They Blew Up the Bomb!

The Checkers 1957 Hare & Hound was a National event that started at California City. All the riders were lined up, tank cards marked, banner up and all waiting for someone to drop it, but nobody was near the banner??? Then I realized they were going to blow up the banner -- BOOM!!! it went!

Got a good start and done a big time get off and lost my goggles; also I'm way back and came up on Bob Sangrem who was hurt. Stopped to help, but he waved me on did get his goggles though. At first gas check I' in 2nd place!! 4/5 miles out I caught Buck and passed him to now be leading-- zero dust, clear sailing, get it on, but the rear wheel keeps trying to pass the front??? Damn a flat tire. I'm done. Buck soon goes by and wins the event. I had to cut the tire off with my pocket knife to get in. I have a pic that someone took of me along the road sans a rear tire.

The trophy at the finish was a turtle with Checkers on its back. There is a book on Triumph mc history in it is a pic of Buck at the finish on his bike holding the turtle, this was a TOUGH one for me to loose as I really wanted to be AMA NATIONAL H/H CHAMPION.

So now you know the rest of the story. It was a good year for me though. I did get #1 plate for District 37 which is an honor as at that time there was only one #1 awarded...

-- Charlie Hockie #1 (1957)

In the story above, "Buck" is Buck Smith of the Shamrocks MC. Buck won the race, but Hockie got the #1 plate, and carried it during the 1958 season. Buck carried the #4 plate in 1965, right behind Mike Patrick. Buck was a very well known desert racer. His son, Gene Smith, was the overall winner of SoCal's hare scrambles in 1970...

Charlie, now in his 70s, started riding in the early 50's, and knew many of the pioneers from that era. He rode with the Prospectors, and was a close friend of Bill Thorwaldson, father of the late Richard Thorwaldson. Charlie and Bill (hence "CB") ran CB Motors from the mid 60's to early 70's in Gardena.

Charlie was also an ISDT pioneer representing the USA in 1966. He rode a factory prepped 100 cc Sachs, but did not get the factory barrel, which likely had special porting. Charlie gave the bike to a collector with the proviso that the bike remain in the USA. Charlie was in Europe at that time representing the US with Bud Ekins. They also imported some special Rickman framed Bultaco Metisse bikes.