TRUE WIMBLEDON LEGEND | THE ENIGMATIC BJORN “ICE” BORG

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My heart wanted Andy Roddick to win Wimbledon so bad– but my head knew that Roger Federer would pull it out– through cool, consistent, calculated play.  The better player definitely won, even though Federer’s acknowledgement of Roddick’e impressive play after the trophy ceremony felt a little snide and condescending.  I think the guy just can’t help it– he loves himself.  See him playing with his pretty hair nonstop?  Please.  And his cute little comment to Pete Sampras, who he trumped with a record 15 Grand Slam singles titles– “Thanks for coming out” seemed more than a little ungracious.  Federer has a great game, but he’s not my cup of tea.  For me, it doesn’t get any better than back in the wooden racket days of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, and the first rockstar of tennis– Bjorn Borg.

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Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg relishing his fifth straight Wimbledon singles victory in 1980.

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Bjorn Borg won an unprecedented five consecutive Wimbledon titles– from 1976-1980.  The 1980 Wimbledon final between Borg and McEnroe is easily considered the best and most memorable matchup of all time.  McEnroe seemed to have victory in hand early on, but the Swede proved once again to have more stamina and tenacity– breaking McEnroe down for the win.  Borg was widely considered nearly invincible at the time– his physical conditioning was legendary.

During his reign he also claimed six French Open titles, and even won Wimbledon and the French Open in the same year three times– the only player ever to do so more than once.  Winning both in the same year was even more remarkable because in those days there was only a week of preparation for the grass between the two events.  All these accomplishments came during a time when men’s tennis was brimming with truly great champions– the competition was crushing.

Bjorn Borg was also a bit of an enigma, which added to his charm and appeal.  He suddenly and surprisingly retired at the age of 25, with many great tennis playing years still ahead, after McEnroe handed him a painful defeat at the Wimbledon finals in 1981.  Imagine if Borg he had continued to play? He may very well have become tennis’ greatest champion of all time.

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Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe

In 1980, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe put on one of the greatest matches Wimbledon has ever seen.

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The New Crocker Big Tank Parallel Valve | American Motorcycle Heritage at it’s Baddest

 

Crocker MC's Big Tank Parallel Valve V-Twin

Crocker MC's Big Tank Parallel Valve V-Twin

 

I’m a big fan of Crocker Motorcycles, as you can see here.  When I heard a while back that Crocker also offers fully built bikes per the original factory specs, I started to cry.  First for joy, and secondly because I don’t know how my wife will ever forgive me for blowing the kid’s college fund on one.  

I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  Just kidding, honey.

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THE KRETZ RACING LEGACY | FATHER & SON AMA HALL OF FAMERS

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From “A Day at the Races” by S. Clayton Moore–

During the pinnacle of Ed Kretz Jr.’s career in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he raced alongside some of the world’s most famous racers, pushing Indians and Triumphs to the very edge of their capabilities. His racing buddies included screen legends like Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin, television stars like Jay Leno, and world-famous racers like the “Indian Wrecking Crew” of Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman.

Perhaps no one in Kretz’ orbit was more famous than his father, Ed Kretz Sr., who won the very first Daytona road race in 1937. Known as the “Iron Man” for his amazing endurance on a bike, the elder Kretz was the greatest motorcycle racer of his time and one of the sport’s first major stars.

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Ed Kretz Jr. (on the left) and Ed Kretz Sr. (on the right)

Ed Kretz Jr. (on the left) and Ed Kretz Sr. (on the right) on their trusty Triumphs.

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Ed Kretz was born in 1911 in San Diego, and started riding motorcycles out of sheer necessity during the Depression. Another legendary racer, Floyd Clymer, saw his talent and managed to get the young rider to race a new Indian motorcycle. As he progressed through the racing circuit, Kretz quickly became one of the best-known racers in the country. He stood at only 5’8″, but weighed a muscular 185 pounds, and used his sheer physical strength in a style no one had ever seen before.

“My dad was strong like a bull,” his son remembered. “He drove a hay truck and would load and unload the bales by himself. He was shorter than I was, but he was stocky.” That strength served the elder Kretz well during his most famous race, the inaugural Daytona 200 in 1937. The race was already well-known in its first year and went on to become the single most important motorcycle race in America.

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Ed Kretzman AKA “Ironman” racing #88 for Triumph 

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Motorcycle racing great "Iron Man" Ed Kretz Sr. on his trusty Triumph.

Motorcycle racing great Ed Kretz on the legendary Indian.

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“LITTLE BASTARD” | THE SILVER SPYDER THAT DROVE JAMES DEAN TO HIS GRAVE

James Deans "Little Bastard" Silver Porsche Spyder

James Deans “Little Bastard” Silver Porsche 550 Spyder. This shot was taken just hours before Jimmy’s tragic death.

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James Dean’s love for speed, racing and “living on the edge” are all well documented in many books, documentaries and bios– so I won’t belabor the point here.  Check out the video after the jump for a “James Dean legend” primer.  What is fascinating is the tremendous staying power, cult status and curse stories that surround not just James Dean, but also the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder that he tragically lost his life in.  The Porsche 550 Spyder is now forever linked with James Dean– it’s nearly impossible to recount one icon without the other.

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ames Dean and his 1955 Silver Porsche Spyder-- "Little Bastard"

James Dean and his 1955 Silver Porsche 550 Spyder– “Little Bastard”

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Summertime Separation Anxiety | Living Without Boots

In all honesty, Summertime is not my favorite time of the year for several reasons.  

First off, extreme sun is not my friend.  I just wasn’t built for it.  I’m Irish (read: fair) with skin that burns like nobody’s business.  It ain’t pretty.  

Secondly, I prefer Winter dressing over Summer slacking– always have.  What can I say, I’m just not a shorts and flip-flops kinda guy.  

My lust is for layers of patinated denim, old worn-in oilcloth, chunky woolens, beaten & abused leather jackets, belts and boots.  So come Summertime, I hold on to wearing my favorite boots, jeans and jackets for as long as I can– before it’s just too darn hot.  I usually make it to July, then come back in September. What do I trade ‘em in for?  Clarks suede desert Chukkas, what else?  Maybe a Chuck or Jack Purcell here and there on the down low.  Might even breakdown and get crazy with some sandal action on the side– when my guard is down and it’s just us chickens, that is.  

And in all seriousness guys– listen up, and never wear flip-flops or sandals on the job.  Your co-workers (especially the ladies) should never have to be exposed to the sight of your messed-up cheetoes.  Keep ‘em under wraps, bro.  Please.      

 

An old worn-in pair of Chippewa Engineer boots and an arsenal of vintage Levi's 501s, with a helping of RRL thrown in for good measure.

An old worn-in pair of Chippewa Engineer boots and an arsenal of Levi's 501s and RRL denim thrown in for good measure. Had the Chippewa Engineers for about 10 yrs now-- you can't buy what can only come with time.

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