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Forthose Minor Nicks and Scratches good, but money wasn't there for new tires, so like many of my racing mates, I used what 1 could afford, and that didn't include new tires until they were absolutely necessary.

Most of my racing peers squeezed every bit of life from every component on their bikes, too, and it wasn't just because of the generally penny-pinched social stratum of roadracers. The primary driver of British consumer behavior at the time was the difficulty of buying on credit, as compared with the situation in America. A Briton usually needed at least a third of the retail price of, say, a new van as a down payment before he could get financing through what was called "hire-purchase," the British equivalent of a bank loan for a commodity. Consequently, many people saved more, spent less and, in general, lived according to the old Puritan creed: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." British racing was thus full of older machinery being pushed to its limits by riders with no other option, though any who could afford the best new technology had it.

But the Manxes and 7Rs and G50s never went away, in part because a peculiarly British ideal lay behind their being passed along from older to younger riders. The ideal was rooted in the apprentice-journeyman-master traditions of the trades, from which many racers came. The tradition held that a neophyte shouldn't get galvanized British crowds and put to rest the myth that Americans couldn't meet the best British and European riders and beat them. They did so when a postwar golden age of British racing was coming to an end, along with British dominance in manufacturing motorcycles. In the three years and

"Most of my racing peers squeezed every bit of life from every component on their bikes, too, and it wasn't just because of the generally penny-pinched social stratum of roadracers."

a faster, more powerful bike than a Manx until he proved he could extract everything the Manx could yield. But along with many traditions that were succumbing to the riots and revolutions of the era, this one, too, slowly disappeared among my racing peers, so that by 1972 a newcomer to British racing was as likely to buy a factory Yamaha and dive in at the deep end of the speed spectrum as he was to ride a Manx.

A few years after I got to England, the first-rank Yank riders brought over to compete in the "Match Race" series two-and-a-half racing seasons I lived, worked and raced in England, I knew, even then, that however much we racers and motorcyclists were gaining with the new technology and the gradual merging of what had been distinct racing cultures worldwide, we were losing something, too.

But history is never predictable, and so the something that was being lost was also being rediscovered by classic-bike racers. My English teammate himself was loath to embrace the new-tech world, and so in '72, when he gave up >

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