Saturday, November 5, 2011

The 2011 Vincent Owners Club International Rally....Pt II.

Continuing on with the 2011 Vincent Owners Club International Rally in PA this past October,most of the time was spent with Ken Smith's in Mifflintown.Ken's house and barns complete with his workshop are in a really tranquil part of the country.A stream runs behind the house to complete the picture.
But before ending up at Ken's,the VOC rally had a stop at the Red Caboose,a collection of 46 old railroad cars converted to motel rooms right in the middle of Amish country.It was all part of the final leg of the nearly three week long rally.

The Red Caboose Motel railroad car rooms.

Beautiful sunsets are part of the evening ritual in front of the West facing entrance.

Meanwhile back at Ken's place,we started to bring in the wounded.We had to pick up and trailer Alfred Lloyd's Vincent in the rain that morning after it had an electrical short that burned through the wiring from the battery up to the headlamp.Alfred had to leave it chained to a pole outside a store in the dark the previous evening,so when we went to pick it up with him the next morning,he couldn't remember where he left it,he only had a vague idea that it was over the brow of a hill.............somewhere.............over there..............maybe.
He was a little concerned that it may not be there that morning,but not too many people in the U.S. are aware of the value of well worn and dirty looking 40's and 50's era Vincent motorcycle.We found it safe and sound and put it on the trailer for the trip back to the "O.R." at Ken's just as it started to rain.

Three hours later and all was good again with Alfred's Vinny.

Alfred packed and ready to leave.
L-R,Jacqueline Bickerstaff,Alfred Lloyd,Marcus and Ken Smith.

Before Alfred's Vinny got to Ken's,Chris Kleps Egli-Vincent was already in the E.R. undergoing surgery.

To make a very long story short,(Chris rode the over 3,000 miles of from Oregon to NY on his Vincent to attend the VOC Rally,thats how long),after removing the the timing cover Chris found that the rear cam spindle had come loose in the engine case.In Chris's words "at some point the distance piece and shim had broken up and gone through the timing gears,leaving pieces of shrapnel in the lower pockets of the timing cover and case".
"I figured I was finished,but Dan Smith thought the loose spindle could be fixed.JB weld to glue the the spindle into the case,a steel steady plate, sourced at the swap meet to hold the outer end securely.We ordered a distance piece and a cam-follower from Coventry to be delivered to Ligonier PA".
That's what was supposed to happen,but it's a Vincent,and you're on the road on a long trip,so "Murphy's Law" had other plans for Chris.

A temporary repair finished,Chris starts to button up the Egli.He ran the Vincent for the rest of the rally,then had it shipped back to the engine builder for a complete teardown and repair.That really is a shortened version,Chris emailed me his Ride Report of his trip and i'll include it at the end of this post.It's a great read,including his trip to Bonneville and his stint on the Pit Crew for the "Lambky Liner",Max Lambky's Twin Engine VIncent Streamliner Land Speed Machine.Last year I did a stint on the pit crew for the Lambky Liner,and again it was beset with problems throughout the whole meet.

I did go to the VOC Concours,but i'm not much of a concours fan,i'm more impressed with guys like Chris who ride a 60+ year old bike over 3,000 miles than a perfect restoration,I don't care how rare it is.And don't forget,Chris's Egli-Vincent is not a long distance type of motorcycle,it's essentially a cafe-racer,plus if you break down on a Vincent,forget about going to a dealer for parts,there are no dealers,not since the early fifties.

There are $40k Harleys ridden less in a year than Chris rode on his Egli-Vincent in a month.That's a motorcyclist.

In all fairness,all but one or two of the bikes on display at the VOC Concours were NOT show bikes but well travelled motorcycles,used for their intended purpose,complete with dirty,oil stained engines.Since the Vincent motorcycle has tripled or quadrupled in value in the last 10-20 years there are more collectors now than there used to be,whose main concern is  how much it's worth today vs. six months ago.

The "Gunga Din" fell into the "one or two" category.Maybe it's just me and my lack of knowledge of the Vincent,but I wasn't impressed much at all.The owner wasn't too happy with me getting too close to the bike to take pictures,and another Vincent owner was chastised for touching one of the tires on the bike................I mean,really?.
I wasn't too impressed with the owner either.

For me the bike just didn't have any soul,no character or flavor,it's a possession not to be touched,ridden or sat upon,to me the type of possession that owns you,not the other way around.

Meanwhile Eddi and the missus rode their Vincent sidecar outfit from England,well,flew it from England to Canada,then rode down for the rally.

Paul Allen and his Series A Vincent.
Paul was the "Obligatory Irishman" that I seem to bump into all along my trip,we're friggin everywhere.
Paul now lives in Evergreen CO,so a spring/summer ride over to see him is on the cards.

And i'll finish off on a classic here.
The above picture was taken and published in a UK Motorcycle Magazine back in 1963.
Fast forward to 2011,and Dave and Yvonne are at the VOC rally in PA,and while at Ken Smith's Dave had the magazine with him and showed me this pic,so I couldn't resist in re-creating a similar image 48 years later,albeit in one of Ken's motorcycles and sidecar.........
What's a sidecar for but to go motorcycling together in for the rest of your lives,eh?.
It was a pleasure meeting you both and great honor to be able to take this photo of both of you 48 years later.

So to Dave and Yvonne and all of you reading this post.....


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