Motorcycle Paradise – The Gary Davis Collection
I recently came across a Craigslist ad for some motorcycles for sale. The ad made clear that there were several available, with numerous vintage racers that really got my attention. Always looking for content, I sent an email to the link in the ad asking if I could come shoot a few of the bikes for Dirty Hero. The answer came back “yes”, so a date was set.
Alan Galbraith of Billetproof had shared the ad on his Facebook wall since it was from his neck of the woods, so I told him that Ryan and I were headed to Auburn, CA to check out the collection. Alan mentioned that the guy selling them was Gary Davis and that I should look him up on IMDB. IMDB? Who is this guy? Well, a quick search showed me that this was no ordinary motorcycle fan. I found that Gary has well-over 100 movies to his credit, mostly as a stuntman, but also as actor and director. Holy crap! When we got to his place we also found out that he was Evel Knievel’s rival for years and even held the world record for jumping cars on his Honda. Throw in stories of riding with Steve McQueen and you have a HUGE story that’s coming to Dirty Hero soon, so stay tuned!
So, back to the motorcycles. When we arrived at Gary’s ranch we rang the bell at the gate and drove down the long driveway to a giant building down the hill from the main house. We parked and were greeted with a huge smile and a handshake by the collection’s owner. We spent some time outside hearing about Gary’s incredible past before heading into the warehouse.
Crossing the threshold of the roll-up door was like entering some holy shrine. We were instantly in awe as our eyes darted in every direction trying to take it all in. There were literally bikes from floor to ceiling, with memorabilia filling every nook and cranny. Hell, there was even an airplane hanging overhead.
Trying to decide where to start, Gary began to give us the rundown. Basically, Gary is a life-long dirt track racer and motorcycle junkie and the collection includes everything from 20 or so race bikes that he still currently competes on, to bikes that he used for stunt work in various movie and television shows, to the Honda that he set the world record on for cars jumped. Mixed in between were literally hundreds of race trophies he’s won, riding gear from his daredevil days and memorabilia from the movies he has worked on. Seriously incredible!
While we were checking things out, Davis told us that he had already sold dozens of bikes, and while we were there several more potential buyers came and went. Remember, nearly all of these bikes are for sale. If you are interested, drop Gary an email at GDStunt@aol.com.
Enough talk, let’s get to the bikes!
BSA that Gary Davis used in his daredevil shows
1971 Honda SL 350 K1 “jump bike” – This is the bike that Gary used to set the 21-car world record jump on March 5, 1972 at Ontario Motor Speedway, beating Evel Knievel’s 19-car record jump. Lower left is a blowup shows the feature spread about the jump in LIFE Magazine.
Some of the bikes get special placement
Gary says he saw this Reno Air Races competitor in a guy’s yard again and again as it was decaying. He finally stopped by with a truck and told the guy he was taking it home. He told the guy it was still his, but that it was going to be stored until he needed it.
Kenny Roberts’ 1975 TZ 750 Track Master – The 750cc two-stroke 4-cylinder monster was so powerful that after racing it, Roberts said, “Yamaha doesn’t pay me enough to ride this.” Shortly after, the AMA banned the bike from competition
Dick Mann’s 1951 BSA A-7 Factory Flat Tracker – Built by Dick Mann to replicate his Rookie Expert year racer. The frame is one of only a few made specifically for professional class C flat track competition.
1953 Matchless G-80 – Features an Amal concentric carb, Lucas competition magneto and MJB shocks. The bike is still ridden in Dinosaur TT races in the AHMRA.
Gary is constantly working on his bikes. This Triumph mill is being readied for service.
Rick Miller’s 1992 GM World Finals bike from Poland. Engine by Carl Bloomfeldt
Jason Crump’s Jawa from Australia
1976 Yamaha TT500 decked out for service as Captain America’s ride in the television show pilot. Actor Reb Brown played the hero and was stunt doubled by Gary. Much of the filming was done at Folsom State Prison and Folsom Dam.
NSU Sportmax 250cc single-cylinder. Herman Peter Muller won the 250cc title in 1955, the hyear they were introduced.
Honda CB 72 250cc twin. The Yetman framed racer features 26mm Mikuni carbs, magnesium triple clamps and a 5-speed transmission.
BSA A7 road racer raced by Gary.
Minibikes are fun, but how about a blast on this supercharged little monster. The supercharger was made by Gary from an automotive smog pump.
1974 Can-Am 250cc set up for TT and Super Moto racing.
1956 BSA Gold Star flat tracker. This was the last bike built by Sonic Weld and Trackmaster founder, Ray Hensley. The racer features a Sonic Weld frame, DBD 34 GS engine, Ceriani road racer forks, Barnes spool wheels and CD ignition.
Triumph T-120V with a Trackmaster frame, Ceriani Road Race forks and Works Performance shocks.
1937 Indian Scout that Gary still rides in AHRMA races. Upgrades include a Moto Guzzi front wheel, 32mm Amal carb and ARD electronic ignition.
The Honda RS 750 that #80 Rich King rode to victory at the AMA Seattle Mile at Emerald Downs. This was the only Honda against 19 Harleys.
One of Gary’s leather suits on display.
One-off pair of trikes built by Gary.
1956 Royal Enfield 500cc-single trials bike. This one runs in the heavyweight class with its Rickman wheels, Amal carbs and Evan Wilcox tank.
Words & Photos: KIRK!