Horse power “Motorbike” 1980 Yamaha XS 1100 Midnight Special 5 Gear 95hp 568lbs between legs

 Horse power “Motorbike” 1980 Yamaha XS 1100 Midnight Special 5 Gear 95hp 568lbs between legs

Those gold chrome topped Mikuni 34’s were full of energy. The wet sump air-cooled, in line, 4 cylinder thrived when intoxicated on full air and hot gasoline. There was a  older guy in Newtown that drove a Suzuki and sold hot gas out of a 55 gallon barrel for 2 bucks a gallon. I loved Newtown and the heat only knewtown could produce.

One Christmas mother authorized, or sent, my dad out for a couple of santa elf electric cars. Dad got sidetracked and bought a green GO-Cart. It had a 3.5 horsepower briggs n stratton and a black leather 2 seat frame. It wasn’t long before we were going fast. On two wheels in repetitive circles? Of course.

When High Life Christian Camp for youth opened they had a swimming pool, trail horses and a dirt track with motorbikes. Honda QA50‘s and CT70‘s. If you reached a certain proficiency you were allowed duck off into the woods to follow a trail that ended in a giant hill climb back onto the track. The motorcycles and camp personnel granted, at will, certain proficiency rights.and were all right there at the top of that hill climb to judge your skill. They would watch you duck off and make sure you came back out. Awarded “you can duck off” the sissy track, to the nasty dark and wild tics on the trees trail with a full throttle hill climb.

They made me stop full throttle cliff topping.. I did it anyway once and again.

Honda QA50 Motorcycle
Honda QA50 Motorcycle

There were 3 hours of recreation time each day. We could choose which recreation we liked, so I liked motorcycles all day every day. Once a girl talked me into riding horses on a trail. We bopped back and forth, to and fro, slow motion, for about an hour. That was all I needed to know about horses. My brother and I swam at a country club that had a high dive. Why would I want to swim in a pool without a diving board?




I started asking for a motorcycle. I want a motorcycle. Please. What do you want for your birthday? A motorcycle. What do you want from Wendy’s? A motorcycle. Hey Bo. What do you want from The Green Spot? A motorcycle. Anybody need anything from the minute market? A motorcycle? Please? I’m 10 11 max when the original, get it signed, report cards show marked changes. A’s and b’s down to f’s and d’s.

Mother carried me to be tested in Atlanta. They found I was smart enough on my IQ test and everything seemed be be working normally other than I might be a bit aggressive. I just started failing classes all of a sudden and didn’t seem to care.

Mother has a great idea. We offer bo a motorcycle for passing classes. Mark get’s wind and say’s what about me? Ok. Your right Mark. You pass and you get one too. Well Mark got a motorbike and I did not. So I pester followed Mark on a motorbike forever. Mark picked out a brand hew Honda. A few years, or less, later, my parents bought me a Yamaha IT175 2 stroke. The front tire weighed less than air and the gears popped rocks twice as quick.

Mark quickly one upped me in grand form. He bought a Yamaha IT465. Think 930cc 4 stroke dirt bike. Heck fire the biggest they run today are 450 4 stroke dirt bikes. We see therm while swapping channels on dirt tracks in and around America. So now my brother Mark had this wicked blue bike, on knobby’s, siting quiet, in the woodvalley carport next to my, for little boys dirt bike.

On my 18th birthday mother and dad called me upstairs to talk to me. It’s was early March the eve of my hopeful graduation from Dalton High. It had to be trouble. A meeting, upstairs, in my room? Sit down. I was scared. There was $60,000 in my 18-year-old name.

Aunt Betty and Uncle Pete worked the grain market numbers on a floor in a tall Knoxville bank building that had big windows and a view of the river. Uncle Pete liked bourbon on expletive. Aunt Betty set mother up with a bank man who safely invested the proceeds from insurance, settlements and donations.

Bank men chances didn’t gain much in 14 years. I couldn’t get to the money they said.. It was invested by banker men. Nobody thought I should have all the money right then. I’m 18 though and it is my money after all. So there we are. My dad, my mom and me. Me wanted a motorbike. It was too much money. I went to italy and bought a minute.



Horse power “Motorbike” 1980 Yamaha XS 1100 Midnight Special 5 Gear 95hp 568lbs between legs

I found myself inside the E Morris St Yamaha Motorcycle Store looking at WHOA! What is this? What have we got here? Boy this motorbike was, an, all of the above, blackngold beauty. There was a copy paper sign taped to the black leather seat.

“If You Value Your Life As Much As We Value This Motorbike, Then You Will Not Sit”

Well I’ll be? There are an awful lot of big words on that copy paper sign.

I asked the salesman how much? He looked at my 18-year-old self and said I can’t afford this motorbike. When pressed he asked his mother the owner who said $4474.00 out the door. I’ll be back and I was after a trip to see my dad at Crane Textile and Chemical on Walnut Ave.

Dad I found a motorbike and I gotta have it. Of course the sober questions were reeled off in rapid succession to absolutely no avail. NONE. We went to a bank and had a bankers check cut, for 4474 dollars. You should have seen the look on that guys face. My bet was that he wanted that motorbike. I bought the 100,000 mile motorbike.

I owned that Midnight Special for 10 years. There were 32,000 miles on the Jimmy Carter 55 – 85 mph odometer after the first year. Year 3 it read 74,000 when I wrecked it in the rain on Mother’s Day east bound I-24 north of Chattanooga in front of the TN rest area.

I called Layfield.  Hey Layfield? Could ya come get me? Alight west on 24 please help? Big Lay showed up real quick in a truck.

I’m a big guy and Layfield is a big guy. Somehow we chucked that 600 pound, mowed extremities, motorbike up and into his truck bed. It was sad to see such a beautiful machine mangled so thoroughly. About 3 months later I had everything replaced but the foot pegs and took it for a spin. The stock black chrome tailpipes where now replaced with a four into one Kerker header. I had the rpm gauge but the speed odometer was damaged and I hoped to have it replaced with one that measured in into the hundreds rather than the 85 that I could peg in third gear.

It took me three years before I replaced the odometer with a factory issue 55 – 85 bummer. I never knew exactly how fast I was going after passing the 85 miles per hour mark. They say that Midnight Special’s would do about 130 miles per hour and 114 in a quarter mile. Once I rode mine flat out from Clarksville TN to Nashville. That was scary and I didn’t do that anymore.

The 1999 Saturn SCI I bought recently has 100 horsepower and weighs 2300 pounds or 3 times the weight of my Yamaha XS1100 Midnight Special. The low to the ground 5 speed runs through the gears like a scalded fox. It’s so much fun to drive I gave it a name. Sparky the Slot Car.

 

 

Horse power “Motorbike” 1980 Yamaha XS 1100 Midnight Special 5 Gear 95hp 568lbs between legs.