Chalk and marker rendering by Tom Semple


The day Tom Semple and I nearly did each other in.

I became interested in motocross motorcycles in the ’70s, and rode in the woods with several GM designers and sculptors including Larry Brinker and Bernie Smith. One Saturday several of us met up around Mt. Grampian ski area in Oxford, Michigan. There was a challenging, single-track loop about a half mile long that had hills, banked berms, and woods. Because it made a big loop, you could get to know the course, and each lap became faster than the last one. There were a couple of spots where you could get launched pretty good and get some air. And there were many blind turns. So for safety reasons, it was strictly one way. Tom Semple showed up with his Bultaco. I don’t remember who was going the wrong way, but Tom and I met in mid air, missing each other by inches. That was the day Tom and I nearly killed each other.


  1. Dave Collins

    Hi Gary, love seeing the sketches. The Geza Loczi GTO is awesome. I know Bill Michalak from G.M. quite well and own a bunch of his art as well as Carl Cameron from Dodge. Really great you showed these.Dave.

  2. Tom Semple

    I remember that day on the track very well and have told the tale often. I was probably the one going the wrong way. I remember only getting air and in an instant being aware of my handlebars being nearly touched by yours at great speed and (to me) great height. Too close! But it was one of those times that riding that bike was the most fun. Not that it wasn’t scary – I landed shaking, pulled off and sat for awhile – but times like that made me feel so alive on those makeshift tracks. Our mutual friends Larry Brinker, Carl Kendle and I went out riding every Saturday in those days and sometimes before we left I was apprehensive. I knew I would ride way above my talent level and lay the bike down often. I told myself to maybe try to learn to control the notoriously pipey Bultaco Pursang and just enjoy that, the learning process. But alas, I only had fun when it was up on the pipe, completely, or mostly, out of control, hitting a jump full throttle or coming out of a berm too fast, probably in too low a gear ending up with the handlebar in the dirt and me off in the brush. Larry told me once as he rested looking out and seeing only dust rising that he knew it was me, “Must be Semple,” he told his companions.

    Great times, Gary. I sold that bike as I became more involved in striving to restore our our old uhouse in Romeo. I regret that. I miss the rush of riding way over my head. Sorry about going the wrong way. I know you had a bad break to your leg that took a long time to heal. We saw each other last a long time ago. I was happy that the break finally healed. I hope you are doing well and I know your sly humor is still intact.

    With all respect,

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