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Sturgis Report By Doc Robinson

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Friday is the day of the Harley-Davidson Ride In Custom Bike Show that always features an interesting display of machinery from Vintage to state-of-the-art customs. Attendees were graced with the presence of Harley-Davidson royalty when Willie G. and Nancy arrived and were their usual patient and gracious selves, posing for photos and chatting with bike owners.

Dar Holdsworth of Brass Ball Bobbers/Darwin Motorcycles was able to show Willie G. over the bike he entered in this year’s AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building, production manufacturer’s class, which he won for the second year in a row. Go Dar!

A full list of each day’s activities would take up several pages but Friday’s activities included a Tattoo Expo, American Indian dancers, the closing ceremony for the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall, a homemade bikini contest (go figure!), stunt riding, Slick Willie and the Miss Buffalo Chip Beauty Pagent. And then there are the parties in the bars, biker parties, and aren’t they the very best kind.

The crowds have thinned a bit but you wouldn’t know it if you had tried to make it out to Buffalo Chip for the Slash concert. Of course the trek out there was not helped by one of South Dakota’s infamous thunderstorms with driving rain and lightening streaking across the sky. But that did not deter the crowds who were there to party, hearty, rain or no rain.

Dream Chaser Racin’ Runs Her Fastest Ever, 175.80 mph

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Dream Chaser Racin’, Janette Thornley was excited to get back on her bike and continue chasing points at the AHDRA Thunder in the Valley Nitro Nationals held in Bristol Tennessee August 4 and 5.  With the Tulsa Oklahoma race, scheduled for the end of June, being cancelled it’s been nearly two months since the bike ripped down the track. 
Qualifying #3, Janette ran competitively and still holds the number five spot in the Hawaya Racing/Vreeland’s Harley-Davidson Pro Drag class in the 2012 AHDRA Championship Series.     
“As a rookie, I was concerned I may have lost some of my knowledge/experience from earlier in the year and not sure how comfortable I was going to be but with some good preparation and coaching, I jumped back on and ran a good solid test pass” said Janette.  “I felt good all weekend actually, happy with my performance”. 
Qualifying rounds were limited to two due to the storms that rolled through Friday night.  Despite the roll off on the throttle, for reasons she is still trying to overcome, Thornley ran a 7.666 ET at 149.85 mph and 7.616 ET at 175.80 mph during qualifying.  Her 175.80 mph happen to be the fastest for the Pro Drag class all weekend and her personal best.
Paired with Rich Crouthers, Janette took the win during round one eliminations. 
Thankfully Janette pulled a good light (.139) as she still have room for improvement here, and was ahead of Rich because she dropped a hole at the top end and began to lose speed rather rapidly.  Finished that pass with 7.852 ET at 159.36 mph.
Stepping into the semi-finals, Janette struck an even more impressive light (.090) but it wasn’t enough to stay ahead of Dale Niles and lost by 0.0549, running a 7.721 ET at 166.31 mph vs 7.606 ET at 165.13 mph.
“This is hard to take, losing by such a small amount”, said Thornley, “but this is a very tough, competitive class and someone has to be the winner/loser.  I’ll get Dale next time, he’s one up on me now!”
Janette Thornley is owner and operator of her nitro burning, carbureted, 121 ci Pro Dragster and Dream Chaser Racin’.  She is excited to have added LAT Racing Oils to her list of sponsors as of August 2012.  Thank you to all my sponsors: Autolite Sparkplugs, LAT Racing Oils, Lowry Callahan of Quality Refrigeration Company and Mark Lavine.  Special thanks to Ray and Jean Price; Freddie Robbins; Bill Hendren; and Doug Atkinson for your time; and to the Ray Price Race Team – Tommy Grimes, Justin Heinle, Jeremy Hoy, and Mark Morgan for all you do; and Dalton Matthews.  Sponsors always welcome!
 Contact Dream Chaser Racin’ at

Sturgis Thursday Report By Doc Robinson

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Another crazy day in that crazy city of Sturgis, South Dakota where it is all happening.

Shows, shows and more shows.

The Big Bagger Show featured some awesome baggers cut, shut and slammed to the max! Then there was the inimitable Rat’s Hole Show, the Hamsters Bike Show judged by the City Mayor and a stack of other events.

Big hearted Hamsters

Yaffe gets new heart. And – as befits a bike builder – it is a chrome one. Yes, prominent builder and Hamster Paul Yaffe received the Chrome Heart Award this week, presented by Childrens Care to honor individuals in the motorcycle world whose philanthropic support and civic duty represents everything positive in the industry and sport of motorcycling. A massive $200,000 was raised by the Hamsters at their annual dinner in Spearfish this year. The money goes to provide special education services to kids in the area through Childrens Care of Rapid City.

Sturgis by Night



Ah, the crazies all come out to play when the sun goes down, with scantily dressed gals of varying ages parading around displaying theirassets that vary from mouth watering to, “I wish I hadn’t seen that”. But the bars are the place to be with pretty gals vying for tips by doing everything from navel shots to wild dancing. But remember: what happens in Sturgis, stays in Sturgis – unless it’s featured on the Bikernet Blog.

Sturgis Wednesday Report By Doc Robinson

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Another day of fine clear weather and a tad cooler than the previous two days. Sturgis was in full swing with bike shows, rides around the fabulous Black Hills and lots of beer being drunk. Once again vendor reports are universally positive and there are many smiles at the booths.

The Hall of Fame induction took place today with the following inductees: Rodney Roberts, Dave Barr, Buzz Kanter, Ed Kretz Jr., Steve Piehl, Ron Stratman, and Brian and Laura Klock, who are being inducted as one unit. Each of then is being honored for their contributions to the sport of motorcycling.

The 2012 Sturgis AMD World Championship Of Bike Building results were announced today. Who would have thought an Ironhead Sporty would take out top place. But it is not any old Ironhead, no sirree. Built by Thunderbike in Hammiken, Germany by Andreas & Crew the ’84 motor is linked to a WLA 750 gearbox and the whole thing is exquisitely executed.

But perhaps the most fun was to be had at the Baker Drivetrain Burnout comp which was won by a guy in a monkey mask whose name I did not catch while, in a tight competition, second place was taken by Kevin Alsop on a brand new BBC chopper.

Or maybe more fun could have been had beating a lovely, sexy bar girl or, if that was your inclination, being beaten by her.

Sturgis Tuesday Report By Doc Robinson

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According to a city official numbers are definitely up on the past few years of the Rally though at this stage he could not quote actual figures. However, long time vendors along Lazelle report the same thing; crowds are up though not near the figures of the peak years.
The judging for the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building took place today and as a judge over the past few years I can report that the standard of some of the entries is absolutely amazing. Style-wise, the long, fat-tired choppers of yesteryear have almost vanished except of a couple of over the top examples and the current trend is toward both bobbers and rideable, canyon-carving bikes.

Victory Motorcycles have their new Boardwalk model on display and it is creating considerable attention with its cool wide beach bars and some retro-styling such as the tail dragger style rear fender. Speaking with Victory staff members it seems that big things are in the pipeline for their upcoming revival of the Indian marquee. Meanwhile they are selling Kings Mountain bikes albeit with mechanical improvements I understand.
World Famous biker photographer held his annual celebration of biking “Come Together, The Spirit of Born-Free which featured bikes built by dozens of grass roots fabricators along with some “names” of the industry. In a word, stunning.
Baggers, baggers, baggers – if you didn’t think that these had become the “next big thing” you only had to walk around Sturgis with your eyes half open to be bombarded from all sides by baggers of all shapes and sizes, from mild to incredibly wild.
Even that venerable organization of yellow t-shirt wearers, the Hamsters, featured a bagger on this year’s shirt. And boy, do they have some of the coolest baggers around! Unbelievable comes to mind when eyeballing some of them.

The aging demographic of American V-Twin riders is very apparent, not only from the gray beards in the streets, but also when one views the various parking lots, which feature a veritable sea of windshields. But we should never forget that we don’t stop riding because we grow old; we grow old because we stop riding. Go graybeards!