Moto Guzzi Pushrod Engined Land
Speed Record Assault
Todd owns Lightning Moto Sport in Port St. Lucie FloridaIt is a pleasure to be part of this Moto Guzzi LSR project. I absolutely believe that the dedicated group of individuals attached to this effort will bring the 1000cc Production Pushrod record to Moto Guzzi. We've got much to do in a very short time, but with the determination I've seen from the group and the potential of the Guzzi platform, it will get done. If you'll indulge me for a moment, I'll introduce myself.
My name is Todd Ross. I'm originally from Lubbock, Texas and currently live in Port St. Lucie, Florida. I've been involved in motorcycling for thirty-three years, since I was 4-years old. While most kids were playing team sports, I grew up making desert crossings out of Texas and riding in the mountains of New Mexico. I also spent a lot of time around my dad's Bultaco dealership where I, and my two brothers, based our flat-track and motocross racing operation. I spent a couple years kart racing before joining the Navy to eventually wind up in Jacksonville as a P-3 Flight Engineer.
I decided I preferred the green landscape of Florida to the brown landscape of West Texas, so when my enlistment was up, I returned to Lubbock to get my B.S. and then moved back to Florida with my new wife, Judy. In the interim, I was able to manage a MLB Spring Training facility and get my M.B.A. I've been teaching the Motorcycle Safety Foundation program at a few different sites for a little more than five years now. Shortly after my daughter, Kylie, was born, I decided I should get a bit more settled and open my own motorcycle shop. The development process took a bit of time, but I finally was able to open the doors in July, 1998. The shop is called Lightning Moto Sport.
My enthusiasm for motorcycling required that I be affiliated with a brand which I could be passionate about and really enjoy. I'm sure you've figured out which manufacturer I chose. Most of the motorcycling public in the U.S. has no knowledge of the rich and colorful history of Moto Guzzi.
With the recent company reorganization and grass-roots efforts like this LSR attempt, this will change. I've been involved with AHRMA and CCS roadracing for the last two years and look forward to continuing the proud racing heritage of Moto Guzzi.
What is it that would possess someone to want to set a land speed record? I'm not sure I know the answer to that yet, but come October 21-23, 1999, a few of us Guzzi folk are going to embark on a quest to find the answer. I have not been around Moto Guzzi's for very long, but in that short amount of time, I have learned that Guzzi folks are some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I joined the MGNOC and subscribed to the MGCL in the fall of 1996, shortly after falling under the spell of, and buying, a red Moto Guzzi Sport 1100.
I wasn't exactly sure of why I had to have this unusual machine, but something inside me said that it was OK, and that this was a good thing, and right thing, to do. I started getting the newsletter in the mail, and laughed out loud reading the Goose Napping Caper, (Oct. '96) and I felt compelled to express how much I enjoyed reading the news. Then when Frank Wedge printed my letter singing the praises of my new bike, and how much I enjoyed reading the MGNOC news, I knew that I had stumbled onto something special. Being just a regular Joe, I doubted my letter would get read, much less actually printed. That was almost 3 years ago, and the joy of forming new friendships, visiting new places, and even the simple pleasures to be found in attending a Guzzi rally, all contribute to some truly amazing and wonderful experiences.
When I first heard about the LSR project, I wasn't really sure why I wanted to help Moto Guzzi set a Land Speed Record, but I did want to help. But when Team Manager Walter Barlow welcomed me to the LSR team, I once again got this feeling that this was a good thing, and the right thing, to do. I'm confident that we can set the record on a Moto Guzzi, but I know that regardless of the outcome, I'll have had the chance to meet and work with some great Guzzi people, and I will have even more truly amazing and wonderful experiences to add to my collection.
I am Susan, alias Mother Goose. I got that title because I was the only woman rider in our Northern VA riding group. I was a late bloomer and didn't get my first motorcycle until the age of 36. I always wanted a bike but never got one until then. My husband didn't ride nor did any members of my family so moral support was an issue :-)
I started buying all the cycle mags, reading up on the different brands. I narrowed my search down to two. A Victory and a Moto Guzzi Jackal. I called around and finally found a dealer in Winchester that handled both brands. I visited Carl and Dana at Winchester MotoSports on several occasions and discussed the pros and cons of each brand.
Finally I decided on a Jackal. When I took my truck up to pick up the bike I walked into the shop and there sat the most beautiful bike in the world. It was a '97 California. Beautiful midnight blue/cream.
That was it. That was my bike. We did the paperwork, loaded the bike in the truck and off I went on my merry way. My husband helped me unload the bike when I got home. I started learning how to ride in my yard. I graduated to the street in front of our house and then on to the road. I didn't know the concept of starting out small and working my way up because no one I hung out with rode. My first bike was Ms. Cali (1100 cc machine with attitude :-)
I joined MGNOC and started friendships with folks from all over the world who loved the marque as much as I. They became my family. When I had a serious accident they became my support, my stregnth and my will. I am blessed to be in the position that I am in now with the opportunities that I have. I never dreamed that I would be part of a successful racing team going mach III with my hair on fire :-) My life is amazing!! I hope I bring honor to the marque and make you all proud one day.
e-mail "Mother Goose" at: email@example.com
The LMV is only my second favorite bike (don't put your mitts on my EV or I'll call Vito from the back room!). It's got 56,000 miles and runs like a freight train. Although the expert wrenches are going to do some legal tuning, I have a suspicion that it could do the runs in box stock form and still do us all proud. It's that torquey, fast and stable!
It did take me a while to learn how to ride it, thanks to a lot of advice from LM riders on the list. I had expected it to brake and corner like the EV and some of my other bikes and didn't realize that the riding techniques were considerably different. Now that I've gotten used to its traits, it fits like a soft old glove. In fact, sometimes I lose track of where it ends and I begin. Cornering is done much like driving Italian exotic cars where you think about turning and the car follows your mental commands. Neat!
So........I'm on the list of hopefuls as a backup rider but I'm an old geez of 56 so I may get to hold the bike up while the real piloto gets on and off! I thought that age and experience beat the stuffings out of youthful exuberance and fearlessness but maybe not in this case. Anyway, I want this attempt to be successful and I'm not that egocentric so I'll happily stand in the background and watch the red streak across the salt.
You asked how I came to own such a nice piece of machinery. Well, I had the money, my wife was out of town, the bike burned itself into my retinae when I saw it and presto, her car now lives in the driveway! Easy!
Not that the background of the bike owner matters at all but just in case you're still awake........I've been riding and driving Italian machinery since 1957 when I got my first little Lambretta. I've been drinking Grappa ever since. During that nasty little incident in Southeast Asia, I was an airborne radar designer, first in Montreal, where I bought my first (of many) Alfa and then in New York. In 1979, I took up ballooning and in 1980, led an expedition to fly a balloon over the North Pole....cold weather no longer bothers me!
I now work at a balloon factory in North Carolina where I'm the Flight Test Pilot and one of the FAA engineering designees.
I came to Guzzi like so many others. My wife wanted to learn to ride so we did the MSF together. After a series of small bikes, I bought her V65 SP. I was riding my Benelli SEI at the time and took the Guzzi for a few rides. She never got it back! Now I've had a bunch of Guzzis and currently ride the very best bike, of many, that I've ever owned, the EV.
Sidney in NC, close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, far from Bonneville/
ps. I'm attaching several pictures of aballoon we want to build as a backdrop for the attempt. What's your favorite?
See the final version of the balloon.
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