British Customs' Legends Series examines the original off-road motorcycle races of the 50s, 60s, and 70s: hare & hound races and hare scrambles.
LOS ANGELES, CA
JANUARY 05, 2016
The legends of motorcycling are fading, and the face of motorcycling is changing as they drift into the past. Motorcycling is losing the grit and personality it once had as the people who created the motorcycle lifestyle become lost to us. This is largely due to a lack of digitization, as the only remaining records of these figures ever having existed or these defining events ever having happened are in forgotten and yellowing archives.
But there is someone trying to keep these mass disappearances from happening. British Customs, a lifestyle brand and designer of aftermarket motorcycle parts, has been seeking out the legends who are still with us, interviewing them, and digitizing their archives. British Customs is publishing all these materials on their blog as they are completed or uploaded to create an authoritative database documenting the heritage of motorcycling. They’re also delving into the remaining legends’ networks to find other figures who should be shared with today’s motorcycle community.
These legends don’t only extend to racers, but cover the personalities, events, locations, designers, tuners, machines, and innovators that collectively created the rich heritage of motorcycling.
British Customs is calling this the Legends Series. The Legends Series is about bringing the past into the present and inspiring riders of all generations by sharing these great stories and accomplishments with them. Riders are also able to get their own piece of history by installing any of the parts British Customs has released that were designed with input from some of the legends, such as the Drag Pipes, Slash Cut TT Exhaust System, Pro Builder Series Mule Motorcycles parts, and the Stainless Steel Collection.
To start the Legends Series, British Customs published highly researched and curated content on Eddie Mulder, Sonny Nutter, and other events and figures such as the hare scrambles that many iconic racers got their careers started by competing in.
Eddie Mulder was an accomplished motorcycle racer, stuntman, and defining personality. Mulder was a member of the infamous and highly selective Checkers MC, and he was the first motorcycle racer to win the AMA’s Grand National Triple Crown in 1970. He retired from racing to become a famous Hollywood stuntman, doubling for such actors as Clint Eastwood in films like Magnum Force, Evel Knievel in Viva Knievel!, and numerous others. In his late 60s, he competed in and won the harrowing Pikes Peak International Hillclimb’s Vintage Motorcycle Class a staggering eight times. He now puts on the biggest dirt track racing series in the west coast to keep dirt track racing alive for new generations of riders.
With Mulder, British Customs built a custom motorcycle called Triumphant. Triumphant is a 2007 Triumph Bonneville that was modeled after the 1969 Triumph Bonneville that Mulder won Pikes Peak on. Triumphant’s build notes were recently published on the British Customs blog.
Sonny Nutter was one of the top international speedway racers in the 60s and 70s. He was a two-time California State Speedway Champion, and in 1975 was asked to lead the American National Speedway Team at Israel World Speedway ChampionshipsWith Nutter, British Customs built a custom motorcycle called The Sonny Nutter Tribute. The Sonny Nutter Tribute is a modern version of the bikes Nutter used to ride on in the flat track races of 60s and 70s. British Customs published the build notes for the Sonny Nutter Tribute on their blog.
Many legendary racers got their start competing in hare scrambles and hare and hound races. In a hare and hound race, hundreds of competitors would start an 80 mile race across two courses of natural, rugged terrain at the same time and race to a “smoke bomb” on the horizon. In hare scrambles, racers would do multiple laps around the same course across difficult terrain, often in deserts or forests. The motorcycles used were common motorcycles use for riding on the street that had been stripped down to the bare minimum parts to excel at off-road racing.
British Customs has published style guides on how to transform any Triumph Modern Classic including the iconic Bonneville, Thruxton, and Scrambler into motorcycles like those used by the legends for various kinds of riding in the 60s and 70s.
Each week, British Customs will publish at least two pieces on the iconic figures, events, machines, tuners, locations, and racers who established the motorcycle lifestyle and heritage that riders carry with them today.Anyone interested in using or viewing the archival images and documents British Customs is digitizing is encouraged to get in contact with them.
About British Customs:
British Customs is a Southern California-based lifestyle brand and designer of aftermarket motorcycle parts. They are known for making the highest quality factory-spec bolt-on parts that only require common tools and minimal technical knowledge to install. With any of their parts upgrades, the average rider can completely customize his or her motorcycle in a weekend.