Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Left Coast,Road Stories PT V......BIG BEAR and Peg Leg Craig.

So I'm down to my last 7 days left here in the U.S. before I get on a plane and head off to Rotterdam in the Netherlands to pick up my motorcycle, a 2004 BMW 1150 GS Adventure that is being shipped over as we speak, arrival date in the port of Rotterdam is May 1st.
As soon as I pick it up from the port it's over to Ad Donkers at LBS Sidecars to begin the transformation into a 2 Wheel Drive RTW sidecar outfit. More on that in the next post.

Craig Anderson's 1966 500cc Matchless G85CS Scrambler.

Meanwhile, I had been trying to stop by Big Bear for the last few years to see my Bonneville  friend Peg Leg Craig, but our timing was always off, that is until now.
Craig had just got back from New Zealand and I was here in Burbank CA, so after we spoke on the phone he invited me up to his place on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake, so this time I was off and running.

'The Flying Kiwi', Bonneville Salt Flats, August 2010.
(L-R) Craig Warren, Laura Anderson,Craig Anderson(seated) Alan Sean, Felicia Anderson Sean, Larry Judd, Ryan Warren,  Danny Wheeler,Bob Bakker, whose cousin is Nico Bakker, the Dutch motorcycle frame builder. 

Craig has been campaigning the 'Flying Kiwi' at the Bonneville Salt Flats since 2006, and will be returning again this year to try to get into the 200mph club with the Streamliner, his fastest one way so far being 187mph.
Their annual August Bonneville pilgrimage is a family affair, Craig's wife Laura feeds the entire crew for their time on the salt, sister Felicia and her husband Alan, themselves Land Speed Racers are there to help with pit support when they are not racing themselves.

The Matchless 500cc G85 had a duplex chassis borrowing much of it's design from the Rickman brothers. Weighing in at 318 lbs, it was over 40 lbs lighter than the G80 it replaced. To reduce weight the front hub was machined, a magnesium rear hub was standard and many lightweight fiberglass and aluminum components were utilized.

The engine was little more than a hopped-up model of the decades old design used in the G80,but in the G85 they cut down the flywheels for weight reduction,compression was increased and the G85 came standard with a 1 3/8 inch Amal carb.

The magnesium rear hub,standard on the G85.

All in all,the Matchless G85 CS looked magnificent,but was not particularly fast,and certainly not fast enough to beat the lightweight 2-stroke machines that were dominating the European Scrambles scene.
It would be Matchless Motorcycles last attempt at survival,but by the end of the year in 1966, being a failure in both racing and sales ( it had a retail price of $1400 in 1966, almost double that of it's competitors ), Matchless would be swallowed up by the new Norton-Villiers corporation and production of 4-stroke scramblers would cease.

1955 250cc Cotton Telstar Road Racer

A 1994 Ducati M900 Pro Italia Hot Rod.

A 1968 250cc Watercooled Bultaco TSS in front of a
1963 BSA Goldstar DBD.

A 1975 Kawasaki KR 250cc Liquid Cooled Twin with Rotary Valves, an all magnesium engine and a 7 speed transmission.

A  250cc DMW Hornet.

An all original 1968 250cc Kawasaki A1R.

As excited as I am to be going to Holland and building a sidecar for my RTW, I will miss seeing Craig and the crew at this years BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials.It was my favorite place to be at Bonneville.
If you make it to the 2012 BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials,be sure to stop by 'The Flying Kiwi' pits and say hi to Craig.

Best of luck this year Craig,thanks for the hospitality and sharing your slice of life with me.



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