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I bought a beer and watched the bikes checking in. No Hogs in this league, not even a Sportster … that would be like entering our Great Red Shark in the dune buggy competition. Maybe I should do that, I thought. Sign my attorney up as the driver, then send him out to the starting line with a head full of ether and acid.

How would they handle it? Nobody would dare go out on the track with a person that crazy. He would roll on the first turn, and take out four or five dune buggies — a Kamikaze trip. He stared up at me, saying nothing, not friendly. I noticed he was wearing a. The man was getting ugly, but suddenly his eyes switched away.

He was staring at something else … my attorney; no longer wearing his Danish sunglasses, no longer wearing his Acapulco shirt … a very crazy looking person, half-naked and breathing heavily. Are you prepared to go to court? I grabbed his shoulder and gently spun him around. Have you made a deal with these pigs?

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He paused, listened for an instant, then suddenly began running toward the car. By the time we got the shark back on the highway he was able to talk. How did we get mixed up with that gang of psychotic bigots? Those scumbags were trying to kill us! T he racers were ready at dawn. Fine sunrise over the desert.

-- 22 LR Savage Mark II FV-SR Hog with Tracer - shamsi

Very tense. The bar opened at We wanted strong drink. Our tempers were ugly and there were at least two hundred of us, so they opened the bar early. By there were big crowds around the crap-tables. The place was full of noise and drunken shouting. What day is this — Saturday? They beat me stupid. He laughed again, talking into the crowd and not seeming to care who listened. And I tell you that was one hell of a long night, man!

Seven hours on that goddamn bus!

He accepted a cigarette from somebody in the crowd, still grinning as he lit up. Nobody argued with him. We all understood. This race attracts a very special breed, and our man in the Harley T-shirt was clearly one of them. Bring us ten! It may never come again!

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The frog-eyed woman clawed feverishly at his belt. He laughed distractedly. The woman kept pulling at him. The man from Life wanted no part of it; he slumped deeper into his crouch. I turned away. It was too horrible. We were, after all, the absolute cream of the national sporting press. B ut now — even before the spectacle got under way — there were signs that we might be losing control of the situation. Outside, the lunatics were playing with their motorcycles, taping the headlights, topping off oil in the forks, last minute bolt-tightening carburetor screws, manifold nuts, etc.

It was extremely exciting and we all went outside to watch. The flag went down and these ten poor buggers popped their clutches and zoomed into the first turn, all together, then somebody grabbed the lead a Husquavarna, as I recall , and a cheer went up as the rider screwed it on and disappeared in a cloud of dust.

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-- 22 LR Savage Mark II FV-SR Hog with Tracer - shamsi - video dailymotion

But not yet. There were something like a hundred and ninety more bikes waiting to start. They went off ten at a time, every two minutes. At first it was possible to watch them out to a distance of some yards from the starting line.


We could see as far as the hay-bales at the end of the pits. Beyond that point the incredible dust-cloud that would hang over this part of the desert for the next two days was already formed up solid. It was time, I felt, for an Agonizing Reappraisal of the whole scene. The race was definitely underway. I had witnessed the start; I was sure of that much. But what now? Rent a helicopter? Get back in that stinking Bronco? Wander out on that goddamn desert and watch these fools race past the checkpoints?

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One every 13 minutes. By ten they were spread out all over the course. Somewhere around 11, I made another tour in the press-vehicle, but all we found were two dune-buggies full of what looked like retired petty-officers from San Diego. They were having a bang-up time — just crashing around the desert at top speed and hassling anybody they met. The engines were all roaring; we could barely hear each other.

They roared off, and so did we. The beer in my hand flew up and hit the top, then fell in my lap and soaked my crotch with warm foam. It was time, I felt, to get grounded — to ponder this rotten assignment and figure out how to cope with it. Lacerda insisted on Total Coverage. He wanted to go back out in the dust storm and keep trying for some rare combination of film and lens that might penetrate the awful stuff. Lacerda agreed, and sometime around noon he went out on the desert, again, in the company of our driver, Joe. A night on the town … confrontation at the Desert Inn … drug frenzy at the Circus-Circus.

S aturday midnight … Memories of this night are extremely hazy. All I have, for guide-pegs, is a pocketfull of keno cards and cocktail napkins, all covered with scribbled notes. He owned a sporting-goods store in Carmel. And one month he drove his Mercedes highway-cruiser to Reno on three consecutive weekends — winning heavily each time. Nothing too good for high rollers. The pilot lent him a dime to call a friend for a ride to Carmel.

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Mainline gambling is a very heavy business — and Las Vegas makes Reno seem like your friendly neighborhood grocery store. For a loser, Las Vegas is the meanest town on earth. Until about a year ago, there was a giant billboard on the outskirts of Las Vegas, saying:.

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I was not entirely at ease drifting around the casinos on this Saturday night with a car full of marijuana and head full of acid. We had several narrow escapes: at one point I tried to drive the Great Red Shark into the laundry room of the Landmark Hotel — but the door was too narrow, and the people inside seemed dangerously excited.