American Federation of Motorcyclists -- 2

More two-wheeler action.   There are great stories to tell here but they're not my stories.  Others who lived this era  might consider putting together their photos & memories and creating a new site dedicated to west coast motorcycle road racing in the 1960s and 1970s. 

Santa Barbara, Sept. 3, 1961.  The beginning of the end for the "one-lungers".  #2 Don Vesco on a 4-cylinder 250cc. Honda RC161 leads #25 John McLaughlin on a 500cc. Matchless G50.  Vesco and Salvador Soto on another RC161 ran away from the suddenly antiquated British machinery. 

Bill Cleghorn corrects and adds to this information:  "Don Vesco is shown on a Honda RC-160.  American Honda Motors had, I believe,  two Honda-4 250s at that particular moment.  One was a 1960 RC-160 that had CHROME Megaphones and a slightly different fairing and seat back.  (That bike was eventually heavily chromed and detailed and sent to Bill Harrah's Automobile Collection/Museum).  The other bike, the one Soto must have been riding, was the newer 1961 RC-161 with BLACK megaphones and fully enclosed fairing (w/belly pan).

(3-14-09)  From Bill "Mr. Honda" Silver:

The grainy photo showing Vesco on the bike appears to me to have telescopic front forks, which would make it an RC161. The RC160 had leading link forks.

I remember watching these bikes race at other locations, the time I remember the most was the SCCA race at the Oakland Airport just before it opened for operations.  Bill Krause won the big car race in a Birdcage Maserati.  Buddy Parriott had a spirited race on his 500cc Norton Manx vs. Ed Kretz Jr. on the AHM RC-161 Honda-4 250, which was so fast they made it start with the 500s instead of on the 2nd grid of 250s & under!  It was Parriott at the flag, but just barely....the 250 Honda would always lead through the tight, twisty turns only to be passed back just before the start/finish line!"

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