Push the Button, Max!

I got the new clutch cable, needle bearing, and some other bits from Bob’s BMW and put them into the bike early this morning. The good news is that the rig was then drive-able, but it was still making some odd noises and went into first gear only reluctantly. Time to get expert help! I immediately drove it to Joe Litchko, who is the vintage-bike mechanic and oddball-machinery expert at Devon Hill BMW nearby.

Push the Button, Max!I drove my bike around back and into the motorcycle bay, and discovered this awesome 1959 diesel Mercedes up on the lift, with rally stickers on it. It turns out that Joe is the mechanic and navigator for Wetherill Racing’s team in the… are you ready for this?

THE CENTENNIAL RE-RUNNING OF “THE GREAT RACE”. Yes, THAT Great race! With Tony Curtis as the Great Leslie and Jack Lemmon as the stylish and dastardly Professor Fate.

I knew dimly, but had forgotten, that the 1965 Disney movie was about a real car race held in 1908, from New York to Paris the long way, via Shanghai and Moscow. This year’s race is the real deal: here’s the race website and here’s a map from the NY Times: “No Shoulder next 22,000 miles“.

Joe says that he’s replaced just about everything that can be replaced on the car. And I’m guessing that a diesel Mercedes is the kind of car that you can get parts for from under a dusty tarp in a shed in Siberia. Because, you know, I guess you might have to!

So, on to the important question: I asked Joe what team they thought of themselves as. I was, of course, secretly hoping he’d say "Professor Fate and Max."

He said "Professor Fate and Max.". AWESOME.

Here’s some Jack Lemmon to celebrate this fantastic discovery. Also, I CANNOT TELL YOU how fantastic it is to have Joe/Max working on my sidecar rig. I now have a shred of a claim to call it the “Hannibal 8“. Perhaps Joe will be able to add a cannon, or an ice-melter. Push the button, Max!

Push the Button, Max!

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