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Old 01-24-2008, 08:50 AM   #92
Valleyrider
I Survived The '60s
 
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Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Idaho Panhandler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strong Bad

Interesting thread, to say the least. I grew up in Southern California, graduating from High School in 1970. I remember the GYT kitted Yamahas at Trojan speedway, and at Elsinore and Parris.

Fresh out of high school I got a job porting cylinders for the once famous EC Birt, owner of Precision Cycles. Precision Cycles was a small shop that sold Macio, Rickman, Hodaka and a few obscure brands like Zundap, Puch, & Carabela. EC had a reputation for speed tuning, you told him what kind of rider you were and he developed a package for you that typically included a port job, custom expansion chamber, head work, and carburetor. Long before the factories used reed valves EC had picked up on them from the kart racers. We were making tons of money converting piston port bikes to reed valves. One of the more popular reed valve conversions were for the CZs being sold up the street by Joe Kubacheck. One thing you have to remember was that most of the 2 strokes being sold were really mild in their tuning. With little effort at all in the early 70’s you could double the horsepower of a stock bike. Bikes that werent too mild were too wild (Suz 400 cyclone) there you made money by building a pipe with more center section and mellowing them out. The guys who bought our stuff thought we were magic. EC had a huge ego and somehow he figured out that magazines have no clue as to anything other than selling magazines and that they were always desperate for something to write about. EC came up with the idea of inviting a magazine into his shop so he could share his “Hot Tips” and secrets. OMG, the sales went through the roof! We were cranking out a half dozen port jobs and a dozen pipes a day.

The down side was that EC was a pain in the ass and a real jerk to work for. His main mechanic was pissed off enough and had a good enough relationship with the customers that he decided to open his own speed shop. He started in a garage he didn’t even attempt to try to pick up a dealership. I used to port for EC during the day and then at night I would go over to my friends business in the garage and port at night. Oh yeah the mechanic’s name Donny Emler. In a very short time, one of his best customers bank rolled Donny into business as Uncle Donnie’s Flying Machine Factory.

All of this happened just about the same time the Honda Elsinores took off. Honda had done their home work and the “You meet the nicest people on Honda” took motorcycles from Hells Angles to the guy next door. Southern California was exploding with motocross. You could race 4 to 5 times a week if you wanted to. The 125 Hondas were easily improved with a port job and a pipe. Uncle Donny took full advantage of EC’s magazine techniques and soon he was off and running selling all we could make via magazine exposure. The biggest thing to happen for Donny and what became FMF was that one of the riders he had sponsored as a young gun got picked up by American Honda. That young gun, Marty Smith, demanded that his bike use a FMF pipe, and as such, FMF became the first after market pipe on a “works” bike. I guess it was kind of good for sales eh?



Well, my glass of Scotch is empty and the rest is a blur anyway, so I'll leave it at that for now.
Wow! I raced with Don at Trojan!! It's been 40 years since I've seen him. It was about that time that the motocross and speedway guys split off from the flattrack/TT group. Larry Shaw's (Speedway "Lightning Larry Shaw") father used to try to get me drunk before the races at Elsinore. I was 19 or 20 at the time and he would make me wine coolers before the races started. Thought it was pretty cool drinking with him!! Then I finally realized what was happening. Larry could never beat me sober or tipsy.
Troy McKee was the fast guy in the 100cc class on a Hodaka. Can't remember who did his engines, but he had a reed valve setup on it and it Hauled A$$. Tom Berry had a fast YL1 Yamaha that had the rotary valve on the right side, but also had a second carb. Again, can't remember who built it, but It was fast when it ran...
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