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Friday
Nov212014

Ogri: Lap of Honour

The original cafe racer cartoon hero is pulling on his boots for one last great ride. Ogri, the legendary character created in 1967 by British illustrator Paul Sample, is the subject of a huge book of collected strips due for release next year - and the star of a Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise the funds needed to print it.

At a massive 440+ pages, The Ogri Compendium will bring together every single surviving Ogri cartoon strip - including several never before published - plus extra material, including interviews and history. The strip first appeared in the short-lived ‘Chopper’ magazine, but quickly found a regular home in the radical lifestyle-oriented ‘Bike’ magazine, running from 1972 right up until 2013 - a near-unbroken run of over forty years in a single title, making this one of the longest-running cartoon strips ever.

"I've got better at drawing over the years”, says Paul, and bringing all the strips together in one place does really show how his style has evolved during the decades since he first doodled a clean-shaven, golden-locked dude in one of his college sketchbooks. Ogri’s barely aged in all that time, and his old-school rocker dress sense (plus, of course, signature winged helmet), has stayed just as retro as his attitude to authority and idiots. His mighty Norvin, ‘Armageddon’, has also endured.  As materials and print technology have evolved, though, the tight black-and-white line of early strips gave way to a banging use of colour that ventures firmly into psychedelia and stays there. Groovy.

Looking at Paul’s work, the names of James Gillray and Robert Crumb inevitably spring to mind. Like both these great graphic artists, his characters are so full of life that they leap off the page - and the background detail means that a six-panel joke can have you studying its frames for far longer than is reasonable. Unstoppable Ogri, together with his busty, ball-breaking girlfriend Mitzi, hopeless but ever-willing cousin Malcolm, and faithful companion Kickstart the Dog, are characters from cafe racer history we all need to know.

As well as hardback and softback copies of the book, the publishers have put together a one-time-only selection of rewards - including the chance to meet Paul at the Ace Cafe London’s ‘Triton and Cafe Racer Day’ next year. Check out the Kickstarter campaign or sign up to the Team Ogri mailing list.  Kickstarter campaign closes midnight GMT on Sunday November 30th.

-Claire Leavey (Guest Contributer)

 

 

Monday
Nov172014

The making of "On Any Sunday": Then and Now

The motorcycle industry is buzzing in response to On Any Sunday,The Next Chapter. It was released on November 7th in over 250 theaters around the country. Here's quick comparison of the original and newly released film:

Date : 

  1971

2014

Format:

  24 Volt Film Cameras

4k Ultra HD

Backed by:

  Steve McQueen Solar Productions

RedBull Media House | Free Ride Entertainment

Budget:

  $313K

$2Mil

Directed by:

  Bruce Brown

Dana Brown

 

Bruce Brown’s 1971 Documentary On Any Sunday is said to have changed the motorcycle industry in a positive way and is still regarded as one of the most iconic motorcycle films ever made. The first documentary of its kind captured one of the most exciting seasons of Flat Track racing in the history of the sport. This would be the season Gene Romero would claim the Grand National Championship and take the coveted #1 plate from his friend and fellow racer Mert Lawwill. “The fact that it worked and people liked it, and it was a good thing for the motorcycle industry, I think some husky dealer in TX sold 24 Huskys the day opened,"says Bruce Brown. 

There were some challenges filming some of the sequences. Some of the most dramatic shots of the movie were the extreme closeup slow-motion segments of the Grand National races. From his surfing movie days, Brown was used to working with super telephoto lenses. The budget didn’t allow the expense of high-speed cameras, so Brown improvised by using 24-volt batteries in the 12-volt film cameras. The result was a makeshift high-speed camera. Brown also used a helmet camera on some of the riders, one of the first times something like that had been attempted. This was before the days of miniature cameras and the set-up was often quite bulky on the rider’s helmet.

Photo Credit: Bruce Brown Films

One recent afternoon, Sarah Lahalih sat down with the Brown Family to discuss surfing, motorcycles and in particular the topic of "On Any Sunday". 

Bruce, do you still follow racing and the current stars of the sport? ”Oh yes, Kenny Roberts became a good friend, and Wayne Rainey and all those MotoGP guys. Geeze, it’s amazing how MotoGP and Motorcross turned big time, Supercross and Flat Track are just almost the exactly the same as it always was. The AMA is not even televised anymore, what a tragedy. I don’t keep up with the young guys so much, but Mert (Lawwill) and I went up to Calistoga for a race and that one little girl Shayna Texter is such a cutie pie.”

You were Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. When you started filming On Any Sunday, did you know the gravity of what you were about to create? "No, I had no idea, you see, making a movie is like having a baby, nobody has an ugly baby, but in fact a lot of people do they just don’t know it.” 

What surprised you most during filming? “Those guys were just a really nice group of people, most of them were humble, and they realized they are like a big fish in a little pond. They all became lifelong friends.”

What does it mean to you that your son, Dana is remaking your movie? “Oh it’s great, we worked together on endless summer 2. He does it different than I did. He lets the people tell their own story and add some of his own. In my films, I did all the talking and told the story, there was very little dialogue. Dana also does a lot of human interest stuff.”

Bruce Brown (left) and Dana Brown (right) Photo Credit:Scott G Toepfer Photography 

Dana Brown is best known for his Surf Documentary "Step Into Liquid" which was said to be the best surf documentary ever made. He also created "Dust To Glory" which explores the grueling Baja 1000 race. Red Bull Media House approached Dana about doing another surf film, but he later decided on making On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter instead. 

As Director Dana Brown points out about On Any Sunday, The Next Chapter, "Don’t mistake it for a sequel. It is inspired by Dad’s film, but it is intended to be a stand-alone movie. The timing of it was good. I had toyed with the idea if making another motorcycle movie, because I think it’s such a rich canvas. This film is about the heart of the sport, the spirit of it,” said Dana. 

Dana, is your father also working or consulting on this film? "Dad is like a cheerleader on this movie.”

What are some of the differences between making this film today versus back in 1970? “It was expensive with film to do sit down interviews. Now it is cheap to buy a chip for $40. I think the evolution of storytelling is based on resources and technology. This film was shot in 4K Ultra HD and we had a $2mil budget. In the original On Any Sunday, Bruce did all the narration live in theaters and large halls all over the US for 2 years before a distributor picked it up."

Photo credit: Chris Tedesco, Red Bull Content Pool

Bruce, what are some of the challenges filming this movie? "To make a film you’ve gotta work 20 hours a day, you live with it, wake up thinking about it, and you start thinking wow I used to have a life. It becomes an obsession. The nuts and bolts of making a film are hard work. You pan for gold for over 2 years and you put that over there, and this over there, while still making it look like a really cool home movie.”

Mention some of the differences between the new racers and the ones from the original film? "There seems to be more lanes for athletes to bridge from Motorcross to Supermoto to GP, etc. where the older racers were typically one type of rider."

Photo credit:Garth Milan, Red Bull Content Pool

What do you like most about filming the subject of motorcycles and racing specifically? “There is a certain humility in motorcycling that is really refreshing, it is such a rich canvas. You don’t have to be clever, you just have to capture what it is. The story is there. I like a simple story, you don’t always have to go bigger. Like the Springfield Mile for instance, you don’t have to fake Springfield.”

Photo Credit:Garth Milan, Red Bull Content Pool

What was the best part about making the film?“There were so many great moments. I was overwhelmed by the response from the folks in Springfield. The fans and the racers went out of their way to personally thank me for being there. I also enjoy seeing the mutual admiration between the different disciplines of racers. Then there are the times when something really special happens, and you realize you captured it on film. You never think, oh wow, I helped create those moments, you just feel really lucky you were there to witness it. Like when Marc Marquez won the MotoGP championship in Valencia, I think I said something like, this Sunday.. 'reality' took a holiday. The energy there was like nothing I had ever experienced before. This stuff is romantic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the toy department, but it does not mean you can’t be romantic about it. If it’s not romantic, don’t do it. I also talked with Valentino Rossi at Wayne Rainey’s house and that was pretty exciting.“

We wrapped up the interview with cocktails and laughed over some stories that are off the record. A couple of weeks later, I had an opportunity to attend the red carpet screening in Hollywood on October 22, and I have to say, you are all in for a big treat. Bring the kids, this film is for everyone. It is now playing, find a screening near you.

- Sarah Lahalih (Guest Contributor, Blogger at ChicagoNow )

 

Thursday
Oct302014

Painful detour

It was a beautiful sunny autumn day in Ohio. I was the ride leader of “ RIDE WITH THE ROCKERS TO BARBER” and we were having a great run. I was properly outfitted with the finest riding gear from ride sponsors Icon 1000 , uglyBros USA , Ride 100% and American Kargo. We had started bright and early in Pittsburgh with a kick-start breakfast hosted by the Steel City Rockers. Next, we blasted west across Ohio for our lunch meet-up in Columbus with the local Ton-Up crew. After lunch we continued south west to our afternoon coffee stop rendezvous with Cafe Racer Cincinnati. We had riders joining us all along the way and our small group of four bikes departing Pittsburgh had now grown to close to a dozen. We departed the Coffee Emporium for the final leg of the day to Louisville with 300 miles down and approximately 100 more to go. As ride schedules usually go, we were running a little late. As we pulled out of Cincinnati we were about an hour behind. Tim Burke, our club host from Cafe Racer Cincinnati, volunteered to lead the ride out of the city through quickly building rush hour traffic.  

 

Traffic was getting heavy as I traveled in the middle of the pack on my awesome loaner bike from Soul Customs. Disaster happened swiftly and without warning as a distracted driver drifted into my lane and her rear bumper grazed my front wheel. The slight impact was enough to knock me slightly off balance and caused me to wobble. I almost went down on my right side as I was briefly able to save it, but I over corrected and I whiplashed down HARD on my left side. The impact with the asphalt was fierce as I landed directly on my shoulder and I felt and heard the crunch, my head immediately followed as it also bounced off the concrete. The motorcycle slid away from me and into the vehicle that cut me off as I skidded across the pavement. Adrenaline quickly had me on my feet and I gathered myself on the right shoulder of the highway, knocked out of breath from the impact. My fellow riders immediately stopped and controlled traffic around the crash site and looked me over, and then the bike. I knew immediately on impact that my collar bone and ribs were a casualty, but I also knew my cranium was safe thanks to my Icon Airmada helmet.

 
My friend Leggie from the Steel City Rockers was immediately sizing me up. Outwardly, I looked fine with the exception of the road rash on my helmet. The other riders were checking out the bike- they thought it looked ridable. I quickly put those thoughts to rest and told them I needed a ambulance. My ride was definitely over. As I sat in the chase truck waiting for the ambulance, overwhelming disappointment immediately sunk-in as I realized the ride was over for me and that weeks of planning and preparation were now wasted. My only saving grace was that my injuries were not more severe. As I sat there and I began to take an inventory of my many aches and pains. Remarkably, my armored Icon 1000 Vigilante Jacket and Ugly Bros Motorpool riding pants literally saved my skin. As I dusted myself off I noticed  that even though I skidded down the pavement on my left hip and backside that the jeans showed no road rash and that the knee and hip pads clearly did their job as my legs were abrasion free. I must also note that the Icon Elsinore boots also were also heros as the bike landed hard on my left leg and ankle and the heavy duty riding boots clearly saved my lower leg and foot. I asked Leggie to help me out of my Vigilante Jacket as I continued to wait for the emergency responders. Upon closer inspection of the jacket, there was subtle road rash abrasion on the left shoulder and sleeve but the jacket held up amazingly well under the circumstances. The armor did not save my shoulder but I do not believe there is any protection that would have saved my clavicle from such a violent blunt force collision with the tarmac. My Icon Beltway gloves also clearly saved me as I had no road rash or injuries to my hands. As the ambulance arrived I asked my riding buddies to help me pull off my Ton Up Club sweater, I didn't want to risk having it cut off. 
 
The EMTs immediately commended me for being properly “geared-up," they said they are often cleaning up much bigger messes when they arrive on the scene of motorcycle wrecks when riders do not wear a helmet or protective gear. I was transported to the Cincinnati University Hospital Emergency Room where I was evaluated and again was greeted with approval from medical staff for not making their jobs more difficult by making ill-advised fashion choices. As I suspected, the chest x-rays told the story: a broken clavicle, and 8 broken ribs. The good news was that none of the fractures were displaced and that surgery would not be necessary. The doctors recommended that I spend the night in the hospital under observation. An unexpected bonus of my stay in the hospital was a visit by Alysha of Look Twice Cincy, a local motorcycle riders advocate group. Alysha stopped in to bring me dinner and see if I needed anything. She even stayed with me until family arrived. As I sat and chatted with her she too agreed that there was a silver lining. My injuries were minor and in a couple of months I would be riding again. She noted that her hospital visits did not always have a happy ending.

 

Personally, I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the sponsors that supported the ride but especially to Icon 1000 and Ugly Bros for providing the gear that literally saved my ass and skull!
-Larry Fletcher

 

Photos of the gear post crash:


 
Sunday
Oct122014

Continental Scout by Analog Motorcycles

I'm sure many of you have seen the 1949 Indian Scout from Analog Motrorcycles coined "The Continental Scout" on the interwebs. What we wanted to present was a more personal approach with words from Tony Prust and some in process shots of the build. For those who haven't had the honor of meeting Tony, he is a highly respected in the custom arena. He is a very talented builder! Not only has he been wrenching and riding for close to 15 years, his builds have been shown on countless sites and he is currently the face of the Pro Builder Series from British Customs. On a personal note, he is modest, friendly and all around amazing dude. We couldn't have been more honored to share booth space with him this weekend at the Barber Vintage Festival. Thank you Tony! If you are at Barber, you still have time to stop by the Vanson area in the upper paddock and meet one of our favorite builders.  
~Sasha Valentine 

 

Here are the in process shots:
 

Now some personal words from Tony Prust:
"Many people have asked me to do a Harley build and I have pretty much declined on a regular basis as there are many HD builders around here and I am not really drawn to the design of the engine. The engine to me is the heart of the bike and I prefer using engines that have more character. I did however want to build an American made build but my options are limited seeing as HD is the only one with some older bikes that are worthy if customizing. Mostly anything else is super rare and difficult to find. And when you find one you don't want to customize it. This Indian was too far past a restoration point so it made for a perfect candidate. It also just so happens to line up with Indian making it's come back. That was merely coincidence though. Doesn't hurt on a marketing front though.

The build originally started with my buddy that went to the guys shop and saw it with me. I gave him my idea for the bike and we set a budget. Then we blew it like 3 times so I ended up sitting down with him and telling him my creativity for this one was going beyond what we had discussed and that the only way to really pay myself on this one we would probably need to sell. At that point he became the investor in the project. And once complete we would see where it landed cost wise and he would either buy me out of my portion or we would sell and recoup costs and split anything left over. So there is a magical number we are looking to get but not throwing it out there just yet. It isn't cheap though as it's a completely hand built machine so it's not priced for the faint of heart. But if you are interested feel free to send me your offers and I can let you know if you are near the top of the list or not. We have already had a couple interested parties but at this time I am using it for media and promotion for Analog and showing it off. It will be at the Barber Vintage festival this weekend in Alabama. Then the plan is hold onto it and take to the Quail gathering in May next year and show it off there a bit.

The engine builder used to race these and Warriors and hand cut 5 billet cylinders during the 70's. He happened to have one that never was used so we gut that one. He made or modified several internal. One of the engines short comings were the heads. The push rod tubes thread in from the top and you are supposed to tighten and then back out but most people didn't know that so they would tighten and when the engine heated up it expanded the push rod tubes and cracked the heads. I called around hunting for heads and after about 4 different sources, I found a guy in Maine that said he had a bunch up and would call me when he went through them. Said he found 30 of them and out of the those 3 were not cracked. So I picked 2. When I received them the castings were very different so I had to machine the bigger finned one down to match the smaller finned one. That little engine was quite the challenge to get it to the level it was. And then Mikes polishing blew my mind at how well he got it polished up. 

It rides great. Still working out a few bugs but nothing major. For a 500cc 65 year old engine and design it's not a bad little machine. I think Indian was on to something but didn't spend enough time in the development stages to make it last. It's light and nibble as well. I'd guess 380lbs and maybe 38 hp. This is merely a guess but shouldn't be too far off." ~Tony Prust

The details:
-Track Master style frame made by Frame Crafters
-All aluminum tank, seat and fairing designed by Analog formed by Pavletic Metal Shaping
-Brass light covers and fender formed by Mike Ardito
-Polishing by Mike’s Polishing, Rodsmith, and Analog
-Engine built by Bill Bailey of ZyZX Vintage Motorcycles
-Engine has hand cut billet cyclinder, 12 volt conversion and Dyna III electronic ignition.
-Carburetor Amal 928
-Exhaust custom made by Analog with parts and stubby mufflers from Cone Engineering
-Custom made oil tank with internal plumbing made by Chassis Services
-All plumbing designed and made by Analog
-Paint and clear coat by Kiel of Crown Autobody
-Gold leaf and pin striping by Brando
-Seat by Rod’s Designs
-Magura controls
-Speedometer designed and rebuilt by Seattle Speedometer
-Tarrozi rear sets
-Betor Forks and triples
-TZ750 hubs with custom detailing by Analog
-Spokes and rims made by Buchanan’s
-Speedo mount, rear sprocket and oil manifold machined by Free Form Design
-Gas cap by Crime Scene Choppers
-Piaa LED headlights
-Radiantz puck LED taillight frenched into seat hump
-All custom electrical. Battery and fuse block under seat hump
-Custom made bar switch by Analog,
-Modified GSXR windscreen
-Maund Speed equip velocity stack
-Avon Road Rider tires
-All custom made cables by Ed Zender at Morries place
-Extremely strange and difficult to design custom kick starter lever (version 5) by Analog
-Top oiler lines made by HEL brake lines
-Probably forgetting a bunch ;-)