Now let's talk to Hank James:
So, Hi. I guess you’ve gathered already that I’m Hank. I’m a Marine, and hopefully soon, a full-time bike shop owner and builder. I want to open my own shop and specialize in vintage motorcycles. I fell in love with older bikes when my dad, George, was still alive and I was a little boy. You see, my dad always wanted to win the Copper Moon Cup. Every year, we would load up my dad’s old 1942 Crocker and head to Door County, Wisconsin to race in the Cup. The Cup is a race for vintage bikes only. They have to be at least 20 years old, but the 20 year olds are the new bikes there.
The Crocker, which was my grandpa’s bike first, was special to my dad because it was the bike he learned to ride on. My grandpa bought it used, only a few years old, while he was home on leave from the service and it sat in his dad’s garage until grandpa got home to ride it. Then, well, he rode that bike everywhere. He didn’t have a lot of money when he first got out of the service, so the Crocker was his only mode of transportation for two years. Since he lived in Dell Hollow, Kentucky, it wasn’t too bad; the weather is usually mild most of the year.
When my dad turned 15 Grandpa let him learn how to ride the Crocker. Then, he got a job bussing tables at a local restaurant and paid Grandpa for it as soon as he could. Just like my grandpa, he rode it every day to and from work and school. He used to tell me that he thought he was the cat’s meow when he was on that bike. A smile as wide as an ocean and the girls thought he was something special. At least, my mom sure did. After they had me, Dad didn’t ride it that much – only on the weekends or when he needed to let off some steam. And of course, there was the Cup.
So, to race in the Cup, you can’t have any modifications on your bike; it has to be original. Of course, old parts are hard to come by sometimes, so they allow you to put newer parts on it as long as they are made just like the old ones and there aren’t any enhancements to it. There’s always someone trying to cheat, but that’s what happens when you have a large purse. The race has grown in popularity so much that the purse is now a half million dollars. That's something special.
My two best friends are Colby Landon and Brian Knight. We’ve known each other since grade school. We all went into the service the same year, but we were each in a different branch of the service. I went into the Marines, Colby was a paratrooper in the Army, and Blake is a SEAL. Nowadays, Colby is a smoke jumper, which is a firefighter, and Brian is a bouncer. We’re all in our 40’s but none of us are married at this time. I was, but divorced many years ago. Brian’s never been married; he’s kind of a man whore and Colby was engaged to a gal whom he met in the Army, but she was killed in combat. He’s had a hard time getting on with life.
Back to the Cup: Colby and I want to win so we can open our own bike shop. He says he’s getting too old to continue on with the firefighting, and he’s the best damn fabricator I’ve ever met. He’s made most of the parts we needed for the Crocker. Brian will be there with us, I’m sure. I’ve mentioned it a few times, but he’s noncommittal about it; first, we have to win.
That brings me to Brie. Holy shit, she almost made me dump Julie, that’s the Crocker – long story, but anyway, I did end up dropping her down when Brie stepped out in front of me on the race track. Silly woman. I was pissed off, but something about her just stirs me something fierce. She’s beautiful and kind of sad; but at the same time, she’s smart, funny, and well…I’m hoping we will be able to get to know each other better.
Meet the author, PJ Fiala!