Sunday, December 8, 2013

50 People to Have a Beer With, con't...

Well it's been an exciting and satisfying past few weeks or so; what with the airing of our Cafe Racer TV episode, our "Double Whammy" viewing party, a lovely Thanksgiving Holiday, and now getting ready for Christmas. But time to get back to work on our "50 People to Have a Beer With" list.

A quick review of the rules:
All must be living. None of this having 10 people from history over for dinner stuff that comes up over cocktails from time to time. Hanging out with Jesus, Gandi, or Elvis is a no-brainer. Besides, I'd like to think; hey, you never know....

This list will be entirely subjective, I'm sure sometimes selected on whim. Culled from whatever is rattling around in my nutty little head. Racers, musicians, news makers, missing a friend I haven't seen in a while. And as with any good game, the decision of the judges will be final.

Out of respect for the teetotalers who might make the list, I'm flexible. If you would rather meet for coffee, that's cool too.

This list is in no particular order, and is a work in process. The last post (#1 or #50, depending on how you look at it) is not to be construed as the winner. #27 could be the most inspired choice of all. Who knows? It will rather more be an ongoing; "Gee, I bet that would be fun."

Entry 12/22/2013, #40: Eddie Jordan

Former F1 team boss, entrepreneur, Rock 'n Roll drummer. Sadly, probably the last privateer that we will ever see break into F1. And F1's loss, for F1 will probably never see another one like him. And Lord knows F1 could use more of his ilk.

It didn't hurt that Jordan Grand Prix made their F1 debut with one of the prettiest cars of the last 25 years. And upon their debut wasted no time setting about upsetting the F1 status quo. In the points by mid season, and 5th in the constructors Championship at season's end.

Eddie's eye for driver talent is legendary, with many future F1 stars getting their first breaks in Eddie's cars. Either in the Junior Formula, or F1, it's a hell of a list. Martin Brundle, Jean Alesi, Rubens Barichello, Johnny Herbet, Eddie Irvine, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher, Thierry Boutsen, Giancarlo Fisichella, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Roberto Moreno, Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, John Watson. All at one time or another have had their backsides in the cockpit of Eddie's cars.

The video quality is a little rough, but this is still great fun to watch. Grab a beverage, relax and enjoy. Eddie Jordan, This is Your Life!

Since retired as a team owner, Eddie is still a World Class wheeler dealer. And when he is not trotting  the Globe as a TV commentator, or looking after his other, varied business interests, proves he pretty handy behind the drum kit.

Cheers, Eddie! May the luck of the Irish always be with you!

 Entry 12/18/2013, #41: Keith Richards

Keef making this list, was, of course, inevitable. This seems as good a day as any to go ahead and get it out of the way. But what's left to say about a Rock 'n Roll and Cultural Icon? Happy Birthday, Keith! 70! Who the hell on God's green earth would have figured? The man must piss iron. The list of names that have gone to the grave trying to emulate his lifestyle reads like a Who's Who of wayward souls and wasted talents. But Keith has always warned; "Kids, don't try this at home." Yes, that's Bill Clinton and Keith discussing Keith's autobiography "Life"...

Bill and Keith leaving a NYC restaurant a few years ago. Now what do you suppose happens when these two chuckle-heads start partying? Nice doggie bag, by the way, Mr. President.

How do you pick from the catalog? Not even going to try. So randomly, just a couple of my faves....

So Happy Birthday Keith. Here's to many more....

Cheers, your pal, Leon

Entry 12/8/2013, # 42: Kevin Schwantz
Hard charging 1993 FIM 500cc World Champion. His do or die riding style on the high strung, knife edge 500cc 2 strokes of the time, resulted in his fair share of crashes. And the resulting injuries would interrupt his Championship campaigns. But his courage, commitment, and fierce will to win was bone deep and always on display. Arch rival to 3 time World Champion, Wayne Rainey. Their battles are the stuff of legend. Competed in that late 80's, early 90's Golden Era of Motorcycle Grand Prix racing; which besides Rainey, included other greats; Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner, Mick Hoohan, and Randy Mamola. This is pretty much all you need to know about Kevin Schwantz. The closing stages and incredible last lap of the 1991 German Grand at Hockenhein Ring. Schwantz, #34 vs. Rainey, #1. Pardon the expression, but the rear end of Schwantz's bike is more nervous then a whore in Church.

Here's a nice little, more in depth piece with both Schwantz and Rainey discussing their rivalry, their different styles, and the era in which they raced. Nice stuff.

A truly fantastic time in which to witness World Championship motorcycle racing. Thanks Kevin for all those thrills you delivered on all those Sunday afternoons.


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