Friday, 18 February 2011

Project Daytona’s un-fulfilled 2004 promise

Throughout the year before the Project Daytona 50th anniversary event I wrote about work to restore the bikes and prepare for the events in and around the track at Daytona in February 2004.

After a series of accidents and lack of care on my part (even more embarrassing since I work in IT) I was unable to keep updating the website after 2005, then didn’t have the time to completely re-write the website from scratch. When I adopted a blog format to talk BSA to the world in 2009 I did so because it was easier than building a website from scratch again. I also promised myself that I would transfer material from my old BSA website (you can still look at this at ) to my blog. I just haven’t known where to start until now.

In January 2004, literally just before the 50th event we came across some film of the 1954 Daytona event. Very bad quality, clearly a copy of a copy of a copy but good enough to watch and more importantly provided a few more clues about the fascinating swing-arm twin that Dick Klamfoth rode to 2nd place (see blog entry "Whatever happened...").

I wanted to share the film with the world but was hamstrung by lack of an easy way to do this – but was before YouTube had been invented.

Looking back over my old site deciding what to transfer to my blog first, this seemed like the best candidate – after all, I did make a promise.

So now, I present the original website entry, literally the last one I posted before I got on a plane from Scotland to Florida with only a couple of explanatory notes added but more importantly, now with the film. And as an extra treat, film of BSA's other big Daytona win in 1971 when Dick Mann took a BSA Rocket 3 to victory.

February 2004 – Daytona film found
How lucky can a restoration project be?

We thought we were doing well when ex- BSA employee Colin Washbourne got in touch and offered us works photos of the twins.

We thought we were doing really well when we were offered colour slides from the beach in 1954.

So when we were offered some film from the 1954 200 miler we could hardly contain ourselves!
In January 2004 BSA owner Skip Kologski read about the Daytona Project on our website. He was pleased to see people keeping the BSA name alive and remembered he had a VHS tape of vintage races that included some footage of the 54 race.

He wondered if we might be interested and contacted team member Don Bradley in Florida. Don was immediately enthusiastic so Skip said he would send a copy.

Now at this point Don called me and to be honest, we worried that this might all turn out too good to be true and we'd never hear from Skip again. But Skip was as good as his word and a couple of days later a tape popped into Don's mail box.

And there is film from Daytona in ‘54... and ‘52... and 71! There is also footage from the 64 Jack Pine, 50's Laconia and others too.

At time of writing we're still going through the film trying to work out exactly what is on the tape and where it originally came from. Quality is variable, we believe the originals are a mixture of 8mm and 16mm but all are very watchable and some are great!

Some of the film appears to be promotional material filmed by or for Triumph, so copyright issues may apply. But the Daytona footage is not and we're currently trying to figure out how we can edit and convert this into downloadable MPEG files or streaming video that we hope to put on the website. If this is possible it won't happen until after Daytona 2004 - we're too busy with bike restoration and event planning.

But we do plan to take a copy along to Daytona so your best chance of seeing the film will be at the Project Daytona Banquet on the evening of Thursday 4th March at the Edmonds Centre, Stetson University.

This very special will be the climax of our 50th anniversary celebrations and will be attended by the BSA riders from '54 and other BSA 'guest stars' like Dick Mann, Jeff Smith, Norm Smith and Bill Tuman.

They will be YOUR guests for the evening with awards, talks and a Q&A session - we hope to see you there!

Daytona 1954 film

Daytona 1971 film