In 1986, I was living in Englewood, Ohio. As the proud owner of a brand new Honda Shadow 700,
I became one of a few loosely associated street riders in the area, whom, when out riding, would sometimes congregate in the parking lot of the local K-Mart. At these ad hoc meetings, one topic of conversation that invariably came up would go something along these lines....”Hey have you seen the guy on the GSXR 1100? You know, the guy with the full matching race leathers? Well I saw him up on Elru the other day, and MAN, can that dude RIDE! I tried to catch up with him and about killed myself!” etcetera...The mystery rider never deigned to join our lowly band of baby badasses, he would flash the usual “biker salute” when passing going the other way, but when he was passing you from behind, it was ALL business...Spell that “a blur”!
The one occasion I had to meet the gentleman, he was riding past my place on a street legal 50cc Suzuki
mini crotch rocket. On an obvious conversation starter, he was kind enough to let me take her around the block, (A real gutless wonder, that little 50! No clutch, but fun!) It was always easy to tell if he was heading out for a ride on the Gixxer or coming back by the condition of the duct tape on his leather’s knees...fresh or shredded...I saw him blaze through the neighborhoods, rocking it like Tron...
he lived to lean..
Flash forward about 20 years, and your humble author is in a cover band with a very talented group of people.
The decision was made to add a second lead guitarist, and all of us, having been in the hobby for a long time, were racking our collective brains for the name of a suitable person. I believe it was the #1 lead player who "had played with a guy that might be available." So, in comes Al...As we got to know one another better, swapping stories, etc., The commonalities started to pile up...
For instance, he mentioned that he used to live in Centerville, Indiana...I said, “oh did you know Teresa B.?”
He responds”Man! I wanted to go out with her something fierce!” “I dated her for about a year.” Says I.
We discovered his first wife was a girl from my high school class. Learned that he had occasion to bed the former captain of the varsity cheer squad from my high school, she was 2 years ahead of me...unatainable, perfect..( He will always be my hero, for that reason, if none other! She was a “Dish”!)
I found that he had been in a band with 3 people I had played with formerly...like I said, commonalities...
He shows up to practice one evening and, pulling out his cellphone, proceeds to tell me about his co-workers unwillingness to believe just what sort of “legs” his bike had.
(It was either his Aprilia super moto, or his Triumph 3 cylinder at that time) To dispel their confusion,
he took her out on I-70, wristed her up to 150, and TOOK A PICTURE OF THE SPEEDO !
Even though I realized it doesn’t work this way, I said “C`mon man, you did that on the centerstand in your driveway, didn’t you?” Boy, was he MAD! ( As a hatter, if you ask me!)
He had an extensive racing career, (had some national ranking at one point, I believe.) Had highsided, lowsided, broken too many bones to count, and still was not afraid to push a bike to the edge
(or occasionally, beyond.)
He actually got a VERY expensive “wheelie” ticket out in front of his house on a MOPED! (He had skills...
& Englewood cops SUCK sometimes!) He was a great guitarist, an extremely gifted mechanic,
an absolutely fearless rider, a great friend, and we’ll not see his like again.
When I got the “outta the blue” call just before noon today, and was told he had died, I just KNEW it had been on two wheels...And, as at so many other times in my life, I was wrong...he went peacefully, in his sleep.
R.I.P. Al Hall....
I hope your front wheel never touches the clouds and that your back tires last longer than they did down here...
(Al is the guitarist in the "big boy pants")
edit: At his very well-attended memorial ceremony this past Friday, I was able to snap a few "pix of pix" from Al's extensive racing career...I also learned that his Triumph 3 cylinder crotch rocket died 2.5 weeks before he did. The motor died in battle...He WAS able to wring 170 mph out of her though! Thanx for the commiserations, greatly appreciated...I just wanted to memorialize him in a place he would have enjoyed...Thanx again! -C-
Sorry about your loss, God bless your buddy's soul.
I have a 1980 Kawasaki KZ750 Ltd. I bought new. I recently managed to get it out of my garage after 28 years and put it on the road again (2010). I feel like a kid all over again. Since I have acquired 3 78 KZ1000 Ltd, 1 1981 KZ1000 Ltd, and another 1980 KZ750 Ltd. Love the LTD's.
Hard to believe that it has been a year since Al died...It still kinda seems surreal to me that someone so ALIVE could be just "gone" from our lives in a flash like that...Try to live every day as if it were your last...RIP Al...you are missed, buddy