1966 BSA Hornet Scrambler

After a few years of being soundly whipped by the riders of CZ, Husqvarna, and Maico 2-strokes, my brother must have seen the writing on the wall. But he hated "ring-dings", and with typical McBroom stubbornness, he decided that what he really needed was a bigger BSA! :-)
He bought the bike brand-new, and I still recall how unbelievably beautiful the thing seemed when he trucked it home that first day. The bike must have been a real handful to race, though the scrambles courses were then very smooth compared to a modern motocross circuit. But he certainly gave it his best shot! He never won a race with it, as far as I know, or even placed very highly. He was "first 4-stroke" a few times, as I recall. Of course, towards the end, he might well have been the only 4-stroke, so quickly were 2-stroke dirt racers accepted.
By '68, I was allowed to ride the Hornet occasionally, being able to meet my brother's prerequisites of kick-starting it and picking it up after he'd laid it on it's side. The latter was pretty darned tough for a 12-year-old, though! By '69, I had taken to "sneaking" rides on it. I don't know if he ever caught on; he never mentioned it, if so. Looking back, I'm sure that he must have known. I mean, I almost got caught red-handed a few times! But I was always more than a little intimidated by the big Beezer, and was never what you'd call comfortable riding it.
Favorite memory; the one occasion when I got home from school and my Mom wasn't home. I don't recall where she was that day, but I knew ahead of time, and laid my plans carefully. I fairly flew off the bus, and had the Hornet's carbs tickled before the driver had properly pulled away from my stop. It fired up within a few kicks, and after a very brief warm-up, I lit out in pursuit of the bus.
Now, understand that I used to do this all the time with my M-50. I would leave the bike parked for a strategic getaway, and could catch the bus before it's next stop, riding on the grassy roadside. But this time I was on the highway! Naturally, it took a lot longer to get the Hornet motorvating, and the friends whom I'd clued in to my plans had about given up on me. But I overtook the bus as it was pulling away from it's second stop, and blew by it with the throttle pegged and the straight-pipes singing! It felt like I was doing 200 mph, but I was probably doing no more than 70. Maybe 80, though considering the Hornet's gearing, I doubt it. In any case, it must have been pretty impressive, 'cause for a long time afterwards, I was held in awe by those school-mates who witnessed it. <grin>
Thing is, I hadn't given any thought to what I'd do after I passed the school bus. I considered turning around for a repeat performance. But, discretion being the better part of valor, in the end I just kept going, and took the next left, making a big loop back home on the backroads. That probably impressed my teeny-bopper friends most of all, actually, as all of them wanted to know "Where'd you go?" To which I nonchalantly replied "Oh, you know, just rode around for an hour or two." :-) I did no such thing, of course. I was back home in 10 minutes, probably, 15 at the most. All the while shaking in my boots. ;-) What would have happened had a cop witnessed this escapade, I shudder to think! I'd have got a free ride in the squad car, I'm sure...

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