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L ike Ronnie Lechien, a hot dog motocross- er from the mid eighties, used to say, “I didn’t like Vintage bikes when they were new,”. That sort of sums up my feelings about riding and racing old school “Vintage” bikes. Ronnie of course, was used to riding the latest Kawasaki works bikes, so it sort of made sense that he preferred new to old. Myself though, I started out racing old CZs that were, for all intents and purposes, already obsolete. So the idea of racing older bikes did not have the appeal of say, the hot new model waiting in the wings. Good Old Daze Once I started working at MXA, and we had nothing but new bikes to race and test, that quickly changed my opin- ion. I admit it. My relation- ships with dirt bikes were fast and furious. Take the latest model, thrash it, bash it, and set it aside. There was always something new and flashy coming down the pike. So sorry baby, I’m outta here and onto new adventures with this hot new model. Spoiled? Maybe. Carefree. You bet. Dazed and confused? Most certainly. But, that was way back in my carefree, younger days. As we get older, and more mature, things change. Now- a-daze, I can relate to racing some of these old clunkers. Heck, it brought a tear to think about racing something as ancient as a “two-stroke”. I recently got a call from my life-long buddy Ed Blocker. He wanted to know, did I want to …”Go to the biggest an- tique motorcycle auction in the country? It’s in Vegas, at the South Point Hotel, and get this, there is also a Gene Romero flat track race held in conjunction with the auction on the slick concrete floors af- ter the show? Does that sound great or what?”. Why Not? Let’s see. Vegas. Motorcy- cles. Flat track racing? Let’s go. We had a great time. Ed even ended up buying a cou- ple of classic Vintage bikes (more than he wanted but less than he desired). We made lots of new friends, saw a ton of highly interesting ma- chinery, got to see some old school flat tracking, and came away with a new found re- spect for the Vintage Motor- cycle Industry, which, by the way, is thriving. Who says you can’t have your vintage cake and eat it too? After seeing the prices that these restored “Vintage” bikes brought their owners, I was flabbergasted. The prices these folks got for some of the machines was simply amazing. Unlike a stock portfolio or bonds, that just sit there and have no stories to tell, these are living, breathing machines with exciting stories and his- tories. They reside in ga- rages, attics and alleyways, and require a lot of careful, thoughtful attention to bring back to life again. The people find, restore and fix these ma- chines deserve a lot of credit. Now if only I could find that CZ I used to race and have a go at restoring it. Or my old Ossa Phantom. But I’ll never try to restore that Ya- maha AT-1 I had. It was plen- ty bad when it was new. The “right” Vintage Iron machinery is starting to look like a good investment to me now. www.dirtillustrated.com