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A desert racer with a racing pedigree

“Long before modern heroes backflipped for TV cameras and energy drink contracts, tough men thrashed modified street machines in the lonely deserts of the Southwest USA and Baja. This is one of those bikes.”
– Bill Bryant of Chop Cult

This particular sled was owned by Motorcycle Hall of Famer Mike (Party Animal) Parti and was campaigned in 1969 and 1970. Wes White of Four Aces Cycle in Pacoima, CA, plucked it up a few years back and pulls it out once in a while for a rip around the parking lot. Its days of competition are over, and it’s left as a monument to what Wes calls the “Essence of Mojave”.

Once Wes entered it in a concourse event where one judge told him afterward that his filthy bike was an “insult to the men who spent countless hours restoring their machines.” Another judge at the same event loved the bike and understood exactly why Mr. White will likely never give this bike a bath. Don’t want to scrub off that essence man, you can’t get that back.

The machine is built around a 1967 frame with a 1968 TR6C (single carb competition) engine. Like all desert machines, this one’s built to win races of attrition–not for top speed or to win shiny bike shows. Significant mods abound. Note the pre-unit Lucas K2F mag which has been grafted to unit cases. Think about it, you wouldn’t want a mag hanging off the side just to be wrecked the first time the rider dumped it in a sand wash. Other mods are questionable but period-correct. Did putting a few links of chain around the fork legs to “preload” the springs really work? Who knows, but it was one more place to carry a few extra links. The crossbar serves as a good location for a few more and a master link, of course. Can you imagine how valuable a master link was to the first desert racer who got stuck in the middle of nowhere without one? Saving the chain is a common theme as you look at the handmade chainguard fitted over the gigantic rear sprocket. Garden hose over cut-down folding foot pegs is a far cry from the cast titanium pegs riders use today. The gearbox horn has been removed for better oil line access and the oil filler has been moved forward to be out of the way.

Can a machine have a soul? It’s just a bunch of rubber, aluminum, and steel, right? I argue that a bike like this with its legacy of scars and purposeful mods has more soul than a hungover Baptist choir. It clearly is a visual legacy left by men who made their fun the hard way and we’re proud to document it here.

Original article by Chop Cult
Patrick Flynn

Patrick Flynn

Patrick Flynn, a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, combines over a decade of OEM motorcycle marketing experience with his passion for custom builds. Since 2008, he has been the driving force behind The Bullitt, a digital platform celebrating the art and culture of motorcycles.