that SEA BREEZE is in my Lungs still today !

Ray, comes by the Motel and looks his Race Bike over and picks up his stuff that we brought down with us. He is stayed in Motel next to ours. That evening we all go out to dinner. When the waiter was taking my order he ask " Would you like some Hush Puppies " with your order. Well another FIRST FOR ME.. Ray and Speed could tell that I had no idea, what the waiter was talking about....They both started laughing out loud. OK ,the joke is on me.

The next morning Ray comes over on the BSA and said " GEORGE LETS TAKE A RIDE TO SEE THE BSA RACE BIKES."

This was great news as the local newspaper had write-ups about the National Riders and Motorcycles ( BSA'S ) that were here from the BSA FACTORY IN ENGLAND. Ray and I rode for about 15 Miles and then we came to a OLD AIRPLANE HANGER WWII STYLE. I guess because Ray was a NEW BSA DEALER he had the info. that the BRITISH RACE BIKES were there. We went inside and looked the BSA RACING MODELS OVER. Little did we know at that time these BSA RACE BIKES would set a record at DAYTONA 200 MILE RACE , that will last forever.

Results later in this story. Now we get a little closer to the ENGLISHMAN WRENCHING , on a BSA.

I don't know how many of you knew AL GUNTER, but they say he was not a easy guy to get to know, if you were around him better, just look at what is going on don't speak . Well here comes AL GUNTER , where we are looking this BSA TWIN . AL notices that the Primary Cover, was off the BSA. AL ask the Englishman working on the Bike "WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A SINGLE ROLLER PRIMARY CHAIN ON IT ? " The Englishman gave the WRONG ANSWER " BECAUSE IT CAN NOT BE DONE?" AL GUNTER Blows -up " You Dumb LIMEY , I PUT ONE ON MY BSA TWIN LAST YR. AND WON A NATIONAL ". What AL was referring to was his First National WIN in 1953 at SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA. AL'S AMA RACE Number was 53Z back then.

Race Day is HERE ! I along with the other two guys that came with us were to be PIT MEN for Ray. I was to be the GAS CAN MAN . Ray only made 4 Laps as his motor blew a piston. THE FIRST RIDERS IN THE 1954 200 MILE RACE WERE :
1st place BOBBY HILL ............. BSA

2nd place DICK KLAMFOTH ... BSA


4th place AL GUNTER..................BSA

5th place KENNY EGGERS..........BSA

Remember early on that I mention SPEED THOMAS was a KC HARLEY -DAVIDSON DEALER ?
He and Ray were long time friends, and he knew that I had a BSA, and that RAYwas my BSA Dealer and friend too.

Speed, would be driving and he would turn the rear view mirror at me , setting in the back seat and say " THE BEST MOTORCYCLE DID NOT WIN THE RACE". My reply was that " Don Hutchinson from KC. MO brought in the 1ST HARLEY - DAVIDSON in 10th Place, so that should make you HAPPY. Well that would SPEED quiet for about 75 miles and then back to " The Best Motorcycle did not WIN the Race"
Arriving back Home , I had much to tell my brother Fred and others about Daytona Beach Races 1954.


1 comment:

  1. Another great story -- hope you guys have more.

    Ps. I hope you didn't spend much money on your singing lessons. ha-ha!


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