An American entry encounters a peculiar Frenchman in his underpants – at the inaugural edition of France’s Bol d’Or Classic in 2003...
He already had a bike in mind. Through his Heritage Racing AHRMA team, he’d met Connecticut-based superbike collector Brian O’Shea. O’Shea’s collection is focused on historic AMA superbikes, but he’d acquired a 1979 Honda factory RS1000. Only three of these were ever built in endurance specs; Honda sent one each to France, Britain, and Australia. O’Shea’s bike was raced by Ron Haslam and Alex George at the Bol d’Or, amongst other races. It was later shipped to the US, where it was used at one Daytona test, then left to languish. So a return trip would be something of a homecoming for the bike, as well as Heritage Racing. Once O’Shea had agreed to the loan of his RS1000, only three things were missing: the two riders, and a budget.
|The team in the next garage was actually sponsored by a strip club|
|Patrick Bodden now lives in France, I believe.|
|Brian O'Shea. One of the best guys ever.|
“Here he comes!” someone yelled. Williams – soaked in sweat but now back on the machine – was pushed the length of the pit lane by Bodden and O’Shea. Hope springs eternal in endurance racing. Could it just be fuel starvation? The fuel tank vent hose seemed kinked. O’Shea ripped it off, and punched the starter. It started all right – it started making loud metal-on-metal banging noises inside the motor. Pridmore pulled off his leathers.
3:33 a.m.. Patrick, who speaks fluent French, turned to the guy in his underpants (whose name we’d learned was Denis Malterre) and asked him “So, where are you from?”
|I've spent a good part of my life writing about motorcycles and motorcycle racing|
and I have little to show for it. Meeting these guys and hearing their story,
however, felt like a rich reward at the time.