While I was looking for some photos I had sneaked in the Sistine Chapel many years ago and did not find, I found the above photo I had been looking for for many years of my motorcycle after I had a spectacular crash doing high jumps. I thought the photo was lost. What happened is that after flying about 15 feet in the air, I landed on the front wheel first. Surprisingly the impact didn’t bend the front wheel, but it did torque the front forks, broke the frame under the gas tank, and bent the downtube on the frame by the engine. If I had collision insurance on it back then it would have been considered a total loss. What was even more surprising is that I was relatively unhurt by the incident. If I remember correctly, the impact split my helmet, which would have been my head if I wasn’t wearing a helmet. My friend, Mike Rhoades, who was watching from another vantage point rode his motorcycle over and said: “That was cool. I want to see you do that again!” There was no replay, as we had to find a few strands of baling wire to twist together so he could tow me home.
One of the first stories Joel Lewis will tell people about us is how I rode up the dunes with Joel on the back of my motorcycle at full throttle (about 70 mph) and how we flew through the air like madmen. The first story Mike would tell people was about my spectacular crash, also. My wild motorcycle riding gave people lasting memories.
After the crash, I took the motorcycle to Mr. Haagenson’s shop and he helped me bend the frame back into shape, line it up, and weld it back together. Then I took the engine apart, rebuilt it, souped it up, painted it black, got a tuned exhaust, a desert tank, new fenders, and made it into a really fast and cool-looking dirtbike for the time. It wasn’t long after that Yamaha introduced motocross bikes with mono shocks that we taller, faster, and much better at high jumping. A few years later I got a Yamaha 500cc Enduro and then graduated to a 750cc street bike.