Sunday, June 26, 2011

THE UNIVERSAL RACING MOTORCYCLE


You need four different motorcycles to road race, motocross, trials, flat-track, and hillclimb...right? There was a time, not so long ago, when it was possible to have just one motorcycle, and race in any event with a chance of success in all of them.  Those days have passed in the world of serious competition, but with Vintage events cropping up all over the world, it's still possible to have serious fun - with a chance of winning - in every category, with a single bike.

That's the vision of photographer Dimitri Coste, who is gradually traveling eastward in the US with his Triumph special, competing in events along the way, in his own version of 'Then Came Bronson' (a 70s TV show in which Bronson's HD Sportster magically became a Husqvarna when it touched dirt!).  Dimitri has already won first in his class at the Catalina Grand Prix last year, and today, he's in Colorado, competing in the Pike's Peak International Hillclimb.

The organizers of Pike's Peak made a special exemption for Dimitri to ride, not because of his bike, but apparently the Vintage class refers to the riders!  As he is under 50 years old, it took a bit of string-pulling to get an entry, but he's already there, and had practice blasting up to the 14,110' peak, which is still covered in snow.
The tech inspector commented, 'I haven't seen drum brakes in a long time...'
The first Pike's Peak Hillclimb was a bid for publicity, after the first highway to the top opened in August 1916; a race was staged for cars and motorcycles over the tortuous, snaking dirt track with dramatic views and vertiginous dropoffs in many areas - the race is not for the faint of heart.  The road is 12.42 miles long, partially paved (at the bottom), with graded gravel and dirt towards the top, and the weather can change dramatically from the 9400' start, over the 156 turns and 4700' climb. 

Dimitri's gear is worth noting; as his brother Jérome Coste is the designer of Les Ateliers Ruby, most of his riding gear is a Ruby prototype; they will shortly launch a line of leather jackets, and
'I spy' a Ruby badge on that full-face helmet...something they will release next year.
Photos provided by Dimitri Coste on his blog Le Motel Coste, and the Pike's Peak International Hillclimb.

7 comments:

occhiolungo said...

good on ya Dimitri! Old bikes can go fast. Even fast enough to win sometimes. And they are always fun.

My standard comment on the dirt and gravel road that snakes up the 14,000 feet of Pike's Peak: it is smoother than many of the 'paved' roads here in California. ;)

Anton said...

Great!
But; does he RIDE this bike to every event as well?
Up into the seventies we had customers who did that; some with race pipes strapped on their back, take off the road-gear like licenceplate and lights on the circuit, race and rode back home after that.
One guy on a Ducati Desmo 350 just rode the whole distance with one foot against the (loud) exhaust. He had a special isolated boot for that purpose!

Anonymous said...

Let's see: a Frenchman with a Russian name, traveling America, dressed like Evel Knievel - or Liberace depending on who you ask - promoting gear made by his brother that isn't even available yet (that is, if you wanted to look like Liberace or 1970s Knievel).

I'm still trying to get my brain around this one.

- Fred

Anonymous said...

Cool, watched yesterday On Any Sunday. I love the attitude towards motorcycling as displayed in the film and find the same spirit in the world of Dimitri Coste.
- John B

Anonymous said...

Good on you Dimitri!
Look forward to reading about your adventures
good luck to you!
Christopher D.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes - the universal motorcycle: a unit construction 650 Triumph. Large diameter booming TT pipes, Cerianis w/conical front hub brakes, and a solo saddle. Gettin' serious here! The rocker feed oil cooler won't cool the oil much, but it doesn't fracture at the banjo fittings, either. The cast points cover is better at keeping dirt and water out than the stock sheetmetal stamping.

I bought a new '67 C-Model 650 (high pipes) that I rode 'till '71 with which I rode flat track, enduro, hillclimbs, road race, and one trials. The cases took the top foot off all their built-up dirt sections. Hah! I was running stock 6" suspension travel: 3 1/2 in front and 2 1/2 in the rear. LOL I bought a 60 T sprocket for the trial which went on my Velo Scrambler later.
Yes, it had lights - I rode it to all the events. Put 30,000 miles on it in two years. Okay, a trip to Cali and a couple into Canada, too.

The last Triumph roadrace was on a friend's 650. We teamed up for a 5 hour endurance race against Z-1 900's and Duc 750's, along with a lot of other .racers on lesser equipment. I was circulating in the middle of the pack by hour 4, when a squall came through the track and all the hot dogs were wheels up off the corners for 2 or 3 laps before their crews pulled 'em into the pits for repairs. The Triumph didn't have that kind of power, it just hooked up and hauled... It wasn't long before the Z's and D's came back. At the end we missed the podium by one place.

One thing Dimiti's having fur sure: a really good time.

Buck in Phoenix

Advie Motor said...

It,s Very cool