One bike, of the myriad on display in beautiful Carmel, CA this weekend, is one I lust after most. A legend among Vincent aficionados, Marty Dickerson's "Blue Bike" - a 1948 Vincent Rapide Series B - has a unique history in that it was part of an integral stretch of time in Speed Week history at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This iconic Bonneville record-breaker is a stunning piece of motorcycling history that is claimed to be in “as last raced” condition, with all timekeepers’ seals intact.
Martin "Marty" Dickerson, inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002, set world speed records in 1953 and 1955 and was himself a Vincent dealer and road racer in the 1950's. Dickerson set a Class C record of 129 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 1951. When the record was broken a year later, Dickerson came back with an improved version of his Vincent in 1953, modifying the seat and reversing the handlebars (sound familiar?) and turned in a run of 147 mph. That record held for the next 20 years.
Early in life, Dickerson caught the bug with his first Triumph, involving himself in the Los Angeles area street-racing scene that was all the rage in the 1950s. It was this same Tiger that he pushed to 98 mph on the Rosamond Dry Lake. "At the time, 104 mph was as fast as anyone made those Triumphs go, so mine was a pretty good one," Dickerson said. While no slouch, Marty traded her up for the infamous Vincent Rapide and set himself on a path of becoming a motorcycle legend.
And while wearing a bathing suit has put the likes of Rollie Free forever in our motorcycle consciousness, Marty Dickerson blasted his way to more speed records, even stepping back into his leathers at the ages of 70 and then again just shy of 81 in 2007, to set new vintage speed records.
So now that you've got a glimpse into "Blue Bike" and its once legendary owner, come lust after it with us this Saturday if you're in and around the Bay area. We'll be working the event with our friends at The Mighty Motor - mutual vintage iron lovers.
The Quail Motorcycle Gathering is held on the grounds of Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel, California - a picturesque location that will let you sample beautiful motorcycles, winding roads, giant redwoods and even some fine vino. This year, the day-long event will pay tribute to the Evolution of the Motorcycle, featuring Indian Motorcycles, while also showcasing legendary motorcycles from the past, present and concepts for the future, including my favorite - "Blue Bike".
Photos courtesy of The Motorcycle Hall of Fame.