I average 45 mpg with my '99 EV, but for the life of me I cannot understand the poor attendance at the last two rallies that Skip and I have worked. I know gas is in short supply and hurricanes are a threat, but when I plan a trip to attend event or visit, I do not call the weatherman in wherever and see if it is freezing sleet or hot as blazes! I pack, I plan, and I go. Many times, I've pulled under over passes and sat for hours, but with some planning a good book will suffice, even a Guzzi maintenance manual. Well, enough of the crying from a Florida retiree.
The rally went as well as could be expected thanks to the 48 riders that registered and participated. Everyone had their own private area to camp, plenty of pre-cut firewood at each site and good weather. This was the first rally in 13 years to which I rode and actually attended and participated in the observation / poker run. Thanks to Skip, Ron Kologiski, Amanda Kologiski, Scotty, and Carl Morris, for all their untiring work setting up, cooking and serving, making coffee, and doing all those things that make people happy.
No one went away hungry! Or thirsty Ron! The grape-ade was the best of the lot! The observation run, laid out by Skip Kogoliski and Gregory Bender, was really an enjoyable 100-mile ride over excellent secondary county roads. They traversed among ripening citrus groves and large cattle ranches where Brahma, Holsteins, and many other animals grazed. San Antonio, Florida, the largest town on the route, was interesting in that they were having the annual Rattlesnake round-up. I had attended one of these many years ago but this time I did not stop to see the large assembly of crawlers. Better food was back at the rally! Winner for the best hand was Mitch, from Tampa. He had a pair of aces and threes. What he won was a neat Hummel figurine. It was a Mexican dog riding a Guzzi. A real collector's item for a Triumph rider at a Guzzi rally!
The other awards are as follows: Oldest Guzzi Rider was Gerald Weeks, Valdosta, Georgia. Youngest Passenger was Ted Lange from Daytona (Ted is 15 and he was seen practicing on a Guzzi all weekend). Ted's mother, Mary Lyn Lange, was the youngest Guzzi driver to ride in. She rode in from Daytona Beach, Florida. Long Distance Male Guzzi was (I could just leave this blank) Jack Arnold from Ohio via Italy, Texas. We all love this guy and we were sorry Joan could not come along. She is a bit down, as most know, so keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Long Distance Female Rider was Mary Lynn. This was her first rally and thanks to her sister, Helena Hewitt, for encouraging her to ride her nice Guzzi 650 to the rally. She not only experienced the fun we have at our rallies, but she won a door prize which I think was a year's membership in MGNOC? See you again! Long Distance Two Up - there wasn't any two-up on a Guzzi that I could find in the registrations; so, I went for two that rode in on a Guzzi Cali II and a Honda, that being Mike and Brenda Wickerson all the way from Cleveland, Tennesse. Brenda, I know there is a Guzzi Breva or Nevada out there that will fit you! Immediately after the Saturday evening meal were the door prizes and awards.
Thanks goes to the following sponsors for supporting our 2005 Rally:
Stan's BMW/Guzzi, Gainesville, Florida; Flitz International Ltd. Polish, from Waterford, Wisconsin; Bill Dunkus, Interstate Motorcycles, Rolla, Missouri; Protect All Inc., Anaheim, California; Road Gear Inc., Pueblo West, Colorado; Dennis Kirk, Rush City, Minnesota; K&N Engineering, Riverside, California; Ron Kologiski, Tennessee; Frank Wedge / MGNOC; Harper Enterprises, Greenwood, Missouri; Precision Imprint, Athens, Ohio; Sun Beemers, Venice, Florida; Karl Kologiski, St. Petersburg, Florida.
Most in attendance received a door prize or sample of polish from either Protect All or Flitz. So, no one went home empty handed.
The bike show winners were:
Loop Frame, Ron Kologiski with a nice 1973 Eldo LAPD in full dress, including a siren and lights with whitewall tires; Small Block Guzzi, Mary Ann Lange from Daytona on V65 with red lowers; Tonti Frame, Gerald Weeks on a 1987 SP II (Gerald, you do enviable work!); Sport Frame, Randy Peterson on a 2002 LeMans; California series, Alan Pratt on his clean 1996 Cali.
Thanks to all that entered the bike show and to those that evaluated these fine examples. The care and attention to detail that the owners of these Moto Guzzis heap on them is truly a love affair. There was one Guzzi that was at the rally that I do not think entered the show. That was Harry Harnden's 1972 Ambassador. If you were at the rally, I am sure you saw this beaut. If you didn't, then drag out the November 2005 MGNOC News, go to page ten, and read all about it. Talk about being in love with a Moto? Well, Harry has it bad. Really a great saga!
Last award of the evening was the 50 / 50 which went to Mike Abernathy, he received $80+ for everyone's support. The rally organization appreciates this popular fund raiser.
We conducted an open discussion about the future of the Florida Rally, the location, when and how to do the rally next year. Consensus was to have next year's rally at the same place, but this is not set in stone. Because of the work involved and the lower-than-predicted participation at the past two rallies, we may curtail the formal events at future rallies! The Florida reps are considering whether to have a pay-as-you-go rally. We will merely arrange a time and place and have it posted in the MGNOC. I will continue to seek sponsorship, but this has been a costly project that has seen less response in recent years. Participants will take care of their camp fees and meals and we'll limit activities to socializing. We'll maintain a record of attendance, but coffee, meals, etc. will not exist. As an example, there is nothing wrong with a sit down meal at Papa Joe's in Brooksville on Saturday evenings and he will give us special rates for either a buffet or sit down, the buffet being the least expensive. There are other options, but normally by Saturday evening most people are ready to settle down and not ride out after dark. Anyway, send suggestions to either Skip or me and we'll discuss it sometime before spring and notify you through the MGNOC. Keep your membership up and ride fast, ride safe!
Friday after the Florida Rally, MGNOC member Paul Bohac and I left for the final AHRMA Races at Birmingham, Alabama. We wanted to give Stan Friduss as much support as possible. He has campaigned two Guzzis this past year and has achieved national attention in his endeavors.
The weather was perfect for riding. Early fall is my favorite time of the year and the hills of Southern Alabama and the higher elevations in the northern part make for some of the best riding in these parts. Anyway, we had an uneventful five-hour ride to the track where we paid our fees and set up camp at the assigned area. Many Guzzis and BMWs were there from the Poverty Riders of Florida and more arrived as the day passed. Everyone knows Stan as a good friend and a customer in many cases. The track was a buzz of activity as riders and mechanics worked out the bugs during the test runs. All were settled down by dark and soon everyone was either socializing or turning in since the race program starts Saturday at 08:00. The temp had dropped after sundown and eventually went to the forecast high 40s. I did not bring a sleeping bag? So much for planning ahead! The October and November MGNOC News covered this past year's racing for the Friduss race team, so I'll merely mention this weekend. Stan was plagued with numerous maintenance problems that forced early withdrawal from the programs. Tires are ever so important and race officials spotted a defect which could have been a disaster? Nevertheless, his team had accumulated enough points through the year so that they did not loose ground.
Well, there is always next year. During halftime on Saturday, the Barber Museum put two 100-year-old motorcycles on the track. One was an Indian and one a Harley. Both had senior citizens racing them at blinding speeds around the short track. They scheduled two laps but had so much speed they did three laps. The riders were in period dress and received a standing ovation where the Healthy Harley crossed slightly ahead of the Noble Indian. Then, the museum put an MV Augusta on the track. Mind you everything at this museum is restored to original condition and they all are run at least once a year on the test track. The sounds this Augusta made were music to the ears. They also put some 1960 Formula I race cars on the track and let them show their stuff. Very impressive show.
On Saturday evening, the Moto Guzzi American importer hosted a supper for the majority of the 500+ racers and the attendees of the races. This was quite a hit in that they ran out of food and had to reorder. But it is noteworthy that Guzzi was the only major company there with an active participation in these exciting, well organized races. We, the Moto Guzzi riders, are proud that you came for the second year in row.
I'd like to add my personal observation of these ever-growing races at Barber. There is no comparison to these races and Daytona. Barber is a "Race Fan Friendly" establishment. The facilities are second to none. The people who attend are all of good character and polite. When you can witness the Call to Colors and our National Anthem where the entire attendance and participants stop what they are doing, stand sharply, remove their hats, and face the flag; it brings one to tears for what freedom means and the quality of fun-loving people that are here in attendance. The a cappella done for this tradition is one of the best renditions I've experienced in my 60+ years, with 30 of them being a GI.
Look online at the Barber Motorsport website (www.barbermotorsports.com) and check for next year's schedule. Try to work it in to your schedule. The museum is well worth the $10. The races are an even better bargain. The people who run it and attend are the ice cream on the cake with amaretto on top! Stay warm and we'll see you all in the Spring. Jim DeGregoria, Florida MGNOC Rep.