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Figbuck Chronicles...


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Love the vfr figbuck. I recently got a vtr, I feel you on the joy you get out of the torque on those bikes. I plan to do a trip up the one from San Luis Obispo to Oregon, any recommended places to stop, camp at (ill be carrying a tent and sleeping bag) is greatly appreciated. I'm not into the tourist thing, I'm into seeing the coast at its finest and feeling at peace and one with my surroundings.


Laguna Seca isn't the same anymore. It's all very commercialzed and restricted, as seems to be the case with anything that used to be fun. Keep the stories coming, its cool to see how the world was before all of this Mtv and Jersey Shore bullshit. I feel like I got cheated out of my life being born in the late 80s and growing up with it how it is now.

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Dirk, you will have to figure it all out by yourself. Remember Kesey's quote... the answer is not the answer... It was the mystery that made me saddle up and explore every nook and cranny that was some kind of excuse for a road in California. Figbuck motorcycle touring tips; travel light... take two credit cards. Make sure you have a rainsuit, booties and winter gloves (I did 11 Summer Sprints where I packed rain gear and rode in 100 degree days the whole trip.... THEN I got caught in a monsoon on my way down the Coast to Long Beach, started blowing half way from Monterey to Big Sur... 'nother time a massive thunderstorm going north on 5 outside of Eugene... only way I survived was that I was prepared to be cold and wet.


Dude... with over three hundred and fifty thousand motorcycle miles creating a permanent crease in my ass from a Corbin Saddle... I could write a fucking trilogy of books on cross country touring. I could write at least a thousand pages about the Sprints alone... maybe someday.


Thanx Rob. I been thinking about this all year. When we lost our house two years ago I started to go through three big boxes of slides and photos I have been dragging around for ever. They got moved to my shop, so when I lost the shop last month, I don't have any way to store anything anymore. I'm going to scan what looks like a few thousand photos then toss 'em.


Please hang with me for a few days here... and maybe read it when I'm done. It is a pain in the ass to post all these oics. Stuff has crashed on me 4 times wasting at least six hours of work so far.


It disturbs me to hear someone say, I got cheated being born late. I have felt the same way... it disturbs me too... but that is kinda what I'm trying to talk about here. I remember reading about racing in the "Sporting Green". The San Francisco Examiner had green colored newsprint for the sports section of the daily paper. Some guy used to write about auto racing and I remember reading about famous driver and cars running at local races. Stuff like Jim Hall's Chaparrel and A.J. Foyt & Mario piloting Indy Roadsters running on the dirt in Sacramento. Wish I coulda seen that stuff.



Anyway... when I first went to races at Sears Point and Laguna Seca, it just just blew my mind!!! WOW! There is stuff like THIS in the world???? ... and mostly nobody knew about it at all. At least nobody I knew. So, I began to read AutoWeek, Road and Track,

National Speed Sport News. That led me to F1 races at Long Beach and then everything else. When cable TV and ESPN came about, you could watch the whole series on TV. When I first walked through the paddock and took these oics, I knew exactly who was who, what teams were doing what... and MUTHERFOCK this shit ROCKS!! The thing missing from the pics is the smells and sounds of FAST!


Film was expensive. Some how I always took my Pentax and a fresh roll. I for sure didn't have the desire to document all this stuff so I could write about it 28 years later either. I didn't think like that. But, I also have two giant cardboard boxes of VCR tapes made off the TV while I was at the races. There are random Indy 500 races, probably all the west Coast races and some random great races from the Milwaukie Mile to Surfer's Paradise in Austrailia. Love to put them all on DVD... who knows what is going to happen. I'm just trying to deal with stuff day to day.


After a couple years, I was looking back through race pics and I realized that I had stacks of photos of cool looking cars, but that didn't mean they were fast cars or had famous driver in them. I began to try and get photos of the drivers. They were interesting! New cars got built every year. Unless the car, event or person being photographed had a story or meaning... I didn't really need any more random photos of brightly liveried race cars.


This is a shot of Mario Andretti and young Michael at Laguna 1984. They had just finished the race, and received their trophies, squirted champagne at the old Victory Podium site. (on the other side of that tan plywood thing... all of this is virtually gone now... all this area was bulldozed away) It is significant in that, Michael won his first CART Race in April at Long Beach, and now for the first time, Mario and Michael would be on the "Box" together... except that Michael won and Mario was third.


The caption is; Mario: Shit I just got smoked by my kid! Michael; Ha, I just beat the Old Man at Laguunaaa! They were sitting in the back of a Pace Car here, soon to circle the track and wave at the fans:




Danny Sullivan was second. The view from the top of the hill is spectacular. You can see the whole Monterey Bay from up there. The track dips into the little valley up behind the top of the hill. That is the world famous Corkscrew complex of turns. Climbed that sucker a million times up to the Cork. 800 foot elevation change in the track from the pit straight. (check out the Z car, hey, nissan the official track sponsor)




Danny Sullivan and Michael Andretti racing up the hill and trying to late brake one another into what they know is a very narrow entrance to the Corkscrew. Danny trying to go up the inside to stuff Mikey... 145mph dance moves! This must be from the '86 season, I think, because look at the track... there is the whole new infield and pedestrian bridge! Every session set a 'new' course record!




Look at the new track configuration in the back, the whole track would eventually have FIM curbing, with gravel traps and the whole circuit lined inside and out with concrete barriers.


Danny Sullivan charging hard up out of the new turn six, top gear flat out... a fraction of a second later you must nail the brakes, at the same time bang a down change into first gear and crank the wheel full lock left and slide off down into the Corkscrew.




Danny Sullivan's Miller High Life Special, getting pushed onto stands for the CART post race tech inspection. Look at plywood ramps!! That's some hi teck shit right there.




This shot is Mario and Michael in the hot pit lane right after the Saturday morning warm-up session, They are looking at the Timing and Scoring feed to their pit stall. This was the first year that Mario and Michael drove for Newman Haas. This year was the race that has been called the Father's Day Gift. Both cars were fast... both drivers were fast too!




World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi drinks his champagne after winning the Portland Round. The last time he every drank champagne. He went on to win indy and drink the ritual milk. After that he always drank orange juice, even at he second 500 win he drank OJ, because he wons mega orange groves in Brazil. He is the first and original member of a group of drivers tagged as the Braziliallianaires. Emmo = fast guy!




Here is the ill-fated Porche IndyCar going through CART Tech at Laguna. A lot of development work for this car was done by Al Holbert and it was raced by Al Unser Senior at the 500 and here too.




It was a cool car. It seemed to go fast some times but not all the time and it didn't seem like the factory put as much behind the effort as they did in their F1 endeavors.




So Brother Dirk... do I ever know know how much things have changed at Laguna Seca. Commercialized and restricted is an understatement.

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My friend and I rode to Sears Point Raceway for Saturday qualifying, the first year they had NASCAR races there. We bought expensive two day tickets and paddock passes too. When we got in and parked our bikes right behind the old snack bar. There was a TransAm race the same weekend with some other series like Formula Atlantic or something too. Great, the paddock passes got us into the regular old paddock, but NASCAR had chain link fencing put up around their own private garage area... and nobody could get in with out credentials.


We were standing here when Bill Elliot and Darryl Waltrip come walking by then talk by their cars while the crews got them ready for sessions. We waited for a while until they kind of stopped talking and my friend calls, Darryl what do you think of the track? He starts to walk over, but some middle aged women fans hear him and run over screaming, LOOK GIRLS it's DARRRRYL and Million Dollar BILL Elliot. The guys go running into the garages to hid out. That was it for us... FUCK NASCAR!

I snapped this pic.


I have followed stock car racing since I was a kid and I still watch NASCAR races if they are live on free TV.. but I just knew that racing was changing and it was the money, man.




We watched the qualifying but soon realized, all the fastest guys has already set times on Friday, and Saturday was the slowest half of the field trying how to figure out how to turn right instead of left. We were so disappointed that we rode out to the Coast and burned gas and shredded rubber on Highway 1 then went home. We watched the race on TV the next day. Didn't have to fight traffic or get baked in the sun, had a comfy couch, cold beer, close bathroom.


Now back to Portland after Friday Qualifying. Nigel Mansel Formula One World Champion... Indy 500 Champion. Driving here for Newman/Haas and teamed with Mario Andretti. I watched him like a hawk through every session.




Nigel talking to his boys before final qualifying session. He went out for a couple laps, came back in and got out of the car!!! I never saw a driver get out of his car during a Q session. Ten minutes before the end of the session he came back from the team transporter, looked briefly at the Timing and Scoring Monitor. Got back in the car and went out for two of the fastest tire warm up laps I ever saw and ripped off two flying laps that would put him on the pole and leave no time for anybody else to go faster, because it was over. Meanwhile, through the whole session, everybody else is out there burning off sets of rubber pounding lap after lap to go faster.


The stuff legends are made of.




Nigel on the first flying lap on cold tires, just hammers it out onto the dragstrip. So fast I could't get him in focus! The glory days of Portland CART. It used to be a big deal here in the Northwest. A hundred thousand fans is a party.




Nige wins Portland and sprays a very young Paul Tracy with champagne.




Arie Luendyk at laguna, driving for Chip Ganassi's new Target team. One year there early on, he broke both his legs in a crash, and was hobbling around the paddock at Laguna on crutches, his season cut short. Nobody recognized him so I went over to talk to him. He was pretty bummed. I told him that I had followed his career, that I was a fan and I thought he would come back to win races. He thanked me, but didn't seem convinced. I would run into him from time to time and he always remembered me.


I wished Arie Good Luck and he said, Thanks Man, how have you been? Then I shot this photograph. Nice guy... FAST GUY!




Mario in Portland hanging out in the transporter on his pit scooter. I wish him good luck on the weekend and he tells me that it feels good to be back. Two hot chicks walk up and start gushing... Mario loves the ladies... I click off the shot. Nice guy. Prototype fast guy.




Al Unser Junior. Nice guy. Fast guy!




OK kidz pay close attention... this is a shot of A.J. Foyt smiling. Yes that is a smile. This is one fast man and a walking history of IndyCar Racing.




Another early year before AJ retired... almost smiling.




Left to right... with his face hidden, Bobby Rahal, Michale Andretti and Emmo. I figured out the ver first years at PIR that I had to walk back up the pit lane to where there were no security guys and hop the barriers. Then I could casually make my way over to the PRESS area where they towed a flatbed truck for the Victory Ceremony. I would just put my head down, not look at security and walk like I was busy working. I did that year after year and had to figure out smarter ways to beat Security.




'84 Bobby Rahal at Laguna Paddock giving an ESPN interview. In the spring I saw Bobby drive an IMSA Mustang here and was really quick... they need to name a corner for him... Mario got turn 2 named after him??




Rahal, '84 Laguna paddock, watching his boys make delicate tweaks to his car... with a Snap-On brand shoe.



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You hit that nail on the head. FUCK NASCAR I use to live to watch car races but somewhere it all went commercial and dumbed down to attract the great unwashed masses of fat, beer swilling, bar b q eating, Gomers. You think 30 cars all the same engine, all the same parts, all the same differentials, brakes, tires fighting for 1/100th of a second is exciting???? Go look at any '60/'70s racing. Richard Petty, I'm so glad you are not in this sorry excuse for racing.


Figbuck, thanks for your posts. Great Christmas present.

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"great unwashed masses of fat, beer swilling, bar b q eating, Gomers." That's all race fans everywhere! What races? I'm just here to look at Girls!! Nah, Nasty carr is just cheap entertainment. They finally figured out a way to mash a car into the wall at 200mph and walk away from it... uh. most of the time anyway. But so has the IRL!! It's made for TV racing. I was going to say don't get me started. But I was alread started and now you are gittin' me all worked up MIKE!! :hyper:


*An Editorial Note: I used post to a motorcycle racing forum... I posted this rant to a thread about four years ago; It was at the beginning of the racing season and the Daytona 200 was going to be run for the first time after a bunch of NASCAR guys bought the AMA (American Motorcycle Association), the promoter for the series for many years.


At this point, a young Texan named Ben Spies, had been on the factory Suzuki with teammate Mat Maladin who was a fierce veteran competitor. He went on to win the AMA Championship in one the most hard fought seasons, then ride a Yamaha for a satalite World Superbike team in the WSBK championship as a rookie... then as a rookie in MotoGP had outstanding results against the fastest guys on the planet. This year he had some bad luck but still had a great year, winning a race, running up front and sitting on the pole... stuff that some guys never do in their entire carears.


A couple things happened this racing season that broke my heart. I watched the Indy Racing League race where Dan Wheldon was killed and then Marco Simoncelli was killed at the Sepang round of MotoGP. I have had this feeling ... that this time right now, is just the end of an era.


I have been trying to make sense of what is happening in the world in general and my reaction to it. I think I have a point to make here about how and why things changed... but it's complicated and maybe I don't really understand what is going on, but here is my take on it...




As you get older, the years seems to go by faster. When you remember back sometimes it is all a blurr, but some race events, riders and teams stand out. Getting older through the years as a motor sports fan, I have seen series come and go. I used to follow IMSA, CART and Camel Pro flat track. I saw a lot of history. I followed lots of teams, riders and drivers. Many of them from being rookies in support series, to rookies in the big leagues, to being race champions, to being series champs, to being legends in now legendary series. So now we have this DMG (Daytona Motorsports Group) thing. I think that there will always be fans no matter what. The old track rats will bitch and moan and the novice enthusiasts will get behind it, and not know any different. Hey, even if the new bikes are two seconds slower, the leathers and livery are bright and shiney new, the bikes look awesome and rad... right?


It is a shame that there are no factory Hondas anymore, but the Buell fans have to be pumped and geez, the Ducati doing 199mph. Bikes is bikes and riders is riders. Time marches on. I remember watching Bubba Shobert run the San Jose and Sacramento Miles as well as the Laguna, Sears Point road races in his quest for the Grand National Points. Who even remember what the Grand National Championship was? Will we ever look back at this year and say those were the good old days. No, but some young cats will.


Great to see Ben Bostrum on P1. I remember the Boz Bros running 883 Twins when they were kids and puttin' on a show. But, I'm a big Hacking fan and DeSalvo, Zemke and Hayes are all fast guys that I have enjoyed watching. You got to give some credit to Danny Eslick too. He has been paying his dues for years. Look at the lap times in the top ten and they are all with in two seconds. Man, all those guys are freakin' fast. I mean Daytona? That place seems scary to me. It has chewed some guys up and spit them out.


I don't have cable, so I'm going to this sports bar called the Pitstop to see if I can watch it tonight. They advertise that they show NASTYCAR racin' all the time. I kind of doubt that there will be any other race fans, but I will see. I'll probably have to ask if I can turn one of the fifty TVs onto Speed Channel and watch it with no sound. All the stick and ball fans will be going WTF?




I don't really know what to say about anything any more. I'm frequently wrong and when I'm right it's just a bummer, because the truth is... that stuff just sucks anymore. People are always telling me that I'm pessimistic and don't have anything nice to say. I don't see stuff as real or authentic any more. It might look like real wood, but in fact it is a vinyl veneer, stuff is fake, it just looks like what it is supposed to be.


I started following Stock car racing when I was about nine or ten years old, like '61 or so. I belonged to the YMCA and the young guy that coached our swim club had a new Austin Healy 3000. On Saturday afternoons we used to set up a 16mm projector and watch these films he got somehow. They were produced by Miller beer... 'If you got the time we got the beer' and 'The champagne of bottled beer'. Most were black and white films of Yurripean Formula One racing and events like 24 Hours of LeMans, Bol D'or, Mille Miglia, but he got a lot of stockcar films, chronicling the early Daytona races on the beach and like Darlington races. All that stuff was what got me into racing and cars in general. I lived in Silicon Valley and subscribed to one of the first cable systems in existence in the '70s. People were tripping out on ESPN... about how they could survive? ... who would watch a 24 hours sports channel? Racing built ESPN and when the broadcast networks out bid them for racing coverage, it killed ESPN too.


I started watching the "modern" NASCAR races and also CART races around '78 maybe. It was super cool to have racing on TV, and not have to wait for AUTOWEEK or Speed Sport News to come out, to read what was happening in racing. Things progressed and then there was the period where they televised the F1 races live at 4:30 on Sunday morning and there was live coverage of 24 hours of Daytona and Le Mans. The full seasons of live NASCAR, CART and then AMA, even Camel Pro and WERA events. Soon there was GP bikes and then the new WSBK rounds being broadcast. It seemed so unbelievable to me that this stuff was on the air! Slowly, I ran into people that were watching this stuff, and even wanted to go to places like Laguna, Sears Point, Long Beach FI, or Phoenix, Portland to see IMSA endurance racing, CART and AMA pro road & flat track racing.


So, my wife and I went to this sports bar called the Pitstop to watch Daytona. There were a couple of full dressed Harleys parked right by the door. I thought, maybe this is the happening spot. It was a pretty big place with maybe fifty TVs big and small hanging on the walls. I see one couple dressed in chaps and the the requsite Harley of Bumfuk, America t-shirts. We looked all around and there is one TV tuned to the Speed Channel. We sit down at the table and a cute little waitress comes over. My wife asks her if we can crank the sound up a little so we can hear it and she does. The outlaw Harley clone couple has their backs to us and turn to give us nasty stares, as they are consumed watching some basketball game with no sound and it's like we are disturbing them. There is lots of noise in the place and groups of people of all ages watching stick and ball sports. Nobody else paid us any attention at all. The whole race, we were the only ones watching it.


I have a feeling that the people that run DMG (Daytona Motorsports Group) are some frat boys in suits, not racers or race fans. They probably hired some more frat boys in suits to be their consultants in identifying their potential market and demographics. NASCAR and other pro racing series learned a long time ago that in the marketing world, motor sports was a real bargain in terms of advertising bang for the buck. When promoters realized that tobacco and alcohol were a finite source of income, they started to look for other kinds of sponsorships. The evolution of NASCAR advertising is probably a few chapters in college marketing textbooks now.


There was a guy in the early '80s that used to tape all the motorsports TV every weekend, and watch all the events with a stop watch. He would log how much time a sponsor's logo appeared every lap or was mentioned by a commentator. He realized that cars were rolling billboards... that companies who relied on branding like Coca-Cola were getting more than their money's worth for their sponsorship sticker's dollar, compared to what it cost for a 30 second spot that most people use to remote to avoid watching.


That guy must be rich now, because TV and advertising dollars changed racing. I remember going to AMA National Road Races and top teams had a pick-up truck towing a trailer with one bike. There were privateers living in their vans using purse money to get to the next race and keep the bikes running. There were no tractor trailers and multi bike/rider teams. Racing was an expensive hobby, not a way to make money.


Maybe there is a living to be made in todays racing world, but it must be tough and for people like Michael Jorden... it is still an expensive hobby? Who knows, I sure don't? Are there any riders making money, or are they like musicians or starving artists that will accept a low rent life style, to be in the life?


The Daytona 200 race coverage was pretty spectacular. Man, all those camera angles and stuff. But in terms of NASCAR style broadcast technology, they should have had on bike cameras, front and rear facing, plus a real time look at RPM, speed, gear, brake info. The pit stops were cool, but did we get any NASCAR style helmet cams on the tire changer or fueler? The guys in the booth didn't seem to know what was going on, like they weren't even there. but in a studio watching monitors. What was the deal with the rolling start? This is superbike racing, start them in waves or something.


The pace car kind of sucked. The deal where the lights went out sucked. The red flag sucked, but that happens sometimes anyway. In the end, it was a straight up shoot out, and that probably saved the whole thing for me. It was great to see Bostrum yank a big wheelie goin up onto the banking on the last lap. Bet seriously... a fucking pace car in motorcycle road racing? Gimme a break!!


The deal where Danny Eslick's crew wasted his race was heart breaking but, like RedDog said, it was a little impressive to see Shawn Higbee finish up there and the Buell to run up front at the beginning.


I'm a race fan period. I might have some favorites, but I root for everybody and every marque and team. The cream usually rises to the top. I hope so anyway. This manufactured for TV racing can either attract new viewers and keep the old hard core fans interested, or else it will just be more background noise to get in the way of stick and ball sports. On some level the purity of grass roots racing is just not there any more. Everything takes money or is more about money than racing.


A big group of young people dressed in business attire came in and sat behind us just as the Harley Clone couple left. They all worked at a big car dealership across the street. They were talking mostly about how to sell cars to chumps that buy new cars and pounding pitchers or beer. At one point after a while, one of the guys exclaims, wow look at that bike! They were more or less oblivious to what we were watching. On the screen next to ours, was some show on Spike TV about the X games or something and there was footage of a guy doing a double back flip of the top of a big sand dune!


So, what do you all think? It this series worth our attention? Is WSBK any better? Moto GP seems like the only series worth of my attention any more, but it too has it's own weirdness attached to money. I still watch NASCAR because I can get it for free out of the air. It is what it is, and it free entertainment, but do I want to watch NASBIKE too?? I guess it will be interesting to find out. Or not...

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There has always been something about racing that is purely frivolous. It is simply excess. For sure CART Indy racing was like that. But there was a search for knowledge that was at the root of hot rodding too. How to go fast. It is a given that we all like to go fast. How to make these things go fast. But, then when they did make them go fast, driver's had to figure out how to drive them. There were learning curves and there are very few champions that escaped being hauled off to the ER. These are some tough guys and at this level really dedicated, smart and had heart. It made me love the sport.


The word fan is from fanatic. You don't have to have every played football to be a fan of the game, a team or player. I was a fan. I'm bummed big time about american motorcycle road racing and flat track, but World Superbike and Moto GP are still the purest forms of pro racing there is... that there can be... in todays nobody does anything unless it's for money world.




Gil DeFerran right after qualifying on the pole at Portland. What a class individual, smart and fucking FAST. He went on to win and win the Laguna Round too. One of the things about these guys is how much they understood that the fans are everything.




Arie another class fast guy, after a blistering qualifying session at Portland:




Paul Tracy and Al Unser Junior run for the checker in Penske Chevys.




Paul Tracy, Little Al and I think Emerson Fittipaldi take a Victory Lap:




Al Unser Jrs. #31 Penske Chevy/Illmore take the checkered flag. I snap this as they roll it back from CART Tech. WHOOPS! one of the titanium skid blocks required buy the rules was missing in the post race scrutineering. Front page of the Oregonian in a Coffee Shop the next morning said; UNSER DISQUALIFIED! I think at the end of the year he appealed, got the purse money and the win but not the points. When I watched the replay of the race you can see when the skid block send up big sparks when the car bottoms out and the ESPN announcer even remarked about it. In the words of the King Ricard Petty... "That's yor green flag racin'."




Rick Mears signing autographs:




Fittipaldi after winning Indy in the famous dual with Lil' Al. He jumps out of his car after setting a pole time and looks excitedly at the Timng and scoring feed.




More later as I scan them ... I ain't even making a dent in the pile of OICS!!!

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Here is a pic of me having one of those best days of my life. I love this spot so much. If you have ever read in the beginning of this thread where I talked about places of power. This is one of those places. Laguna Seca and Portland International raceways are each owned by county parks departments not private promotors. The races are promoted by charity organizations. For a couple bucks you can come to Laguna Seca and walk or ride bicycles all over the place, it's a park. They have camp grounds too. Unbelievable sunset over the Pacific Ocean.


I like this place to watch races because nowhere else on the track can you see cars coming out of turn six and up the hill. Then you are standing right in front of one the only passing zones on the whole circuit right before the Corckscrew. Always plenty of action there. And, you can see the pit straight, start/finish line, turns one, two, three and four from up there too. With a radio you know exactly what is going on in the race.




I have gone down there in the winter when teams were testing and had basically free access to the paddock, pits, and could take photos from right on the concrete barricades up in the corners. It is virtually deserted and maybe there are like a dozen people that know who is testing and what the deal is. I'm looking for some of those photos. It seems like I'm missing a box.


The view from up here is different every time you come. It can get really windy up here and sometimes in the later afternoon a bit treacherous for light cars and bikes. This was the start of a CART race in the mid '90s I think. I had a $10 radio that I used for twenty years. You could pick up the track PA on low power FM. A couple sandwiches, pack a six pack in a double bag of ice, field glasses, pacalolo... stuff a day pack and hike on up there.




OK, now here are some for the motorcycle fans. This is Eddie Lawson and his girlfriend, mechanic and a buddy. That was his Indylights team! This was taken in the Laguna paddock after a morning IndyLights qualifying session where he was third fastest and ended up seventh or something in the race. Lights were the PPG minor league support pro race series for the CART cars. It was a stepping stone for drivers coming out of amateur series. Anyway... this is a mind blower because all the freakin' car guys in the world are here and none of them know who he is... uh, some bike racer?




Here we go Eddie Lawson 500cc Grand Prix world Champion! Here he got the bike hooked up and won the United States Round at Laguna. I watched this guy come up riding superbikes and was there the friday morning he crashed in turn two at top speed because his mechanic forgot to bolt the front calipers. One tough guy... One fast muthafugga too!!!




This was the next June in Portland. I was waling down the paddock afte the indy light quallifying session and here comes Eddie Lawson riding with his crew chief and mechanic back to the truck. He qualified well and was like third in the race. I go good luck Eddie.




Here is his car in the race. Pretty funny that I ran into him and his crew celebrating at the other wise empty Dancin' Bare club. Ah,haha! Portlanders know the Dancin' Bear?? I got a great story but I don't think I can tell it!!! Eddie is a class guy I must say. Hung out, toyed with strippers and played some pool.


Eddie went on to run a season driving and IndyCar for Rick Galles. He has success at Indy and through the year, but it took a crap load of money to go racing and I don't, know who knows, how much desire do you have to go fast after you rode 500GP bikes and won multiple World Championships.




Paul Tracy signing autographs in Portland. He managed to launch his car ten feet in the air and completely over the guy he just about ran off in turn 4. People had differing opinions about Paul, but he always tried to go fast if the car would go fast and sometimes he would crash the fuck outta cars. He is still a fast guy any way you slice it.




Jimmy Vasser signing autographs at Laguna the year he won the Cart Championship and the Indy 500 too I think. Damn, the years all run together. Another fast guy.




Oh boy here we go. This is Mario Andretti in Portland. Some guys here restored the actual car that Mario drove. I happened to be there when he walked up. He was blown away by it and jumped right in it.




Yup, could be a handful with these skinny tires that were hard as a Q ball. But we had big fun dicing in these cars you know?




Thes guys went nuts restoring this thing and the freakin' exhaust note was what we kids used to say in sixth grade... Wicked Badd... It was Wicked Badd. Probably still fast as hell too!




One time they ask Mario in an inter view. Mario, are the cars going too fast at Indy? He said if the car feels comfortable at 230MPH then it isn't too fast... I drove front engined roadsters at a hundred and thirty five and that was way too fast!



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The first events I witnessed at Laguna Seca were rounds of the CanAm series. There was a rusty wire fence four feet tall around the whole track. The place was wide open and you had to wait until the end of sessions, to cross from the outside to the inside of the track... there were no pedestrian bridges. Race day tickets were $12 and that included a color program! You could park yourself under one of the big oak trees in the middle of the Corkscrew, a few feet from roaring race cars and eat some lunch, drink a cold one.


Some of the future CART champions like Bobby Rahal, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Junior all had CanAm rides. Another guy I first saw race in CanAm at Laguna was Al Holbert. I'm not sure growing up if I ever had any heroes. If I did they are Louis Armstrong, Bird, Trane, Sonny, Miles, McCoy Tyner... but, I could say that if anybody was a hero to me, it was Al Holbert. It wasn't like one day he won a race and I went WOW. It was a gradual thing where the more I followed sports car endurance racing, and watched him race at Laguna Seca, Sears Point running IMSA races in Porches, the more I realized that here was a brilliant engineer and driver who had something special about him.


I am glad to have lived in a time where for what ever reason I tripped out grown men who fabricated seriously fast machines and then proceeded to try and wring every last drop of speed out of them. To have watched Holbert through the years and seen this little chunk of motorsports history first hand is a great thing for me. I think about Al Holbert from time to time. I think about some of the epic drives he put together and the desire he must have had to focus that hard on something to achieve excellence.


I remember watching this clip live the day of the race. It was heart breaking, just like the loss of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli this year. It makes you stop as a fan and think about what is truly meaningful in life.



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If you are reading this and don't know about Bob and his son Al Holbert... do a Google search... he was an exceptional person. Like I have said, I am a fan. I root for all marques, teams, pilots. While I did root for the Nissan GTP car, (and was rewarded with many wins and champioships!) Porche has a long and storied history in the annals of motorsport. The 911 race cars and variants like the 935DP were always competitive, but when the 962 came on the scene, it was AWESOME. There I said it again.


Here is a photo that I don't really remember taking, but it was early on race morning in the Laguna Paddock, 1984. Al Holbert had a sponsor in CRC Chemicals on his Porche team, and they helped him start an IndyCar team too, that would have been successful no doubt... He had just come from a good showing at Long Beach and a 4th place drive at the Indy 500.


Someday I hope to give this photograph to the kid in the picture. Al's son Todd, I think he works as an engineer for Toyota on a NASCAR team. When I came across this photo my heart just sank. But what a great thing to remember him by.




A shot of Holbert's IndyCar being prepped for the morning warm-ups.




Holbert's 962 Lowenbrau Porche Special rolling out of the paddock at the '84 IMSA three hour endurance race at Sears Point Raceway. Another little piece of racing history. I'm sorry I can't for the life of me call this place Infineon Raceway. Almost everything you see in the photograph has been bulldozed and now giant grandstands are located here for the NHRA drag strip. Look at the special wing element they ran a Le Mans. No customer cars had that, factory stuff.




Waiting for the hot pit to open for final qualifying sessions @ 1983 Sears paddock:




Crossing the Start/Finish line at Sears. Top gear, on the gas:




Charging up the hill between turns one and two. The whole race track and the facility have been changed. Almost none on the stuff in these photos exists and more.




Flat out down the hill in the back onto the 'dogleg' that was turn ten. It used to pucker my ass riding motorcycles through here trying to turn the bike while keeping the throttle pinned... only a fraction of a second later... haul on the brakes and to bang down changes for the T11 Hairpin!!




Start of the race. Mario said, endurance racing is art of going fast slowly.




A little puff of unspent fuel out the back, flying into the hairpin. This track was dangerous and it ate tires, clutches, drive trains and both cars and drivers. When I think of all the laps I did on this sucker... came so close to crashing every corner of every lap... the most fun you can have with your clothes on!! I was lucky.




These shots were between sessions. Something broke and these guys are asses and elbows tearing deep into the car to fix whatever failed. Every time I had a good angle, a crew member would step in front. The team didn't really like people taking pics of their equipment... secret sauce!!




In the morning there was a German guy from Andial in L.A watching the sessions. Andial built Porche Racing engines. There was a new car in the paddock, the Ford Probe, that was bloody fast. It was very, very hight tech, cutting edge stuff gleaned from Philco/Ford Aerospace in Palo Alto. Somebody ask him if they were afraid of the Ford.




He said, Look at our car. It is so simple. Big engine, big turbo, big tires, a seat and steering wheel. It is so simple and we have thousands of miles of testing and racing. There is nothing we haven't already broken and engineered to be stronger and lighter!




He was right too. The Fprd Probe took off like a rabbit, but broke after about two hours... in the end, the Porche ran consistent fast laps to win.




A shot from the golden age of IMSA racing. Climbing the hill to the Corkscrew. This car sounded so great fully on the throttle right here... squeiling brakes, chirping flaming waste gate, then big throttle blip, and man it was gone!







Ah, the good old days... sittin' under the oak trees, listening to the play by play on the archaic PA system, drinking cold beer, watching scantily clad women and fast cars! Having the time of our lives!!!




The howl of a turbo Porche running through the gear box is simply intoxicating.




On the 'Box' at the old Victory Podium.




Here is how I will remember Al Holbert. Sitting with his crew, bench racing...




Al's partner in crime, Derrick Bell. I believe this year, they teamed to win both the 24 hours of Daytona, and LeMans in these cars... as well as this race and the IMSA Championship. I caught him right after he got out of the car and was changing out of his soaking wet driver's suit. Mr. Bell... FAST GUY!!




And finally Mr. Holbert. Walking back from Tech inspection... we won another one!



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I just found these clips from the spring IMSA race. I remember riding my VF750F down the Coast in the morning and it was so beautiful... crisp spring morning, smelling the salt air through Santa Cruz... but then, you get down into Watsonville and the smell of strawberry blossoms that is so pungent sweet it's almost fake. Then the smell of Salinas Valley top soil from the best 'dirt' on the planet and artichokes, broccoli blossoms. I used to cut over on Reservation Road and go in the back gate of Fort Ord, through Barlow Canyon, where I learned to kill people and blow shit up... there was a gate to the race course back there. Today it is just used for exit, no entrance.


You can see in the video that is really green for central California. By the middle of May this place is dried up and dead. I remember hiking up to my spot on top, and all the California Wild Flowers were out, fields of Poppies, Lupen, gave a colored tinge to the hillsides.


I had Laguna dialed. Many weekends I drove the Datsun down there and camped. Some years I towed a trailer with coolers. camp shit, bicycles, skateboards, and motorcycles... so we could leave the camp, go down to Cannery Row at night and club hop... sleep in the camper. We would wake up to cold stumbling race engines at eight AM. Oh well, grab a beer let's go over to the paddock and sit in on the mandatory driver's meeting, or cruise the paddock to see if So and So's crew stayed up all night putting his car back together!


Other times, I rode the bike down the Friday then rode home... rode back Saturday... rode home and then came back down for the race. I had a small flat spot behind the souvenir shack where I parked. It was twenty feet from the pedestrian bridge so with in minutes I was up in the Corkscrew. It was not physically possible to park any vehicle closer to the track than my secret spot. I just put a cover on the bike and security thought it belonged to one of the souvenir workers. I parked there for years and years. That spot is hanging in mid air now because they bulldozed the whole hill back for runoff room, and the whole bridge itself was moved 400 feet up the track.


It was about a six hundred mile weekend for me. An hour and a half to two hour commute back up to the Bay Area, I would take a different route every time. Every time blasting up the Pacific Coast or through the Redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountians... or if I was in a hurry, take 101 up through San Jose. Motorcycle are allowed to split lanes in California so traffic never slowed me down.


In the early years, we could ride bikes down there, crash in cheap motels in Seaside, the little military ghetto where I had a cottage while I was stationed at Fort Ord. It was like $35 for a nice room. The same room is $185 with a two night minimum now. In '91 I had a hot rich blond girlfriend and my business was kicking ass too. We drove the Datsun down there with my bike in the back. This is when it was all beat and rusty looking. We stayed at the Plaza Hotel right on Monterey Bay! Windows over the water with views of seals and otters, the whole Monterey Bay. $450 a night, two nights minimum. Hahahahah... checking into the Plaza in the Datsun!!


First thing we did was call room service for more pillows and Champagne... jumped in the whirlpool bath and then had vacation sex. We were on the same floor as a bunch of IndyCar high roller team owner's and sponsor's entourage. Got invited to crazy post race party...


There were years that race my track-rat buddies and I rented a 24' U-Haul, stuck a generator, regular refrigerator, fridge with a tapper in the door, plus a spare pony if the keg ran out, Webber, fifty pounds of meat, great food, cases of beer, bottles of tequila, a TV so we could watch the 49's game during the race, lawn chairs and a ladder so we could watch from the top of the truck! We had everything, an 8' couch, stereo with two sets of speakers. People came buy our camp site to take photos of us we were so chill. They left on Thursday to get the best spot in the whole place. I worked Friday and rode down there on my bike and hung with the track-rats, then had the time of my life blasting up the coast watching the sunset.


We said, next year we will have to buy a Winnebago, and we all said YA! It never really happened, but one year I chipped in on a rental RV. We didn't get a very good camp spot, but it was pretty cushy.


I probably went to every motorcycle race at Laguna Seca from the late '70s until recently. The Camel Pro Road Race Series, all the AMA Superbike years, All the 500cc Grand Prix years, ten years of World Superbike, and the modern MotoGP era too.


I had a buddy who I rode bikes with for a few years. His roomate was a seriously hot chick who worked for Sony PlayStation. Sony sponsored an IndyCar I think this was the 2003 season. They had a pit row suite that cost $550 a person if you bought into one. She gave him her tickets because she didn't like noise.


Sony had the first and best suite in the whole place! it was on top of the teams garage and looked out onto the front straight and the hot pits, Start/Finish line. There were caterers assigned to each suite. They had servers who took orders. They had a chef from a local restaurant making stuff of a menu, plus all kinds of salads and buffet. They had any kind of beer you wanted, local micro brews featured or you could order cocktails or featured local wines.


There were two sets of TV monitors on each side of the suite. One was the Timing and Scoring live feed and the other one was the raw satalite feed from the production truck, showing no commercials. About six twenty something young couples showed up. We introduced ourselves and found up they all worked for my friends roommate. They were young suburban kids from middle amerika, who got a good education and were now kicking it in trendy uber hip SF scene. They had no idea who, or what they were watching. The got bored and left us with the whole suit to ourselves. We smoked to big-assed fresh Cuban cigars my buddy got from a client.


When I think of summers in California, only one thing comes to mind really. Motorcycle road racing racing, the Laguna National, Superbikes, GP bikes and the biggest party in California. Getting your ass baked in the sun, drinking ice cold beer, eating the fried Calamari and checking out hot scantily clad women. Summer never happens unless you get to Laguna.


The good old days... what the fuck has happened? I don't even say What any more... just THE FUCK?????


Anyway, I hope you enjoy this clip of the the Camel GT Race from Laguna Seca during the golden age of IMSA Racing. It gives you a good idea of what the track was like, and if you have been to, or seen TV of Laguna now... well, it has changed a lot. There are more clips than this, it was a great race. The long lenses they use for TV don't give you a real sense of how fucking fast these cars are going. Check out the in car and you can see me standing on the outside of the track at 5:38 for a blip. :cool:

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Figbuck, I just got caught up on this thread from the last months ... man what a great holiday present to be able to get filled in on all the racing heritage. Love the stories as always, and it's amazing to be able to hear about it from someone who was there. I'm loving all this stuff, grew up in the Bay as well, though years after you (born in '82 ... didn't really get into car stuff until high school in the late 90s and never had much chance to attend racing events, just followed on TV and in magazines) ... heard some stories about the area, though, from parents and parents' friends (as I've grown up, they're now my friends as well); sounds like they might have been kicking around some of the same places as you. If you don't mind, I'll have to pass the link on to them to check out as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks there ski... I'm pleased that it somehow resonated with you. Since my last post over 400 hits on this page and this thread is zooming through 12k posts


I just finished reading When Giants Walked the Earth, the story of Led Zepplin. Oh Geez, what is this goo on the keyboard here... Oh shit, it's my brains melting out of my ears.


That's right! I remember this stuff. Wow, I have forgotten so much. Sex Drugs and Rock 'n Roll man. I saw Led Zepplin on their first American Tour in '69 on 500 mics of Sandoz. Into music? A must read.


If I never said it before there are some books that I think should be required reading in high school. In no particular order, Eric Clapton's bio Clapton, Jerry Garcia, An American Life, Bill Graham Presents, Graham's bio, Thom Wolfe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test... and then maybe this When Giants book, and maybe Neil Young's bio Shakey, or Steven Tyler's does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, for extra credit.


I talked to some young people at the first Occupy Portland March. I was asking them about the books they have read. Never heard of Animal Farm, Brave New World, 1984, Catch 22, One flew over the Cuckoos Nest, Sometime a Great Notion... UHH, no shit, what have you read?


Sorry, bad subject...


... but these are some strange times too. I'm thinking the only way to make any kind of sense of now, is to go back to see what happened to get us here. Some of that is why I'm have been trying to write this stuff. It is a trip to go back and read it later. In sorting through boxes this last time I moved, I came across a diary/journal from my 1974 overseas deployment in Germany. I can barely read a page of it with out crying or just closing the book. There was some stuff in there that triggered memories for this episode of...

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Figbuck mythology: It was 40 years ago that I got drafted into the Army. Three years of wearing green made me grow up really fast and it changed me too, from a trusting, naive kid into an angry, contemptuous, young adult. Some of that I have never been able to shake. It sucks. I'm not a nice guy sometimes.


There were four platoons in our basic training company and there were two Drill Sargents for each. Our Charlie Platoon had a Drill Sargent Jones and Drill Sargent Jones. One was always smiling and the other never smiled. These were some seriously badd-assed mutherfukers. Our commanding Officer was a young white Captain that had done multiple combat tours and was feared by all the DIs.


There was a Senior Drill Instructor whose rank was Command Sergent Major and he had more stripes and bars on his sleeves than everybody else combined. I don't remember his name because he was refered to as Senior Drill Sargent, but I remember this guy like it was yesterday. He was a tall, thin, black man, in his early fifties. He had the walk and bearing of a career soldier and you could tell that even more than the CO and DIs respecting him, they feared him too. He was the real fucking deal, no jive, no BS, no jokes. He knew some of these guys were not coming back to this world and it wouldn't be because he didn't do his best to turn us into killing machines.


When you are put into a position where you have to eat, sleep, train and smell each others farts at night, you remember people, their faces and personalities. I probably never knew their first names... because as the DIs showed us pointing to our fatigue jackets... your first name is U.S. Army and your last name is Smith.


In the first days of Basic Training nobody knows what is going on. You just try to understand what is being told to you, then go through the motions so you don't stick out. Little by little you get to know personalities of the guys in the squad and the DIs too. It was obvious quickly that not following orders made you stick out, and if you stuck out you were ripe for push-ups... or poosh-ups a they were called.


So the drill would be for the platoon to follow marching orders. Ten hut! Left face. Then left face again, and left face again, and left face again... then Right face! There was always one or two guys that got faked out and turned Left or hesitated.


PLATOOON HALT, one two. OK you fucking maggots, can't figure out left frome right? Drop down and give me POOOSH UPs. Then some fool would ask, how many Drill Sargent? That would just make the DIs go crazy. Twenty poosh-up for your idiot squad mates and fifty for you, for opening your idiot mouth... and the rest of the platoon drop down right now and give me twenty too, for him having such a big mouth.


That kid was a marked man whether he knew it or not. Next morning after chow call we stand in F0-mation to get inspected and hear what fun and games are in store for the day. The Drill Instructors call the unit to attention, then step in front of each troupe to see if they shaved, had a hair cut, ironed uniform and spit shined boots. There were all these little things like nose hairs or the finer points or blousing your fatigue pants and polishing your brass buckles. If you weren't, "Standing Tall", then you were considered Bolo, and that meant you were 'gigged'. Gigs got you extra duty or KP.


Worse if you were an individual who habitually came to the attention of the DIs during inspection... a whole world of attention was paid to you... the unit could be punished so that peer pressure would be exerted on you. This worked except for this one guy. There is always one guy in every unit who is a wise guy comedian.


The guy in our platoon was named Private Brocius. Never knew his first name you know? He grew up in Berkley California and in fact was going to UC Berkley to be a lawyer. He and I were mostly two years older than everybody else in the Company because we had Student Deferments and went to school... until we didn't any more and bang, we got a letter from President Nixon.


Scott! Wow, how did I drag that up? Scott Brocius. This cat was really smart and totally politically aware, which was not a good thing in that situation. He also was one of the funniest fuckers I ever came across. He was not really tall and had a little pear shaped kind of a frame, but athletically strong. So funny man, like the automatic craziness of Robin Williams.


One of the things you were allowed to do was grow a mustache. There were very clear guidelines about how to trim it and how long... you know... Mil Spec. Brocius decides to grow a mustache and during the morning inspection, Sgt. Jones (the serious one that never smiled, so you never know what the fuck he could be thinking) steps up in front of Brocious. Clicks his heels together, looks down first at his boots, pants, belt, shirt and then stops and stares at poor Brocius right in the face.


I'm trying real hard to stand at attention, look forward, but strain my eyeballs sideways to look at this shit going down. I can see that Brocious is just about to break out laughing, and he is almost shaking trying to keep a straight face. I mean the Jones's as we called them, were scary guys, but they were freakin' bigger than life cartoon characters at the same time too.


Finally the Drill Sgt, asks totally deadpan... Whut is that on yo lip Private Brocius??


"Thas my mustache Drill Seargent!!


DI Jones goes, I was waiting fo it to move... I thoughts it wuz a caterpillar or something. Troop... gets down and gives me sum poooosh ups fo havin' ugly mustache!! Brocius and just about everybody else cracks ups. Fock man, we were all doing a hundred pooshups every hour all day long 'cause of that.


It got to the place where all Sargent Jones had to do was look at Brocius and it would crack him up. Even worse, no matter how deep the shit Brocius would step in was, he had a way of answering that was just funny... didn't matter how serious he tried to be. Fuck, the more serious he tried to be, the funnier is was. A few times the DI would look at Brocius and he would just get down and start pushing off with out him saying a word! Towards the end there, we were doing a thousand pooshups, jumping jacks and sit ups a day... in between running miles to the rifle ranges with a weapon and field gear.


We never really saw our Senior Drill Sargent until about the fifth week of training, when we got our first time off on a Sunday afternoon. We got to wear civilian clothes and could leave the post, take a bus downtown, or call friends to come get us the fuck outta there for a minute. After the noon chow, we had a 'Formation'... or fomaashun as they called it. Each pair of Drill instructors told their platoon not to get into trouble and what happens every single cycle, some troops get into trouble in town and come back in an MP wagon.


Now they said, the Senior Drill Instructor want's to say a word.


Senior Drill Sargent gets up on this stand in front of the barracks. All the times we fell out into formations, and we never seen a DI get up there to address the unit. He's in his spot and introduces himself, then proceeds to tell us all the same shit about going off post and getting into trouble. Then he says, after the Captain gets done chewing on yo troubled asses, he would chaw up the remainder and spit it out on all the rest of us.


The last thing he addresses are guys whose girl friends or wives drove down to visit. Wives and Girlfriends were all called Jody. He took a deep breath, "Troops I has one woid of ADD vice to gives y'all. Keeps it in yo pocket!!


Oh geez, fucking Brocius says, under his breath, you mean Jody is gonna have to climb in there with me or something. The SDI didn't hear him but saw his lips moving. Let's just say, we all almost got our leave cancelled right then and there. Brocius never made it off post, straight to KP... plus we all had to drop to give fifty pooshups for Brocius' fuck up before they let us go.


We came to know the SDI much better as the weeks went on. He got to know poor Brocius too. Scott Brocius was a cool guy, we all liked him. He pulled his weight and wasn't a skate or a Bolo. I don't think anybody else in the whole company could have survived the crap they rained on him day after day. I think he did more KP that anybody.


The SDI had these phrases he used. They got picked up by the DIs, then the troops too. He used to say, "Cum oown, saddle up, We is late, We is late, We is late already!!


Or while talking about somebody, "Troop, Y'all is fucked up! You IS all fucked up. You is ALLL fucked up!!!"


The SDI goes to Brocius. PriVATE... what is yo name.




Brocius... you is all fucked up... you is all FUCKED up... ... you is ALL fucked up! Brocius, you's fuckedup!!!


So that was how we described people. situations and everything. It's fucked up man... is alll fucked up! WE is fucked. WE is awll FUCKED up... FUCKIN' FUCKED UP!


That stuff has stuck with me all these years. The new year 2012 has come along. I think about what a failure last year was for me and look forward... all I can think is I'm all fucked up. Really there is no other way to spin it. I is all fucked up. The shit is awl fucked up!


I can't even summon the juice to say it or think all of it even... I just go I'm UP.


All up.


WE is up... we is all up...

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RE: Okay now your FUCKED.


Your methods of power are outdated. Your true weakness is shown by your idle threats.





Ah, forgot about the nuclear fallout have you? those canned foods will only last you so long, soon you will have to come out as the radiation lingers, slowly you'll die a painful death..Alas, once you die millions will die. Not only those with blood, but those with chloroplast for they too will die, nuclear radiation spreads and kills like cancer. You may win the battle, But I, win the war.

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Ah, forgot about the nuclear fallout have you? those canned foods will only last you so long, soon you will have to come out as the radiation lingers, slowly you'll die a painful death..Alas, once you die millions will die. Not only those with blood, but those with chloroplast for they too will die, nuclear radiation spreads and kills like cancer. You may win the battle, But I, win the war.


I don't care if you nuke your own country.






Totally prepared for fallout on the Tennessee plateau with years worth of food.

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I don't care if you nuke your own country.






Totally prepared for fallout on the Tennessee plateau with years worth of food.


lol. point is America will fuck you over no matter what, (IE advanced bunker busters) now lets not discuss more of this blasphemy (JK) on Teh great Figbuck's glorious thread of storiez

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lol. point is America will fuck you over no matter what, (IE advanced bunker busters) now lets not discuss more of this blasphemy (JK) on Teh great Figbuck's glorious thread of storiez



On a more serious note.



Thank you for sharing with us Figbuck.

Sorry if we is all fucked up.

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