Monday, 14 September 2009
Bell AH-1 Cobra and Honda FT500
A couple of weeks ago I put up a post about the book Chickenhawk, saying it reminded me of meeting and writing about Craig Randall for issue 3. Well, one of Craig's old flight school buddies from the 1970s, Jim Franco, who hadn't seen or heard of him for nearly 40 years left a comment on the blog asking how he could get in touch. What are the chances of that? As Craig said...
'That is just too cool! Jim Franco and I went to flight school together. I haven't seen him since 1973! Imagine flat track racing getting two old army pilots together after all this time. And Paul Bradshaw and I still ride together. We started trail riding in flight school because he was a former pro flat-tracker too.'
Jim and Craig reminded each other of stuff they'd both forgotten. These are some more photos of Craig's, when he's flying various things including Cobras. Below are shots of him on his FT500 at Sears Point in the mid-80s. This is a bike that, after countless flights in places they don't like Americans, especially ones in helicopters, nearly finished Craig off. That's a little worrying as we've bought one as a project.
As loyal Sideburn followers know, very little (except the blog and mail order dept) moves quickly in Sideburnland, so it's no surprise the FT hasn't progressed much. Nothing happened till I took it to Carl the sand racer. He's just finished doing a load of work on my Guzzi (photos soon) and stripped the bike down so we can start thinking how to really tidy it up. We want to do it on a super-tight budget. It's going to be more of a short distance barhopper than than a firebreather. We're inspired by this Honda street tracker and we bought a seat unit you don't normally see on street trackers. Keep an eye out for random progress reports.
If anyone needs a road bike, street tracker or race bike prepping and sorting out I can't recommend Carl highly enough. He's just sold his MoT business and is taking on selected work to keep things ticking over. The job he's done on my Guzzi is amazing. He does everything from engine rebuilds to paint, but doesn't work on anything much more modern than late-80s technology. He's based near Lincoln, I can put people in touch. He's a proper old-fashioned mechanic, who gets things done using thought and experience. GI
PS Austin's comment made me remember I even took a photo showing an example of Carl's recent paintwork.