Sunday, 11 September 2016

John Harrison: The Early Years

There are thousands of people in the Sideburn universe with great stories to tell, and I've chosen a handful to supply stories and update the blog. One is Travis Newbold, Sideburn poet and test rider, another is John Harrison. We met John through his antics and style in the DTRA and the more I found out about him, the more I wanted him involved.

He says stuff like... 'I don't wear T-shirts or sweatshirts (or jeans). Haven't done since my early 30s.' John is 57 with grown-up children, and started dirt track racing earlier this year. You'll find out a lot more about him, starting now. Hope you enjoy his outlook as much as I do. G
'As we're rained off today I thought I 'd get going on my motorcycling history for you. I can't imagine how you would introduce this sort of thing but here you are. Stand by for following emails. All photos are my own unless stated. 

The picture above is of me as a 12 yr old on the first motorbike I ever rode. This would have been 1972. It is a BSA Beagle (surely the bike Snoopy rode in the recently blogged Peanuts cartoon) which was an early '60s, 75cc 4-stroke that they produced in a forlorn attempt to take the fight to the Italian and Japanese small, cheap bike competition. Pressed steel frame and forks, but this one had been converted into a Schoolboy Scrambler with tele forks, a high level pipe and a bobbed rear guard. One of my friends got it and we thought it was the bee's bollocks, particularly as we reckoned it was a dead ringer for a Husky with the red and white tank. We hadn't ridden motorbikes before, but could drive cars, so set about teaching ourselves. I'm amused that the only new item of clothing I'm wearing is my brand new Stadium Centurion X helmet, the rest - shirt, trousers and shoes are all hand-me-downs. 
We had a field at the back of our place that we got permission to ride in and soon we were all on the lookout for field bikes. Another friend found a 125 Bantam ( also 'converted' to schoolboy scrambler spec) which I think he paid a fiver for. It was barely worth it. This photo shows the two bikes pretending to race; in truth they both rarely ran at the same time, or we couldn't afford enough fuel fuel to keep them both going. The same scene must have been played out by lads all over the country learning to ride and fix field bikes. Hopefully it still is. 
JH 104R

1 comment:

Hot Shoe said...

I'm trying to work out if t-shirts and jeans are a good thing or bad thing. Good on James Dean maybe but would he still be wearing them at 50+ and would he still look cool in them? It 's a bit like the Che Guevara / Frank Spencer thing with the beret