Visiting Boise Vintage Cycle felt like being home.
Even though I didn’t know everyone there, I felt as if I did.
Everyone spoke a language familiar to me. I felt like I was
back behind the parts counter of Cycle Shack, listening.
From there we went to a charming pizza and chicken
restaurant called Pizzalchik, where Wallenberg occasionally sits in on vocals and guitar with the house band. We
both ended up playing and singing a little that night.
I have to admit I was a little nervous about riding
the track, since my last outing on a vintage bike lasted all of about ten minutes and ended in the emergency room. The plan this time was to ride practice
and then a few parade laps with Larsson, Blackwell,
Bailey, and Wallenberg. I felt honored to be asked to
line up with them. Once Kasson and I drove through
the gate Saturday morning and found our parking
place in the pits, my nerves went away. Everyone was
so welcoming, so friendly, and seemed really happy
just to be there.
Washington’s Dallas Nyblod was there with his
ultra-trick Jawa and his personally machined custom
triple clamps and side-chain cover. Dr. Ed Sims had
year-accurate gear to match each of his bikes; on Sat-
urday he rode his ’ 73 CZ 125 with gear to match. Long-
time Owyhee Motorcycle Club member Ray Hale, now
past 70, didn’t race but brought his perfectly restored
Pentons for the rest of us to see and enjoy. CZ Willie
Brown, 72, was racing for the first time since his stroke.
He held out his throttle hand to show me he couldn’t
close it all the way, but he told me he just had to get
back out and race. The Ossa kid—Billings, Montana’s
Leland Loper—looked, as he won his first moto, to be
about my age. He turned out to be 75. Fred and Fran
Villopoto, Ryan’s grandparents, were celebrating their
50th wedding anniversary that weekend—racing.
With my first whiff of bean oil, I
fell back in time to 1971. I stood in
the Boise Vintage Cycle pits admiring the Husky 125 they’d prepped
for me. It was perfect. The track
was perfect. There wasn’t a braking bump that didn’t suit the bike’s
vintage suspension. Jumps were nicely rolled at their
tops, throwing riders gently out, rather than abruptly
straight up. The ground was sandy and deep. In my
first lap of practice, when I twisted the throttle enough
to feel the hit of the little Husky’s narrow powerband
and charged up and through the right-hand sweeper
after the first jump, I experienced déjà vu. But it
wasn’t. I really had been there before.
I looked ahead to the next corner, as I looked forward
to spending the rest of the day among kindred spirits.
(From left) The Evolution
Amateur and Intermediate
classes were stacked with
riders; Scott Wallenberg
( 13) does battle with Shaun