Minnesota's longest running motorized extravaganza awarded
Ky First Place in his class.
Almost every inch of this
machine was stripped down, tooled or re-chromed to perfection.
Twin power plants gaurantee a powerful "Giddy-up"
when you turn the throttle.
In 1959, I purchased a new BSA
Spitfire motorcycle from Pauls Cycle in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The spitfire wasnt just a fast motorcycle it was also a
very beautiful motorcycle, with its chrome and red gas tank
and to top it off it came from the factory with racing straight
pipes! It seemed like every time I pulled up next to another motorcycle
at a stop sign I would get into a drag race, so I figured I had
better start taking my speed addiction to the local drag strip
before I ended up with a pile of speeding tickets.
The Triumph and Norton motorcycles usually dominated the 650cc
class at the local drag strips. When I showed up at Minnesota
Dragways with my BSA Spit fire everyone was surprised, including
myself when I beat all of the Triumphs and Nortons that
showed up that day. I ended up winning a first place trophy the
first time I raced the bike. I raced the bike for two seasons
dominating my class. I also won the Minnesota Dragways motorcycle
I wanted to do something a little more challenging so I decided
to build a dual engine drag bike using two 1959 BSA 650cc.Spitfire
engines. Forty years ago I didnt have the tools, money or
the ability that I have now, but I still managed to build my drag
bike on the dirt floor in the basement of my old farmhouse where
I lived. I started the season out by entering my drag bike in
the GSTA Car Show and won first place in the motorcycle class.
I named the motorcycle the Centipede because of its long wheelbase
and the four exhaust pipes that looked like legs hanging out the
side of the motorcycle. Back in the early sixties they didnt
have wide racing slicks for motorcycles. So I settled for a four
inch MH slick. The first time I ran the bike it handled horrible.
When I shifted into forth the bike slid all over the track. When
I came back to the pits. Ron Braun came over to me and said, "You
should rename the motorcycle the Widow Maker". Because of
the way it handled I ended up making a number of modifications
to the frame and changed the gearing to the bike. I started out
in third gear so I only had to shift once. This made a big difference
in the handling of the bike. I won a few trophies with the bike
but I was hoping that it would be a lot faster.
At the time there wasnt
much off the counter speed equipment you could buy, but I ported
and polished the heads and put in high compression pistons. This
added more speed to the top end. One night at Twin City Speedway
Clem Larson, a friend of mine asked me if he could ride the bike.
He was about twenty pounds lighter then I was so I was anxious
to see if his weight deference would increase the speed of the
bike. Clem was an experienced rider but when he shifted into forth
gear he stuck his foot in the rear wheel and flew off the bike.
He could have been seriously hurt if not killed. Clem ended up
with a few stitches in his foot, and a lot of road rash. The motorcycle
did not come out as well. The throttle was wide open when Clem
came off the bike. The front motor blew a rod right thru the case
and the frame was destroyed beyond repair.
In the spring of 2001 I was having a senior moment and I was thinking
of the good ole days when I remembered the time I was racing
against Roy Egaberg, who was a dear friend of mine. I never really
knew how old Roy was until after the end of a race when Roy came
over to me and said, "Ky I am getting to old to do this stuff".
I jokingly replied, "So how old are you Roy?" And Roy
said, "Fifty-eight years old". I was in my early twenties,
and when I heard his age it sounded to me like he was as old as
Well I am now sixty-three years old and I still fell pretty young.
I thought I would take back the good old years and build another
BSA 650cc dual engine drag bike and race it a few times so I could
have the same thrill, like my friend Roy Egaberg had. I went to
a couple of auctions that were put on by the Midwest Motor Cycle
Auction and bought two complete 1957 650cc BSA motorcycles. This
time I had a little more time, money and mechanical ability. I
wanted to build this motorcycle like a piece of fine polished
art. Something I could be proud of when I am still on this earth
and something my family will be proud of when I pass on. The primary
cases, chain case, valve covers, rocker oilers and gas tank are
made out T6-6061 highly polished aluminum. All the nuts, bolts
and hardware are either chromed or polished. The Takesago aluminum
rims were respoked with stainless steel spokes and fitted with
Dunlop tires on front and back. The Lucas magneto armatures where
rewound and modern condensers where installed. I purchased and
polished two new 376/17 Amal Monobloc 1 1/16" Carburetors.
The frame was painted corvette yellow with a dash of orange. I
used two different sets of Siamese Exhaust pipes so the carburetors
would not hit the pipes.
I spent six months building the bike. I called up my long time
friend Ron Braun, who was in charge of the floor plan at the car
show and I said, "Ron, I am going to ask you a question I
asked you forty years ago. Where are you going to put my bike
in the GSTA Car Show?" Of coarse he didnt remember
so I had to refresh his memory. When he did remember he got a
big laugh out of it. Well I entered the GSTA show and won first
place, just like I did forty years ago! Ive been asked by
a number of my friends are you going to race the bike this summer?
Only time will tell.