Road to Born Free Part 4

With the show over it was time to spend a few days winding down.

It was two wheels of a different kind in a beautiful setting called Big Bear Lake.

By the time we got there it was on dark, a little A frame nestled in the pine forest. I slept like a log that night. I’m not sure if it was the altitude or the relief that this project was finally completed as I imagined it some 3 years ago.

It gave me a chance to repack my bags and get ready for our final days in the USA.

After a fun day on the mountain bike we dropped back down into LA.

It was going to be a quiet day, drop the bike off and then just make our way to the airport.

Our friends at Born Free mentioned we should check out the Early Ford Parts Store and it didn’t disappoint.

It was organised chaos of the best kind.

After that we picked a route on the GMC Google Maps to the bike drop off point that didn’t lead us to a major highway and ended up on Route 66 driving past a name of a shop that I knew all too well, Chabott Engineering.

Click the link and see what I mean.

I distinctly remembered this video, walked into the shop and was greeted by the man himself.

If there is one thing I hate doing its barging into someones shop with a camera and awkwardly trying to explain what I am doing there. Shinya was quietly working on a customers landspeed record bike, like all the bikes in his shop it wore the signature handcrafted bodywork that Shinya is famous for.

It’s funny because I fell in love with custom motorcycles in Japan of all places, the way the Japanese take inspiration from American culture and then fine tune it with their eye for detail often creates stunning results.

This coupled with the quiet, hardworking and humble nature of Shinya makes it one very special moment for me. He showed me round the workshop, we discussed bikes and his current projects. I mentioned to him that he was an inspiration to me to set my own landspeed record in 2015 and that I value his work to the highest standards.

Whenever I second guess putting something online I am always reminded by the things that I gain inspiration from, telling a story, sharing a project or a process will undoubtedly inspire someone, somewhere around the world and Shinya was that guy for me.

I wanted to talk to him forever but I also recognised that he was busy, he works alone and he mentioned he had three bikes to prepare for Speedweek, I hope one day I can return and spend a little more time getting to know him.

Back on the road in our GMC (which I am going to miss) I recognised a shop from a previous visit 5 years ago. It was the Justice Brothers HQ/ Museum.

It’s home to my all time favorite car in the world, yep thats right its this one!

Every time I see it it just evokes some kind of familiarity with speedway, drag racing, hot rods, race boats and all the good things about that experimental era in racing.

But thats not where things end, there are rooms and garages full of the coolest retired race cars.

I spent some time trying to take it all in as usual, it’s not very often I get to surround myself with machines like these.

After looking around all the cars we decided we should head off and sort out the BMW storage.

Ok just one more loop around the museum!

Ok now I am done.

On our way out I saw a familiar face, the one, the only Ed Justice Jr (you really should follow him on instagram) he mentioned that he loved the bike and he was interested in what we were up to, after a quick chat he ushered us into his private collection which I cant show you, but it was incredible to say the least.

In short Ed grew up in one of the most important eras of motorsport, at a young age he took a camera and captured the scene he grew up in, he quickly made a name for himself and went on to cover all forms of motorsport. His photos and his story’s are extremely important to me because they allow me to relive an era I wasn’t a part of, an era that I draw a lot of inspiration from.

To make my last day even more memorable the BMW was invited into the Motorcycles as Art Exhibition at Sturgis Motorcycle rally, this meant its stay would be extended. In a pinch Roland Sands agreed to look after the bike while I was away. I met Roland on the Thursday night prior to this, my good friend Heath Pinter introduced me to him and I told Roland how much I appreciated his work and how his early KTM 690 Projects inspired my own custom bikes. In a humbling moment for me Roland mentioned that he had followed the BMW build and wanted to incorporate some of the things I had done on my bike in to his own bikes.

Needless to say I got on the plane with a head spin, our last day was just meant to be a quiet one, next minute we are talking shop with the best photographers and craftsmen in the world. I wont lie, this bike really put me to the test in a very difficult time, I had so many chances to give up on it, I persisted and I promised myself that something good would eventuate from all the hard work. Well it took three years but the last 10 days just demonstrated to me that if you just stay focused and stay persistent in the end everything will work out.

I can’t express how many amazing people I have met this trip, we can all sit at home and watch the news and believe it’s too dangerous to go anywhere, but in reality it couldn’t be any further from that. I want to thank the good folks at Born Free for this opportunity, BMW for believing that I could make this happen, my family for their support and every-single person who double tapped a photo of this bike.

I am excited for whats to come with this bike but I am also relieved that its finished, now I can mentally move on and I think your going to love what I have planned. Thanks for reading.

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