Shark of the Month October 13
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Was northern Maine, now gulf coast of Florida
Brings back a lot of memories. I had an uncle who rode most of his life and he used to take me to the races there (in his pick up truck) starting when I was about twelve. Of course back then the races were actually a big deal and part of the AMA national points championship. The whole event was a real eye opener for a twelve year old who had already decided he loved motorcycles based on riding hundreds of miles round, and around, and around the uncle's back yard on an old Vespa my uncle had picked up as a non-runner that someone had put out by the side of the road for free. He was a master mechanic and soon had it up and running. As a 12 year old Laconia was like going to the circus, only better. Racing had switched from the original street race to Bryar Motorsports Park (1.6 mile road race track), which was about a 1,000% better for racing than the (NASCAR) track that's there now.
.... walking through the parking lots at the track looking at all the mods, paint jobs, etc. Ya gotta remember that there were almost now Japanese bikes at that time. Mostly Harleys, BMWs, Triumphs, Beezas, Nortons, and throw in a few Indians, Ariels, and a Matchless or two.
.... seeing all those bad-ass Hell's Angels that always camped out together under the big pines across from the beer store nearest the track.
.... driving to the track you'd see at least a couple of "Show us your Tits" home made signs. I never did see any tits there, but just the thought that I might was enough to keep this 12 year old swivel head looking.
.... and the racing was spectacular. Gary Nixon, George Roeder, Yvonne DuHamel, Mert Lawwill, Dick Mann, Barry Sheen, King Kenny, and many other brave racers. It was almost exclusively Harleys against the Brit bikes in the early years as the Japanese bikes were still a couple of years away, and Indian had already closed their doors.
.... and the racers didn't stop at dark. Along about midnight when the racers were well 'sauced', they used to sometimes open up the small dirt oval track that was there so they could run the “Rental Car Nationals”. This tradition ran for quite a few years. “Bubba Shobert drove it in a Lincoln one year. We had some pretty good rental car races on that little track. In one of them my car ended up on the tire wall and we had to get the front-loader out to get it down.”
.... people used to camp on both sides of Rte. 106 for miles - it was wall to wall tents and tarps, and the occasional small camping trailer. "Party Central" in a BIG way. No one stayed in hotels or rented summer cottages back then.
Then came 1965 and the Weirs Beach riots. That nearly put an end to the whole event. A few years later, while in college, I used to get about 10 friends to make the 3 hour drive to the races. Of course we camped on the side of the road .... and we had our own "Show us your Tits" signs.
I think my first trip to the Laconia races was 1964 and my last was about 5 years ago. Damn, those are some fine memories!
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” - HST
Last edited by Uncle Fuzzy; 06-16-2019 at 01:03 PM.