Editorial about Hammer & Tongs Philosophy
March 2012

First of all, DON’T DO IT. It’ll kill ya. - - - They say never mix medication with alchohol. I'm only gonna tell you once. Race Promotion, coupled with pride- the drug you tried because your friends were doing it - without wanting to at all - before you knew what was happening, you were tangled in it - a brief high & genuine satisfaction at doing a good job, followed by awful lows, in the form of loooooong hours, tremendous responsibility, and a sure way to ruin your financial situation. Often and often I tried to look away from the possibility that it was a monumental waste of life.

And yet I made hundreds of friends and experienced the highest highs one can imagine being able to race these incredible vintage motorcycles at a time when the sport was balanced perfectly. And now that I am excusing myself from the stage, I would like to share my philosophy- how and why I did what I did with the VDR and Hammer & Tongs racing series.

A few years ago I realized that Vintage Motocross only has a finite lifespan,
and it is about to be over.

what? Siege, what are you talking about?
It isn’t dying... it is very healthy~!

True. Yet it will only be alive a short time because of why it is alive. Every time I turn around I hear about some guy shipping a whole CRATE of perfectly good bikes overseas. Each crate is a chunk of possible racing, possible competition, now gone forever from our scene. When you line up with the two fellow racers in your class, you have no way of seeing the four other riders that would have been there.

Each of those invisible guys is real. They aren’t ghosts. They just aren’t lined up next to you. They’re someplace else. At home. Working on the house. Each one of them missed that RM, or Pursang by a day. Sometimes five minutes. Your season will have races where you are the only one just because they aren’t there. So as a result we cherish the bikes that we do have and then are reluctant to take them out into the dirt, even though they are dirt bikes. The perfect ready-to-go CZ400 sitting sadly in a den. Next to a big-screen TV. No place for a thoroughbred. And see? -again the pool gets even smaller. But there is a more important element.

Many times I have heard people say we HAVE to get the kids involved, because when we’re gone, who is going to race these bikes?

The answer is NO ONE. No one is going to race them. It’s over.

And it’s OK. The only people who really care about the last of the twinshock racing machines is us. Our kids will turn up someday saying Dad check it out- I’m gonna get into Vintage Motocross. We will leap out our recliners – OK – maybe jerk creakily out of them maybe, but filled with joy-

and say COOL~! whaddya have? Our kids will say I picked up an ’05 YZF Nine Thousand, or whatever they are- and our momentarily aroused interest will flip to disappointment. I thought you said Vintage. I did, Dad. This IS Vintage. We will say NO NO – you need a 74 CR250.

Dad- are you kidding? Where would I get that? Also you can’t ride them- there’s no suspension at all~!


now looking to the future
photo taken at the last Hammer & Tongs Race

So our job- and I mean RIGHT NOW- is to enjoy the hell out of it. Let it burn bright- a ferocious roman candle from Valhalla. Bikes are still around – not cheap like they were in ’99. But they are there. Sure they’ll be around ten twenty years from now- but the people who will race our bikes- CZs Maicos, Elsinores and Montesas - will be the sons of rich men. Strutting cologne wearing playboy types; the sort of persons we all agree need to accidentally be eaten by sharks on some tropical vacation….

Obviously I don't want to be right on this. I hope our sport exhibits some lasting power. But one thing is sure- it ain't over yet. A fellow can still pick up a race bike- encounter the real thing – a bike in a garage sale, on overheard conversation at the Cafe. For me it was the butcher carving up meat behind the counter at the grocery store. I went in looking for a pork chop. I came out with an 81 YZ250H. The fellow was looking to give his old race bike to someone who might really enjoy it.

It's no fun still ready to play a game when everyone has faded off to bed. For the time being we are mostly still awake- and those available to today now is a marvelous wide cross section of society. In their helmets, you can't tell who is a truck driver and who is a judge. We have blue collar, white collar, black belts, purple hearts. That richness is what makes it all worth it. The sport can still be enjoyed by the common man. next