Monday, May 11, 2009

Concours d'elegance!

Last weekend was the first concours d'elegance in Baton Rouge history, organized by Jeff Cobb. It was held in a beautiful horse farm in the middle of the city. Royal Enfield was there in full force! Completely without shame, I parked my bike next to a gentleman that had a 1949 HRD, a 1928 Brough Superior, a 1933 Sunbeam and a 1914 Harley Davidson (unrestored). This discerning couple did not stop for the Brufsup, hardly had a glance at the 1914 Harley but spent quite some time looking at the Enfield! Here is a view of some of the cars involved in the show, there were Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and other exotics, including a 1933 car that belonged to the King of Egypt. The Enfield was popular with kids, who instinctively know how to distinguish a superior machine, The drama:

Riding to the concourse while fighting the hectic Baton Rouge traffic on Friday afternoon was quite an ordeal. Lots of stop and go traffic, which does not go well with the legendary Albion gearbox. I was thankful for my miracle clutch. It was also very hot, and some distance (about 12 miles) and about three miles from the end my electrical system sort of gave out, I had no electricity, the battery seemed dead. I blamed myself: I have modified the electrics to give the "much sought after clean, see-through look" to the engine by relocating the battery to the toolbox and using a small sealed lead acid battery. As I stopped at a red light, the engine cut off. I was in the middle of a busy four lane street and sought shelter in a left-turn carveout in the median divider. I kicked and the engine started, but if I tried to accelerate it sounded like a hit-or-miss engine, firing once every three or four turns! I discovered that if I opened up the gas quite a bit, the engine would come to life. So under those conditions, I limped my way to the concourse. Not a good way to start! I took the battery out, believing it was the culprit, took it home and charged it. When I reinstalled, nothing! It turned out what was wrong was one of the cables going to the battery, which I had soldered, had broken off. I patched it up, applied some tape, and things seemed normal. But I was worried if it was really the problem and if it would hold on the trip back home.

It made my day, not once, but three times!

1. Towards the end of the show, the Enfield was approached by Paul Adams, the tuner of Confederate Motorcycles and he started taking pictures of it! We struck a conversation and he told us about tuning the Wraith that broke the world record at Bonneville.

2. As the show wound down, I decided to ride my Enfield back home as opposed to picking it up with a trailer, in spite of the electrical problems. When I was about to start it, I note Matt Chambers, the founder of Confederate Motorcycles approaching, The pressure was on! I kicked and the Enfield started right away (thank you again, performance carburetor!). I revved it up to warm it and it settled to a nice idle. Matt Chambers smiled, nodded approvingly and said "sounds nice!". Boy was I ecstatic! I thanked him, got in first gear and slowly exited the concours. The location of the bike required me riding through all the remaining vehicles. Everyone turned around to see who was the lucky guy "riding the thunder".

3. On the way home, my wife followed close behind me in her convertible with the top down, just in case something went wrong with the electrics. Everything went fine. I even opened the throttle in Airline Highway and got it up to 61mph (my wife claims it was 56, but I chalk it to her BMW speeedo reading incorrectly low :-). When we arrived home she said "I had turned on the radio when we left, but then I turned it off to listen to your bike's engine, it really sounds nice". What a day!


  1. Great video! My hat is off to the fellow who brought the Brough out for the day. I also admire the fellow who brought his Yugo!

  2. The gentleman with the Brough is Bryan Bossier, he's the current US importer of Brough Superior. He's from Alexandria, Louisiana, where he owns a construction company as well.



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