This was a cool era of American Roadracing

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9/10/2018 10:22 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/11/2018 1:04 AM

Back when racing was much more simple, no electronic gizmos-traction control, wheelie control, Anti-lock, ECU's Etc.
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A street bike and convert it into a race bike is kind of what this guy did and he was reunited with his race machine 36 years later.
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Thad Wolf met his mechanic Minro "Matsu" Matsuzawa when a chance encounter with Pop's Yoshimura also a Japanese immigrant changed his life forever.
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Years later they hooked up and that is when he became his Tuner. Competing against the factories Riders Eddie Lawson, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey, Mike Baldwin, Steve Wise Etc lot of fast guys his best finish was the podium at Loudon.
You got to love the duct tape on the knees before pucks were invented.... smile
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Injuries derailed his career and Thad retired from racing.
Matsu kept the bike and later also wrenched for Matt Madlin.
He would later succomb to cancer.

A mutual fan friend was given the bike.
Years later that friend called him, " hey Thad I've got something for you" and he gave him the bike.

First order of business was to restore the machine to its previous life he tried to keep it as much to original Race Trim.

How cool would it be to ride the bike you raced 36 years ago on a track! smile

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This good read was in the september-october edition of motorcyclist.
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9/11/2018 5:31 AM

That top pic reminds me of Dougie's asphalt days.

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"We don't rent pigs."

9/11/2018 7:31 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/11/2018 7:33 AM

Still miss that guy. My pic is a tribute.

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My wife calls you guys the Yahoos.

9/11/2018 8:48 AM

I went to high school with Thad. Didnt know him, think he was about 3 years older. Remember he had a really trick RD. 350 or 400 and was well known around town as a really good welder and fabricator as a teenager. Would see him in metal shop working on bike stuff when I was a freshman. Welded his own expansion chambers. A kid I knew had a bmx frame Thad custom built.

Yes, the early Superbikes were bitchin.

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9/12/2018 3:34 PM

JAFO92 wrote:

That top pic reminds me of Dougie's asphalt days.

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Good catch 92 yeah definitely Dougie's era, he was a cool guy and is missed....

I remember he raced a 87 Hurricane just like the one I had at Willow Springs.

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9/12/2018 3:37 PM

SCR wrote:

I went to high school with Thad. Didnt know him, think he was about 3 years older. Remember he had a really trick RD. 350 or ...more

Wow very cool SCR that you knew ol Thad.

And yes the rider really made a difference on those bikes, you couldn't get away with stuff they do today. Yet they still went real fast.

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9/12/2018 4:41 PM

SCR wrote:

I went to high school with Thad. Didnt know him, think he was about 3 years older. Remember he had a really trick RD. 350 or ...more

G-man wrote:

Wow very cool SCR that you knew ol Thad.

And yes the rider really made a difference on those bikes, you couldn't get away ...more

I didn't know him but anyone around town into bikes knew who he was. I think I bothered him once when he was trying to mill some heads or something in metal shop class when I was a punk freshman. He was one of the older guys that the shop teacher trusted and let come into shop anytime and work on stuff. I figured out pretty quick if you showed interest, took care of equipment, and helped the teacher watch over the younger class guys, you could come in anytime and work on your bikes, cars, whatever. Junior and senior year I ditched a lot of classes and just spent the day in shop.

Anyway, I followed some of his racing through Cycle News. He raced the Superbikers at Carlsbad and made the main at least one year, I think it was same year Chandler won 82'. If I remember correct he rode a factory Suzuki at the Daytona 200 one year and was leading ? or in position to win, or place ? and the bike broke.
Apparently I almost took him out with my XR75 at Valley Cycle Park. I friend I went to Jr High with knew Thad and they were both standing at the front straightaway jump watching the mini class race. I swapped out before the face of the jump and crashed my brains out. I guess my bike cartwheel ed right at them and they had to scramble.
I just remember picking my bike up and my brand new Bassani pipe I bought with my paper route money was broke in two peices. Luckily my old man the master mechanic fixed it like new.
Good times.

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9/12/2018 9:44 PM

Cool story about Thad.
What high school was it you guys went to?

I have a buddy out here in Arizona who was Arizona State road racing champ a few years --Kelly Byrd and he also went to Daytona as a privateer and was running top 6 thru 10 and I think he had bike issues.

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9/12/2018 10:41 PM

Newbury Park HS In ventura county.

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9/17/2018 11:04 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/17/2018 11:12 AM

Here's a cool article from from Wayne Rainey about his favorite bikes and one was his Kawasaki GPZ 750.

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Man there's something about that bike that just looks awkward, he's sitting so far back I don't see how those things cornered at all!

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9/17/2018 11:59 AM

About ten years ago, Steve Wise sent me this pic of JMB.

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And also this photo of him.

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9/20/2018 8:00 PM

G-man wrote:

Here's a cool article from from Wayne Rainey about his favorite bikes and one was his Kawasaki GPZ 750.

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Man there's ...more

Cool stuff. I like reading about the legends of 500 GP and the early Superbike days of their careers.

The '83 GPz750 was my very first street bike (1991 I bought it). It was Red and probably had 100 less hp than Rainey's Superbike!

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