Not all toasters are created equal

You got yer raffles, and then you got yer SERIOUS raffles.  Since it seems to be raffle week around Jaxworx, here’s another big chance to win, win, WIN!American HIstoric Racing Motorcycle Association

Seriously, who wouldn’t leap to buy a chance at a 1973 BMW R75/5? You say you wouldn’t? Yeah… okay, I get that. Although I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart (/brain) for the toaster-tanked cutie, Slash Fives didn’t exactly set the performance world on fire. They were responsible, sensible bikes for sensible, responsible people.

Tom Sill is not a responsible, sensible guy. Oh sure — he’s responsible for all kinds of stuff, some of it occasionally sensible. But he also owns a fully NCR-kitted, 1982 Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica, the very exhaust note of which tears the temple curtain of a dozen Mormon virgins every time he lights it off. He’s a complete nutter of the most gloriously Castrol-perfumed variety.

Tom, service manager at BMW/Triumph Motorcycles of Salt Lake, is currently building a very special Beemer for AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association). In short, the bike should weigh in at about 380 lbs. and put down better’n 70 horsepower at the rear wheel… not bad for a vintage, air cooled, middleweight twin.

Hell, not bad for a mid-90s Ducati.

How do you get from a politely ticking doctor’s bike to a snarling track monster? In Tom’s case, with a little help from your friends.

“I’ve gotten help from everybody,” Tom says, “all over the world.”

This is not hard to believe. I used to work for Tom, and I’d do so again in a heartbeat. He’s not just crazy; he’s the nicest kind of crazy and he never bought me a boring lunch. His latest bike build ought to have plenty of hot sauce, too…

The R-bike will be painted in Rennsport racing livery over a Glass From the Past tank and a race fairing from The engine squeezes its 38mm Mikuni charge through big valve R90S heads, using custom Venolia pistons to keep compression fancy-high. Relocated wrist pins on the con rods allow shorter cylinders to increase cornering clearance (no word on whether there are casters mounted to the valve covers).

A five-speed transmission replaces the pedestrian four-speed, working through an R100RT rear drive to produce an anticipated 130 mph. The R90S front wheel mounts to an R80RT fork, enabling the use of dual Brembo calipers snuggling beautiful EBC rotors. Its soon-to-be Pearl Red frame is carefully gusseted, the swingarm is stretched, and the whole lovely works rolls on polished stainless spokes laced up by Buchanan’s Spoke & Rim.

A bullet, then, in the old school sense. Tom describes it as “pretty much to the spec of how it would have been built in the Seventies.”

I’d describe it as one embarrassingly wanton flat twin — in the sense that I’m wantin’ it embarrassingly much. Is that a rocket in your paddock, or are you just happy to see your new bike…?

Anyway, even a basket case toaster tank Beemer would be worth the price of admission: you could win it for five bucks. Yep, one sawbuck. A Lincoln.  A fin.  Basically, one bill so small it would shame a crackhead to snort crank through it.  For twenty bucks, you get five (5) chances.

The raffle bike goes to some lucky track soldier at the Bonneville Vintage GP, held at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on September 3, 4 and 5. Nope, you don’t have to be present to win, but there will be Mormon girls there, listening to loud motorcycles and wondering…

Tickets are available through AHRMA ( or through BMW/Triumph Motorcycles of Salt Lake ( You can also pick yours up at any AHRMA event.

The “raffle journal,” detailing the building of this perfect beast, is online at

You can’t go wrong with this one. It’s turnkey vintage racing, albeit in the genuine “vintage” sense that there is no key to turn. There’s no kickstarter, either. Bring friends.

If you don’t have any friends, talk to Tom for a few minutes. He has friends to spare.

He’s earned ’em.


  1. ye gods. I don’t ever want anything *that* pretty. I’d just go and do something stupid like *drop* the thing…. and unlike a Ducati Diavel, there’s no replacing it.

    As far as earning friends? Takes one to know one, my friend.

  2. SQUEEE!!! So *that’s* where he ended up.

    I WANT a tickie. Don’t know that I can get to one at the moment (being stuck in the hospital and all…)

    For whatever the odds are on one ticket, I’ll frame the puppy and think fondly of the BEST DAMN JOB INTERVIEW *EVAR* 🙂

    All of the various Holy Ones look down on Tom’s work with great big mucking smiles. I’ll take a piece of that!

  3. The photos of that beemers are backwards/mirror image. Funny no one noticed before.

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