The American Heroes profiles each of those riders in depth: Additionally, the book covers America's pioneers in the world championships, including Gary Nixon and Steve Baker and their exploits in the F class, as well as Pat Hennen, the first American to win a cc GP. At first glance, Grand Prix Motorcycle Racers appears to offer simply a short biography of each of the riders, but within just a few pages of reading it is obviously much more than that. Current interviews with each of the champions and people that worked with them offer considerable insight into each rider's championship seasons, and their comments are often refreshing given the sometimes years of hindsight.
What's especially interesting is reading one viewpoint of a certain race or time in one rider's profile, then later reading a second and sometimes contrasting viewpoint. First was a stunt show performed by Jason Pullen, the trickster who famously performs his spectacle on H-D equipment.
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Next up were a few more auction items from Brown and Cavaian, followed by a flag-folding ceremony conducted by local military troops. Busting up the Bar-and-Shield clan was a group of Star motorcycles at the front of the line provided for the celebrity racers by Yamaha, a title sponsor of the event. King Kenny led the group away, with his sons trailing behind along with Lawson and Lawwill.
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Despite the speed potential of being on the road with eight GP world titles, the pace was quite sedate and respectful. Lawwill looked fantastic riding in an open-face helmet on one of his Street Tracker machines, certainly the coolest bike in the group.
Turned out it was a loose carburetor on his tweaked Harley motor. Such a mishap might mean the end of the ride for many, but the resourceful Lawwill simply pulled out his tools and had the bike running again in minutes!
Further into the ride was a surreal moment when I was trying to shoot some video of KRJR riding next to me at 45 mph or so. He motioned with his hand for my camera as if he wanted me to pass it to him. My first instinct was to decline the offer, not wanting to risk dropping the camera during a delicate maneuver. That feeling subsided in about the same amount of time it takes a MotoGP bike to upshift after realizing that I was riding with one of the most talented motorcycle racers in the world!
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I was thrilled to watch Junior ride up next to Lawson and Lawwill and get some footage with my camera. The ride reached its destination in Jamestown, a small mining community nestled just to the west of the Sierra Mountains. Once we pulled in, I moseyed over to ask Kenny if he was more comfy on the stretched out Star Raider he was riding than the crunch of a GP bike.
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