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June 29, 2013

CALL OF THE WILD: Veteran biker named Gorilla still gets a charge from riding



But even the man behind the moniker acknowledged the name could also have applied to his rebellious attitude at times as well. Now weighing in at a little less than 200 pounds, a much thinner Gorilla is still mostly known only by this one handle.

“There are people I’ve known for 30 something years and they don’t know my real name. There’s been no reason to ask for it,” Gorilla said.

Back when he started riding, most motorcyclists learned how to do their own bike maintenance, fixing almost any problem themselves rather than take them into a shop. Gorilla was no different. Tinkering with motorcycles seems to give him almost as much excitement as actually riding them. An extra benefit was that he was good at it, winning a state and regional Prosser Vocational mechanics competition back when he took some classes to avoid what he called “some trouble.”

Times have changed though. Fewer and fewer new riders have the necessary skills to regularly do upkeep let alone repair their own road machines. Image now, he said, has become more important than learning about some basic riding responsibilities.

“What we say now is that the new Harley tool kit is a gold card and a cell phone,” Gorilla said. “Most of the old guys, man we’re just dying off. That’s all there is to it. Thank God there are a few young dudes coming up through the ranks that want to do the repairs, maintenance and performance improvements with their own hands.”

Although later in the early 1980s he would give up his Kawasaki and switch to the “classier” Harleys, the 53-year-old still likes to tear up the racetrack even today despite some knee, neck and back issues. In fact, this year he believes will be his fastest year in competition yet. No matter what the future brings, Gorilla refuses to give up on the thrill of the race.

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