is possibly the most aptly named person I have never met ! BUT did
have the fortune to see in action.
I had just broken into my teens in the mid sixties and had only three things on my mind, my knob, motor cycles and my knob (he still only has three things on his mind! - Nat). On weekends I hung about the local bike cafe with the guys from the village I lived in. This one particular weekend the place was buzzing about an article in the MCN ( a weekly motor cycle paper ) about a larger than life "Yank" with a V8 motorbike named "Widow Maker", coming to Santa Pod raceway on the bank holiday . This conjured up a vision of a "Superman" a real life comic caricature of heroic proportions, this I had to see.
As luck would have it my best mate's older brother was allowed to use his dads car if he took his younger brother. So that my mate and I would hang about together and not cramp big Bro's style, and if I came up with some fuel cash, I could have a place too I can't remember but I think I was hung out of the window for most of the trip by the other occupants of the car - the hounds that my mates older brother associated himself with.
by Cindy here!
Click on picture for full size
|The hype went on for most of the day at the " Pod " till eventually " WIDOW MAKER " was wheeled out and run. E.J. left the line sideways in a plume of smoke, then proceeded to take up BOTH lanes of the drag strip with a series of Zig Zags, the tyre smoking like I had never seen before, and a terminal speed of 150mph to boot. But that's not all, the most amazing thing was not that E.J. lived through all this! it was it was the fact that he NEVER SHUT OFF till he reached the end of the strip. I just had to see this "Superman". My mate and I made our way to the pits to see a crowd about ten deep around the bike, so we pushed our way to the front to see the pilot of the beast, expecting to see Clark Kent, but instead being confronted with Superman, here was someone that looked like Ed Roth had drawn a Buddy Holly Fink. I have seen a lot of the greats of the motorcycle world - Mike Hailwood , Giacomo Agostini, Klaus Enders, Alf Hagon, Jeff Smith, Eddie Lawson, Joey Dunlop, the list goes on , but I think this man gave me the longest lasting memory of all . I was quite shocked to find that he was still alive (Lord Knows how?) and not only alive but has written a book. Thanks to Cynthia Gargagliano (Cheers Cindy) she helped me obtain a copy of his book.||
Check out Grizzy's hot-rod Chief, "Geronimo"...
|The book spans the great mans' career
from his early years playing with industrial engines attached to pedal
cycles, to his first attempts at V8 power motorcycles from
"Widow Maker" #1 through to #7 (yes he got
through seven) which is amazing in itself. There is a passage about England that was of great interest, with a lot of good photos, a real time warp for me! There are tales from all over the world were he plied his trade, and every one an amusing story.
If "Widow Maker " seemed dangerous to you, what about a Cruise Missile trike (death wish or what?) Oh yes, that crashed out of sight too! The next thing to come out of the Potter stable was to be something much safer, an " Allison V12" aircraft engine powered "Dodge Dart" (SAFER?). This was the start of a long lasting love affair with the V12 Allison, the only power unit that had enough for this MAD MAN of MICHIGAN. There is a small brush with Electric powered cars that is quite enlightening, but you can see his real love is POWER , and how to harness it. Be it drag race or tractor pull, this man has done it all.
I think Indian is mentioned twice in the book, but if you are any sort of petrol head this is compulsive reading and there are some brilliant photos as well. It is written in an informal style by the man himself, and is just like he's telling you a tale over a few beers. You will find yourself laughing out loud with regular spontaneity, and leave you wondering at the man's sanity!
good read from a real legend, buy and enjoy - it's only $15 + post from
E.J. Potter, P.O. BOX 968, Vero Beach , FL32961 U.S.A.
Or speak to the man his-self on 1-877-A-MAD-MAN