2015 Speedway New and Views
Take It To The Limit Art Exhibit
by Howie Zechner
We here in Southern California are blessed. Good weather, clean beaches, nice people and an abundance of really cool motorcycling events. Filmmaker Peter Starr brought all these elements together in his three day “Take It To The Limit Art Exhibit” that was held at the Forest & Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach.
Located two blocks from the Pacific Ocean an early arrival allowed for some time to play in the sand and enjoy a gorgeous sunny afternoon before the 6pm by invitation only premier opening. Several well know VIP’s and motorcycle legends with the same thought led to a what, how and who conversation as the surf pounded and the afternoon faded.
A leisurely stroll past the shops and restaurants of this beautiful beach city, the Forest & Ocean Gallery with its huge stone carving of surfers riding large waves was easy to find. Motorcycles lined the curb and the sidewalk was crowded with guests. Kenny Roberts Yamaha and Barry Sheene’s Suzuki race bikes were clearly visible through the buildings large windows. Strange large human shaped statues looked over two brand new Indian motorcycles by the front doorway.
Inside the visual treat continued. Motorcycle pictures lined the walls. Mixed with the Gallery's normal abstract stonework and art it was an exhibition unlike any other.
Exiting the Gallery's rear doorway tables, chairs, a stage and two large tents filled the parking lot. On one side a complimentary bar and large table filled with cheese, fruit and sandwich's and on the other two more new Indian Motorcycles and a giant screen playing the 30th Anniversary special edition DVD of Take It To The Limit.
Peter Starr took the stage. First the VIP’s to numerous to list were introduced. Then Arlo Guthrie. A biker himself Arlo supplied music for the film and like all those involved in its production is justifiably proud of the work. Then the last remaining Director of Photography, Mark Zavad and its editor John Bryant joined Peter. War stories were short and painless as the four relived the glory days when Take It To The Limit was produced.
Congratulation must be given to Peter Starr, Indian Motorcycles of Orange County, the Forest & Ocean Gallery and all those who put together this outrageously cool event. The setting, the people, the subject. It was classic.
Last words? You bet. If you have not seen Take It To The Limit do yourself a favor and do so. Its a timeless motion picture that covers speedway, desert racing, road racing, hill climbing, grass track, drag racing, trails, sidecars, dirt track and motocross. It will bring you 97 minutes of joy and excitement.
More pictures from the April 9th Take It To The Limit Art Exhibit are posted on the Speedway America facebook group.
Seventy First Annual Trailblazers Awards Banquet
April 11, 2015 - by Howie Zechner
As always it was a wonderful event. Everybody who was or wanted to be someone marked their calendar for this once a year annual classic. Seven hundred plus of the motorcycle faithful filled the Carson Center. Memories were rekindled and forged friendships renewed. It was an afternoon and evening of pure ecstasy for the two wheel persuasion.
As always the sellout event was well organized. Trailblazer Ambassadors all dressed in their Bright Gold Jackets were plentiful in case help was needed. None was required as sign in was painless. Credentials included your table number, a ballot to vote for the best bike on display and a Ascot decal.
As always the place was packed. So and so who won the whatchamacallit three years in a row was there along with dozens of other Regional, National and World Champions. The guys, that sponsored those guys were there in abundance as was the crews and fans that supported them. Everywhere you looked people were smiling.
As always this years Bike Show did not disappoint. Officially starting at 3pm the hall was filled to the brim with motorcycles. Featuring a wide variety of two wheel history, racers, cruisers, one of a kind, and production staples were there in all their splendor. Many with pictures or trophies. All with stories and owners happy to share the how and who and why.
As always all were ready when the gate went up at 6pm (that means when the banquet doors opened for you who don't speak race). Three bars and hours of looking and talking meant a sit down was well in order. Finding your table in the massive room and getting settled was the evenings biggest challenge. Once seated opening ceremonies included a prayer, National Anthem, and video tribute to those who we lost since the last 2014 banquet. Well produced there were many a tear shared as the tribute to these fallen hero's and friends was displayed.
As always there was wine, food and merriment. All was superb and an hour quickly passed before the nights awards and congratulations were announced. Complemented by slick video productions the Hall of Fame, Dick Hammer and first ever Lucile Flanders Award were presented. Inductees, or in some cases their relatives and friends came on stage and told stories of bygone youth and treasure. One word, "Outstanding" describes the celebration.
As always the evening passed before any were ready to let it go. Goodbyes were long and groups gathered for one more story, picture or compliment.
As always, Thank You Trailblazers. You did a dam good job. Now get busy, next years Banquet is only 360 some odd days away. Lets get this show moving.
PARTY, FRIENDS, DRINKS, APPETIZERS, LIVE BAND, BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION SONNY NUTTER'S 70th
by Howie Zechner
Howie, this is Dianne, I’m holding another surprise party for my honey Sonny and need your help the phone said. It’s his 70th and I want to rock his socks off. You think we can pull that off again I answered. This will make the third time you've done that surprise thing. Sure, sure, no problem she assured me. Dianne was of course referring to the two previous surprise parties she had thrown for Sonny's 60th and 65th birthday. They were both legendary.
A plan was hatched, the party would be held at Sonny’s normal Thursday night hangout, the Viva Cantina Mexican restaurant in Burbank CA. I’ll get the owner Cody Bryant to send him a phony invitation for a special party Dianne explained. Sonny and I go there all the time to drink and dance and do that cowboy thing time so he won’t be suspicious of the invitation.
The deed was done. Booking, food, drinks, appetizers, posters, balloons, party favorites, a cake, invitations and a band all came together. It was Sunday January 25th and Sonny Nutter’s 70th birthday party became a reality.
Private party signs instructed all who were invited into the restaurants back banquet room. It was filled to the brim, a full house of Nutter family, friends, competitors, sponsors, promoters, VIP’s and admirers.
He’s pulling into the parking lot the report came. Lights were dimmed and bodies scrambled so they would not to be seen when the former #19 entered the room.
Surprise, surprise everyone yelled as pull poppers and confetti filled the air. Don’t know who was more shocked, Sonny for being surprised or us for pulling it off without him finding out.
The night shifted into “high’. Margaritas flowed and stories were told as yesterday, today and tomorrow all blended together in a sea of smiles.
Presents, presents Dianne yelled as she dragged Sonny onto the stage. There she presented him with a boat cruise ticket on the Independence of the Sea. They would fly to Ft Lauderdale Florida and then spend eight day cursing the Caribbean.
A speech followed as a truly humbled Sonny relayed his feelings that so many were there for him. “I’m honored that I have so many friends. You are like a family to me. It blows my mind. I will never forget this evening”.
The traditional blowing out the candles on the cake as everyone sang Happy Birthday followed. More drinks, more talk. It continued till early morning.
So there it is. A party for the record book. Nutter, your a wild man. Dianne, you put on one hell of a party. What, what’s that you say. Do it again for his 75th. For sure girl. I’m there.
"Hardhat" Howie Zechner