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RIP Hunter S Thompson

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Gromit, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. But with the throttle screwed on there is only the barest
    margin,and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done
    right . . . and that's when the strange music starts, when
    you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration
    and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a
    hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize
    before they get to your ears. The only sounds are wind
    and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You
    watch the white line and try to lean with it . . . howling
    through a turn to the right, then to the left and down the
    long hill to Pacifica . . . letting off now, watching for cops,
    but only until the next dark stretch and another few
    seconds on the edge . . . The Edge . . . There is no honest
    way to explain it becuase the only people who really know
    where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others-
    the living-are those who pushed their control as far as
    they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or
    slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came
    time to choose between Now and Later.
    But the edge is still Out there. Or maybe it's In. The
    association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of
    publicity. They are both a means to an end, to the place
    of definitions.

    Hells Angels

  2. RIP Gonzo

    *head down in respect*
  3. Never met the man, but we spent plenty of sunny afternoons together over a beer. Goodbye Hunter
  4. Condolences to those who knew him. I didn't. Was he a Netrider personality?
  5. We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive...." And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?"

    Then it was quiet again. My attorney had taken his shirt off and was pouring beer on his chest, to facilitate the tanning process. "What the hell are you yelling about?" he muttered, staring up at the sun with his eyes closed and covered with wraparound Spanish sunglasses. "Never mind," I said. "It's your turn to drive." I hit the brakes and aimed the Great Red Shark toward the shoulder of the highway. No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.

    C/of 'Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas'.
  6. oh crap eh :( i didn't hear a word about this till just now, damn shame eh. i spose the bloke pushed it enuff tho, he was lucky as hell to keep going as long as he did really :shock:

    RIP fella, respect in the biggest way possible.....

    mjt57, he was a writer, one of the best around by my reckoning. havn't read one of his books that didn't hold me on the edge of my seat till i finished it. get a hold of:
    fear and loathing in las vegas
    rum diaries
    hells angels
    damn good books, speshly if you've got any kind of inkling of what he's on about :wink:
  7. FYI he shot himself.
  8. Best read ever :D
    Song of the Sausage Creature
    By Hunter S. Thompson from CycleWorld Magazine

    On my tombstone they will carve, "IT NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME."

    There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a bright red, hunchback, warp-speed 900cc café racer is one of them -- but I want one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one. That is why they are dangerous.

    Everybody has fast motorcycles these days. Some people go 150 miles an hour on two-lane blacktop roads, but not often. There are too many oncoming trucks and too many radar cops and too many stupid animals in the way. You have to be a little crazy to ride these super-torque high-speed crotch rockets anywhere except a racetrack -- and even there, they will scare the whimpering shit out of you.... There is, after all, not a pig's eye worth of difference between going head-on into a Peterbilt or sideways into the bleachers. On some days you get what you want, and on others, you get what you need.

    When Cycle World called me to ask if I would road-test the new Harley Road King, I got uppity and said I'd rather have a Ducati superbike. It seemed like a chic decision at the time, and my friends on the superbike circuit got very excited. "Hot damn," they said, "We will take it to the track and blow the bastards away."

    "Balls," I said. "Never mind the track. The track is for punks. We are Road People. We are Café Racers."

    The Café Racer is a different breed, and we have our own situations. Pure speed in sixth gear on a 5,000-foot straightaway is one thing, but pure speed in third gear on a gravel-strewn downhill S-turn is quite another.

    But we like it. A thoroughbred Café Racer will ride all night through a fog storm in freeway traffic to put himself into what somebody told him was the ugliest and tightest decreasing-radius turn since Genghis Khan invented the corkscrew.

    Café Racing is mainly a matter of taste. It is an atavistic mentality, a peculiar mix of low style, high speed, pure dumbness, and overweening commitment to the Café Life and all its dangerous pleasures.... I am a Café Racer myself, on some days -- and many nights for that matter -- and it is one of my finest addictions....

    I am not without scars on my brain and my body, but I can live with them. I still feel a shudder in my spine every time I see a Vincent Black Shadow, or when I walk into a public restroom and hear crippled men whispering about the terrifying Kawasaki Triple.... I have visions of compound femur fractures and large black men in white hospital suits holding me down on a gurney while a nurse called "Bess" sews the flaps of my scalp together with a stitching drill.

    Ho, ho. Thank God for these flashbacks. The brain is such a wonderful instrument (until God sinks his teeth into it). Some people hear Tiny Tim singing when they go under, and others hear the song of the Sausage Creature.

    When the Ducati turned up in my driveway, nobody knew what to do with it. I was in New York, covering a polo tournament, and people had threatened my life. My lawyer said I should give myself up and enroll in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Other people said it had something to do with the polo crowd.

    The motorcycle business was the last straw. It had to be the work of my enemies, or people who wanted to hurt me. It was the vilest kind of bait, and they knew I would go for it.

    Of course. You want to cripple the bastard? Send him a 130-mph café racer. And include some license plates, so he'll think it's a streetbike. He's queer for anything fast.

    Which is true. I have been a connoisseur of fast motorcycles all my life. I bought a brand-new 650 BSA Lightning when it was billed as "the fastest motorcycle ever tested by Hot Rod magazine." I have ridden a 500-pound Vincent through traffic on the Ventura Freeway with burning oil on my legs and run the Kawa 750 triple through Beverly Hills at night with a head full of acid.... I have ridden with Sonny Barger and smoked weed in biker bars with Jack Nicholson, Grace Slick, Ron Zigler, and my infamous old friend, Ken Kesey, a legendary Café Racer.

    Some people will tell you that slow is good -- and it may be, on some days -- but I am here to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this, in spite of the trouble it's caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba....

    So when I got back from New York and found a fiery red rocket-style bike in my garage, I realized I was back in the road-testing business.

    The brand-new Ducati 900 Campione del Mundo Desmodue Supersport double-barreled magnum Café Racer filled me with feelings of lust every time I looked at it. Others felt the same way. My garage quickly became a magnet for drooling superbike groupies. They quarreled and bitched at each other about who would be first to help me evaluate my new toy.... And I did, of course, need a certain spectrum of opinions, besides my own, to properly judge this motorcycle. The Woody Creek Perverse Environmental Testing Facility is a long way from Daytona or even top-fuel challenge sprints on the Pacific Coast Highway, where teams of big-bore Kawasakis and Yamahas are said to race head-on against each other in death-defying games of chicken at 100 miles an hour....

    No. Not everybody who buys a high-dollar torque-brute yearns to go out in a ball of fire on a public street in L.A. Some of us are decent people who want to stay out of the emergency room, but still blast through neo-gridlock traffic in residential districts whenever we feel like it.... For that we need fine machinery.

    Which we had -- no doubt about that. The Ducati people in New Jersey had opted, for reasons of their own, to send me the 900SP for testing -- rather than their 916 crazy-fast, state-of-the-art superbike track racer. It was far too fast, they said -- and prohibitively expensive -- to farm out for testing to a gang of half-mad Colorado cowboys who think they're world-class Café Racers.

    The Ducati 900 is a finely engineered machine. My neighbors called it beautiful and admired its racing lines. The nasty little bugger looked like it was going 90 miles an hour when it was standing still in my garage.

    Taking it on the road, though, was a genuinely terrifying experience. I had no sense of speed until I was going 90 and coming up fast on a bunch of pickup trucks going into a wet curve along the river. I went for both brakes, but only the front one worked, and I almost went end over end. I was out of control staring at the tailpipe of a U.S. Mail truck, still stabbing frantically at my rear brake pedal, which I just couldn't find.... I am too tall for these New Age roadracers; they are not built for any rider taller than five-nine, and the rearset brake pedal was not where I thought it would be. Midsize Italian pimps who like to race from one café to another on the boulevards of Rome in a flat-line prone position might like this, but I do not.

    I was hunched over the tank like a person diving into a pool that got emptied yesterday. Whacko! Bashed into the concrete bottom, flesh ripped off, a Sausage Creature with no teeth, f-cked-up for the rest of its life.

    We all love Torque, and some of us have taken it straight over the high side from time to time -- and there is always Pain in that.... But there is also Fun, in the deadly element, and Fun is what you get when you screw this monster on. BOOM! Instant takeoff, no screeching or squawking around like a fool with your teeth clamping down on your tongue and your mind completely empty of everything but fear.

    No. This bugger digs right in and shoots you straight down the pipe, for good or ill.

    On my first takeoff, I hit second gear and went through the speed limit on a two-lane blacktop highway full of ranch traffic. By the time I went up to third, I was going 75 and the tach was barely above 4,000 rpm....

    And that's when it got its second wind. From 4,000 to 6,000 in third will take you from 75 to 95 in two seconds -- and after that, Bubba, you still have fourth, fifth, and sixth. Ho, ho.

    I never got into sixth, and I didn't get deep into fifth. This is a shameful admission for a full-bore Café Racer, but let me tell you something, old sport: This motorcycle is simply too goddamn fast to ride at speed in any kind of normal road traffic unless you're ready to go straight down the centerline with your nuts on fire and a silent scream in your throat.

    When aimed in the right direction at high speed, though, it has unnatural capabilities. This I unwittingly discovered as I made my approach to a sharp turn across some railroad tracks, saw that I was going way too fast and that my only chance was to veer right and screw it on totally, in a desparate attempt to leapfrog the curve by going airborne.

    It was a bold and reckless move, but it was necessary. And it worked: I felt like Evil Knievel as I soared across the tracks with the rain in my eyes and my jaws clamped together in fear. I tried to spit down on the tracks as I passed them, but my mouth was too dry.... I landed hard on the edge of the road and lost my grip for a moment as the Ducati began fishtailing crazily into oncoming traffic. For two or three seconds I came face to face with the Sausage Creature....

    But somehow the brute straightened out. I passed a school bus on the right and then got the bike under control long enough to gear down and pull off into an abandoned gravel driveway where I stopped and turned off the engine. My hands had seized up like claws and the rest of my body was numb. I felt nauseous and I cried for my mama, but nobody heard, then I went into a trance for 30 or 40 seconds until I was finally able to light a cigarette and calm down enough to ride home. I was too hysterical to shift gears, so I went the whole way in first at 40 miles an hour.

    Whoops! What am I saying? Tall stories, ho, ho.... We are motorcycle people; we walk tall and we laugh at whatever's funny. We shit on the chests of the Weird....

    But when we ride very fast motorcycles, we ride with immaculate sanity. We might abuse a substance here and there, but only when it's right. The final measure of any rider's skill is the inverse ratio of his preferred Traveling Speed to the number of bad scars on his body. It is that simple: If you ride fast and crash, you are a bad rider. If you go slow and crash, you are a bad rider. And if you are a bad rider, you should not ride motorcycles.

    The emergence of the superbike has heightened this equation drastically. Motorcycle technology has made such a great leap forward. Take the Ducati. You want optimum cruising speed on this bugger? Try 90 mph in fifth at 5,500 rpm -- and just then, you see a bull moose in the middle of the road. WHACKO. Meet the Sausage Creature.

    Or maybe not: The Ducati 900 is so finely engineered and balanced and torqued that you can do 90 mph in fifth through a 35-mph zone and get away with it. The bike is not just fast -- it is extremely quick and responsive, and it will do amazing things.... It is a little like riding the original Vincent Black Shadow, which would outrun an F-86 jet fighter on the takeoff runway, but at the end, the F-86 would go airborne and the Vincent would not, and there was no point in trying to turn it. WHAMO! The Sausage Creature strikes again.

    There is a fundamental difference, however, between the old Vincents and the new breed of superbikes. If you rode the Black Shadow at top speed for any length of time, you would almost certainly die. That is why there are not many life members of the Vincent Black Shadow Society. The Vincent was like a bullet that went straight; the Ducati is like the magic bullet that went sideways and hit JFK and the Governor of Texas at the same time. It was impossible. But so was my terrifying sideways leap across railroad tracks on the 900SP. The bike did it easily with the grace of a fleeing tomcat. The landing was so easy I remember thinking, goddamnit, if I had screwed it on a little more I could have gone a lot further.

    Maybe this is the new Café Racer macho. My bike is so much faster than yours that I dare you to ride it, you lame little turd. Do you have the balls to ride this BOTTOMLESS PIT OF TORQUE?

    That is the attitude of the New Age superbike freak, and I am one of them. On some days they are about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. The Vincent just killed you a lot faster than a superbike will. A fool couldn't ride the Vincent Black Shadow more than once, but a fool can ride a Ducati 900 many times, and it will always be bloodcurdling kind of fun. That is the Curse of Speed which has plagued me all my life. I am a slave to it. On my tombstone they will carve, "IT NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME."
  9. I hadn't read that before. Great stuff - thanks.
  10. O'right.. I'm heading straight down to the book exchange tomorrow, I gotta get some more of that.

  11. thats a goddamn RIPPER!!! cant beleive i've never seen that little write up before!! you cant tell me he's not the best writer ever eh :D beats the crap outta that shakespear bloke any day :LOL:
  12. And the best book ever on the American political process..
    "Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail"

    Of all the ways to go that's the last I would have expected from HST. A drug overdose, a high speed crash, shot by one of the many people he's upset, but never suicide...

  13. Think about it this way, he controlled his own death. Possibly found out he had something that would (eventually) kill him (in pain?) so he took it into his own hands literally to do the job.
  14. We're doing a 'shroom eulogy for HST this weekend. Should be... character building.

  15. Thanks. I haven't heard of him before. Shows my literary ignorance, I s'pose. I read about his demise in the paper today.

    Oh well, I s'pose he could've been considered an honorary Netrider, huh?
  16. HS???
    I remember him for one thing.

    I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol violence or insanity to anyone....
    but they have always worked for me.

    somehow I think he might have got it wrong...

  17. Song of the Sausage Creature may also be found in Kingdom of Fear (Penguin 2003).

  18. Someone who was such a literary icon, iconoclast and simply a cool f#cking guy that will be remembered by so many got it wrong? Obviously you have no idea buddy.
    Even if he died 20 yrs ago his choices would have not been a mistake as he still would have left the world with so much.